Thursday, December 05, 2019

Neither Face Very Commendable

"At a time when Canada needs strong relationships more than ever, Justin Trudeau's poor judgement, lack of professionalism and love of drama continues to weaken Canada's position on the world stage."
"We saw this just yesterday at the NATO summit."
Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer, Parliamentary Opposition

"He's not paying two percent and he should be paying two percent. It's Canada. They have money and they should be paying two percent [in military preparedness]. So I called him out on that and I'm sure he wasn't happy about that, but that's the way it is."
"And honestly, with Trudeau he's a nice guy, I find him to be a very nice guy but you know the truth is, that I called him out on the fact that he's not paying two percent and I guess he's not very happy about it. [Canada is] slightly delinquent."
"Trudeau is two-faced."
U.S. President Donald J. Trump

"I think he hit a nerve. If you look a the tape and you look at the reaction, it was hard not to think about high school where you have the two good-looking rich guys gossiping about the big powerful other guy."
"The relationship is deeper and has guardrails around it, in a sense, that doesn't allow that sort of stuff to happen easily [actual damaging fall-out or related consequences]."
Eric Miller, global fellow, Canada Institute, Wilson Centre, Washington, D.C.
President Donald Trump meets with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at Winfield House, Tuesday, Dec. 3, 2019, in London. (The Associated Press)

As a judge of good character it's hard to credit President Trump with a keen objective sense of what even constitutes good character. He is not himself an example by any means. And he's cut Justin Trudeau a lot of slack; generous to a fault. But it is a faulty conclusion. He's not a nice guy by any means, but rather a pretentious, egotistical, vain, entitled charlatan. Oops, that is Trudeau, but those traits also echo Trump, so little wonder he approves of the former's persona.

There were serious issues to be discussed at the NATO conference, even if it purported to be a celebration and consolidation of its 70 years of international cooperation among NATO allies. One issue that failed to pass the test of serious consideration was the appropriateness of Turkey's half-century of membership that might have been countenanced when it was an Ataturkian-secularist-reform-governed proto-democracy, an entirely different administration than the current Islamist autocracy headed by Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Turkey now shares none of the concerns of NATO. Its ruling Justice and Development Party, which proves more than adequately that words have lost their intrinsic meaning to be manipulated by tyrants and autocrats to serve their personal purposes, has an agenda that is abhorrent for many reasons to other NATO members. With the sad exception of the U.S. whose president gravitates happily to strongmen since he models himself as one. Turkey's membership in NATO, an unspoken grievance by many members, should be under discussion.

Emmanuel Macron was a little precipitate in declaring NATO 'brain dead' on the basis of having been abandoned by Trump, whose volatile, puzzling and intemperate statements and choices have suddenly resurrected U.S. interest in NATO. Donald Trump imagines himself the elder statesman of NATO by virtue of his powerful country's having created the union as a bulwark against the-then Cold War with the Soviet Union and its powerful Eastern European bloc. As the most influential, wealthiest country on the globe, he is conferred with exceptional status.

His pique is spontaneous, his decision-making lacking deep knowledge to guide him, his arrogance is monumental, and defying the man when for a change he has a legitimate point to make in holding other NATO members to the agreed-upon pact all made to spend 2 percent of GDP to acquiring and sustaining a robust national military complete with military hardware in the interests of unity and a reliable military capacity both singly and collectively in an increasingly unsettled world order, can be given the respect it deserves.

When President Trump chastised Prime Minister Trudeau for Canada's lack of commitment to acquiring adequate military hardware, and for failing to live up to its troop-number commitment to NATO, he had a legitimate point to make in urging Canada to follow the example of less-wealthy NATO members who do take their commitment seriously. That Justin Trudeau was incapable of responding like a mature adult and chose instead to mock the president of the United States speaks to a monumental failure on Trudeau's part in representing the best interests of the country he governs.

Choosing to behave like an adolescent rather than an adult to anticipate the frisson of pleasure he would experience in making himself yet again the centre of amused attention by his political international peers, he once more disgraced himself, pandering to his theatrical, drama-princeling aptitude and greed to be the centre of notice, while enjoying the opportunity to laugh at someone he grovels before in face-to-face contact.

On the other hand, Trudeau happened to be in the company of heads of government who chose themselves to behave like adolescent clowns. It is most unfortunate, but Trump seems to have this effect on people who consider themselves to be superior to a man whose manners and values are deplorable and in their distaste for him and choosing to demean the man who holds the position of the most powerful man on Earth, however temporarily, they more or less reflect some of his unsavoury attributes....

PM Justin Trudeau, France's Emmanuel Macron, UK PM Boris Johnson and other VIPs shared a few words at a Buckingham Palace reception Tuesday - and seemed to be talking about U.S. President Donald Trump's lengthy impromptu press conferences earlier in the day.  CBC

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