It was only last Friday that we all agreed that Trump had reached an end-game with the American public and his future. It could only get worse in the upcoming weekend, three days of meetings with other world leaders. We called it ahead of time. This was no display of clairvoyant genius analysis on our part, no “accomplishment.”
Indeed we underestimated the damage oncoming. We failed.
Trump’s advocated publicly on behalf of Russia’s Putin, and that proved bad enough. Now we are hearing it was even worse inside the meetings among foreign leaders. God help us all.
“Trump’s extraordinary promotion of Putin proved to be the most tense disagreement,” reports the Washington Post, which adds that Trump’s fervent advocacy for Putin “was coolly received by other leaders at the gathering,” and that the meeting “went off the rails when Trump blasted leaders for not including Russia.”
We should never go to these meetings on bended knee toward other nations, and yet we damn sure shouldn’t be “blasting them,” either, especially not on behalf of Putin, someone universally seen as Trump’s “backer,” the real party of interest.
Imagine yourself as an American in the meeting rooms, imagine hearing Trump “blast” leaders from other nations on Putin’s behalf. Now just imagine how desperately you would want out of that meeting, should you die of embarrassment, or leap up in rage. Only now can you appreciate how Angela Merkel, or Justin Trudeau feels about our entire nation.
It all has ramifications:
But having such a forceful advocate for an authoritarian leader inside the room of democracies profoundly shaped the overall tone of the summit, one senior official said.
“The consequence is the same as if one of the participants is a dictator,” the official said. “No community of like-minded leaders who are pulling together.”
Let that settle for a moment.
The United States of America, the nation of the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, the Marshall Plan, is now seen as akin to a dictatorship on the world stage.
On some level, we deserve it.
On another, we’re banking on the fact that these other leaders retain hope for our nation, just as we do. We hope that they recall that three million more of us voted for Clinton. We hope that they are aware that Trump is constructing his own impeachment proceeding. We hope they have the patience to await a President Sanders, Warren, Biden, Harris, anyone.
We know that for two and a half years running now, we may as well have had President Putin in the Oval Office. Other world leaders know it, too. We have one shot to quickly pivot over the next year and a half, lest the world leave us behind for a long time. And they won’t do it behind closed doors, or politely.
We do not want to be in a position where President Malia Obama needs eight years on bended knee to pull the United States up from the hole reserved for craven autocrats. We only hope that the world leaders inside those embarrassing and infuriating meetings can hang with “us” for just a bit longer. Having heard what goes on behind closed doors, the truly frightening thing is that we can understand why they might choose otherwise
It was worse than we predicted. I suppose that was predictable, too.