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Monday, July 10, 2017

Friendly fire


The video above is from Chris Uhlmann, a journalist and television presenter with Australia’s ABC network. He calls himself a centrist, but he ran for office on a conservative anti-abortion ticket back in the last 1990s, and he frequently takes conservative positions. It’s noteworthy that he’s from one of the USA’s staunchest allies. All of which means that his perspective carries a bit more weight, perhaps, than if he was from the Left or a country hostile to the USA. When friends are worried, there’s a real problem.

Uhlmann, the ABC’s political editor, has won a Walkley award, his country’s highest journalism award, so he’s well-qualified to make an assessment based on what he witnessed—and he certainly did that. The Guardian provided a summary of what Uhlmann said, while the Daily Mail looked at the reaction on social media.

The were two points I thought was especially good. First, he pointed out that Don wasted the opportunity to get the G20 to jointly condemn the North Korean missile programme, which would have placed more pressure on Russia and China. Don didn’t even try to do that or to lead—though he did manage to have his daughter sit in for him in one session.

The other point was probably the most keen observation among many:
“Donald Trump has pressed fast forward on the decline of the United States as a global leader. Some will cheer the decline of America, but I think we’ll miss it when it’s gone — and that’s the biggest threat to the values of the West, which he claims to hold so dear.”
Polls throughout the world document this, as more and more countries look away from the USA when seeking global leadership. A recent global Ipsos MORI survey found that given a list of eleven countries, people found that only 40% of people thought the USA was a positive global influence, ranking the USA eighth, behind China, but ahead of Russia, Israel, and Iran. Canada was ranked first, with 81% saying it had a positive influence.

Polls and commentary from journalists in friendly countries are all well and good, but neither will influence Republicans to take any action against Don, for reasons I talked about yesterday. That’s because despite Don’s disastrous G20 trip, and no matter how much harm he does to the USA’s global standing or the probability he’ll bumble and stumble the USA into war, absolutely nothing matters to Republicans other than keeping themselves in power. One could be forgiven for concluding that if Don had stabbed the Pope, Republicans would have meekly said they were “concerned about his behaviour”, as they climbed into the limo taking them to their next mega-fundraiser. They don’t care, it seems clear, and it’s foolish to think they do.

Republicans can, of course, prove us all wrong by removing Don from office. They won’t, but if they did we’d know they don’t always put their party’s interests first, ahead of the country.

So, while this Australian journalist has gained worldwide attention for forcefully pointing out the emperor has no clothes, he absolutely won’t be the last to do so. Trouble is, Republicans just aren’t listening—is anyone else?

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