Opinion: A bully to the weak, a courtier to the strong

Watch the bullying, both physical and rhetorical, committed by Donald Trump at the NATO summit, publicly insulting nations and people who have long been our allies. Compare that behavior to the deferential courting that he pays to tyrants in Saudi Arabia and Russia and elsewhere.

(AP)

Think about the telephone call that Trump recently placed to Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte, the call in which our leader, the leader of the free world, the defender of democracy and the rule of law, personally congratulated Duterte for his anti-drug policy of shooting down thousands of people in the street, in cold blood, without regard to innocence or guilt.

Think about the message that sends to the rest of the world, and what it tells you about Trump’s own world view.

Listen for the condemnation that must surely come from the Trump White House after the brutal beating of Kurdish Americans, right here on American soil, by thugs serving as bodyguards for Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Listen, and you hear silence.

And watch while a congressional candidate in Montana physically assaults a reporter for politely asking a valid question about health care, and is then lauded for his assault by elements of the conservative movement.

Look at the budget perpetrated by the Trump administration, which defies the advice of top military leaders by stripping billions of dollars from the State Department and foreign aid programs and invests it all in guns and bullets and tanks. Look at the contempt that Trump has expressed for federal judges who dare to defy or question his edicts, and study the unconditional support expressed by Attorney General Jeff Sessions for police officers accused of brutality and unnecessary violence.

It’s not quite accurate to identify Trump as the cause of all this, because in many ways he is its symptom. He did not produce these conditions; these conditions produced him. But it is certainly fair to point out that by his behavior, Trump validates the use of brute force and intimidation as means of solving complex problems. He has revealed himself as a man with neither the patience nor the intelligence to understand how complex things work, to learn what tools are available to him and how to use them. Instead, his solution to any problem is to take out a hammer and bang on it, as if that will make it operate better.

It won’t. Brute force has its uses, but those uses are rare and come as a last option rather than a first option. When force and intimidation become the default approach to solving a whole range of challenges, as they have under this president, then something else is going on.

Again, look at what happened at the NATO summit. In his lecture to U.S. allies, Trump made it clear that he doesn’t understand even basic issues about how NATO works. He attacked Germany for its trade policies, not understanding that as a member of the European Union, Germany has no one-on-one trade agreements with the United States. His attack also ignored the fact that Volkswagen, Mercedes and BMW have each opened major auto plants here in the United States, providing tens of thousands of jobs. BMW’s plant in South Carolina is the company’s second largest in the world, and it exports more vehicles to foreign markets than any other auto plant in the United States, foreign-owned or domestic.

If you’re going to attack your friends in public, as Trump did, you should at least have your facts right, and Trump did not. His attempted projection of “strength” thus comes across as weakness, as a poor attempt to compensate for deficiencies elsewhere. And that’s far from the only example of bluster as a bad cover for weakness.

In his comments at the summit, Trump also ostentatiously refused to commit himself to honoring Article Five of the NATO treaty. That pledge of mutual defense against outside attack has been the foundation of the alliance for 70 years. For 70 years, it has served as an effective deterrent first to Soviet aggression against European democracies and later to Russian aggression. Gary Cohn, Trump’s top economic adviser, also told the press that Trump is undecided about maintaining sanctions that were levied on Russia after its invasion of Crimea and military intervention in Ukraine.

What does it do to a defensive alliance when its most powerful member injects doubt about its commitment? How can fellow NATO members have confidence in an American leader who was elected with Russian help, who repeatedly excuses or ignores Russian misbehavior, who welcomes Russian officials into the Oval Office after they have been accused of subverting U.S. democracy, and who tries to convey strength by picking on friends while he shrinks from confronting adversaries?

 

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1660 comments
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Liberty_

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Stewart Coleman Speights
Stewart Coleman Speights

During Trump's nine day trip abroad he gave a grand total of "zero" press conferences to the American traveling press pool. Trump gave not one interview. He is literally terrified of the press. Then he comes home and touts the trip as a "success" and a "home run" with "millions of jobs." But where's the proof? Since becoming president Trump has given only one press conference, answering questions from the news media. Even he knows he can't answer for his lies, ignorance and corrupt administration. It's obvious he's chosen to hide and tweet like the coward he is.

Wayne Wells
Wayne Wells

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Rochell Kieran
Rochell Kieran

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Dee Pesos
Dee Pesos

Trump needs to do us a favor and go drink some lysol or something.

Dee Pesos
Dee Pesos

Lmao. Its funny to me how yall take up for this bum lol.

