GUEST BLOG: Andra Jenkin – Trump on Tour –Tiny Hands Across the World

By   /   May 31, 2017  /   60 Comments

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Trump on tour would require a spoiler alert, but if you’re reading this you already know his sad ignorance of international protocol has not lead to total world annihilation. But hey, with Trump it’s always anything can happen day, so it might just occur before you finish the page.

Trump on tour would require a spoiler alert, but if you’re reading this you already know his sad ignorance of international protocol has not lead to total world annihilation. But hey, with Trump it’s always anything can happen day, so it might just occur before you finish the page.

Big news seems to be the gang sign showdown, otherwise known as world leader power-handshake-off, it was Trump who had to shake, shake, shake it off, because his tiny little hands were white-knuckling it so hard after French leader Emmanuel Macon won the first round of toughest grip in Sicily.

Round 2 was when Macon dissed Trump by ignoring him to greet all the other cool world leaders, then finally when he there was no one else left, Trump tried to wrench his arm off, but instead Macon took it, wrenched it back and gave him a little pat on the arm, like “Nice try little man.”

It appears all the world leaders have been practising, knowing that Trump is a giant douche who is worse at shaking hands than John Key.

If only handshaking, not pushing, or protocol of any kind were the only thing he was bad at. But Trump is terrible at presidenting on every level.

Angela Merkel let Europe know that it had broken up with America due to the crapy dates she’d had with Trump. This is the best news ever for Russia; Putin is probably really excited NATO won’t be checking future aggressions like those in the Crimea.

But since Trump wants America to be insular, and is pretty much acting in the best interests of Russia anyway, having the whole G-7 summit in Sicily be about handshakes and shoving and not about climate change or human rights. As an added bonus the Whitehouse didn’t have to run constant interference and do damage control to cover up the crazy stuff he generally does at home.

Because guess what? Despite the media being really exciting about what Trump’s hands are grabbing now, there is real news happening in America.

Remember how we all laughed when Trump told Kushner “If you can’t produce peace in the Middle East, nobody can,”? Because what else says peace in the Middle East like white male privilege?

Well he may not get the chance now because Kushner is like, so embarrassing since he discussed setting up a back-channel between Russia and the Trump transition team. Whoops. Hands up anyone surprised (who isn’t still clutching theirs in agony after a brutal Trump squeeze).

Then there’s Mike Dubke’s resignation. For a guy whose title was director of communications, you’d think he’d be able to communicate the reason he quit, but I guess he went with everyone’s mum’s favourite adage, “if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.”

Then there’s the ongoing investigation into Russian manipulation of the 2016 American election.

That Republican led debacle has gone quiet in the wake of all the shade thrown by the Trump handshake catastrophe. Trump, still doing the job of the magician’s assistant.

If you’re in the audience, watch those tiny hands closely.

 

CBS News. (May 30, 2017) “Recent revelations about Jared Kushner could impact his influence with Trump.” Retrieved from www.cbsnews.com May 31, 2017.
Hulse, C. (May 30, 2017) “Four senators to watch in the Trump-Russia investigation.” Retrieved from www.nytimes.com May 31, 2017.
Pasha-Robinson, L. (May 30, 2017) “Mike Dubke quits: Donald Trump’s spin doctor resigns with no explanation.” Retrieved from www.independent.co.uk.
Revesz, R. (May 29, 2017). “Donald Trump acted like ‘a drunk tourist’ on Europe trip that led Angela Merkel to proclaim end of US alliance.” Retrieved from www.independent.co.uk on May 30, 2017.
Rubin, J. (May 26, 2017) “Trump muddles through his big trip.” Retrieved from www.politico.com May 31, 2017.
York, C. (May 25, 2017) “Donald Trump loses handshake battle with president of Tajikistan, Bigly.” Retrieved from www.hufingtonpost.co.uk on May 31, 2017.

