History is About to Repeat Itself

History is About to Repeat Itself July 9, 2018

It was just two or three weeks ago that Trump stopped at the G-7 summit just long enough to insult and attack the leaders of our closest allies before going on to Singapore to sing the praises of the world’s most brutal dictator and pretend to have reached a deal with him on nuclear weapons. He’s about to do it again, just substitute NATO for the G-7 and Putin for Kim Jong-Un. And our allies are rightly concerned.

The allies’ worries and Moscow’s hopes are rooted in Trump’s combative approach to foreign policy. In recent days, Trump has told senior aides that he wants to slash U.S. spending on Europe’s defense if the allies are unwilling to contribute more to NATO, a senior administration official said.

The private comments reflect a president who has shown little interest in the long history that undergirds America’s alliances or the collective foreign policy expertise of the U.S. government, according to current and former U.S. and European officials.

Instead, he relies on his instincts and his ability to forge a personal bond with world leaders.

And therein lies the crux of the problem. He thinks his “gut” is a better decisionmaker than his brain, which he doesn’t bother using at all when it comes to virtually anything. He doesn’t think, he just reacts, driven by his innumerable emotional insecurities and his boundless ego. And he really is convinced that he’s the greatest judge of character ever, but he could not be more wrong.

He judges other people not on some reasonable assessment of their character but on whether they flatter him and do what he wants. Anyone who does that is the Greatest Person Ever; anyone who doesn’t is his enemy. Until it suits his purposes for them not to be his enemy. Thus we see him lurching back and forth on Kim Jong-Un, belittling and insulting him and then saying all kinds of nice things about him. There’s no rational thought here other than “what is good for me right this minute.”

He’s going to go to the NATO summit and be a jerk to our closest allies, then he’s going to go to Helsinki and kiss Putin’s ass. Because that’s what he does. And you know who is going to be absolutely thrilled by it? Putin. What more could he ask for? His courting of and support for Trump has paid off in a great many ways. It has fractured the Western post-war alliance and diminished America’s standing around the world. The only thing he hasn’t gotten out of his interference — yet — is a lifting of the sanctions, and that’s only because Congress actually showed a spine by passing a law requiring them. But give it time, he may get that too.

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