YouLibs
YouLibs

The Facebookers and the job spammers all at once?


Later.

Chuck Jakubisin
Chuck Jakubisin

"Bully to the weak"? Wanting everyone to be working in good jobs is bullying? Giving tax breaks to the middle class is bullying? Making health insurance affordable again is bullying? Get a grip AJC!

Nisha Mihos
Nisha Mihos

Really?? Tax breaks are for the wealthy and people are LOOSING their healthcare. He has done NOTHING for jobs....that's President Obama's doing. Trump has filled a supreme seat that should have been done by President Obama.

Johanna Pease
Johanna Pease

N. MIHOS you dont snap your fingers the jobs will come.

Chris Policronis
Chris Policronis

I do enjoy the comics and the word jumble but do I like them that much to keep supporting this miserable excuse of a news paper? On the other hand it does keep me informed of what the enemies of our Republic are up to. One always needs to know how the enemy is thinking.

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C Harrison Williams Jr.
C Harrison Williams Jr.

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rimsky
rimsky

College basketball referee John Higgins received threats to his home and business in late March after some controversial calls in North Carolina’s win over Kentucky in the 2017 NCAA Tournament.

http://collegebasketball.nbcsports.com/2017/05/27/seven-identified-after-threats-made-against-referee-john-higgins-following-kentucky-elite-eight-loss/?cid=eref:nbcnews:text

++++

The ref is black.  What you wanna bet majority of the threat came from non students.

And knowing these hill billies they will be over whelmingly white.

Get a life idiots.  It is just a game.

Kamchak
Kamchak

Our US representatives, Senators, state reps and Senators, governors, county commissioners, mayors, town aldermen, school board members etc,. gain office from the electoral college?

The things I learn on this blog....

Boggles the mind, it do.

LOL!

JayBook
JayBook moderator

Jared sheets.

Brosephus
Brosephus

@JayBook

Thanks.  This one has enough of td getting schooled.  Very soiled sheets...

JeffreyEav
JeffreyEav

I really think they have enough evidence now to oust Trump. I just think that there is so much more and that's what's taking so long. So much dirt to go through.

Kamchak
Kamchak

@td1234

  We do not live in a democracy.

And there's your sign.

LOL!

gotalife
gotalife

More rw terrorism in Portland.


The right are illegals.


Deport them all.

PaulinNH
PaulinNH

May 26th - RWers claim that Kushner leaving Russian contacts off his SF86 was an accident and the story is "Fake News"

May 27th - NSA McMaster says that Trump campaign was looking for a back channel to Russia 

Once again, people high up in the White House disprove RWNJ talking point. LOLOLOL

rimsky
rimsky

@PaulinNH Devil's advocate (TD) : where is the crime.  LOLOL

Kamchak
Kamchak

@td1234

Trump voters do not give a damn about the international community

And there's your sign.

LOL!

FIGMO2
FIGMO2

@Visual_Cortex 

Not sure why you brought the incident in Portland up.

I responded below. 

Visual_Cortex
Visual_Cortex

So, 700 yard walk. Needs a golf cart.

But her emails.

rimsky
rimsky

@Visual_Cortex That is almost half a mile Mr. VC. Carrying that 350 pound carcass is a chore.  LOLOL

MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

What has happened to our precious nation?  By that, I mean what has happened in the minds of those Americans who still support Donald Trump and his worldview?

rimsky
rimsky

@MaryElizabethSings I know a few of those supporters.  Some of them a very smart when it comes to work.  

Some of them have inferiority complex and by supporting chump they feel vindicated and superior to others.

These same trumpwtte friends are good at heart and they will do anything for you but......

MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

@rimsky @MaryElizabethSings


Still doesn't explain it, rimsky.  I want someone with credentials in political psychology to write on this subject.  Something is very sad when good people (and I know some myself) can support a leader like Donald Trump, who is going to destroy our democracy if we are not aware.


The ones who are "very smart in their work" are especially enigmatic to me.

td1234
td1234

@MaryElizabethSings It is called populism and it was the foundation of this country. 


Jefferson run and won on populism with more power to the states and less to the central government. 


Jefferson wrote about the Federal government: 


"“It is a singular phenomenon that while our State governments are the very best in the world, without exception of comparison, our General Government has, in the rapid course of nine or ten years, become more arbitrary and has swallowed more of the public liberty than even that of England.”


Jefferson also wrote: 


 “It is not by the consolidation, or concentration of powers, but by their distribution, that good government is effected,” Jefferson wrote. “It is by this partition of cares, descending in gradation from general to particular, that the mass of human affairs may be best managed, for the good and prosperity of all.”


