Trump and the collapse of America’s global role (POTMR)

by on June 3, 2017 at 3:45 am in Current Affairs, Political Science | Permalink

I don’t usually “rerun” material for posts, but here is my December 9 Bloomberg piece on Trump:, discussing the greatest danger from a poorly functioning Trump regime:

It’s hard for a president with perceived conflicts of interest to make credible commitments to allies because the allies can’t be confident that a president will stick to a proposed agreement or course of action. The result is an unraveling of alliances, a decline in international trust and possibly dangerous rearmament and nuclear proliferation. It’s hard for a subsequent president to reverse those losses.

Hostile powers or lukewarm neutrals also will be confused if foreign policy is not run in the usual predictable, bureaucratized fashion. That raises the risk of conflict or it makes an amelioration of tensions less likely.

Here is also my earlier piece on the Trump administration and lies.

1 Thanatos Savehn June 3, 2017 at 4:12 am

Apparently you missed the memo. We’re in the “burn it all down” phase. And that’s a good thing; unless you’re one of the parasites that don’t like it when their hosts take antibiotics.

2 bmcburney June 3, 2017 at 6:52 am

It’s true that these posts seem even more clueless than they did originally but “parasite” seems a little harsh.

One supposes that Tyler has resurrected these treasured observations about lie, trust and corruption in international affairs because he believes them apropos to the US withdrawing from the Paris “Climate Treaty”. But, of course, Trump didn’t make any commitment to other nations in connection with the Paris sham, that was Obama. Since Obama didn’t submit the treaty for ratification, people who nevertheless managed to believe his action was intended by Obama as a binding commitment of the United States were sadly deceived. Trump’s actual commitment was made to the voters and he promised to withdraw from the “treaty”. That Tyler evidently believes this indicates that Trump may be seen as “unwilling to stick to a proposed . . . course of action” may demonstrate something about Tyler’s listening or reading comprehension skills but it hardly shows he is a parasite.

3 Rich Berger June 3, 2017 at 7:33 am

Amen. I understand why Tyler thinks as he does – Trump is undermining the work of people like Tyler. In his view, these are the people that should be running things and Trump is just Rodney Dangerfield, a coarse loudmouth disturbing the peace. Little niceties like the US Constitution are really irrelevant when we have big things to do.

I’m getting the impression that the resistance to Trump is losing steam. They spent so much energy on intimidating the Electors, Russian collusion and knitting pussy hats, that the response to the Paris Treaty dumping seems anticlimactic. But the responses have been highly entertaining in their very outlandishness.

This was one of my favorite parodies -http://twitchy.com/samj-3930/2017/06/02/so-much-butthurt-spicer-parodys-climate-change-tweet-causes-most-hilarious-lefty-meltdown-yet/

4 Thiago Ribeiro June 3, 2017 at 7:49 am

“that the response to the Paris Treaty dumping seems anticlimactic.”

It is not the worst thing he has done – it is even legal!! Let’s be honest: America has spent the last two decades descending into totalitarism, lawlessness, irrelevance and chaos. Trump is just the nail that broke the camel’s back.

5 DocP June 3, 2017 at 8:26 am

Yawn. Just reflexive trump-bashing by Tyler — it’s the obsessive meme in all media now

Trump-Derangement-Syndrome (TDS) may actually be a real malady

6 Jan June 3, 2017 at 8:58 am

Trump’s condition is probably more than simple stupidity and laziness, but I’m not prepared to name a new disease for him. It’s possible he is simply suffering from Alzheimer’s, but the cognitive impairment could be caused by something less serious as well.

7 Sal June 3, 2017 at 11:06 am

@Jan:

… TDS is not a dysfunction in Trump himself, but in his critics.

http://www.latimes.com/opinion/op-ed/la-oe-raimondo-trump-derangement-syndrome-20161226-story.html

“The country is in the throes of a major epidemic, with no known cure and some pretty scary symptoms. It’s called Trump Derangement Syndrome, or TDS, and it’s rapidly spreading from the point of origin – the political class – to the population at large.

In the first stage of the disease, victims lose all sense of proportion. The president-elect’s every tweet provokes a firestorm, as if 140 characters were all it took to change the world…”

8 Rich Berger June 3, 2017 at 1:29 pm

December 9th was also the day Kathy Griffin gave an interview with Vulture

http://www.vulture.com/2016/12/kathy-griffin-comedy-should-go-hard-on-trump.html

9 JonFraz June 5, 2017 at 3:17 pm

TDS is simply the latest mutation of the Presidential Derangement Syndrome. Earlier variants were CDS, BDS and ODS.

10 Trump, defender of the U.S. Constitution, all 12 articles June 3, 2017 at 9:49 am

I’m cool with the argument that on the Paris Agreement, Trump is just doing what he said he would, but please — let’s not pretend Trump is some defender of the US Constitution against a liberal/pro-globalization movement. The man doesn’t given a damn about the Constitution except to the extent that it might get in the way of his ambitions.

11 GoneWithTheWind June 3, 2017 at 11:01 am

Even if you believe the AGW scam common sense would tell you that the Paris agreement wouldn’t correct or change it. It is and always was a massive redistribution of wealth and a punishment on the United States for being successful and wealthy. Every worldwide insider elite who planned on profiting from the scam has just had their seat at the free lunch pulled out from under them and of course they are unhappy. Trump saw through the scam and cut it off at the knees.

There is an interesting side show to the main event. The millions of common folk, most of them liberals, who think AGW is real and that we can actually do something to stop or reverse it. Why? They, unlike Elon Musk and hundreds of other billionaires who would directly benefit from the AGW scam, they will lose from this scam. We will all pay higher taxes and lose jobs to other countries. So why do the mindless liberals support the AGW scam??? Well of course as I already stated they are mindless and this agenda has been taught in out public schools and our MSM for years. But even so the truth of the AGW scam is so obvious and there for all to see, why don’t the mindless liberals see it? Well… I suspect that in many cases they do see the scam for what it is. But they are so committed to their socialist/communist belief system and they realize that the AGW scam is a blow at capitalism and the middle class that they buy into it for that reason only. In other words; yes the AGW scam will destroy our economy but it will hurt the middle class and small business owners more and in their mind that is good.

12 JonFraz June 5, 2017 at 3:18 pm

I so hope you live either right on the coast or in the desert Southwest and are young enough you will someday have to eat your own words.

13 prior_test2 June 3, 2017 at 8:40 am

‘Trump didn’t make any commitment to other nations in connection with the Paris sham, that was Obama.’

So, actually, the point is that you cannot trust the President of the United States of America? That basically, whenever the office is in the hands of another elected president, absolutely nothing can be considered to be relied on in terms of American commitment? That would seem to confirm Prof. Cowen’s observation, actually.

‘people who nevertheless managed to believe his action was intended by Obama as a binding commitment of the United States were sadly deceived’

Pretty much the entire rest of the world, actually. Though they may have a different opinion than yours when deciding who was responsible for them believing in American commitments. Even when a signed treaty is involved.

‘Trump’s actual commitment was made to the voters and he promised to withdraw from the “treaty”.’

Which again leads to that idea of Trump deciding that being the leader of the free world is just not in his personal job description as president. And yet again, all of those people who thought the President of the United States of America was the leader of the free world were just deceiving themselves.

