In other words, it’s working perfectly
Trump’s blunt style throws foreign leaders into a tizzy—and has them rushing to meet with him
Feb 3, 2017 By Dan Calabrese
One of the biggest mistakes of the political establishment – one they show no sign of grasping – is that when they constantly complain about how Trump is violating all the norms of politics, the presidency and international relations, they totally miss that this is exactly what the people who voted for him wanted him to do. And they totally miss that he is doing it intentionally and with purpose.
|Establishment voices think Trump is an out-of-control bumpkin who has no idea what the proper way is to operate on the world stage. They think he’s going around upsetting people because of his insatiable ego, or because of his anger, or because of some secret and nefarious agenda he has. If that’s what you think, you’ll constantly miss the meaning of Trump’s actions, which is clear as day from his patterns if you’re willing to see it.|
Trump knows perfectly well that his actions are disrupting the global status quo, and upsetting people who don’t want to have to get used to a different way of dealing with the United States. That’s what he’s trying to do. Why? Because other nations have no incentive to reconsider the status quo unless they’re afraid an America acting unilaterally will impose different and much more unsettling new status quo. Trump needs to get both allies and adversaries feeling like they’d better get in front of him and work something out, and quickly.
And in case you hadn’t noticed, just as the news media consistently takes Trump’s bait, foreign leaders are doing the exact same thing:
“When you hear about the tough phone calls I’m having, don’t worry about it. They’re tough. We have to be tough,” Mr. Trump said at the annual National Prayer Breakfast in Washington. “We’re being taken advantage of by every nation in the world virtually.”
For many U.S. allies, however, an unpredictable American president is unnerving. They haven’t before seen a U.S. leader who proudly breaks protocol, makes policy pronouncements on Twitter and openly challenges longtime alliances and tenets of American foreign policy.
“The troubling thing for allies is this kind of hard-edged, transactional approach, where longstanding relationships and all that shared history and shared military sacrifices going back to World War I just doesn’t seem to count for anything,” said Andrew Shearer, who served as national-security adviser to two Australian prime ministers.
“Every deal is a struggle between a winner and a loser,” he said of Mr. Trump’s style. “That approach might work in business, but as someone who’s been around foreign policy for a long time, I just don’t see how it’s going to work internationally.
The global anxiety has prompted some allies to rush for face time with Mr. Trump or his team. German Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel arrived in Washington Thursday morning to meet with the new secretary of state and with Vice President Mike Pence.
Mr. Gabriel’s message was that the U.S. under Mr. Trump runs the risk of breaking from the American values that have shaped the trans-Atlantic alliance. “A solid structure of values ties us to the U.S., but one must stick to these values,” Mr. Gabriel said, who is also Germany’s foreign minister. “There can be no deviation from them, including of course the freedom of religion and how we treat each other in the world.”
So the “global anxiety” is having the intended effect. Allies are rushing for face time with Trump because they know it’s a new day, and they’re going to have to deal with him. When a new player arrives on the scene and he doesn’t follow the established rules, traditions or norms – and doesn’t appear to feel bound by the boundaries that limited the maneuvers of his predecessors – what do you do? You could denounce him. You could vow never to work with him. But he’s got a bigger gun than you do, and you need his help.
Trump has turned upside down just about every international relationship the U.S. has. He’s restored the comity in our friendships with Britain and Israel, but he’s upset the apple cart a little in dealing with Germany and Australia. And he’s got just about everyone having conniption fits over his apparent embrace of Vladimir Putin’s Russia.
Career diplomats are appalled because their job description usually involves preserving the stability of the established global order. If stability is disrupted, a diplomat thinks that’s a crisis.
But there’s a concept in business called order from chaos. It holds that what appears to be order might actually be little more than a set of norms with which you’ve become comfortable. It’s not really producing anything positive, but it feels comfortable to you so you continue to operate according to it. An outside party can come into an organization and observe that the established order is not producing the desired results, but it can be difficult for those who have operated within the established order for awhile to see that.
