When our worst nightmare is our president

Donald Trump is rapidly becoming the world’s worst nightmare. His latest outrage, unilaterally pulling the United States out of the Paris climate agreement, against the advice of most of his advisors and against the will of most Americans, continues his reckless pattern of irrational decision-making, fawning over strongmen and dictators, and ignoring the best interests of our country and the international community.

The United States would join Syria, which is somewhat busy with a civil war and ISIS, and Nicaragua, which didn’t think the Paris agreement went far enough, as the only countries in the entire world which are not part of the accord (there is considerable debate in the U.S. about whether the accord is a treaty requiring Senate approval, or an executive agreement, as Obama considered it—nonetheless, its guidelines are voluntary). This kind of myopic, xenophobic, irresponsibility is simply unacceptable. Like climate change, globalization is a fact of life, and mouthing stupid phrases like “make America great again,” is not going to improve the lives of any Americans.

The governors of New York, California and Washington, representing one-fourth of the American economy, are forming the United States Climate Alliance, a coalition of states devoted to upholding the Paris agreement and taking aggressive action on climate change. Along with many other cities and states, Governor McAuliffe has announced that Virginia will join this coalition. Our very own Congressman Dave Brat, on the other hand, remains Virginia’s chief Trump cheerleader.

We don’t want other leaders and other countries laughing at us anymore,” thundered Trump the other day, “and they won’t be.” Wrong, Donald. The entire planet has been laughing, and crying, ever since you were elected, and it is going to get worse, much worse. We have become the world’s laughingstock.

“Just returned from Europe. Trip was a great success for America. Hard work but big results!” Trump tweeted last week. Here’s what Germany’s top diplomat had to say about Trump’s first venture abroad:

Anyone who accelerates climate change by weakening environmental protection, who sells more weapons in conflict zones and who does not want to politically resolve religious conflicts is putting peace in Europe at risk. The short-sighted policies of the American government stand against the interests of the European Union. The West has become smaller, at least it has become weaker….”

Post-World War II academics and world leaders place the war’s start when Western Europe had neither the will nor the arms and equipment to resist Hitler’s demand to annex the Sudetenland—the German-speaking part of Czechoslovakia.

Heeding history’s lessons, including the American-led international response to Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait, the Obama administration led the effort to impose international sanctions for Russia’s unilateral violation of Ukraine’s borders when it invaded and illegally annexed Crimea and sent Russian soldiers into other Russian-speaking regions of Ukraine. How ironic, that more than 75 years after the Second World War ended, the German Chancellor has announced that Europe may have to go it alone, because Trump wants to appease Putin’s ruthless aggression. Republican Party leaders not only wanted to follow a different policy on Crimea, but humble their domestic opponents who had been highly critical of Russia for its aggression and its covert operations in Ukraine, which included shooting down Malaysian Airlines flight 17, killing all 283 passengers and 15 crew. The opportunity the Russians saw to relieve themselves of world condemnation required a Republican electoral victory. Russian intelligence had long targeted American military, industrial and intelligence communities, but American democratic politics was as undecipherable to them as some American pundits have observed. The Russians had tools, but needed guidance. They needed someone to tell them where to do their dirty work.

The Russians obviously saw an opening and started early in developing a relationship between Russian intelligence operatives and the Trump campaign team. Every day we are learning more about who and what was involved. The Russians were desperate to have crippling international sanctions lifted. The Republican candidate expressed sympathy. Late last week, The Hill newspaper reported that Trump administration officials pressed State Department staffers to develop plans for removing sanctions against Russia almost immediately after Trump took office in January.

Michael Flynn, national security advisor to the Trump campaign, was at the head table sitting next to Vladimir Putin in a December 2015 anniversary dinner for a Russian TV channel. At the same table was Green Party Leader Jill Stein. It is alleged that Flynn and Stein received money from the Russians before, during, and after this event. It is noteworthy that subsequently, Stein’s vote totals in the crucial states of Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Michigan were all greater than Clinton’s margin of defeat, and arguably denied Clinton an Electoral College victory, despite her winning the popular election by more than three million votes.

Which brings us to the Trump family Russian scandals and Donald’s love affair with Vladimir Putin, the ruthless dictator who wants to bring down not only the United States, but also the entire European Community. The Russian story won’t go away while the Trump family hides its financial dealings, including Trump’s refusal to release his tax returns, contrary to all his post-WWII predecessors. Allegations of Russian money-laundering through German banks muddy the water even further. Every day, the revelations of the collusion of Trump’s closest advisors with the Russians to subvert our election just get worse and worse. Where will it end?

“Don’t Tread on Me” is no longer the exclusive slogan of the Tea Party. “Don’t Tread on Me” is a motto that all Americans can, and should, embrace. Resist, insist, persist, enlist. Donald Trump is America’s worst nightmare.

Mike McClary

Editors Note: this article has been re-posted with the author’s permission and originally appeared here.