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Reich writes: "Politically, Trump's blast at Germany is stupid. Germany is now the most powerful democracy in the world, and our most powerful ally in Europe. Rather than cozy up to dictators, Trump would serve America's interests better by cozying up to our friends."

Former Clinton Labor Secretary Robert Reich. (photo: Steve Russell/Toronto Star)
Former Clinton Labor Secretary Robert Reich. (photo: Steve Russell/Toronto Star)

Trump's Habit of Cozying Up to Dictators Only Makes America Weaker

By Robert Reich, Robert Reich's Facebook Page

31 May 17


his morning, Trump tweeted that the United States has a “MASSIVE trade deficit with Germany, plus they pay FAR LESS than they should on NATO & military. Very bad for U.S. This will change.”


Trump is just trying to get even for the negative things Angela Merkel and the German foreign minister had to say about him over the weekend -- which were entirely justifiable. Trump’s refusal to endorse NATO’s famous Article 5, the guarantee of mutual defense, at the NATO summit, combined with his refusal to join the Paris climate accord, made his trip a catastrophe.

As to Trump's morning tweet, he's wrong both on substance and on politics. Substantively, Trump (and his obtuse trade adviser, Peter Navarro) assume Germany wants a weak euro when, in fact, Germany has been critical of the European Central Bank’s quantitative easing policy that’s helping hold down the euro.

Germany also saves a big chunk of what it earns, resulting in more money flowing out of Germany in search of investments around the world (capital outflows) into places like the United States. So the real issue is capital flows, not trade. And it’s not all bad for America.

Politically, Trump’s blast at Germany is just as stupid. Germany is now the most powerful democracy in the world, and our most powerful ally in Europe. Rather than cozy up to dictators, Trump would serve America’s interests better by cozying up to our friends.

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+18 # chrisconnolly 2017-05-31 09:56
Couldn't agree more with Reich. Trump is making a mockery of everything that isn't lining his personal bank account. Trump policies are hell bent on destroying our democracy and all protections for we the people. He doesn't care if it is our people or their people. He obviously doesn't believe in human rights, intelligent trade policy, history, a clean environment, education, opportunity, healthcare, or anything that requires thoughtful analysis. He is a buffoon of the highest order let loose in a global china shop and we all are going to pay for his breakage with our well being.
+14 # ddd-rrr 2017-05-31 10:03
This one's a "no-brainer" (or, so it would seem...) -- but, alas, "President Twit" has
a brain fit only for "The Art of the Con", and NOT one suitable in any apparent way
for leading an important country in this world of many others, some in competition
with ours, and many others that would follow our lead, if that were possible to do!
+10 # giraffee23 2017-05-31 10:42
Trump seems to have a goal "down the USA and hand us over to Putin or worse"

Every day he does something that he and some of his paid assistants in Congress mandate - like help environment blow up, take food out of children's mouths, etc while insulting anyone who tells the truth -
+12 # mikehz 2017-05-31 10:58
Just another of Trump's seemingly endless supply of ignorant, uninformed and just plain crazy positions.
+2 # goodsensecynic 2017-05-31 11:35
Germany is the most powerful democracy in the world?

Assuming that we're talking about military might, that either means that the US has fewer military resources than Germany or that the US is no longer a "democracy" - if it ever was.

In the alternative, if we're talking about economic power, then the same applies. Either the US has fewer economic assets than Germany or, again, the US is not a democracy.

Or, is America so exceptional that it doesn't even consider itself part of the world?
+14 # Pluto 2017-05-31 11:56
Trump admires dictators because he would like to be one. He would relish the chance to declare martial law. Watch out.

Read "Trump's Brain: An FBI Profile of Donald Trump". It was released before his inauguration and is proving to be frighteningly accurate.

Also read "On Tyranny" by Timothy Snyder. Highly enlightening.
0 # glyde 2017-06-01 10:11
petermccrea:Jac obin of sept. 2014 has a very interesting article about Timothy Snyder that is very enlightening and, though it was written three years ago, takes him and his book down a few notches.
+12 # Route 44 Toyota Sold Me A Lemon 2017-05-31 12:05
Very sadly, too many poorly educated and poorly read Americans' perception of the World ends at our borders.

Genuflecting to the repressive/oppr essive and backward Saudis who stroked Drumpf's ego defines his mental illness.

Targeting Iran that has the potential of being a friend after all the horrendous things the US has done is horrific.