 

Andra Jenkin co-wrote Double-Edged Sword- The Simonne Butler Story, and contributed to New Zealand Anthology of Women’s Comics ‘Three Words.’

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60 Comments

  1. Samwise says:

    Look at Seth Meyers and John Oliver wrap up trump’s overseas tour. Sobering,.

    The hypocrisy for all to see is trump costing up to the Saudi head-choppers. No wonder Steve bannon looked so uncomfortable surrounded by the Saudi regime’s “princes”. Hey, Steve, stay calm. Don’t lose you head, mate, whatever you do. LOL!

  2. Francesca says:

    Well actually no, I’m not in the least surprised Kushner was trying to set up a back channel with Russia, its kind of diplomacy 101 and given the torrent of leaks to the media, little wonder he wanted to use the Russians communications set up.The Washington Post(not a mouthpiece of the Kremlin) had a reasonable article about this on the 27th pointing out that in itself a back channel is neither illegal or unusual, but Kushner would be in trouble if its found that not only did he set up a back channel(doubtful at the moment) but used it to collude with the Russians to swing the US elections
    Seems weird that an alternative blog site is being used to push a mainstream
    media slant, and slant it is. I would love to read a more nuanced analytic piece, that doesnt rely on small hands, barebacked Putin(put up to it by his American PR firm Ketchum by the way, purely for the domestic Russian market who seem to have lapped it up)”douches” and “aggression in Crimea???Really, the Crimeans had been begging for reunion with Russia for decades., even western polls show that the Crimeans are overwhelmingly happy to be back.
    If that was aggression what the hell were Obama’s drone strikes?
    We do get it , Trump is terrible, but if you think NATO is a force for peace???!!!
    The idea of Obama was great, but the actuality was mass deportations, ramped up drone strikes…the Tuesday kill list..and in the last year of his presidency he dropped 26,171 bombs on 7 Muslim majority countries, not bad for the “peace” president
    Keep on shooting those goldfish in barrels, but I’m afraid getting rid of Trump is not going to solve the problem of American exceptionalism and violence

    • Sally's Husband says:

      “Well actually no, I’m not in the least surprised Kushner was trying to set up a back channel with Russia, its kind of diplomacy 101 and given the torrent of leaks to the media, little wonder he wanted to use the Russians communications set up.”

      Ah, no.

      You’re either woefully ignorant or over-doing the apologist thing, Francesca.

      Back door channels are a part of diplomacy but are always conducted via the State Department or other government departments. And never inn the secure rooms of foreign embassies. and never, never using the communications set-up from a foreign power.

      Plus, if this is a true story, Kushner violated laws by conducting this activity without declaring it.

      Kushner has links to a Russian bank which has loaned upwards of $100 million to the Trumps.

      I think you’ll find this is plain old corruption between Russian oligarchs and a dynastic billionaire family. Is that who you’re siding with?

      Hmmm, you’re not an employee of the Russian Federation embassy by any chance are you, “Francesca”?

      • Francesca says:

        No, not an employee of the Russian embassy, but how thrilling to be suspected!, just not a fan of the group think on Russia which in Glenn Greenwald’s words has become the new Mccarthyism.
        I find it ridiculous.
        Of course, Kushner will be in trouble if the back channel was set up to collude with Russia on tipping the election,we’ll be waiting years for that red herring of an investigation to be wound up.
        But back channels per se as I wrioe before are diplomacy 101
        Kennedy had his brother Bobby back channelling with the Russians, Kissinger with Beijing via Pakistan all highly secretive,Kissinger and the KGB
        It is in the context of the Russians hacked our election that Kushner’s back channel is under attack,and frankly, while I’d rather Trump had never been elected, I just wish the Democrats would own their defeat and get serious about reform and a return to their core values.This Russia stuff is a monumental displacement strategy

        https://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Politics/2017/0530/Kushner-flap-A-brief-history-of-back-channels

        • Samwise says:

          If you’re not a Russian embassy employee, Francesca, you’re touting for Putin for free?

