America’s relations with nations around the world are collapsing. Donald Trump’s frequent xenophobic and racist outbursts, unprecedented in modern history, have resulted in foreign ministries around the world calling in senior U.S. diplomats for explanations about Trump’s comments. Trump’s actions have resulted in more damaging consequences for overall global stability.
After Trump, during a White House meeting with a congressional delegation, referred to Haiti, El Salvador, and 55 African countries as “shitholes,” the U.S. ambassador to Panama John Feeley figured the time had come to announce his resignation. Undoubtedly, Feeley was aware that even the well-heeled owners of condominiums in the Trump Ocean Club Panama hotel-condo complex had had enough of Trump when they decided to remove the Trump name from what is now known only as the Ocean Club Panama Owners Association. The move was a sign of worsening U.S.-Panamanian relations. What happened in Panama illustrates that it is not merely U.S. foreign policy that is being adversely affected by Trump, but also U.S. economic interests.
The United States is vying with China and France for control of Africa’s natural resources. Trump’s actions have placed into jeopardy ongoing U.S. oil, construction, and rare-earth mineral extraction business opportunities in Africa.
Condemnations of Trump’s “shit hole” remarks were swift. The African Union demanded Trump apologize to not only Africans, but all people of African descent in the world for comments over which the union expressed its “infuriation, disappointment and outrage.” South Africa’s Foreign Ministry called in the U.S. Embassy’s Charge d’Affaires in Pretoria to deliver a diplomatic protest note.
The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) condemned Trump’s remarks as “repulsive.” U.S. diplomats in Haiti, Ghana, Senegal, and Botswana were also called on the carpet by foreign ministry officials. Senegal’s president Macky Sall said, “I am shocked by the words of President Trump on Haiti and Africa,” adding, “I reject them and condemn vigorously. Africa and the black race deserve the respect and consideration of all.” For some African countries, Trump’s insult was the second slap they received. Earlier, Trump placed Libya, Somalia, Sudan, and Chad on a U.S. visa ban list, although Sudan was later removed from the list.
The Burkina Faso newspaper L’Observateur Paalga ran perhaps the most embarrassing headline for Americans, particularly U.S. military personnel stationed in the West African nation: “Warm kisses from the shithole countries,” adding that Trump is a “cursed clown” and a “president of shit.”
Trump’s abrupt severance of $2 billion in U.S. security assistance to Pakistan has all-but-doomed Indian-Pakistani diplomatic talks over the issue of Kashmir, a region contested between the two regional nuclear powers. In a tweet having severe repercussions on the Indian sub-continent and all of south Asia, Trump accused Pakistan of “lies and deceit” over its actions in neighboring Afghanistan.
Not to be outdone by Trump, American neoconservative ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley, whose Sikh parents hail from India, declared that Pakistan had played “a double game for years.” She also announced the immediate cancellation of $255 million in U.S. assistance to Pakistan.
Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry called in David Hale, the U.S. ambassador in Islamabad, for an explanation of Trump’s statement, including Trump’s reference to U.S. assistance to Pakistan over a 15-year period amounting to $33 billion.
Pakistani Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif responded to Trump in his own tweet: “Pres Trump quoted figure of $33 billion given to PAK over last 15 yrs, he can hire a US based Audit firm on our expense to verify this figure & let the world know who is lying & deceiving.”
Pakistan’s National Security Committee issued a statement following Trump’s outburst: “Recent statements and articulation by the American leadership were completely incomprehensible as they contradicted facts manifestly, struck with great insensitivity at the trust between two nations built over generations, and negated the decades of sacrifices made by the Pakistani nation.”
While the right-wing Hindu nationalist government of Indian Prime Minster Narendra Modi was gleeful over Trump’s tweet about Pakistan, it was confronted with a closer Pakistani-Chinese alliance. China announced that it was building an offshore maritime port off the strategic port city of Gwadar. And in a financial blowback against the U.S. Treasury, Pakistan announced that Pakistani-Chinese trade would be based on the Chinese yuan and no longer in U.S. dollars. In addition, Pakistan was looking at several billions in investments arising from China’s “One Belt, One Road” initiative, an infrastructure project encompassing the land, sea, and air routes around the globe.
Left picking up the pieces from Trump’s “Twitter fingers” was the Commander of the U.S Central Command (CENTCOM), General Joseph Votel, responsible for combined U.S.-Pakistani operations against jihadist guerrilla forces in Afghanistan and Pakistan’s wild Northwest Frontier Province on the Afghan border. Votel placed an emergency phone call from his Tampa headquarters to Pakistani army chief Gen. Qamar Javed Bajwa. The essence of that call was that Bajwa and the Pakistani military should just ignore Trump and understand that the status quo ante — before Trump became president — still applied to U.S.-Pakistani security links.
As Trump’s outbursts on Twitter and in meetings continued, U.S. diplomats and military commanders were forced to repeat what Hale and Votel faced with Pakistan. Talks between North and South Korea aimed at reducing tensions on the Korean peninsula were hampered by Trump’s continuing references to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un as “little rocket man.” In a bizarre statement to The Wall Street Journal, Trump said, “I probably have a very good relationship with Kim Jong Un. Trump later denied he made the statement, accusing the newspaper of publishing “fake news,” but the Journal made the transcript and audio tape publicly available, and they proved that Trump was lying.
After the Trump administration backed a second term for Honduran right-wing dictator-president Juan Orlando Hernandez, who won re-election as the result of massive fraud over his left-center opponent, Salvador Nasralla, the Honduran opposition announced a boycott of U.S. fast-food restaurants in the country, including Wendy’s, Dunkin Donuts, McDonald’s, Denny’s and Pizza Hut. It appears that going down the toilet with the Trump brand globally are other U.S. brands. Trump’s repeated xenophobic comments about Mexico and Mexicans has resulted in a Mexican boycott of McDonald’s, Walmart, and Coca-Cola. The governor of the Mexican state of Campeche announced that the state government would no longer purchase vehicles from Ford. Governor Alejandro Moreno urged that similar action be taken across Mexico.
Trump canceled a planned February 2018 visit to London over his pique concerning the building of a new U.S. embassy in Vauxhall, on the south bank of the Thames River, an area Trump believed was an “off location.” Trump was to have dedicated the new embassy, but criticized the diplomatic post’s move from Grosvenor Square and the subsequent sale of the old embassy grounds as a “bad deal” made by Barack Obama. The move was authorized not by Obama but by George W. Bush. In any case, the cancellation left British government and opposition figures both relieved and appalled over Trump’s off-putting demeanor.
From Palestine to Botswana and Haiti to Britain, Trump’s actions have made the United States a pariah and outlier. There is very little U.S. diplomats can do, but be called in by foreign ministries to be lectured on good manners, propriety, and behavior. Today, every American should feel absolute shame in their president and their country.
By Wayne Madsen
Source: Strategic Culture