“The people of the United States” didn’t elect Donald Trump. Approximately 3 million more people voted for Hillary Clinton than Donald Trump, while approximately half of the population stayed home. In typical Donald fashion, he has been trying to take revenge by pulling the country further into the gutter.
Bashing our judicial system (one of the best in the world) and bashing our media (one of our country’s best assets) is all just part of the game now.
Yes, Donald Trump’s “so-called policies” are insane, but they’re not much different than the Republican Party’s (one reason the GOP is enabling Trump despite all of the insanity, all of the attacks on our democracy, and all of the attacks on respected Republican politicians).
What has really pissed off much of the public is the bullying, the racism, the sexism, and the xenophobia — combined with the conspiracy theories, the egotism, the greed, and the corruption. As president of the United States, all of this is not just an attack on American civility and democracy, it’s also an attack on how our culture and civilization are seen by the rest of the world.
Let’s not fool ourselves — the world is watching. The world is watching this self-destructive circus gone haywire. With Obama fresh in the mind, the civilized world may not be giving up on the USA yet, but you know they’re reorganizing their partnerships, priorities, and policy plans.
While ISIS is apparently a top Trump concern, his rhetoric is a top recruiting tool for ISIS. What could make people prone to Islamic extremism hate the USA and hate Christianity more? For people who want to see a literal religious war (Bannon? Pence?), Trump is a gift. Make no mistake — there are extremist fundamentalist Christians who want to push “religious” terrorism and war as well. With sane European leaders, Chinese leaders, Japanese leaders, South American leaders, Indian leaders, Canadian leaders, and others well aware of the global threat Trump is posing, what are they thinking about the quality of US democracy and our role on the global political and economic stage going forward? How are their alliances shifting?
→ Related: How The Terrorists Won
→ Related: How The Terrorists Won — Part 2, The Economy
Before I go further, though, let’s recognize that the trajectory of the country and the trajectory of the world depend a great deal on how long Donald is in office. He, Sean Spicer, Devin Nunes, and Kellyanne Conway seem like fembots in Austin Powers that are spinning out of control and about to explode. The sooner, the better, eh? What might come if Trump is impeached is a threat to US society as well, though. How much of a threat, it is hard to know, but that’s part of the challenge the world is facing when thinking about the US. What’s around the corner? What’s brewing in between the Atlantic and Pacific? How reliable is the world’s largest or third-largest economy? How stable is US democracy?
China has its issues, but it has become a fairly predictable economy and global political player. It has become a relatively stable force in the global economic and political arena. For sure, that reliability and predictability are earning China points while the USA loses points. Or, in anti–free market terms (Monopoly terms), it seems that China just picked up Marvin Gardens and Park Place.
Trump’s decision to continuously fight well understood science regarding the climate, to ban the use of the term “climate change” in certain related departments, to cut practically all funding for climate-related programs (including climate science research), and to potentially pull the US out of the Paris climate agreement is idiotic in 1,000 ways. It will lead to many more premature American deaths, much more disaster, much more cancer, destroyed cities that cost the country trillions of dollars, fewer jobs (a lot fewer jobs), etc. But the USA’s role + reputation on the global stage is one other area where the country will get hit dramatically, and this is one that gets acknowledged even less than the other under-acknowledged points above.
China is acknowledging it, though. China is taking its swipes subtly, but it is landing punches on the United States — on the USA’s reputation and role globally.
— Reuters (@Reuters) March 29, 2017
If you follow the link in that tweet, you’ll see more along these lines:
“Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang said climate change was a common challenge for everyone and the Paris agreement was a landmark that came about with the hard work of the international community, including China and the United States.
“China is keen to be seen leading the way in reducing climate change which Trump has in the past dismissed as a ‘hoax.’ …
“‘No matter how other countries’ policies on climate change change, as a responsible large developing country, China’s resolve, aims and policy moves in dealing with climate change will not change,’ he added. ‘We are willing to work with the international community to strengthen dialogue and cooperation, to join hands to promote the process of tackling climate change to jointly promote green, low carbon sustainable development for the whole world, to create an even better future for the next generation.'”
Trump is playing minor league partisan politics out of either ignorance or … well, basically, ignorance. However, an element of insanity might be sprinkled in. Trump doesn’t realize that he is playing an international World Cup qualifier at the same time and is getting crushed. Well, the US is getting crushed.
Trump can trash US democracy, US journalism, US judges, US politicians, Meryl Streep, Alec Baldwin, Broadway, and Arnold Schwarzenneger for short-term political profit and branding purposes, but it should be obvious to everybody that he is making America very less great in the process, especially in the global arena where he is supposedly trying to make it “first.”
[Update: See the relevant tweet & story below.]
— Gundi Gadesmann (@GundiGadesmann) April 1, 2017
When it comes to the cleantech economy and cleantech transition, we’re yet to see the ramifications of this anti-American focus, but that could play out through less investment in US cleantech companies, more manufacturing deals in China and Europe as opposed to the US, trade agreements that exclude the US (we are already seeing this as a replacement to the Trans Pacific Partnership), and less cleantech entrepreneurship between US shores.
No matter what, though, the US is dropping in the eyes of people around the world.
Approximately 200 people have died from extreme flooding in Colombia this past week. It is “natural disasters” like these — so many extreme floods, droughts, storms, diseases, destroyed cities from sea-level rise, and destroyed countries — as well as the resulting mass migrations and wars that will define the greatest challenge to human society over the coming centuries. Countries that chose to drag the world backward, to not prepare for the future and try to make it better, will suffer a great deal. And, no doubt about it, they will lose standing in the global community — not just this year, or next year, but potentially for decades and centuries to come.
Donald Trump is dragging the United States backward. But hey, isn’t that what he said he’d do. The double downside (aside from the domestic problems) is a simple matter that he and his fans ignore — you don’t lead the world by going backward. In other words, you don’t create jobs by going backward, you don’t attract investors and innovators by going backward, you don’t gain more international influence by going backward, and you don’t become or retain the #1 position in any sport or in politics by going backward. You don’t boost a 21st century economy with VHS tapes, Blockbuster video stores, oil extraction, and coal mining.
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