In a way, it is refreshing to see how at least one American has decided that the burden of being in charge of a continually expanding global alliance that defeated several forms of totalitarianism is too much too handle. One could assume he believes, that just like a person, nations only have a finite amount of energy available during their lifetime, and that it is better to stand in front of audience than work out all the time, as people who do that need knee replacements, hip replacements. .

14 TMC June 3, 2017 at 12:44 pm

“you cannot trust the President of the United States of America” Or more pointedly, you cannot trust Obama. He made an agreement he could not keep, and then didn’t even bother to try. Not many people do not know that the senate needs to approve treaties. He didn’t even care enough about the Paris agreement to pretend to make a show of it. At least give Trump points for honesty.

15 prior_test2 June 3, 2017 at 3:30 pm

Well, in another sign of how Obama cannot be trusted, Trump’s administration also removed all of America’s ambassadors, approved by the Senate. Of course it is the president’s right to do so – but the fact that the U.S. still, currently, has a grand total of three Trump appointed and confirmed ambassadors shows just how much the current president cares about such piddling things. The U.S. ambassador to China was confirmed May 22, though admittedly, Trump was on the ball with America’s ambassador to the U.N., who was confirmed on Jan. 24

Check out the number still vacant here, as of May 25, 2017 – http://www.afsa.org/list-ambassadorial-appointments A list that (search for ‘VACANT’) that includes such trivial nations as Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, and the UK, or organizations like ASEAN, NATO, or the EU.

16 The Anti-Gnostic June 3, 2017 at 5:33 pm

Ambassadorships are expensive baubles given out to political allies. That is there only value.

17 JonFraz June 5, 2017 at 3:21 pm

When was the last time the Senate approved a treaty? As with so much else our nation’s dysfunction can be laid at the door of Congress for its manifold preferrence for political grandstanding (generally for purposes of reelection or fund-raising therefor) while sober law-making and the like has been forgotten. Hence the inflation in presidential and judicial power to fill the void.

18 bmcburney June 3, 2017 at 3:38 pm

Whether you can trust the President of the United States depends very much on which particular President you are talking about and, I would suspect, the subject matter of the discussion. As to the Paris Climate Agreement, if anyone was deceived, they were deceived by Obama.

As to this matter at least, Trump did what he promised to do and Obama promised what he knew he could not do.

19 BC June 3, 2017 at 12:14 pm

The non-adoption of the climate treaty — we shouldn’t really call it a “withdrawal” since the Senate never ratified — is probably not the best example to use for discussing credibility. The US has formally announced that it is not binding itself to non-binding emissions goals. Following this announcement, many other signatories have actually *re-affirmed and strengthened* their “commitment” to their own emissions goals. So, rather than making collective action more difficult, if one takes other countries’ comments seriously, the US announcement seems to have made other countries *more willing* to curb emissions. That would also seem to undermine the previously oft-asserted notion that American cuts in emissions leads other countries to cut their own emissions by example. Of course, one could counter that other countries’ statements are mere posturing and moral preening, i.e., that they aren’t truly now more firmly committed to emissions goals. That stance, however, creates its own obvious problems for the Accord’s supporters, given that the Accord is built around nations setting their own non-binding emissions goals.

As an aside, Bloomberg has pledged to donate the money that US taxpayers would have given to developing nations under the Accord. That would seem to be evidence supporting the notion that taxpayer subsidies can sometimes “crowd out” what otherwise would have been private charitable contributions. (I seem to recall a similar thing happening earlier this year when the US government eliminated foreign abortion subsidies. Other countries pledged to make up the difference [https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2017/jan/25/netherlands-trump-gag-rule-international-safe-abortion-fund].)

Instead of viewing this in terms of credibility and commitment, it is probably more enlightening to view it as offending religious sensibilities. Trump’s announcement is akin to telling a Christian that, given her marital and pregnancy status, Mary likely was not a virgin. While rationally defendable, one might expect the statement to provoke a negative response from Christians. Even non-believers might feel some need to make supporting statements about Christianity to maintain peace and inclusivity. That is probably the best way to understand the over-the-top reaction to Trump’s announcement: he was refusing to participate in a sacred ritual of the Church of Climate Alarmism and doing so in a very public fashion, referred to by some simply as “bad optics”. Of course, one difference between this action and publicly questioning immaculate conception is that the Accord concerns public policy and we’re supposed to maintain a separation of church and state.

20 Carlto Brigante June 3, 2017 at 10:14 pm

Senate ratification has been rendered obsolete by long periods of executive executive agreements overtaking the instrument of a treaty. (Just as the requirement that Congress declare was has been relinquished by Congress ) As such, ratification was never necessary and never effected the enforcebility of the Accord. And since Trump will take the steps for withdrawl from the accord, which has a notice period, is a defacto recognition of the enforcebility of the Accord.

It is axomatic that trump is unwilling to stick to agreements and likely alliances that have served the interests of the world for 70 years. trump’s stumble across Europe left our allies stunned at his ignorance, instability and his mendacity.
Here is what the greehaired bufoon said this week:

“At what point does America get demeaned? At what point do they start laughing at us as a country?” Mr. Trump said. “We don’t want other leaders and other countries laughing at us anymore. And they won’t be.”

I assure you, the laughter among world leaders is sardonic, but real. Trump has seriously demeaned the nation, our allies, and our democratic institutions. It really is all about trump’s unbounded narcissm and eggshell ego.

21 Rick Zhang June 3, 2017 at 1:21 pm

Funny, I tend to find most Trump supporters the most parasitic, either because they’re the ones receiving welfare handouts or living on investment income (lesser degree of parasitism). The workers and makers, who tend to be educated, overwhelmingly supported Clinton. There’s a reason why Orange County and suburban Atlanta (Ossoff’s seat) are trending blue.

22 Art Deco June 3, 2017 at 4:30 pm

Your imagination is not data.

23 Carlto Brigante June 3, 2017 at 10:17 pm

Imagination is irrelevant. Polling and demographics demonstrate the accuracy of Zhang’s statements.

24 A shagbark tree named supertramp June 4, 2017 at 12:34 am

Yes that’s quite rather aptly put, one must say that there are douchebags, who are good intentioned but that ignorant so as to not realize common and decent known things. What is the stem of this root? Is it bad parenting? Au contraire, it is proof that people are self-interested beyond the repair of reciprocal altruism. That you would help someone who needs help was never in question, what it was instead is that can a reasonably good person lack empathy and sympathy and would not be the proof of futility. There are those as Robert Moses showed one must simply walk away from and yet why does that not happen. Is douchebaggery not also a way to enhance self confidence?

25 Butler T. Reynolds June 6, 2017 at 8:06 am

I stopped at “investment income”.

26 Vangel Vesovski June 19, 2017 at 9:10 am

Sorry but I see no evidence for your claim. Hillary got around 90% of the inner city votes and that is where many of the voters that got the handouts are located. She got most of the contributions that came from the Warfare State people who are also recipients of handouts.

27 tjamesjones June 3, 2017 at 4:16 am

If only we had some clear red lines.

28 prior_test2 June 3, 2017 at 4:50 am

You mean like handing the Russians back compounds that have been used for spying against the U.S.?

That will sure teach those cuddly Russians not to mess around by opposing American interests.

And to think that a RINO like Reagan used a campaign ad portraying the Russians as a fierce bear bent on dominating as much of the world as they could. Or at least Europe, once the U.S. was removed from the picture.

You could almost imagine a former KGB officer preening at his success in this generations long project, actually.

