Opinion: Trump’s global ignorance is hurting America – MarketWatch











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President Trump with Justin — or “Joe,” as the White House calls him — Trudeau.

When President Trump visits China next month, he’ll learn something first hand that every other visitor knows only all too well: It’s hard to breathe.

Chinese air pollution is arguably the world’s worst. So bad, one study says, that it’s killing nearly 4,400 people a day. Two big culprits: coal-burning power plants and combustion engines. Their choking emissions can turn a sunny day gray, making it unwise for even a healthy person to go out.

China gets it. It is now moving rapidly away from coal, while installing enough solar panels to cover a football field every hour, and one new wind turbine every hour.

Then there is this: as the world’s biggest country, China is single-handedly upending the global auto market by weighing a ban on combustion vehicles—and a shift towards electric-powered ones. It’s one reason shares of General Motors












GM, -1.28%










 and Ford












F, -2.10%










  have surged in recent weeks; both U.S. automakers know where the market is heading and are positioning themselves accordingly.

This may all come as a surprise to the fossil-fuel loving Trump, who thinks global warming is a hoax, a plot by those crafty commies in Beijing to weaken America’s economic dominance. You know what’s really weakening America’s economic dominance? Trump’s ignorance and denial. By doubling down on coal while China races ahead, he is single-handedly helping to cede American leadership in the 21st century to our biggest economic and military rival.

Trump’s geopolitical obliviousness spans the globe. He irritated Israel recently (not the first time, either) when he said during a news conference with the prime minister of Lebanon that Lebanon was “on the front lines in the fight” against Hezbollah, which is about as wrong as wrong can be. Hezbollah—which Trump’s own State Department brands a terror group—has been part of the Lebanese government for decades, and controls that country’s most powerful military force. In an editorial titled “Clueless Trump,“ Israel’s most prominent English language newspaper, the Jerusalem Post, sneered: “Clearly, Trump has a less than satisfactory grasp of geopolitics in Lebanon. And if he does not understand who is against whom in Lebanon, he is probably not too well briefed on what is going on in Syria either.” There were also polite snickers when Trump arrived in Israel from Saudi Arabia and said he had just come from the Middle East. Where on earth does he think Israel is, anyway?

He talks of the nuclear deal with Iran which he is expected to “decertify” as early as Friday (allowing for, among other things, possible new sanctions) as if it’s a mere U.S.-Iran deal. Actually, it’s a U.S.-Britain-France-Germany-Russia-China deal with Iran. America’s other five partners think the deal is working as intended—to roll back key parts of Iran’s nuclear program—and strongly oppose the president’s plan to mess with it.

Trump has said Germany owes “vast sums” of money to the United States for NATO protection and, like many alliance members, is violating the requirement that each member spend 2% of its GDP on defense. One, that’s not how NATO works and two, there is no 2% requirement, it’s just a guideliine. Trump brags that thanks to him, U.S. allies are spending more on defense, but actually that uptrend began in 2014, long before he became a presidential candidate.

Trump claims that he only hires the best people. Yet staffers have inflicted needless diplomatic damage through sheer stupidity. A statement called China’s President Xi leader of the “Republic of China”—no that’s Taiwan, the communist mainland’s arch rival for decades. They confused British Prime Minister Theresa May (with an “H”) with porn star Teresa May (no “H”). And no, Shinzo Abe is not the president of Japan—he’s prime minister, and no, the prime minister of Canada’s name is Justin, not “Joe”, Trudeau.

You may not think getting titles and names wrong is a huge deal—perhaps it’s not—but it reflects a broader ignorance that undercuts American credibility abroad. It also hasn’t helped that Trump himself has picked needless squabbles with our closest allies, people like Trudeau, or Malcolm Turnbull, the Australian prime minister. He condescends to Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto like he’s an employee of the Trump Organization or something. Actually, he talks to everyone that way, including members of Congress.

Trump’s supporters might also think it’s no big deal that America’s standing in the world has plunged this year. At the beginning of his presidency, 64% of the world had confidence in America; at the end of June, just 22% did. The Pew Global Survey of 37 nations added that those holding a favorable view of the United States has slipped to 49%, from 64% in January. These are huge drops, and in just a few months at that. I have two questions for Trumpsters: 1) what happens when and if we need help from friends that Trump has alienated with his antics? And 2) how does the world laughing at us help with the whole “Make America Great Again” thing?






























Opinion: Trump’s global ignorance is hurting America – MarketWatch

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