He’s ‘Arrogant, Intolerant And Even Dangerous’ – Trump Has Officially Destroyed American Credibility

Donald Trump

Most presidents struggle the first year, but Trump’s foreign policy errors are rapidly eroding international confidence in him and in America at an unprecedented rate. 

Foreign Policy Magazine published a scathing article at the end of September 2017 reviewing Trump’s first year in office, titled: “The Worst 1st Year of Foreign Policy Ever,” accompanied by the damning subtitle: “Most presidents struggle in their first year as commander in chief. But Donald Trump got tired of winning before he started.”

The article went on to detail Trump’s foreign policy failures, noting that:

Despite their difficult beginnings, many administrations go on to gain their footing and experience real accomplishment in foreign policy. So there is still hope for Trump. But it’s important to first understand that he isn’t just repeating all the early errors that beleaguered his predecessors — he is magnifying them in unprecedented fashion.

And the potential consequences are dire.

As Foreign Policy reported:

In the past, poor strategy often resulted from failures to rank priorities, reconcile values and interests, and link means and ends, resources and commitments, and budgeting and policymaking. Trump is guilty of all of the above. “America First” seeks to achieve a “stronger and more respected America.” Yet by embracing authoritarian leaders — from Vladimir Putin in Russia, to Rodrigo Duterte in the Philippines, to Najib Razak in Malaysia, to Abdel Fattah al-Sisi in Egypt — and by reneging, denigrating, or disdaining key agreements and alliances like NAFTA and NATO, Trump has put his personal imprimatur on a strategy that conveys contempt for the values and the relationships that have buttressed America’s image around the world for generations… [A] recent poll covering 37 countries by the Pew Research Center shows that only about 22 percent of the people in those countries have confidence that President Trump will do “the right thing” when it comes to international affairs. This number compares to 64 percent who previously had said that they believed in the ability of Barack Obama to make the right choices. At the same time, favorable views of the United States have plummeted from about 64 to 49 percent.

Pew Research Center provided additional cause for concern, reporting on June 26, 2017 that:

The sharp decline in how much global publics trust the U.S. president on the world stage is especially pronounced among some of America’s closest allies in Europe and Asia, as well as neighboring Mexico and Canada. Across the 37 nations polled, Trump gets higher marks than Obama in only two countries: Russia and Israel.

Continuing, Pew Research Center reported that many of Trump’s “signature policy initiatives are widely opposed across the globe.”

His plan to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, for example, is opposed by a median of 76% across the 37 countries surveyed… Similar levels of global opposition greet Trump’s policy stances on withdrawing from international trade agreements and climate change accords. And most across the nations surveyed also disapprove of the new administration’s efforts to restrict entry into the U.S. by people from certain Muslim-majority nations. Trump’s intention to back away from the nuclear weapons agreement with Iran meets less opposition than his other policy initiatives, but even here publics around the world disapprove of such an action by a wide margin.

And it’s not just his policies are are hurting Trump’s global approval ratings. As Pew Research explained, his character plays a significant role as well:

In the eyes of most people surveyed around the world, the White House’s new occupant is arrogant, intolerant and even dangerous. Among the positive characteristics tested, his highest rating is for being a strong leader. Fewer believe he is charismatic, well-qualified or cares about ordinary people.

A more recent poll published by Pew Research Center on September 14, 2017 confirmed that Mexico’s view of the U.S. has turned “sharply negative.”

More Mexicans view the United States unfavorably than at any time in the past decade and a half. Nearly two-thirds of Mexicans (65%) express a negative opinion of the U.S., more than double the share two years ago (29%). Mexicans’ opinions about the economic relationship with their country’s northern neighbor are also deteriorating, though less dramatically: 55% now say economic ties between Mexico and the U.S. are good for their country, down from 70% in 2013.

A September 21, 2017 report by Pew Research Center also confirmed that, while people in the Philippines still favor the U.S. over China, that margin in narrowing.

{O]pinions of the U.S. and its president, though still strong, are down from their Obama-era highs. As of this spring, 78% in the Philippines have a positive view of the U.S., down from 92% who expressed positive sentiment in 2015… [C]onfidence in Trump now is lower than trust in then-President Barack Obama was in 2015. Currently, 69% have confidence in Trump to do the right thing in world affairs, compared with 94% who expressed such confidence in Obama in 2015.

As Foreign Policy concludes, there is still hope for Trump, but many obstacles remain such as Trump’s strong nationalism, embodied by his “Make America Great Again” slogan:

To their credit, Trump’s advisors like Cohn, McMaster, and even Tillerson occasionally have tried to say that “America First is rooted in confidence that our values are worth defending and promoting.” But the president’s relentless stress on “interests” and his dalliances with ruthless and repressive authoritarians tarnish America’s image abroad, agitate democratic allies, and demoralize courageous proponents of liberal values around the globe. “Making America great again” cannot possibly mean obfuscating or demeaning America’s values.

Abandoning human rights, democratization, and multilateral economic and legal agreements would guide U.S. foreign policy in new and dangerous directions. Perhaps that is what Trump wants, but a purely transactional foreign policy erodes trust and predictability, essential ingredients for world order and U.S. national security. Reliability is what reassures friends and deters adversaries.

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