29 TMC June 3, 2017 at 12:47 pm

Why would they even bother when they can just hack the DNC for Obama’s spying?

30 prior_test2 June 3, 2017 at 3:15 pm

One can be certain that the Russians are equal opportunity hackers, and anyone who thinks that Republicans cannot be spearfished is likely unfamiliar with this – ‘An Illinois GOP official said Sunday that federal authorities told the state’s Republican Party months before the presidential election that its email accounts may have been hacked, and party officials later found some of its emails on a website reportedly tied to Russia’s military intelligence agency.

Illinois GOP executive director Nick Klitzing told the Chicago Tribune that the FBI had raised concerns with the state party in June about four inactive or rarely used accounts that could’ve been hacked dating back to 2015.

The FBI didn’t disclose to the state party that the possible security breach was part of a larger investigation into alleged Russian activity in the U.S. political system but urged officials to change passwords take other steps to secure their emails accounts.

“We thought it was weird that the FBI was giving IT advice,” Klitzing said.

Klitzing said the Illinois GOP found 18 of its emails on the website DCLeaks.com, which has posted more than 200 emails involving Republican activists and state parties. The New York Times reported that U.S. intelligence officials and private security firms believe the site was created by a unit controlled by GRU, Russia’s military intelligence agency.’ http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2016/12/12/federal-authorities-told-illinois-gop-possible-security-breach.html

31 A clockwork orange June 3, 2017 at 4:22 am

Game On.

32 prior_test2 June 3, 2017 at 4:44 am

‘I don’t usually “rerun” material for posts’

Piketty would likely chortle a bit at that.

33 dan1111 June 3, 2017 at 4:48 am

I assume that the implication here is that the column was prescient, but I really don’t see it.

Yes, Trump has had an erratic, unpredictable foreign policy, but that mainly seems to be about personality, not conflict of interest. So far, COI seems overplayed as a concern. I haven’t even seen many pundits claim that his foreign policy actions were driven by COI, never mind signs that world leaders view it this way.

Maybe it’s just because he’s such a crazy dude that his capriciousness overrides anything else. But also I think his business concerns are small potatoes compared to being president of the United States, and the major actors tend to recognize that. And taking a decisive action opposing Russia, when that was many people’s main concern, certainly helped.

34 Jan June 3, 2017 at 6:26 am

Trump has not taken “decisive action” opposing Russia. He refused to reaffirm Article 5, he is giving the Russians back their US compounds used for espionage, he tried to unilaterally rescind sanctions on Russian and was only stopped because Congress threatened to put those sanctions into law after State Dept staff sounded the alarm, he disclosed highly classified information from one of our allies to Kislyak in the White House, and he refuses to comment on Kushner’s meetings with FSB-trained banking officials linked to Putin. And for some strange reason he’s almost completely backed off of China, who he went after hard in the campaign.

Trump is unreliable to our allies on any foreign policy regarding Russia–probably the biggest FP issue for Europe right now–likely due conflicts of interest involving him or is his family. Or perhaps because of something much worse.

35 Cptn Obvious June 3, 2017 at 6:37 am

Clinton Foundation. Is Trump doing anything worse?

36 Sam the Sham June 3, 2017 at 7:23 am

His Pepe Death Squads are rounding up teh gheys and sending them to Tesla Shock Conversion Camps. Buzzfeed said it, so it must be true.

37 Bill June 3, 2017 at 7:29 am

Cptn, Is your comment deception or deflection or distraction? Turn off Fox News for a moment and read the Wiki article on the Clinton Foundation which covers everything, including campaign claims knocked down by Politifact. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clinton_Foundation

38 Cptn Obvious June 3, 2017 at 12:58 pm

You can explain to me why is it worse to make a deal with Russia than with Saudi Arabia (aka ISIS, al-Qaeda money backer) one of the Clinton Foundation donors.

39 Bill June 3, 2017 at 4:03 pm

Cptn, The only logic of your statement is that it uses words in the English language.

40 Jan June 3, 2017 at 7:41 am

Hahaha.

41 TMC June 3, 2017 at 12:49 pm

I assume that’s for referencing Politifact. +1

42 Moo cow June 3, 2017 at 10:27 am

Ivanka just started a new pay for play foundation. Wrangling a hundred million from Gulf Arabs for “women.”

I guess since you guys are cool with the Clinton Foundation this is okay with you too.

43 anon June 3, 2017 at 11:10 am

Wrong.

Unless Ivanka has been put in charge of The World Bank it is not her foundation.

This is another example why moderates such as myself haven’t bother paying attention to ‘the media’ for years. With their layers and layers of fact checkers it is unfathomable how they can be so wrong so often about easily verifiable ‘facts’.

44 TMC June 3, 2017 at 12:51 pm

It’s only wrong until CNN repeats it 100x. Then it gets into wikipedia and Politifact, so it’s then right. Follow the formula.

45 Bill June 3, 2017 at 4:06 pm

TMC, Politifact lists the information it relies upon, and you do not.

46 Freddo June 3, 2017 at 4:58 am

For a moment I thought you were posting about Obama throwing in with the Moslim Brotherhood and giving Iran the ok on their nuclear weapons program. Or perhaps it is a warning not to destabilize foreign nations (such as Lybia and Ukraine) and antagonize Russia while doing it? But I agree that certain things – like international treaties – should follow an orderly process and for the US should be ratified by the senate to ensure their is sufficient popular support.

47 Bill June 3, 2017 at 7:32 am

Freddo, I’m sure you chose to ignore that Iran gave up its nuclear materials under the Treaty, has very strong inspection systems, but I am sure you would like everyone on the block to have nukes. What a wonderful world that would be.

Also, stay on topic. Is your comment deflection or deception. We’re talking about Trump.

48 TMC June 3, 2017 at 12:55 pm

Iran kept what they wanted, have Iranians for inspectors, and got billions from us to help buy more centrifuges. Not a good deal.

49 Bill June 3, 2017 at 4:02 pm
50 a definite beta guy June 3, 2017 at 5:55 pm

True,true, and true. Iran wanted a concession to build armored bunkers and enrich uranium, something the world would have never tolerated in 2006 and was an absolute no-go as part of a permanent settlement. These are now conceded points that Iran will exploit in 10 years when prior terms expire.

There will be no leverage for an IAEA additonal protocol and we shot ourselves in the foot with our other non proliferation efforts.

Thankfully Dubya, hero of America, withdrew us from that shitty ABM treaty so we could defend ourselves from these madmen.

51 Bill June 3, 2017 at 7:26 pm

None of the claims refuted.

52 Thiago Ribeiro June 3, 2017 at 7:55 am

Support the radical Sunnis and opposing the Shias is American policy since at least Ronald Reagan if not Carter. America is Saudi Arabia’s main ally.

53 Moo cow June 3, 2017 at 11:02 am

Wasn’t Trump going to tear up the Iran nuclear agreement on Day 1? What happened with that?

54 prior_test2 June 3, 2017 at 5:02 am

‘Maybe it’s just because he’s such a crazy dude that his capriciousness overrides anything else.’

That is a major part of it, actually. Many allies used to also believe that the president was the leader of the free world, but Trump has shown that not everyone is suited for that job. First among equally autocratic rulers, maybe. After all, Turkish security forces beating up American citizens in DC doesn’t seemingly bother Trump in the slightest. Erdogan and Trump are seeming buddies, and what is a little violence among friends, right? Let a few citizens who think they have a right to free speech be beaten under the eyes of a friend, sign a few weapons deals with the world’s largest sponsors of spreading Wahabi Islamism, this is not the sort of thing that other people in the free world consider part of being its leader.

