The Thinker: Rich Galen


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World's Worst Guest

Rich Galen

Monday June 11, 2018

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  • Imagine, in this commencement season, that you planned a major dinner party celebrating the graduation of your eldest child. You chose the menu with particular concern for each guest.

  • You chose with care, a gift for the guests to help commemorate the event. You made certain the seating was just perfect and that parking was available.

  • And you had a card created for everyone to sign that took into consideration every guest's religious, cultural, and social background.

  • Then, when the big evening finally arrives, the guy who lives in the biggest house on the block shows up late, complains about the food, and the seating, leaves early and, while driving off, angrily throws the hostess gift out the car window, demands his name be erased from the card, followed by giving the rest of the guests the finger.

  • Then, as if that weren't enough, the bully from the big house takes to Twitter to call you "dishonest and weak."

  • That, ladies and gentleman is a brief history of the G-7 meeting that concluded over the weekend in Canada.

  • Donald Trump embarrassed us all. He was the bully from the biggest house.

  • Over the 17-or-so months of the Trump Administration we have become used to his ways. Like getting used to the fat owner of the biggest house walking around in his underwear, scratching his fat belly. Or making absurd demands for breakfast or lunch. Or acting like Archie Bunker sitting around and bellowing about everything and everyone on the block.

  • But, the people at the Starbucks or the grocery store aren't inured to this behavior like we are. They don't expect to have to let him push his way to the front of the line to order his latte or bang his cart into yours to get to the front of the checkout line.

  • Trump made it known he didn't want to go to the G-7 meeting. He wants the Singapore Summit to be the prime time program and said, in effect, the meeting with six of the largest economies on the planet were a distraction.

  • So, even before he left Washington, Trump had most of America's largest trading partners (absent energy) rolling their eyes and shaking their heads.

  • He arrived late. Overslept the next morning. And, as noted above, left even earlier than he had previously announced.

  • Trump has become used to being not just treated with the respect that Americans generally grant their president, but with the obsequiousness that tyrants routinely require.

  • The other members of the G-7 are: Canada, Italy, Germany, France, Japan, and the U.K.

  • Missing from this list? Russia

  • The G-7 used to be the G-8, but Russia got kicked out when Vladimir Putin invaded and occupied Crimea which had been part of Ukraine.

  • According to one website
    "If we order the countries according to their GDP per capita, Russia is in 41th position."

  • So, Russia can get back in when it becomes the G-41.

  • What apparently rankled Trump was when Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau held a press conference in which he announced that Canada would (from the official text):
    "If the President continues to impose unfair barriers and tariffs, then we would respond firmly without any hesitation as of the first of July to impose equivalent tariffs. We are polite and courteous, but we shall not be pushed around by others."

  • Trump's trade policy can be summed up by a scene in "The Maltese Falcon" where Humphrey Bogart (as Sam Spade) says to Peter Lorre (as Joel Cairo):
    "When you're slapped, you'll take it and like it."

  • Trump, from the safety of Air Force One, Tweeted that Mr. Trudeau was "dishonest" and "weak." On the Sunday Trump's trade advisor, Peter Navarro said:
    "There's a special place in hell for any foreign leader that engages in bad faith diplomacy with President Donald J. Trump and then tries to stab him in the back on the way out the door."

  • We're used to Trump's attacking domestic political enemies in the most childish ad hominem language. We've become used to the breakdown of social norms.

  • While Trump and his sycophants are attacking America's closest allies using the most coarse possible language, we can picture Vladimir Putin sitting in his Moscow study sipping vodka, nodding and smiling.

  • And, we haven't even gotten to Kim Jung-un yet.

  • On the Secret Decoder Ring page today: Links to Archie Bunker, a list of the world's economies, the Trudeau press conference, and to Trump's Tweets.

    The Mullfoto is a look at boats on the Potomac over the weekend.

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