Friday, October 12, 2018

A self absorbed President has consequences

Yes, I agree with the gist of Nick Bryant's article, noting that it's hard to avoid the feeling that authoritarian leadership around the world has taken the hint that a self-absorbed, dumb, US President with a crush on "strong men" gives them lots of room to do authoritarian things and not worry that anything serious is going to be done about it:
The forced disappearance of the Interpol chief, Meng Hongwei, who it turns out is being held by the Chinese authorities.

Mounting evidence underscoring the Kremlin's involvement in the chemical poisonings in Salisbury.

The seemingly gruesome case of Jamal Khashoggi, the missing journalist who Turkish authorities suspect was killed and dismembered by a Saudi hit squad inside the kingdom's Istanbul consulate.

All point to a world of disorder: of a slide towards unruliness; of a new era of strongman authoritarianism and a waning of international law.

Traditionally the United States has viewed itself as the upholder of norms, an exemplar of moral leadership, the policeman of global bad behaviour - an idealised notion it has not always lived up to.
But this week has driven home not just how much Donald Trump has been reluctant to perform that role. It also speaks of how his doctrine of patriotism is at risk of being interpreted by other nations as a doctrine of anything goes.
In the red, white and blue of America First do other countries see a green light to act with impunity?
The thing is, even if they know that the US will huff and puff at a diplomatic level, they know that within 24 hours, Trump will say or do something so stupid and/or vain that the public both in the US and across the globe will be distracted.   (The pointless media event of Trump meeting Kanye is the latest example.  Then he'll probably be off to another mini Nuremberg within 48 hours, to make himself feel loved.)

Updatemore on Trump's shrug shoulders attitude to Saudi Arabia and internation death squads.  

Update 2Allahpundit at Hot Air makes the point that the US has for a very long time put up with, um, bad behaviour from the Saudis out of economic self interest.  True, but I think it still makes a difference as to whether a President says it openly, or not.   It's a dirty secret a President just shouldn't be saying out loud.

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