Friday, August 16, 2019

A world edging toward the brink

Yes, it appears so. But ya gotta wonder: which brink?

With Trump as President, the World Is Spiraling Into Chaos writes Michelle Goldberg in the NY Times. Trump torched America’s foreign policy infrastructure. The results are becoming clear.

Here are her conclusions.

… India and Pakistan still have every interest in avoiding a nuclear holocaust. China may show restraint on Hong Kong. Wary of starting a war before the 2020 election, Trump might make a deal with Iran, though probably a worse one than the Obama agreement that he jettisoned. The global economy could slow down but not seize up. We could get through the next 17 months with a world that still looks basically recognizable.

Even then, America will emerge with a desiccated diplomatic corps, strained alliances, and a tattered reputation. It will never again play the same leadership role internationally that it did before Trump.

And that’s the best-case scenario. The most powerful country in the world is being run by a sundowning demagogue whose oceanic ignorance is matched only by his gargantuan ego. The United States has been lucky that things have hung together as much as they have, save the odd government shutdown or white nationalist terrorist attack. But now, in foreign affairs as in the economy, the consequences of not having a functioning American administration are coming into focus. “No U.S. leadership is leaving a vacuum,” said Susan Thornton [(who until last year was the acting assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific affairs, America’s top diplomat for Asia)].

We’ll see what gets sucked into it.

(With thanks to Roving Reporter Sherry)

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