          • Francesca says:

            yet another example of neo McCarthyism, yet another example of bigotry
            One sided journalism is what I object to
            Group-think another
            I do not accept that Russia is the enemy,I don’t accept that Iran is the enemy,or China for that matter.
            I would prefer to live in a less combative,militaristic world where dialogue is freely undertaken between all countries
            Dogwhistle politics and grotesque cliches and vilifications don’t co exist with that desire, if that makes me an apologist for Putin, so be it.
            I was called a communist for protesting the Vietnam war, and pro Saddam for opposing the Iraq war.
            I lived through the terrifying Cuban missile crisis and have no appetite for a new cold war

            • D'Esterre says:

              Francesca: “I do not accept that Russia is the enemy,I don’t accept that Iran is the enemy,or China for that matter.
              I would prefer to live in a less combative,militaristic world where dialogue is freely undertaken between all countries.”

              Hear hear! I agree with all of your comments. I too lived through the Cuban missile crisis: no desire for a repeat. It was many, many years before I found out what really happened in that situation. And I have Noam Chomsky and other US commentators to thank for that.

              • Francesca: “I do not accept that Russia is the enemy,I don’t accept that Iran is the enemy,or China for that matter.
                I would prefer to live in a less combative,militaristic world where dialogue is freely undertaken between all countries.”

                D’Esterre, and Francesca – you both bend over backwards to apologise for that demagogue in the White House to such a degree that even your comments bear no relation to reality.

                You both agree with the sentiment that you “don’t accept that Iran is the enemy”?

                Well, isn’t that just hunky-dory.

                Perhaps you two cheerleaders for The Donald should tell him that. His views on Iran seem to be at variance with yours;

                Trump to Israel’s PM, Netanyahu;

                “Iran will never have nuclear weapons, that I can tell you.”

                ref: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-39973197

                “What’s happened with Iran has brought many of the parts of the Middle East toward Israel.”

                ref: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-05-22/iran-concern-bringing-israel-arab-states-together/8548634

                “We are great allies [the United States and Israel]. We have so many opportunities in front of us. But we must seize them together. We must take advantage of the situation, and there are many, many things that can happen now that would never have been able to happen before. And we understand that very well. That includes advancing prosperity, defeating the evils of terrorism, and facing the threat of an Iranian regime that is threatening the region and causing so much violence and suffering.”

                ref: http://iranprimer.usip.org/blog/2017/may/22/trump-iran-saudi-arabia-israel

                “What I would hope – is that Rouhani now has a new term, and that he use that term to begin a process of dismantling Iran’s network of terrorism, dismantling its financing of the terrorist network, dismantling of the manning and the logistics and everything that they provide to these destabilizing forces that exist in this region.

                ref: http://iranprimer.usip.org/blog/2017/may/22/trump-iran-saudi-arabia-israel

                “Until the Iranian regime is willing to be a partner for peace, all nations of conscience must work together to isolate Iran, deny it funding for terrorism, and pray for the day when the Iranian people have the just and righteous government they deserve.”

                ref: https://sputniknews.com/middleeast/201706011054177699-trump-anti-iran-coalition-crumbles/

                On Twitter, 4 Feb 2017;

                “Iran is playing with fire – they don’t appreciate how “kind” President Obama was to them. Not me!”

                ref:https://twitter.com/realdonaldtrump/status/827478751931924480?lang=en

                On Twitter, 3 Feb 2017;

                “Iran has been formally PUT ON NOTICE for firing a ballistic missile.Should have been thankful for the terrible deal the U.S. made with them!”

                ref: https://twitter.com/realdonaldtrump/status/827118012784373760?lang=en

                On Twitter, 28 Sept 2013;


                Iran is toying with our president – buying time and laughing at the stupidity of our leadership. Syria, and now this! What’s next?”

                ref: https://twitter.com/realdonaldtrump/status/383739370261725184

                Russia’s RT News has also reported Trump’s hysterical threats against Iran: https://www.rt.com/usa/376184-trump-not-kind-iran-missile/

                Your expression of fairness and support for Iran is not shared by your Dear Leader in the White House. In fact, The Donald has just signed a US$110 billion arms deal with the head-chopping regime in Saudi Arabia which is a sworn enemy of Iran. (From the Trump Colouring-In Book on International Relations: Saudi head-choppers = good. ISIS head-choppers = bad.)