‘And taking a decisive action opposing Russia’

I may have missed something – what decisive action? The Russians aren’t allowed to meet him in the Oval Office any more? Kushner won’t be strolling into the Russian Embassy for private chats? Somebody removed the ‘p’ and ‘u’ keys from all the keyboards in the two Russian compounds before they are apparently to be handed back?

55 Just Another MR Commentor June 3, 2017 at 5:08 am

What a bunch of BS.

56 Mike W June 3, 2017 at 8:52 am

Sir, you are the Hemingway of the blogosphere.

57 Phlemingway June 3, 2017 at 10:56 am

For Sale: conservative critical thinking; never used.

58 Sam Haysom June 3, 2017 at 12:32 pm

I can get you a much better price on left wing wit and integrity.

59 Jeff R June 3, 2017 at 6:08 am

When you can’t win a war against a third world paramilitary group, your “global role” is probably bound to diminish anyway.

60 Jan June 3, 2017 at 6:33 am

Trump and his family have pretty openly exploited their position to make money. Of course, we don’t know the extent of Trump’s COIs, because he won’t disclose them. There’s obviously a reason for that. Oh well.

61 chuck martel June 3, 2017 at 9:53 am

In the American political system, making money is what it’s all about. Do you suppose Barack Hussein Obama made the down payment on his new DC mortgage with his presidential salary? The faux democratic elections are enabled by campaign contributions, a synonym for bribes. After the voters, in a rare event, reject an incumbent, there are plenty of opportunities for them to cash in on K street. A politician without a conflict of interest is more rare than the abominable snow man.

62 Moo cow June 3, 2017 at 10:29 am

I thought it was a book advance

63 chuck martel June 3, 2017 at 10:43 am

As with the Clintons, book advances for politicians are bribes. Who knows where the money for these ghost-written, unread, thrift store inventories comes from?

64 Moo cow June 3, 2017 at 11:04 am

His first two books sold pretty well. Before he was president. I didn’t read them but I gather they were a little more polished than the usual politicos output.

65 prior_test2 June 3, 2017 at 10:54 am

‘made the down payment on his new DC mortgage with his presidential salary’

Quite possibly – the president does not have much in the way of expenses while in office. Either the taxpayers or their campaign cover pretty much everything.

Here is some information – ‘According to Title 3 of the US Code, the US President “shall earn” a salary of $400,000, along with a $50,000 annual expense account, a $100,000 nontaxable travel account, and $19,000 for entertainment.

Like most employees, the president receives benefits in addition to a salary. Unlike most employees, though, these benefits include free transportation in the presidential limousine, Marine One, and Air Force One and free housing in the White House.

Another bonus: At the end of their terms, presidents are still on government payroll, which includes an annual pension of about $200,000, healthcare, paid official travel, and an office.’ http://www.businessinsider.de/how-much-does-the-us-president-get-paid-2016-11?r=US&IR=T

Of course, being out of office is also very lucrative, as one ex-actor proved back in the early 90s – ‘First, there was his $2-million speaking tour in Japan, followed by harsh reaction to Nancy’s memoirs and to her desertion of a San Fernando Valley drug-treatment project. Then there were reports that the Internal Revenue Service was looking into Nancy’s habit of “borrowing” designer dresses for White House functions.

——————————–

For the Great Communicator, whose standing plunged when he accepted the speaking honorarium from Japan’s Fujisankei communications conglomerate last October, the main impression to be overcome is that he has been inappropriately cashing in on his eight-year presidency.

——————————-

Reagan circled Washington’s monuments aboard Marine Corps One for the last time on Jan. 20, 1989. Only three weeks later, while a friend, Holmby Hills venture capitalist Charles Z. Wick, was negotiating the $2-million deal with Fujisankei, the fledgling former President was addressing Coca-Cola and McDonald’s executives at conventions in Laguna Niguel.

Reagan’s embrace of business is entirely consistent with his role as a traveling spokesman for General Electric before he entered politics and with his Administration’s free-market philosophy. Moreover, most of his schedule is devoted to more traditional ex-presidential pursuits: the memoirs, the library, raising money for his political party. He has been knighted by Queen Elizabeth II and inducted into the French Academy of Moral and Political Sciences.

With all this, the man seems to be doing a marathon champion’s job of carbo-loading on mashed potatoes. One February itinerary for the Reagans, like most of the former President’s frequent trips, combined paid “private business group” events with freely disclosed charity or campus functions and Republican fund-raisers.

The compensated stops are not what the average person would consider an economic necessity. Ronald and Nancy Reagan are collecting $131,623 in annual income from his pensions ($99,500 from the presidency, $32,123 from California) and at least $300,000 from other assets that were worth $4 million, at a minimum, before the tour of Japan. He receives handsome government-paid office space and $150,000 a year in federally funded staff assistance.’ (What did the LA Times do to be no longer linkable, one wonders)

Obama will have to hustle to catch up to Reagan, to be honest, even without adjusting 1990 dollars to today’s equivalent.

But at least Trump is likely to be even handed in his criticisms – ‘The New York Times editorialized: “Former Presidents haven’t always comported themselves with dignity after leaving the Oval Office. But none have plunged so blatantly into pure commercialism.”

Reagan had to sit there and grin when Donald Trump, of all people, made a crack about the Japanese millions from the podium at the Hebrew University Scopus Awards dinner at the Beverly Hilton in January.’

66 Rick Zhang June 3, 2017 at 1:06 pm

Why can’t we accept that it’s the new normal? If you were a semi-successful person (say a businessman or senator), after leaving office wouldn’t you try your best to monetize your skills or experiences?

All these supposed libertarians are suddenly getting their panties in a wad when others take advantage of their talents or experiences to earn speaking fees. I just see it as a fact of life.

67 Art Deco June 3, 2017 at 1:33 pm

I just see it as a fact of life.

I think Gerald Ford was the 1st president to monetize the ex-presidency. Truman was pretty scrupulous about that, even though he was cash-strapped.

Richard Nixon was flayed for accepting a one-off fee for the Frost interviews in 1976. He received $600,000 (a contextually similar sum today wound be about $4,000,000) and sat for 29 hours of one-on-one interviews. Nixon had debts to pay off. I’m not sure he received anything but book royalties after that. The Nixons relinquished their Secret Service detail in 1986.

68 Rick Zhang June 3, 2017 at 1:38 pm

Let’s face it. The presidency may have had a certain cachet in the past, with expectations for decorum and unspoken rules of conduct. It’s a dated institution for an age of selfishness. Put in this context, Trump’s behaviour is quite normal in modernizing the job. All transactions to him are on a basis of “what’s in it for me?” If any of us get into a high powered job, I’m sure our mental calculations will be based on “how much corruption can I get away with and still keep my job?”

69 Art Deco June 3, 2017 at 4:28 pm

If any of us get into a high powered job, I’m sure our mental calculations will be based on “how much corruption can I get away with and still keep my job?”

I think you’ve acquired a set of illusions Charles Krauthammer has called ‘plural solipsism’. “Not the notion that ‘the world is me’, but the notion that ‘everyone is like me’.”