And Duterte who's killing his own people? Best buds?
+1 # Robbee 2017-05-31 13:01
this is interesting! and unsuspected? - Trump's Habit of Cozying Up to Dictators Only Makes America Weaker, Robert Reich - for a change of pace in the midst of dystopia, Robert! thanks!
+8 # boomerjim 2017-05-31 13:26
Trump cozies up to dictators because he wants to be the dictator of America. It's not a formal political ideology, it's a wish list. Any of us may say "if I ruled the world, this is what I'd do." Trump acts, and apparently thinks, that this can be not a personal fantasy but a political reality for him. When he agrees with purveyors of rhetoric about "the deep state," he's not theoretical; he's wanting to do away with elements of the bureaucratic state that limit his power. He doesn't want to follow organization protocol; he thinks in terms of relationships of personal loyalty and of blood and family -- so Ivanka and Jared Kushner. He basically wants to be a feudal monarch, so he likes the Saudi regime. But he's not ideological, so he admires modern dictators, like Vladimir Putin and Rodrigo Duterte. So, to Trump, the weakness or strength of America doesn't depend on friendship with democratic regimes, rather 'making America great again' means King Trump running a strong milirary and loyal followers dominating American society.
0 # Shaas 2017-05-31 13:49
Here, Obama and the Bushes were more practical: They made the Saudi Dictators their friends.
+4 # elkingo 2017-05-31 14:08
What do I think Bob? I think this prick is trying to install an Orwellian dystopia while destroying the world. Hot stuff, ah? And as to cozying up to his "like number" fascists, well, Duterte is now allowing his cops to rape women in certain areas. I think it's 3 rapes per woman. Maybe Donald sees this as a progressive sexual attitude.
0 # Time Traveller 2017-06-01 21:22
elkingo, here is a short vid of a brilliant loose cannon Joo for yoo. Lewis Black's while "Red, White and Screwed" show is great and onlinefree:
+6 # elkingo 2017-05-31 14:14
It's a hell of a thing for me, born before WWII and a Joo, having to side with Germany over the US. A degree of irony I have never seen before.
But this says something very,very dark.
+8 # Jaax88 2017-05-31 14:14
It does not seem trump has articulated (perhaps he is intellectually in capable of doing so) a plan for the American public to understand. "Make America Great Again" is a joke, not a plan. How can wholesale, apparently preconceived political agendas, tearing down many of the safe guards of the public interests in such issues as clean air and water, protecting the environment and public lands from private exploitation, putting industry paid politicians in high positions to do the bidding of industry, removing rules, regulations and laws that protect the general public from depredations of big business, big banks and Wall Street, trying to gut consumer protection laws, loosen defamation laws to benefit politicians such as trump be any kind of plan other than do whatever to benefit the rich and powerful and oppress the rest of us, the poor and needy, the middle class and the unpretentious citizens who just want a fair shake. And which would only fulfill trump's own undemocratic, ignorant dreams of his
unstable, dishonest, power hungry personality.
+2 # lfeuille 2017-05-31 18:58
I can't say I'm a fan of Merkel. The US isn't the major victim, but Germany still dictates terms in the Europe's economic union and they are not fair to Greece and the other poorer countries. And, there is a possible upside if the US cuts support for NATO. Europe will have to be more accommodating to Russia's legitimate security concerns if it can't hide behind the US. All that doesn't mean that Trump isn't the epitome of a bullying ugly American. A plague on both.
-2 # ericlipps 2017-06-01 04:51
Surely Reich means "the most powerful democracy in the world next to the United states."

Or has he joined the zealot caucus here on RSN in believing the U.S. isn't a democracy?
+1 # Time Traveller 2017-06-01 20:37
Eric, strictly speaking in political science terms, America is NOT a Democracy. We are a Representative Republic.
+1 # Time Traveller 2017-06-01 20:50
In real Democracies, each citizen has a vote on issues. Think Town Hall Meeting. A"deme" is a small group of citizens, and in a democracy, demes have viable power. Not so, here.

In our Representative Republic,think Catholic Church with priests interceding between man and god. Our Congress, Executive, and Judicial triumvirate is chock full if priests and bishops with their OWN agendas and self interests more in mind than ours.
+1 # Time Traveller 2017-06-01 21:03
Eric, can the Electoral College that installed Dump even tho Hillary won the popular vote the LEAST bit Democratic? It was created by Congress behind closed doors (as was the entire Constitution) specifically as an ANTI DEMOCRATIC measure to keep We the Rabble in our places. Daniel Shay's Rebellion scared SHIT out of Congress, so they built in many failsafes to protect our elite.
+2 # chapdrum 2017-06-01 21:48
Once again, Prof. Reich tells us something we already know.

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