For Your New Year’s Reading. But It Ain’t Pretty

January 01, 2018 By: El Jefe Category: China, Russians, Trump

The New Yorker has published a depressing piece by Evan Osnos, about how Trump has stupidly ceded global leadership and how China has rushed in to fill the vacuum.  Trump can very likely become our version of Gorbachev, who, you will recall, oversaw the unraveling of the Soviet Union into a loose amalgamation of oligarchies and totalitarian states dominated by Russia.  From the very first moment of his term, Trump has set about unraveling our country’s generations-old leadership position in the world, and China has gladly Hoovered up every opportunity to exercise its new found world position.
One notable of example of this phenomenon was the World Trade Organization conference in Marakesh last October, convened to update international trade rules.  We’ll let Osnos tell this sorry tale:

“The Trump Administration, which has been critical of the W.T.O., sent an official who delivered a speech and departed early. ‘For two days of meetings, there were no Americans,’ a former U.S. official told me. ‘And the Chinese were going into every session and chortling about how they were now guarantors of the trading system.’”

Trump continually boasts about “Making America Great Again”, and “Putting America First.”  The problem is that he simply doesn’t understand what that means and has made idiotic decisions that has diminished our country, and creating opportunities for other countries, especially China and Russia to jump into the breach.  Exiting the TPP was stupid.  Now American beef comes second to other beef producing countries like Australia.  Withdrawing from the Paris climate accords has damaged our reputation and stature throughout the world.  China is also negotiating to create the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, which will form a 16 country free trade zone.  The US is NOT one of the 16 countries.

The damage that Trump has inflicted and continues to inflict will be multi-generational.  Some of the damage may never be repaired.  The US’s unilateral surrender of its prominent position as world leader has emboldened other countries to take over that prominence.  Protectionism and isolation never works, especially in the new, interconnected global market.

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16 Comments to “For Your New Year’s Reading. But It Ain’t Pretty”


  1. China proffered the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership as an alternative to the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which never included China and which fell to insignificance once Drumpf engineered a withdrawal therefrom. The US invented the TPP to both distance Asia from China’s influence and bring Asia into more American influence. RCEP is minimally a tit for tat. If one subscribes to conspiracy theories, China benefits astronomically from US TCP withdrawal, and that was the quid pro quo for … what? What has China done for Drumpf?

    Did Drumpf foolishly or stupidly cede American pre-dominance in the world? Or was that the Putin (and Chinese?) goal all along?

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  2. That Other Jean says:

    If it was someone’s goal besides Trump’s, he idiotically went along with it, diminishing the position of the United States with regard to the rest of the world. Both China and Russia benefit greatly, moving into the positions we have left. Once we are rid of Trump and his cronies, we will have decades of work to do to catch up to wherever the world has gone without us, if we can get there at all.

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  3. That wall with Mexico was so fantastic, the best wall ever, winning, that it appears he’s going to extend it up the west coast, east coast, and along the border with Canada.

    For the next election ALL voters, not just Trump voters, will be required to bury their heads in the sand.

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  4. Jefe, Micr, and Jean:
    With things this consequential, far-reaching and potentially long-lasting, it’s easy to forget that it’s only possible because our president (nnggck) Donnie Douchebag is as easy to manipulate as a toddler so spoiled that you want to slap the smirk off his face. (And I’ve never slapped a child in my life)

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  5. The Golden Gibbon, the jerk so dumb he would lick a steak knife, just keeps on giving — to Russia, China, et al. There goes our country.

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  6. RepubAnon says:

    The TPP had some anti-labor and anti-environmental issues, such as the industry-run arbitration process. However, Donny’s little hissy fits merely open the door for worse arrangements.

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  7. Making America Inconsequential Again– Donnie’s taking us back to those good old days, the 1820s, when nobody gave a damn what America thought about anything. What an achievement!

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  8. That Other Jean says:

    What Rhea said. Except that we’ll be learning either Russian or Chinese to keep up with what the important countries are doing (to us).

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  9. @That Other Jean

    Statistically speaking our progeny may very well speak Chinese.

    https://vimeo.com/ondemand/2mm

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  10. @Micr—“What has China done for Drumpf?” According to him, they gave him the biggest reception in like, the history of forever.

    All they have to do is throw a big parade for the Toddler-in-Chief and he’s putty in their hands.

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  11. Well the only saving grace that I can see is that this whole mess will be on the Republicans. They own everything at this time. They can’t blame this mess on the Democrats.

    But what worries me the most is that other countries and our allies will not/ do not trust us. They know about the Russian connection and they will have no trust for this administration.
    They are not making America great again, they are making America as untrustworthy as Russia.
    Sigh.

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  12. Even if we get the most reliable, stately, rational president ever in 2020, why would other countries trust us? We could get another floor sweeping of an isolationist idiot in 2024.

    I think it was Hedrick Smith in The Russians who explained our system vs theirs this way: imagine a ball in a flat-bottomed wooden trench. It can roll from side to side, but only so far. That’s the US. We may have a GOP president followed by a Democrat or vice versa, but we have the Constitution and the courts and other constraints to keep things within certain limits. Now imagine a ball in a wide open area in a very shallow groove, with a bunch of long nails keeping it in place. That’s the USSR. They had no traditions of self-government, so if they got loose, they could roll anywhere. Hence the KGB and other firm controls keeping them from getting loose.

    The imagery made sense in the 1970s, but a country that elected our last 5-6 presidents, ending so far with Obama and then Trump, has breached the walls of normal constraint and could go for anybody, literally anybody, next time. If some presidents, especially GOP, have no problem with tearing up their predecessors’ international agreements, how can we expect even our allies to trust us in anything?

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  13. okie-dokie says:

    I’m a news addict. That means the TV is usually on a channel that isn’t Fox. Listening to Trump’s antics and Wall Street “experts” lying their rear ends off gets old. I used to listen to Al Jazeera until their TV funding was pulled. Now I have RT (sometimes interesting but always shady) and CGTN, a Chinese government channel. The Chinese are clearly stepping into the breach and it is being broadcast. I lot is propaganda but it is interesting to hear a communist government discussing protecting the environment, addressing poverty, upgrading their military and using foreign aid for peaceful purposes.

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  14. As RepubAnon said earlier, the TPP had some issues. Just to jog our memories, in 2016 Sanders was against the TPP and Clinton eventually came around to the same view. So, is it fair to say that, regardless of who was elected President, we probably would have exited the TPP anyway and that doing so was not necessarily stupid? (I’m not giving Trump credit for anything; it’s just that a lot of us Democrats were singing a different tune last year.)

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  15. Welllll…

    @TheoLib
    No I think it was not a given that Clinton, if elected, would have withdrawn from TPP.

    In general, I opine trade agreements can/should be beneficial to all trading partners. Drumpf had a number of positions he could have taken short of withdrawal. Withdrawal was a foolish political move to satiate his equally foolish supporters. They will have fewer purchasing choices due to the withdrawal and China, not America, will play an increasing role in that part of the Pacific Rim.

    Life’s full of tough choices, ain’t it?

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  16. The Mexicans are going to build that wall and we will pay for it.

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