70 BJ dubbS June 3, 2017 at 6:38 am

Wasn’t the lesson of the financial crisis “stability breeds instability”? Too much security stability guaranteed by the US leads to instability. Would the Iraq war have taken place if Germany and France had served as a counterbalance to the US? Maybe France, Germany, UK and Turkey would have insisted the UN inspectors be given more time. Would France have been so eager for the Libyan war if it had to bear the cost itself, without relying on US firepower? It’s funny how people apply second level thinking to economics but not to foreign policy, as if unintended consequences don’t exist overseas.

71 dearieme June 3, 2017 at 6:39 am

No sentient government in the world trusts the government of the USA anyway.

“Hostile powers or lukewarm neutrals also will be confused if foreign policy is not run in the usual predictable, bureaucratized fashion.” Ever since the Clinton administration, the usual foreign policy fashion has been stupid, aggressive, erratic. Since the defeat of Bush the Elder I’d guess that huge numbers of formerly pro-American people around the world have despaired of the dishonesty, stupidity and wanton violence of the US government. The administrations of JFK and LBJ were bad enough, but Clinton/W/O constitute a horror show. It seems exceedingly unlikely that Trump could possible be as bad as Hellary would have been, though that leaves lots of room for him to be pretty bad. But the idea that dumping the miserably awful Paris Accord is a sign of being bad is plain silly.

72 Thiago Ribeiro June 3, 2017 at 7:33 am

America is going downhill. When I was young, America was respected and loved – now, it is hated and despised everyone and Americans are already at each other’s throats.

73 Todd K June 3, 2017 at 12:32 pm

I think your timeline is off. America was loved until Michael Jordan retired.

74 Thiago Ribeiro June 3, 2017 at 1:47 pm

First or second retirement? I would say America was loved until about 1994 and Jordan was loved until he decided ro wast his talent playing baseball and acting with Bugs Bunny.

75 Art Deco June 3, 2017 at 8:28 am

Professional-managerial types abroad (or those whose views are propagated by the media) have been in a state of chronic complaint since I was of age to read newspapers. This is a constant and nothing Trump or any other American president has ever done will change that.

A neutron bomb which kills off the British chatterati but leaves unharmed the human beings resident in Britain would do wonders for the hygiene of the English-speaking world, but we haven’t developed that technology yet.

76 Sam Haysom June 3, 2017 at 12:30 pm

The one good thing about America’s hyper power status is how much it pisses off sputtering bitter Brits.

77 dearieme June 3, 2017 at 4:40 pm

Brits were distinctly more pro-American when she was powerful, and powerful against that vile opponent the USSR i.e. before she consigned herself to needless defeat in Afghanistan and Iraq, and launched assaults on Serbia, Libya, Syria, Yemen, and God knows how many other minor powers.

The problem isn’t bitter Brits, it’s violent, reckless stupidity from three Presidents in a row, inspired, presumably, by vacuity and corruption. Christ, the vile Hillary wanted to go to war with Russia.

78 Art Deco June 3, 2017 at 6:54 pm

before she consigned herself to needless defeat in Afghanistan and Iraq, a

Your hopes aside, dearieme, the Taliban do not run Afghanistan and the Ba’ath Party does not run Iraq.

79 rayward June 3, 2017 at 7:49 am

Cowen’s prior blog post and this one are related. How? Trump’s appeal is that he’s all about punishing the others, for the others to get their comeuppance. Black and brown Americans, Europeans, the Chinese, the others who have caused all manner of real and imaginary suffering of Trump’s loyalists. And so it is with apocalyptic religions: the Romans getting their comeuppance for the suffering of the Jews (who were the initial followers of Jesus, a Jew), the infidels getting their comeuppance for the suffering of the Muslims (Arabs, Persians, etc.); it’s the others who perish in the apocalypse. That Trump might also damage America’s standing in the world, cause hardship to millions of Americans, or risk another war is beside the point: he has given the others their comeuppance. Indeed, the worse Trump is, the greater is his appeal.

80 Rick Zhang June 3, 2017 at 1:11 pm

At this point Trump supporters are not even remotely interested in constructive debate or society building. They want to tear everything down and reshuffle the deck, hoping that they’ll end up slightly higher in the social hierarchy when the dust settles. That is an existential threat to wealthy educated coastal globalist types like myself. They want to destroy my livelihood, so they must be opposed. It’s their death or mine. Win or die, baby!

Supposed libertarians on here love to defend Trump and his policies, but did it ever occur that you’re on the same side as the great majority of uneducated white “trash” who are his most hardcore supporters? These people really are part of the takers you (and Mitt Romney) love to rail against.

81 The Anti-Gnostic June 3, 2017 at 5:38 pm

What is your livelihood?

82 Confused June 3, 2017 at 8:09 am

What is POMTR?

83 Art Deco June 3, 2017 at 8:25 am

Pleasing foreign diplomats is John Kerry’s conception of what the aims of American foreign policy should be. That’s stupid.

84 Porkslap83 June 3, 2017 at 8:49 am

Be that as it may, it still doesn’t make Trump’s foreign policy objectives not stupid. Nice try staying on topic.

85 Art Deco June 3, 2017 at 11:03 am

1. I doubt you could find an example of a collect-the-set multilateral agreement that did more than offer precise formulations of practices which were generally followed anyway and which few parties had an abiding interest in violating. You’ve got about three-dozen international agencies which are not (on the face of it) ornamental, obnoxious, or (if you don’t need a loan), officious. That should suffice.

2. The ‘global warming’ discourse shows evidence of being an haut bourgeois fashion statement. A prudent man would not base public policy on it.

3. Russia’s an adversary which generates some abrasions of modest significance. There’s no good reason to be abrasive to them unless they pull something quite flagitious, like attempting to reconquer the Baltic states. The EU is a bad institution. Extending it to the Ukraine is not going to make it a better institution.

4. The threat to the world is China, not because of anything they’ve done, but because of the things they’ll have the power to do. The historical experience of the world with neophyte great powers (Germany, ca. 1890) is not a happy one. Let’s hope that’s an experience which is not repeated. Right now, our best hope is that China proves a benign and unambitious power. Our second-best hope is that any nefarious activity on their part results in pushback from all sides which induces them to reconsider their objectives.

5. A source of uncertainty is the ripple effect from the implosion of Europe. The concatenation of economic incentives and culture have produced a population which cannot reproduce itself. (Britain, France, and Ireland can, and Russia’s improving). As in America, their elites and professional-managerial class favor foreigners over their domestic working class and push-back from the vernacular population is less than vigorous. There’s not much we can do to aside from exhortation.

6. Latin America could benefit from technical assistance in order to improve their court systems, land registry, and police forces. Agricultural extension in the poorer countries might also be helpful. Not sure they would accept this technical assistance or that it would take if accepted, or if the military or U.S. AID would bollix the job.

7. So long as they don’t import a mess of Han Chinese colonists, the best solution for North Korea would be the imposition of a Chinese trusteeship.

8. The other node of uncertainty is the effect of the demographic implosion of the affluent Far East. Hong Kong and Singapore (and even Taiwan) can import people from Mainland China without appreciably worsening China’s own situation. Japan and south Korea are an insoluble problem.

9. In our time, ‘trade agreements’ are (see Jagdizh Bhagwati) a stew of special interest carve-outs. We should lose interest in them. The fruit from liberalized trade has already been picked.

