Sunday, August 25, 2019


Sometimes the best strategy is to do nothing at all. President Trump hasn't learned that lesson, and it's going to cost him and us.

The president is ordering (ordering!) Americans to stop buying from China and for our companies to leave the Chinese market and build products in other countries or the United States. And he's ordered (ordered!) package carriers to search all packages for drugs. Not only is this farcical from a political angle, it makes little economic sense. China does need to follow trade rules and stop pirating intellectual property, but clearly, and it was clear years ago, that getting into a trade war with them was not going to change their behavior. President Xi is just as much of a nationalist dictator as Trump would like to be, but Xi really can unilaterally make demands that President Trump cannot, so ordering citizens and companies via Twitter is just another sign that the president doesn't really know how our system of government works.

Economically, the Chinese market is far too big and powerful for the United States to ignore or abandon it and I think the president knows that, though I can't be too sure about what he actually knows. Further, the way to force China to change is through sustained economic pressure, but since the president withdrew us from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which was designed to do just that, we are. Yes, the TPP did need a review and updating, but now we got...nothing except another example of the president misreading his own power and ignorance of what the economic numbers really mean.

But of course the president could follow his own advice and just say, "fine" to the Chinese action. After all, that's what he called for the Danish Prime Minister to say, rather that to paint his absurd plan to buy Greenland as "absurd." Because most sober-minded people saw it as an absurd gambit to buy a huge swath of land for its oil at a time when we should not be investing heavily in resources that are fossil-based.

My take is that he was insulted, and maybe embarrassed because a powerful woman, and a white woman at that!, dismissed his perceived manhood by calling his proposal what it was. But since he can't call for her to be jailed or sent back to the place where she came from, he had to throw an international hissy fit and cancel his visit. And after what he's called fellow Americans, such as calling Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell an "enemy," who have opposed him for good reasons, and people in his own cabinet, his saying that nobody talks to Americans like that is just too laughable to be taken as anything but the  disconnected rantings of someone who doesn't read his own words.

And as a disloyal Jewish-American who votes Democratic and believes that peace will only return to the Middle East if Palestinian demands are taken seriously, I am beyond incensed that this president can rake the killing field and give oxygen to the most noxious anti-Semitic language and images for his own political gain. Bad people will take bad actions because of this. It's happened before; it will happen again.

Reality shows thrive on the chaos of what could happen next. Real reality needs order and trust and unity. The president is doing real and sustained damage to the country by undercutting our allies, labeling our citizens as threats, and making pronouncements that make little sense in any context.

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