If the outside party is given the power to disrupt the established order, and decides to do so, he will inevitably encounter resistance and upset a lot of people. But if he sticks to his guns, you can use that chaos to bring about a new order that will achieve the desired results. Trump is that kind of actor. He’s the disrupter. It’s hard to find people who will volunteer to be the disrupter because you become instantly unpopular and come to symbolize the dreaded end of times for those who are deeply invested in the established order.
If you’ve learned one thing about Trump by now, it’s that he doesn’t care. For all the talk that he is thin-skinned and can’t stand criticism, Trump knows full well that is general direction is going to make him the object of ire from just about everyone with a stake in the status quo. And yet he plows ahead, full speed. That is much more important than what he puts on Twitter, where he’s distracting the media even as he pursues the real disruption he perceives the system to need.
And so far, just about everyone is reacting precisely as Trump wants them to. But you keep telling yourself he’s an ignorant clod, if that’s what you need to think. You’re missing it. But I think some of you want to.
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President Trump urged Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell to change the rules on confirmation
TRUMP AND HIS SENATE CONFIRMATIONS
February 3, 2017
How naïve could Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell really be?
Apparently, according to a number of news reports, he is hesitant to invoke the so-called “nuclear option” to ensure confirmation of Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch.
The “nuclear option” is a simple rules change that allows the party in control of the Senate to limit filibusters and confirm Cabinet members, Supreme Court justices and federal judges more easily.
Why is McConnell reticent to pull the trigger? Because, always thinking like a loser, he fears the Democrats might do the same thing if and when they take control of the Senate again.
How bizarre is this?
Of course the Democrats will invoke the nuclear option! They invented it.
They did it under Harry Reid in 2013 to make it easier for President Barack Obama to have his way with Republicans. They would do it again in a heartbeat.
The notion that Democrats won’t use all their power when they take control in the future is crazy. Abuse of power is their modus operandi. Collegiality and compromise are not in their vocabulary. They are out to win at all costs.
Donald Trump gets this.
But McConnell is afraid of his own shadow.
It’s this kind of thinking that caused the Republican leadership in Congress to roll over time and time again, never offering even the slightest opposition to Obama’s agenda from 2008 through 2016.
If Republicans in Congress would demonstrate a little backbone, they wouldn’t have to be looking over their shoulder at the specter of losing control of the House and Senate. They’d be the semi-permanent majority. But McConnell and Paul Ryan don’t think like this. Neither did John Boehner.
This is what permitted the “fundamental transformation” of America over the last eight years – six of those year while Republicans controlled one or more houses of Congress.
I almost feel like I’m wasting my breath on McConnell. Maybe Trump can get through to him. Democrats will do whatever they can to stall every single key appointment by Trump. To them, the election results of 2016 was the equivalent of a declaration of war. They are digging in, securing their fortifications. They will fight Trump by any means necessary – and I mean any.
Knowing that, why aren’t Republicans using their legitimate power to move the ball forward, to show the American people what they can do, how their agenda is better for the country? Do they lack confidence in their own ideas? That’s OK; Trump has enough backbone and determination for all of them.
This week Trump chided McConnell on the idea of invoking the “nuclear option.”
You would think McConnell is struggling with this simple exercise of political strength as if it meant he was actually going to vaporize all Democrats with a nuclear weapon.
By the way, if Democrats had the chance to do that to the Republicans, don’t think they wouldn’t consider it.
Does McConnell just want to be loved?
It’s never going to happen.
The Democrats don’t even respect him, let alone love him.
Respect is what he should be after. Instead, he has played the patsy.
Look around the Democratic Party today and see if you detect any semblance of collegiality or compromise.
My goodness, the Democrats are at war. They are fighting as if their lives depended on it. If they had 52 votes in the Senate, they might lock up the Republican minority. And here is Mitch McConnell wringing his hands in fear about using his legitimate authority and power to advance the Republican agenda.
I admire the Democrats for their tenacity, their commitment, their relentless fortitude – even when they are dead wrong, which is all the time.
Republicans should stop fearing what’s going to happen when they lose power and start delivering results that will keep them in power.
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Sen. Durbin Claims He Doesn’t Remember If He Supported Gorsuch In ’06