10. You can locate survey research which indicates that most Mexicans fancy they have a natural right to settle in the United States at their discretion. They should be disabused of this notion. With cement, razor wire, and armed guards with loaded guns and good marksmanship. This will bother Mexican politicians and diplomats. Tough.

11. The purpose of immigration policy is to strengthen the nation, not to strengthen the Democratic Party, or to provide au pairs for Mrs. Mark Zuckerberg, or to provide cheaper programmers for Disney, or to grease the skids for recent immigrants to import their siblings. Fertility deficits can be corrected with an immigration stream 1/3 the dimension of the current inflow. Have people sit for English proficiency tests and stand in a queue waiting their turn. Insist that aspirants from the Arab world and points adjacent apply as nuclear families or as older married couples. If that bothers foreign governments, tough. If it bothers the federal courts, pass a law stripping them of jurisdiction and shut down district courts who fancy they can write their own immigration law.

12. Africa might benefit from agricultural extension, primary schooling, and the technical assistance provided to Latin America.

13. Refugees and disaster victims need to be provided for in situ or in camps proximate to their home country with a review ot their repatriation ASAP. Hint Calais is not near any locus of conflict.

14. A section of countries would benefit from aid and technical assistance which would assist them in suppressing insurrections and restoring order. I’m counting fewer than 10 at this point. Co-operation with China and Russia in these endeavours should be the order of the day, if it can be secured. At any rate, we should work it so that Russia and China are uninjured by anything we do.

15. We should review emergency response to banking crises like the one we most recently experienced. (An aspect of that is better domestic banking law).

16. The agreement with Iran is humbug. Contingency planning to turn their facilities into a parking lot should be underway.

I’m not aware the previous administration made any progress on these fronts.

86 Ricardo June 4, 2017 at 5:42 am

“13. Refugees and disaster victims need to be provided for in situ or in camps proximate to their home country with a review ot their repatriation ASAP. Hint Calais is not near any locus of conflict.”

You must know this is already the reality for the vast number of refugees. Take a look at the populations of Syrian refugees in Turkey, Lebanon, and Jordan.

87 JonFraz June 5, 2017 at 3:34 pm

Europe’s population was a small fraction of its current numbers back when it first began to pull away from the world’s others great civilization (during the Renaissance and the Age of Discovery). while there may be an absolute threshold in population numbers needed to be powerful, politically, culturally or economically, on the world stage, history does not give any hints to what that number may be except that it is no where near the present population of Europe (or the US or Russia either).

88 Jan June 3, 2017 at 8:49 am

But did you have any thoughts on what is happening now? What is being accomplished in foreign policy? What would you do differently if you were Rex Tillerson?

(And let’s assume Trump actually allowed you some latitude, even though we know Rex is not permitted to do much of anything except sign obsequious statements of praise for Trump.)

89 A clockwork orange June 3, 2017 at 12:10 pm

There was a time, I forget when, somewhere outside Columbia when we were truly geese in a row, with a hastening gait, and in that moment I experienced true salience.

90 megamie June 3, 2017 at 8:35 am
91 Evans_KY June 3, 2017 at 8:43 am

I love this country but America has needed a kick in the butt for a while now. An impetus to stand up and fulfill our role in the framing of this country’s future. No longer can we coast on the accomplishments of our forefathers.

The President of the Mundane and Recalcitrant (POTMR) as I would like to call him is a charlatan. Rebecca Solnit describes him best.
http://lithub.com/rebecca-solnit-the-loneliness-of-donald-trump/

92 TMC June 3, 2017 at 1:06 pm

Where were you the past 8 years when it was really bad?

93 Rick Zhang June 3, 2017 at 1:14 pm

I don’t know what part of the country you’re living in but for the coastal elite it’s been a great time over the past 8 years. Anyone who bought depreciated assets at the trough is rolling in it today.

Maybe it’s a reflection of your own incompetence that you haven’t been able to prosper despite one of the longest economic expansions on record.

94 Benjamin Cole June 3, 2017 at 8:47 am

I would like an establishment figure to frankly wrestle with the fact that the United States’ last three major military commitments, made at cumulative trillions of dollars (and we are talking above 10 trillion for Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan) have been counterproductive failures, and we are paying $1 trillion a year to “global security” (DoD, DHS, VA, black budget, debt service) for a military that appears to be more of guard service for multinationals than to defend US shores from foreign occupation.

Trump?

The sad thing is Trump may be no worse than orthodoxy.

95 AlanG June 3, 2017 at 9:08 am

+1; consider where the country would be without the wasted military investment

96 Art Deco June 3, 2017 at 11:05 am

The military investment was not wasted. We’ve puked far too much money into academe.

97 anon June 3, 2017 at 11:17 am

Speaking German east of the Mississippi and Japanese west of it.

Or, perhaps, speaking Russian throughout.

98 Sam Haysom June 3, 2017 at 12:28 pm

The cynicism of this comment from a person who probally spent the eighties sobbing inconsolably on election nights is really amusing.

99 Phlemingway June 3, 2017 at 11:02 am

100% agree with the first part…

…but you do know that Trump is *increasing* military spending, not decreasing it?

100 prior_test2 June 3, 2017 at 9:33 am

I guess it is fair to rerun something, at least as long as another post is removed.

101 Trump Fan June 3, 2017 at 9:36 am

“The result is an unraveling of alliances, a decline in international trust and possibly dangerous rearmament and nuclear proliferation. ”

What’s wrong with that? We should have an unraveling of alliances, they don’t do America any good. And if the rest of the world rearms that would certainly help our trade balance: the “defense” industry is the only thing our government has prevented from being sent to China and Japan.

102 Not-american June 3, 2017 at 10:16 am

Perhaps alliances don’t do any good? Maybe. Maybe not. It seems like a complicated question that needs years of expertise (just like say designing airplanes). This is exactly the problem with politics. People shouting overconfident opinions without expertise doing probably harm. Study rationality.

My guess also Obama could have made allies pay their own share without any of other other fiasco.

But decline in international trust, rearmament and nuc. proflif. does nobody any good.

103 Jeff R June 3, 2017 at 10:34 am

The alliance system worked well for Europe in the early twentieth century.

104 Sam Haysom June 3, 2017 at 12:27 pm

That’s the problem on the basis of precisely nothing people were pretty sure Obama could do a ton of things… instead he tripped and fell flat on his face and needed harry Reid to bail him out.

Obama likely gifted the republicans a twenty year majority in the house though

105 not-American June 4, 2017 at 12:56 pm

What I meant without the other fiasco from Trump administration.

“And if the rest of the world rearms that would certainly help our trade balance: the “defense” industry is the only thing our government has prevented from being sent to China and Japan.”

I’m sure you would celebrate a civil war in Africa if it helped the def industry?! Really.

Even if you are going to do completely selfish decisions regarding alliances, perhaps they should be based on expertise and careful analysis rather than “oh they do us no good, lets scrap NATO and I’ll head to eat some fries and burgers”. Simply having stability is probably good for world economy (and USA) as a whole. I’m sure you could design a prediction market around this.

106 Art Deco June 3, 2017 at 1:19 pm

I think the problem with our alliances is that they’re well adapted to problems which emerged between 1945 and 1955. They do not precisely address current problems, but you wonder if attempting to replace them will induce a latent problem to emerge. It would seem a sensible thing to do would be to replace NATO with a European Defense Community. Would that induce a more aggressive stance by Russia?

