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Fables of the Deconstruction

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Scott Gilmore, writing in Maclean’s recommends that American allies use, in effect, targeted sanctions against the President of the United States.

These efforts, like the diplomatic strategies before now, will not work. If Trump revokes the tariffs, or begins to support NATO, or returns to the Paris Accord, it will not be because our diplomats became more persuasive, our offers more generous, or our tariffs more painful. That is not how this President operates.

As I’ve pointed out before, the President can be successfully engaged, and countries like Ukraine, China, and Qatar have demonstrated this. When they want something from the United States, they skip the State Department, and even the White House staff. Instead of approaching their problem state-to-state, they go state-to-man. These countries focus on what Trump wants on a personal level – to enrich his family. So Beijing granted Ivanka trademarks, Qatar invested in one of Jared’s office towers, and Ukraine, with Slavic candor, simply wired half a million dollars to the President’s personal lawyer Michael Cohen.

For the most part, the western allies understand that if we want the U.S. to do something we must negotiate with the man himself. What we have not grasped yet is, as strange as it sounds, the President of the United States is more concerned about promoting his interests than defending America’s.

This is what it’s come to: clear-eyed analysis arguing that the best way to influence the so-called “leader of the free world” is to treat him like a kleptocratic dictator.

Meanwhile, the US ambassador to Germany wants to help orchestrate the electoral victories of post-fascist and other far-right movements against the sitting governments of American allies.

German politicians have criticised Donald Trump’s new ambassador to Germany after he said he wanted to “empower” anti-establishment rightwing forces throughout Europe.

In an interview with far-right news outlet Breitbart over the weekend, Richard Grenell, who has been in office for less than a month, said: “I absolutely want to empower other conservatives throughout Europe, other leaders.

“I think there is a groundswell of conservative policies that are taking hold because of the failed policies of the left.”

During the Cold War, the United States intervened to support pro-American governments in Europe against communist movements. Regardless of what one thinks of these policies, at least they had a geo-strategic logic beyond narrow American partisan politics. Now, apparently, maintaining strong security cooperation with the United States is not sufficient to ensure that American officials do not work to bring your government down.

UPDATE: Awesomesauce.

A call about trade and migration between US President Donald Trump and French President Emmanuel Macron soured last week after Macron candidly criticized Trump’s policies, two sources familiar with the call told CNN.

“Just bad. It was terrible,” one source told CNN. “Macron thought he would be able to speak his mind, based on the relationship. But Trump can’t handle being criticized like that.”

A short White House readout of last Thursday’s call said the conversation was focused on trade and immigration.

Mood these days:

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