Here is what Jefferson thought about the government in DC: 


"“transferred to Washington, where, further withdrawn from the eyes of the people, they may more secretly be bought and sold as at market.”

Our country is too large to have all its affairs directed by a single government. Public servants at such a distance, and away from the eye of their constituents, must, from the circumstance of distance, be unable to administer and overlook all the details necessary for the good government of the citizens; and the same circumstance, by rendering detection impossible to their constituents, will invite the public agents to corruption, plunder and waste."





MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

@td1234 @MaryElizabethSings


You answered it in part for me, td.  One can be "very smart in one's work" and be politically ignorant and see only in cliches and platitudes, not what Jefferson was truly about, in any depth.


However, these "very smart people" should be able to see into how Trump is destroying the  democratic Republic that our Founding Fathers built.

td1234
td1234

@MaryElizabethSings @rimsky We do not live in a democracy. We live in a representative republic. Jefferson would blast almost every thought you have on this subject. You are not a Jeffersonian. 

td1234
td1234

@MaryElizabethSings No as Jefferson said above the strong central government is anti-american. Not putting the people first in international relations is anti-american. 

td1234
td1234

@MaryElizabethSings I have not misunderstood a single word that Jefferson has said. He did not like a strong central government and thought such a government would be detrimental to the average American citizen. 

MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

@td1234 @MaryElizabethSings


For instance, you have misunderstood the very statement by Jefferson that you quoted above, td.


Take this statement by Jefferson:


 “It is not by the consolidation, or concentration of powers, but by their distribution, that good government is effected,” Jefferson wrote. “It is by this partition of cares, descending in gradation from general to particular, that the mass of human affairs may be best managed, for the good and prosperity of all.”


Jefferson was saying that it is the individual person who matters in this nation.  That is why Jefferson wanted every citizen to have a voice and a vote and be educated enough to have these rights in good faith.  That is also why Jefferson purchased the Louisiana Purchase, so that the common man could move West and acquire his own property and vote, as a secure citizen with property, education, and voting rights.


Donald Trump is the antithesis of Jefferson in his vision.  He is destroying the rights of the common man so that only the powerful will rule OVER the common man.

MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

@td1234 @MaryElizabethSings @rimsky


I well know that this nation is a democratic Republic.  I agree with most of the thoughts of Jefferson and disagree with some others of his thoughts.  The Right has tried to hijack Jefferson's brilliant mind into simply their advocacy for "States Rights."  Simple, simple thinking.

td1234
td1234

@MaryElizabethSings It does not get any clearer than this MES. 


"Our country is too large to have all its affairs directed by a single government. Public servants at such a distance, and away from the eye of their constituents, must, from the circumstance of distance, be unable to administer and overlook all the details necessary for the good government of the citizens; and the same circumstance, by rendering detection impossible to their constituents, will invite the public agents to corruption, plunder and waste."


Jefferson is saying the only way for the average citizen to ensure their rights and liberties is to have a small central government and to have the real political power as close to the individual as possible so that the politician can be closely watched and scrutinized because power begets corruption and the usurpation of the liberties of the people. 


Why can't you see that Mary? 

MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

@td1234 @MaryElizabethSings


Why cannot you see that Donald Trump and the CEOs of America since the 1970s have become the new King Georges who are ruling OVER the people of this nation by manipulating them to vote against their own best interests, using the ignorant to vote for the very people, like Donald Trump, who will destroy our democratic Republic for money and power for themselves, and rule OVER the intellectually ignorant people, like yourself. 


You do not conceptualize Jefferson at all, td.  You only think in platitudes and are not seeing what is happening before your very eyes to destroy this nation OF the people themselves.


Wake up! Donald Trump is about to destroy this nation OF the people.  Jefferson is horrified.  And, btw, Jefferson wanted America to be a model of democratic principles for the world to emulate.  He did NOT want America to be in competition to be "first" in the eyes of everyone, like a child thinks.

td1234
td1234

@MaryElizabethSings @td1234 You are placing your political and philosophical slants onto Jefferson and not actually reading the words he wrote. 



MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

@td1234 @MaryElizabethSings


Not so, but you read Jefferson like you read the Bible.  And, I am not impressed by your understanding of either.  No depth.


I am reading the words that Jefferson wrote, with depth, td.  You are only seeing surface realities which Jefferson saw well beyond, by his total life choices and by his life placed in historical context.