Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Global Dismay and Anger

The ugly American doesn’t care a whit what the world thinks of us.  George W. Bush was a laughing stock in the rest of the world when he won a second term as president.  “How could 50 million people be so stupid?” a British tabloid asked.  The Muslim travel flap has kindled comparable hostility toward the new U.S. regime.

“In one week,” a Canadian friend said in an e-mail, “Trump has managed to piss off most of the world.    The Brits have a 1.6-million name petition to keep Trump from visiting the UK .The Chinese news service is having a field day.  The USA is shedding friends like a raincoat sheds water.   Uncle Sam looks like an idiot to a world that has always been a bit wary, in any case.”  Indeed, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau shamed the president without naming him by declaring that Canada warmly welcomed all the Arab people who had been turned away by the Yanks.

In Austria, an expert in international finance and currency rates told me, there seems to be an educational gap between the two sides of the American immigration flap.  “The more educated people ‎in Austria shake their heads in disbelief," he said. " No one of this group thought that Mr. Trump could win the election.” The less well-educated people of Austria, he said, “don’t really focus on American politics, and if they do, given the strength of the right wing party in Austria, there would be support for Mr. Trump’s latest political decisions against common sense.”

The University of Iowa’s star basketball player, Peter Jok, who was born in Sudan, one of the countries named in the anti-Muslim ban, wrote a low-key, articulate online  tweet lamenting the pain it inflicted on innocent familes, and prayed that it would be lifted soon.

In a letter to 27 national leaders, European Union President Donald Trusk said the new U.S. regime is seeming to put into question the last 70 years of American foreign policy,”  The change, he said, “puts the EU in a difficult situation.”  With an EU summit looming in Malta in a few days, Tusk warned that “"We cannot surrender to those who want to weaken or invalidate the Transatlantic bond, without which global order and peace cannot survive.”

British Prime Minister Theresa May, having weathered a hand-holding charm offensive on her recent visit to Washington, was at first reluctant to criticize the Bannon/Trump Muslim ban, but yesterday she told parliament, “this government is clear that that policy is wrong. We wouldn't do it ... We believe it is divisive and wrong.”

U.N. human rights experts say the ban violates U.S. obligations on human rights. Their statement,  issued in Geneva on Wednesday, called the ban "clearly discriminatory" because it stigmatizes Muslims.They said  the United States has a special obligation “to offer refuge" to people fleeing Iraq and Syria, citing U.S. participation in brutal wars in those countries.

Iran’s moderate President Hassan Rouhani described the Bannon/Trump regime as newcomers who don't understand politics, saying, "A man had been living in another world and now he has entered the world of politics."

Newspapers around the world took angry note of the outcry against the new American regime. "Trump sows trouble with his Western allies," was the lead headline in Les Echo in France.  LeMonde said the ban was not “worthy” of the U.S., and would help the terrorist rhetoric against America and the Western world.  In Spain, La Razon led Monday's cover with "World outcry against Trump's Muslim veto" and El Pais had pictures of protests on its front page from the state of Massachusetts. LaRepubblica of Rome ran the headline, “Trump Alone Against Us All.” In the UK, the Daily Mirror reported, “You Are Not Welcome Here, Mr. President,” and the Observer wrote that, “On issues that matter to Britain, Trump cannot be trusted.  Trump is ignorant, prejudiced and vicious in ways that no American leader has ever been.” In Germany, the newspaper Handelsblatt called the ban “Trump’s religion war”, the tabloid Bid reported on “the horror of Trump” and Der Spiegel said the ban opens the door for countless lawsuits against the new regime.

Official Washington seems deaf to the worldwide noise.  After all, the book ghost-written for  Trump was titled, “The Art of the Deal,” not “How to Win Friends and Influence People.”  The world has discovered that for Donnie, the art is to deal from the bottom of the deck.

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