107 The Anti-Gnostic June 3, 2017 at 5:42 pm

Russia doesn’t want Europe. It has enough debt, bad demographics, and restive Muslims without taking on more of all the foregoing.

108 chuck martel June 3, 2017 at 10:39 am

Why would “perceived conflicts of interest” make credible commitments to allies less likely? Wouldn’t allies that accept those perceptions as real have a better understanding of the role of the POTUS in implementing policy? Or at least better than that of a leader whose commitments are influenced by the shifting whims of the electorate?

Like all humans, politicians are actors. Their public persona is a role that is played for effect. The role that Trump plays is a different role than that of BHO.

109 ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ June 3, 2017 at 10:55 am

I guess if I wanted to be mean, I would say “gosh Tyler, how did you get these peeps?”

I would say it was by entertaining dangerous ideas (Steve Sailer) which you never thought would become popular ones.

You should probably pull a Wilkinson, a Smith, and stand for Truth, Justice, and the American Way a little more forthrightly. Let these pigeons flap off to Reddit, or wherever​ they belong.

110 Anon_senpei June 3, 2017 at 11:00 am

Maybe he is standing up for free speech and free exchange of ideas? Not that your ilk would value those ideals, but at least some of us still do.

111 ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ June 3, 2017 at 11:02 am

Did you just come out against Truth, Justice and the American Way?

Such pigeons.

112 Anon_senpei June 3, 2017 at 11:21 am

Oh I see you’re trolling. I’m a little slow today. Carry on! Now if you excuse me, I have food particles to pick off the ground in Central Park.

113 ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ June 3, 2017 at 11:29 am

Nope. If you are new here you may not know that Tyler once explained why he thought Steve was wrong. A piece that has held up scientifically.

http://marginalrevolution.com/marginalrevolution/2009/05/why-steve-saile.html

But really it is bigger than that. America is founded on the idea that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.

Steve “and his ilk” have made their life work opposing that principle, going so far as to claim that a “race” of Americans form a genetically inferior underclass.

That is wrong scientifically and it is evil morally. Though now, sadly popular.

Are you going to argue “free speech” for the wrong and evil?

Flap away, pigeon.

114 prior_test2 June 3, 2017 at 11:34 am

And here is another, later link concerning eugenics – http://marginalrevolution.com/marginalrevolution/2013/10/further-small-steps-toward-designer-babies.html – ‘Eugenics was a very popular idea with Progressives earlier in the twentieth century, and also with economists (in particular, pdf), and ultimately the Nazi connection will be seen as a bump in the road. Competition with the Chinese will help push Americans toward this ideological shift. I am more skeptical myself, as I see greater value in the genetic outliers and I fear their disappearance or diminution. I also am relatively skeptical about the quality of the processes — legal and otherwise — which are likely to govern such experiments.’

Typical Cowen excerpt – eugenics will happen, even if he is not a complete fan of the details, as compared to being opposed to the idea at all.

115 ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ June 3, 2017 at 11:44 am

As I understand him, Tyler is saying that what we used to call eugenics will become popular as parental choice.

Obviously that is wordplay. Eugenics was (and properly is) about exerting will on other people’s reproductive choices.

116 Anon_senpei June 3, 2017 at 2:27 pm

“Are you going to argue “free speech” for the wrong and evil?”

Yes absolutely. I hold no strong position on SS’s ideas but I applaud anyone who disagrees with them in honest debate. So perhaps I’m not one of the “pigeons” you are referring to. You apparently do not believe in free speech, but that’s ok. I defend the right for you to express your fascist views too.

117 ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ June 3, 2017 at 3:11 pm

I say Truth, Justice and the American Way.

You call that “fascist” in “honest debate.”

Pigeon.

118 prior_test2 June 3, 2017 at 11:29 am

‘which you never thought would become popular ones’

You really don’t know too much about the crowd Prof. Cowen associates with, do you?

119 Art Deco June 3, 2017 at 1:26 pm

Sailer’s shtick is that biological influences (or posited biological influences) on the properties and behavior of human beings are the only ones much worth discussing. This can lead you astray, but so can other modes of discussion. Seems rather florid to call it ‘dangerous’.

There are a mess of ugly and rude people who hang out at Sailer’s, but they’d likely be that way if Mr. Sailer’s writings were still confined to confidential working papers produced at McKinsey & Co.

120 Anon Guy June 3, 2017 at 10:57 am

The US wouldn’t play World Policeman? Oh no whatever shall we do?

121 prior_test2 June 3, 2017 at 11:28 am

Have Erdogan’s security detail beat up American citizens in DC?

Have the North Koreans ramp up their missile program to a higher degree than ever before?

Watch the formation of power blocs beyond America’s influence, much less control?

122 Sam Haysom June 3, 2017 at 12:23 pm

Classic prior_pest complain non-stop about America then turn and whine that America is thankfully done being world policeman.

123 prior_test2 June 3, 2017 at 3:08 pm

‘complain non-stop about America’

America is neither utopia nor paradise. That is not an anti-American remark, by the way, it is banal reality.

‘and whine that America is thankfully done being world policeman’

I’m sorry, but Trump guaranteed the world that he would handle North Korea, unlike his predecessor. ‘U.S. President Donald Trump said on Thursday that Pyongyang is a problem that “will be taken care of,” as speculation rose that North Korea might be on the verge of a sixth nuclear test.

Trump, responding to a question about what his message is for North Korea, said, “North Korea is a problem. The problem will be taken care of.” http://www.reuters.com/article/us-northkorea-usa-trump-idUSKBN17F2H3

The North Koreans seem singularly unimpressed. And that various nations are currently planning for a future with a diminished role involving the United States seems fairly plain – watch how threatened the Iranians or Russians will feel the next time America unilaterally impose sanctions, that no one else on the planet will pay attention. Or did the decades long Cuban example escape you?

And it seems that the U.S. has so completely given up being a policeman that when foreigners beat American citizens in the streets of DC, the U.S. just shrugs its shoulders, apparently not even bothering to play policeman at home.

124 prior_test2 June 3, 2017 at 11:00 am

Just an LA Times link test – please excuse the interruption.

Anti-Trump protester charged with battery after beach brawl at Make America Great Again rally – http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-maga-march-protest-charges-20170602-story.html#nt=oft02a-10li3

125 Ted Craig June 3, 2017 at 11:30 am

I don’t get this whole “Trump is unpredictable” argument. He’s doing pretty much what he said he would do during the election – pulling out of TPP, Paris, etc.

126 Anonymous June 3, 2017 at 11:46 am

Read of his problems finding an FBI director.

127 Ted Craig June 3, 2017 at 11:59 am

Is that supposed to be a reply to what I said? Because, it’s not a very good one if it is. “Oh yeah, well, look at that other thing!”

128 Anonymous June 3, 2017 at 1:31 pm

I think it is an answer, yes. An example of Executive dysfunction. Trump fired Comey without a replacement lined up, and not runs an unfocused search from which 3 or 4 contenders have excused themselves.

A predictable President would have a better handle on this. This is “the job.”

129 Ted Craig June 3, 2017 at 2:41 pm

Trump’s management of day-to-day operations seems fairly chaotic, that’s true. But few of his major policy decisions seem out of left field to me. He said he would do these things and he did them.

I’d add that probably any Republican would have pulled out of the Paris Accords, even Kasich,

130 prior_test2 June 3, 2017 at 2:58 pm

‘But few of his major policy decisions seem out of left field to me.’