                The next regional conflict in the Middle East may be between Saudi Arabia and Iran. And it will be fuelled by advanced, destructive weapons supplied by Trump’s administration and with Trump’s blessing.

                Think I’m making it up? Check out what one Saudi “Prince” and Defence Minister Prince Mohammed bin Salman said about a coming war with Iran;

                “We won’t wait for the battle to be in Saudi Arabia. We’ll work so that the battle is for them in Iran.”

                ref: http://theconversation.com/after-trumps-visit-saudi-arabia-hopes-to-reinforce-its-influence-in-the-region-against-iran-78640

                So it’s not this Forum you two should be preaching at – try the White House. Your Dear Leader is aching for a war with Iran.

                • Francesca says:

                  You’re singing to the choir here Frank, I can’t stand Trump, or any recent US president for that matter.
                  I just don’t see that he’s any different from the others apart from the fact that he doesn’t pretend American interests have anything humanitarian about them
                  The only thing he had going for him in my book was that he was going to withdraw from foreign wars, build infrastructure and “get along ” with other countries. Thats gone by the board now
                  However, this smearing him with the evil Russia card is going to make it absolutely impossible for him to have decent dialogue and back channel with the Russians, which in todays world is absolutely vital if we are to avoid nuclear catastrophe
                  Like it or lump it he is the President of the USA, and like it or lump it Putin is
                  the President of the Russian
                  Federation.
                  Those two need to be able to talk if we are to avoid a huge conflagration in Syria for example.
                  Without Kennedy’s secret back channel with Kruschev, The Cuban missile crisis could have meant the end of the world
                  This vilification of Putin and Russia will not end well, it makes peaceful negotiations impossible, and will force Trump to do something utterly catastrophic to prove his loyalty
                  Grow up!

                • Theodore says:

                  +1

            • Priss says:

              Well, Francesca, it’s either “mccarthyism” (as you put it) or slavish obedience to a demagogue who has just sold $100 billion worth of weapons to a despotic Saudi regime. Take your pick.

              Will you still support your Orange Idol when he abrogates America’s committment to the Paris Accord of global warming?? Or is THAT someone else’s responsibility as well.

              • Francesca says:

                A closer reading of my comments would show that I am no fan of Trump, and the alternative is not McCarthyism

                • D'Esterre says:

                  Francesca: “A closer reading of my comments would show that I am no fan of Trump, and the alternative is not McCarthyism.”

                  Indeed. Pity that some commenters have trouble grasping this.

          • D'Esterre says:

            Samwise: “….you’re touting for Putin for free?”

            Oh, there you go! There I was up above, awaiting the arrival of “Putin fan boy”, and it was here from you all along! Bye-bye argument, hello name-calling…

          • Dirk McGurk says:

            Sammy, my dear chap, I personally don’t work for the Russian embassy but I know a few of the embassy staff – they get quite a lot of rather silly hatemail from the likes of you, and I imagine they’d be terribly grateful if you’d give it a rest.

            Also, before I forget – have you any preferences on this year’s election result? There’s been some very lively debate at the embassy on how to hack it this time. Consensus at the moment is to deliver a landslide for McGillicuddy Serious – I tried pointing that they haven’t existed for some years, but the embassy folks nevertheless feel they’re an idea whose time has come.

