Opinion: Donald Trump has the whole world in his hands

In a phone call Saturday with the prime minister of Australia, a nation that has long been one of our strongest allies, President Trump was combative, belligerent and confrontational, and angrily hung up on his counterpart less than half way through the scheduled one-hour conversation.

Based on what I’m seeing from the Australian press, the performance is not going over well.  Bob Carr, former Australian foreign minister, was blunt in his description to the Sydney Morning Herald:

“Declaring Mr Trump’s behaviour would lead to a wholesale reassessment of ties to Washington, Mr. Carr said: “It forces us to drop romantic notions of the alliance and now be more realistic.”

“It liberates leaders to say no to Washington if it seeks to recruit us for any reckless adventure,” he said. “America has taken a nationalist direction and won’t be returning to global leadership as we’ve understood it.”

Picking fights all over the planet while alienating the allies we might need to win those fights does not exactly seem a smart, well-thought-out strategy. Australia has been key to our Pacific alliance to offset China’s growing power, for example, just as the European allies that Trump continues to denigrate have been key to restraining Russia.

On the other hand, the approach is certainly consistent with Trump’s personality, which resists the idea of “win-win” outcomes and insists on “I win, you lose.” A day earlier, in a phone call with Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto, Trump had taken much the same course.

“You have a bunch of bad hombres down there,” Trump told the Mexican president in a transcript of the call leaked to the Associated Press. “You aren’t doing enough to stop them. I think your military is scared. Our military isn’t, so I just might send them down to take care of it.”

Mexican officials now say that it is “absolutely false” that Trump threatened to send troops into Mexico. That denial is understandable.  Acknowledging such a threat, especially coming on the heels of Trump’s ongoing attempt to intimidate Mexico into paying for a border wall, would put Pena Nieto in an impossible political situation. However, independent reporting by the Mexican press confirms the accuracy of the AP transcript.  A White House official also told ABC News the comments were accurate, but had been offered as “lighthearted” by Trump.

I have a hard time imagining those particular words, exchanged between two heads of state, as “lighthearted.” I have an even harder time when the person is Trump, whose sole attempts at humor are to denigrate somebody else. For example, at the National Prayer Breakfast this morning in Washington, Trump thought it appropriate to remind the audience that “a big big movie star,” Arnold Schwarzenegger, had been brought in to replace him as star of “Celebrity Apprentice.”

“And we know how that turned out,” Trump told the group of faith leaders. “The ratings went right down the tubes, it’s been a total disaster … and I just want to pray for Arnold, if we can, for those ratings.” Funny guy, that Donald.

And for those who might be worried, fear not, as our president also told us this morning:

“The world is under serious, serious threat, in so many different ways, and I’ve never seen it so much and so openly as since I took the position of president. The world is in trouble, but we’re going to straighten it out, OK? That’s what I do, I fix things. We’re going to straighten it out. Believe me. When you hear about the tough phone calls I’m having, don’t worry about it. Just don’t worry about it. They’re tough. It’s time to be tough, folks. We’re taken advantage of by every nation in the world, virtually. It’s not going to happen anymore.”

And while Trump is playing tough guy with countries such as Mexico and Australia, Russian-backed forces in Ukraine have launched a new offensive against government forces there, deploying tanks and artillery that can only have come from the Russian military. The Ukraine government has asked for diplomatic assistance, but so far the American response has been silence.

No angry phone call to Vladimir Putin. “The president has been kept aware … of what’s going on in Ukraine,” is how Sean Spicer puts it.

Reader Comments 1

2051 comments
Infraredguy
Infraredguy

Its reported that Trump has just signed a EO allowing B2 Bombers to start dropping guided ordinance over Berkley to stop the right wing protesters from burning more Starbucks down   

NativeAtlantan57
NativeAtlantan57

@Infraredguy Deplorable spelling: Berkeley. No surprise there considering the source. 

Laugh it up funny boy. Nobody else is.

WDE
WDE

@NativeAtlantan57 @Infraredguy my youngest lives right down the street , I've been there and am not impressed the degree of tolerance is greater at a meeting of the John Birch Society ..you can google it..

Ralph-43
Ralph-43

United States Constitution:Article III, Section 3.“Treason against the United States shall consist only in levying war against them (e.g., cyber war), or in adhering to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort.No person shall be convicted of treason unless on the testimony of two witnesses to the same overt act, or on confession in open court.

The Congress shall have power to declare the punishment of treason, but no attainder of treason shall work corruption of blood or forfeiture except during the life of the person attainted.

Mae Brown840@gmail.com
Mae Brown840@gmail.com

am I the only one who believes Trump really wants war so he can show his cojones?....he seems hell bent on riling up someone who will respond...sigh....there go thousands of our beautiful children sacrificed on the alter of his ego.....

Mae Brown840@gmail.com
Mae Brown840@gmail.com

for so long I have wondered how does one grow someone this silly....a little two yr old who knows the world revolves around him...

NativeAtlantan57
NativeAtlantan57

Trump reminds me of Scut Farkus in "A Christmas Story." He bullies everyone until he takes a fist to the face. Donnie Boy continues to pile up enemies with his sociopathic personality so it is only a matter of time.

Menace
Menace

Education Sheetz............

Donnie_Pinko
Donnie_Pinko

China is NOT going to back down to thuggish threats in the South China Sea. 

They're just not.

So what do you do there?
We have a head on collision here if something doesn't change.

gotalife
gotalife

@Donnie_Pinko He will not mess with China or russia. gop presidents always invade tiny countries.

Kamchak
Kamchak

@Donnie_Pinko 

Yawn. You made similar predictions about the Russians and the US navy last year over maneuvers on the Baltic Sea.

Remind me again. -- who won that all out war, The US or Russia?

Hedley_Lammar
Hedley_Lammar

@Donnie_Pinko @Kamchak And they will still be on the table forever


You are like every doomsday predictor I've ever met.


When the date comes you just move it down the road.


Cult leaders do the exact same thing.

Kamchak
Kamchak

@Donnie_Pinko 

The US navy is still holding those exercises nearly a year later?

The things I learn on this blog....

Boggles the mind, it do.

gotalife
gotalife

Wall Street does not need any help but another broken promise by trump.

Donnie_Pinko
Donnie_Pinko

I think we're careening towards catastrophe here.

Wascatlady
Wascatlady

I have asked the WaPo, and now will ask the AJC, to run a front page story every day, looking back over the last 7 days of the trump administration, called:


That Was the Week that Wasn't

Lies, factual misstatements,and obfustications by the trump administration

Surelyyoujest
Surelyyoujest

@Wascatlady Just read the NYT and listen to CNN and MSNBC and you will hear and read it pretty much every day.

WW5
WW5

@Wascatlady  they will get to it right after they finish the Obama That Was the Week that Wasn't review.

Donnie_Pinko
Donnie_Pinko

We're almost certainly going to be in a major war in a matter of months. 

The only question is whether it's Iran or China, or some other place.

It's hard to imagine any such scenario not having a catastrophic outcome.

Nick_Danger
Nick_Danger

Bruno, just noticed the "third eye" reference below. 

Props.

gotalife
gotalife

Dodd Frank stopped another collapse for 8 years.


trump will fix that.

gotalife
gotalife

When they start laying off millions of Americans again,history repeats itself again.

Donnie_Pinko
Donnie_Pinko

There's every reason to fear for the worst.

Bruno2
Bruno2

@Donnie_Pinko And every reason to hope for the best.

Any particular reason your glass always seems to be 1/2 empty??