Saturday, March 18, 2017

What did Donald Trump do today?

He went through a full mood swing cycle on Germany in the space of eight minutes.

Trump once again took to Twitter to castigate "FAKE NEWS," in this case meaning coverage of his meeting with German chancellor Angela Merkel. During Merkel's visit, Trump refused to shake her hand for the cameras, incorrectly claimed that Germany has a trade arrangement with the United States (and was immediately fact-checked by Merkel), tried unsuccessfully to enlist her in his wiretapping conspiracy theory with a diplomatically unwise joke, and grimaced through her statement of support for refugees at their joint press conference.

Nevertheless, in a pair of tweets this morning, Trump first asserted that their meeting had been "GREAT," before immediately complaining that "Germany owes vast sums of money to NATO & the United States must be paid more for the powerful, and very expensive, defense it provides to Germany!"

In fact, Germany owes neither the United States nor NATO, as experts were quick to point out, and American membership in NATO is done in its own self-interest, not as an act of charity towards other member states. Since the campaign, Trump has made a number of statements suggesting that he either misunderstands what NATO is, or disapproves of its mission, and is arguably the most anti-NATO politician outside of the country it was founded to oppose.

How is this a bad thing?

  • Things are not fake news simply because a president doesn't want people talking about them.
  • It is not good to alienate the leaders of major military and economic partners.