            • D'Esterre says:

              Dirk McGurk: “Consensus at the moment is to deliver a landslide for McGillicuddy Serious…”

              Do you think that they could swing it for the Legalise Cannabis party? Now THAT’d be a hack worth pulling off…

      • D'Esterre says:

        Sally’s Husband: “I think you’ll find this is plain old corruption between Russian oligarchs and a dynastic billionaire family.”

        How the hell would this be corruption? The Trumps can borrow money from whomever they want to: demonstrate how that would be corruption. Or are you saying that it’s corruption because it’s a Russian bank? As opposed, say, to a British or a Deutsch bank. Even assuming that it’s factual…..

        “…you’re not an employee of the Russian Federation embassy by any chance are you, “Francesca”?”

        This is an example of a “have you stopped beating your wife yet” question: in other words, a complex question fallacy. It suggests to me that you’ve run out of arguments; I await name-calling: the usual is “Putin fan boy”. And its arrival is a definite indicator of the absence of arguments.

        For any of us to take your comments seriously, you need to do better than this.

    • D'Esterre says:

      Francesca: “barebacked Putin(put up to it by his American PR firm Ketchum by the way, purely for the domestic Russian market who seem to have lapped it up)”

      You’re right about that, Francesca. In recent years, I’ve read that Putin didn’t like that stuff at all: it didn’t fit with his personality, and he canned it for that reason.

  3. Priss says:

    “Well he may not get the chance now because Kushner is like, so embarrassing since he discussed setting up a back-channel between Russia and the Trump transition team. ”

    It appears that Trump may have borrowed hundreds of millions of dollars from Russian banks. Especially banks closely aligned with Putin and his cronies.

    The world is edging closer to rule-by-oligarchs (actually, it’s been like that for a long time).

    No wonder Trump got rid of Comey and Sally Yates. His nefarious activities were being scrutinised by the few honest people remaining in Washington.

    The next chant we hear won’t be “LOCK HER UP LOCK HER UP”. It’ll be “IMPEACH HIM NOW IMPEACH HIM NOW!”

    #crookeddonald

    • Samwise says:

      IMPEACH HIM NOW! IMPEACH HIM NOW!

    • D'Esterre says:

      Priss: “….Trump may have borrowed hundreds of millions of dollars from Russian banks. Especially banks closely aligned with Putin and his cronies.’

      Explain how this would be corruption. Is it corruption to borrow from a Russian bank but not-corruption to borrow from a Pommie bank? Or a German or French bank? You need to o better than bald assertions of corruption.

      “The world is edging closer to rule-by-oligarchs (actually, it’s been like that for a long time).”

      Well, we’re either there or we’re not yet there. Which is it?

      “No wonder Trump got rid of….Sally Yates.” Now I know that you’re being cutesy cutesy: you know perfectly well why Sally Yates was sacked, and it had sod-all to do with the Russian furphy or any of that stuff. Go look it up if you’ve conveniently forgotten.

      • You are splitting hairs and being disingenuous. Priss has put the situation to you and you’re being evasive with your response.

        One thing seems clear, D’Esterre, you turn a blind eye to corruption when it suits you. You make an excellent agent for the Oligarchy.

        • D'Esterre says:

          Frank Macskasy: “One thing seems clear, D’Esterre, you turn a blind eye to corruption when it suits you.”

          Frank, you and Priss are the ones asserting corruption, not me. I want you and Priss to explain yourselves. What is corrupt about it? Or are you just uncritically repeating what the msm – in particular the British and US – are asserting? Produce the evidence of corruption, if you would be so good. Actual evidence, mind, not the unsupported assertions of the aforementioned media.

          ” You make an excellent agent for the Oligarchy.”

          Another example of the complex question fallacy. It suggests that you’ve run out of arguments; next step is name-calling….

  4. Historian pete says:

    How long is it going to be before you understand that the situation in Ukraine was caused by the U.S coup d’etat carried out by the C.I.A.