If you consider Nixon a model – firing the person in charge of an investigation that potentially reaches into higher administration levels is the sort of thing not seen since the early 1970s.

131 Rick Zhang June 3, 2017 at 1:18 pm

Most of the problem is that other politicians make such statements to placate the base and promptly behave in the conventional “establishment” fashion when common sense and sober prudence triumph. Trump has reneged some promises (such as the Israeli embassy one), but seems stubbornly insistent on fulfilling at least some, so he chooses the lowest hanging fruit which can be revoked by presidential decree.

132 Ted Craig June 3, 2017 at 2:43 pm

So again, doing what you say makes you “unpredictable.” You’re right, he’s unpredictable in that he’s not playing the traditional game, But that seems a failure on the part of others.

133 prior_test2 June 3, 2017 at 2:56 pm

‘You’re right, he’s unpredictable in that he’s not playing the traditional game’

For example, after firing Comey, various DC figures said that it had nothing to do with Russia, that a report had been prepared, that Comey’s handling of Clinton was terrible. Thankfully, all those Washington insiders, playing their inside the Beltway traditional game, were shown to be liars, as Trump set the record straight. That he also said he secretly recorded the head of the FBI was just icing on the cake of not doing things in a way seen since Nixon.

134 Ted Craig June 3, 2017 at 3:12 pm

Is Strohman the correct German phrase for what you’re doing here? Did I say any other party was a liar? Or did I say that Trump has often done what he said he would on the campaign trail? But hey, keep flailing about, believing you’re scoring points with “Oh yeah, well Comey.”

135 prior_test2 June 3, 2017 at 3:42 pm

I quoted the line, so I’m not really sure where your confusion comes from. Trump is unpredictable – the traditional game is that the president does not show up his own people as incompetent liars for everyone to see plainly.

‘Did I say any other party was a liar?’

The quote was in reference to being unpredictable. The predictable politician move is to not to flatly show that the politician’s own aides and appointees are liars. Trump remains predictably entertaining, though.

‘Or did I say that Trump has often done what he said he would on the campaign trail?’

You mean drain the swamp? Because what happened to one person apparently trying to figure out how to drain a swamp with Russian in it was fired.

All of this is very much in the public record, by the way.

136 prior_test2 June 3, 2017 at 3:46 pm

By the way, in German, Strohmann generally means something along the lines of ‘cut-out,’ someone who is acting in the interest of someone else, who remains hidden behind the scenes. For example, Flynn’s previously unreported Turkish lobbying would be an example of the Turks using a Strohmann to advance their own interests without anyone else being aware of who was paying their front man.

137 Ted Craig June 3, 2017 at 4:48 pm

I guess I’m confused by the fluid nature of your “response.” For example, you use unpredictable and unreliable interchangeably, although they don’t mean exactly the same thing. And the you use a very specific definition of unreliable. You never really showed how I said anybody “inside the beltway” was a liar, either. Also, we were discussing foreign policy, not Comey, but since that’s what you are locked onto, I guess that’s what you have.

138 prior_test2 June 4, 2017 at 1:02 am

‘although they don’t mean exactly the same thing’

Someone who is not predictable is not reliable. One would assume that this is not really hard to understand. However, in this thread, only the idea of unpredictable has been discussed, as per your originally cited quote. Trump continues to demonstrate that he not predictable in terms normal DC political behavior.

‘You never really showed how I said anybody “inside the beltway” was a liar, either.’

I did not say you did – I said Trump, acting in his unpredictable fashion, has shown how his spokespersons and appointees are liars. A predictable politician would rarely do that once, much less repeatedly.

‘Also, we were discussing foreign policy, not Comey’

Almost as if the Russians are merely a domestic issue, and investigations into Russians actions involving American elections has nothing to do with foreign policy. Which might explain why a couple of Russians officials, not to mention a Russian photographer, got a tour of the Oval Office, along with highly classified intelligence information (provided by a third party, a third party later confirmed by Trump in public, the first American government official to do so) a day after firing Comey. We are very much talking about foreign policy when discussing how unpredictable Trump is, even when Trump is at home in the White House.

139 Cjones1 June 3, 2017 at 10:06 pm

 Trump made the right decisions and his detractors are having their K. Griffin moments or blaming the Russians for their lot in life.
Earth is a book where only a few pages are known. Scientists can’t with certainty tell you what caused the end of the last ice age whose melting ice inundated the world in floods of biblical proportions. The oceans remain 400 feet (120 meters) higher to this day. It wasn’t global warming caused by CO2 for sure. Many speculate that Milankovitch orbital cycles, volcanism, impacts, or the release of methane from blue ice may have caused it. The scientists don’t know, yet the AGW “experts” predict accelerated global warming with absolute certainty. Bah! If the history of climate change is cyclical, we are more likely to experience a Dalton or Maunder Minimum starting in late 2019 if the solar sunspot cycle continues a downward trend. 
Granted we can seed clouds for rain, make deserts bloom, dam rivers, create lakes, and fill the air with smoke full of nasty particulates, but the AGW proponents models of the future climate are about as reliable as a bone throwing shaman. 
Trump probably hopes the Russians will help against ISIS. Maybe he can play the Russians against the Iranians, Chinese, and North Koreans. Won’t count the chickens before they hatch in any case.

140 Edgar June 4, 2017 at 12:50 am

President Trump leads the global revolution by which the subordinate classes are ushering in a new era of human dignity, tolerance, peace, development, and prosperity. Tyler and the rest of the resistance are the last irrelevant vestiges of a tragically failed hierarchy doomed by the innate bigotry of which they are utterly icognizant but which is their defining characteristic. They live in a binary moral universe in which globalism is good, pluralism bad. Submission good, autonomy bad. Perpetuation of a moralizing power elite the only priority. We are blessed that the authentically progressive movement that President Trump leads will prevail over the dark forces of hate, bigotry, ignorance, and greed arrayed against it.

141 Anonymous June 4, 2017 at 8:00 am

The Daily Beast ran a funny essay yesterday which claimed “Trump’s staggering ineptitude” would lead to a counter revolution and a harsh victory by an elite oligarchy.

http://www.thedailybeast.com/the-great-betrayal-of-middle-america

I think that is getting ahead of ourselves, but I do think ineptitude should be replaced with something, perhaps serious statecraft.

142 Edgar June 4, 2017 at 9:58 am

You are right of course. Trump is not a politician and lacks the cynicism necessary to preserve a regime. He would never corrupt the IRS or intelligence agencies for political purposes. And thus an October Revolution will follow our February Revolution as surely as night follows day.

143 kb June 4, 2017 at 2:01 pm

Is it hiring season at the Competitive Enterprise Institute again? All these commenters seem to be practicing their writing samples.

144 Ricky Tylor June 6, 2017 at 11:11 am

It’s pretty tough to say how things will work out with his further decisions. I believe we need to follow things wisely with his policy changing quickly. It’s easier with OctaFX broker given they have excellent setup with low spreads, high leverage, day to day market updates and much more, so all this is incredibly helpful and allows me to make good profits too. I also feel comfortable with their strong support which is 24/5, so that keeps me in good shape.

145 Vangel Vesovski June 19, 2017 at 9:11 am

I think that your Founding Fathers were against standing armies and entangling alliances. If Trump moves the US towards that direction isn’t that a good thing?

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