    • Historian pete says:

      “Putin is probably really excited NATO wont be checking future aggressions like those in Crimea”

      What is really woeful here is an absolute ignorance of events in the Ukraine!Crimea was a reaction to U.S. Empire aggression: to the U.S CIA coup d’etat in the Ukraine against a democratically elected govt.,organised in the usual regime change operation with the help of 5 billion dollars. Crimea ,which was the only warm water port for Russia and was being leased to Russia by the Ukraine, and had been part of Russia for hundreds of years,Since Catharine the Great!The U.S.Empire plan was to make it a Nato base,and so weaken Russia.Just like the U.S Empire plan in the1990’s to break the agreement for the Soviet Union to break up the Soviet Empire ,in return for the Nato bloc to not move an inch towards Russia’s borders.All the aggression has been from the U.S.Empire and Nato!So ,apologists for the U.S.Empire and their Nato lackeys. Please explain where I have got this wrong!!

      • D'Esterre says:

        Historian Pete: “What is really woeful here is an absolute ignorance of events in the Ukraine!”

        I couldn’t agree more. That situation neatly illustrates what Goebbels said: “If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it.”

        It is the responsibility of everyone – but especially journalists – to treat the “just-so” stories out of the US with scepticism. Don’t take at face value what the msm tells you. About anything much, of course, but certainly about the Ukraine.

  5. chris McMahon says:

    I understand Kennedy and Khrushchev used a back channel involving secret letters to talk to each other during the Cuban Missile Crisis. Was this the same or different to Kushner’s activities?

    • Chris, that depends. Was there a Russian bank involved that issued $100 million dollars loans to Kennedy and his golf course business?

      • D'Esterre says:

        Frank Macskasy: “Was there a Russian bank involved that issued $100 million dollars loans to Kennedy and his golf course business?”

        A facile comment that trivialises what was a critical situation. I remember it all too well. This isn’t worthy of you.

        • Sally's Husband says:

          And yet, it’s a fair point isn’t it, Desterre? We excoriated Key for lesser conflicts of interest with his so-called “blind trusts” and shares in Tranzrail. I think we can safely extend the same principles to other world leaders, regardless of favoritism.

  6. D'Esterre says:

    A few months ago, the NZ journalist Michael Field proffered the view that there are no longer any foreign affairs specialists among NZ journalists, which deficit is to NZ citizens’ great disadvantage. He’s right, sadly.

    For that reason, I come to the blogosphere, in search of nuanced and dispassionate analysis – heck, any analysis – on what’s happening in other parts of the world. I’ve long since given up on finding anything of that sort in our mainstream news media, which nowadays is execrable. Outlets uncritically reprint or rebroadcast propaganda and one-dimensional twaddle from overseas msm.

    So: I persisted with this post, despite having been underwhelmed by the author’s earlier effort on this site.

    I was sorry that I did. In a comment above, Francesca very neatly summed up the problems with it. Dispassionate journalism it ain’t: it’s an anti-Trump (and anti-Putin) rant. To make matters worse, it’s full of misspellings and inaccuracies.

    If you are going to write about the newest iteration of the French president, it’s a really good idea to get his name right. You’ve called him “Macon”; depending on the diacritic one adds, that means either “builder” or a variety of wine. Absent the diacritic, the word means cured mutton. In fact, his last name is “Macron”: also a diacritic, as it happens, and one with which we here in NZ should be familiar. It’s the horizontal bar used above some vowels in te reo, to mark the fact that it’s a long vowel in pronunciation.

    Please note also that the past tense of “lead” is “led”. The word you were searching for somewhere in there was not “crapy” but “crappy”; the White House is two words, not “Whitehouse” – which is the name of an erstwhile notorious British morals campaigner.

    Then there are all those inaccuracies with regard to international events. Historian Pete and Francesca have both put you right on the issue of the Crimea: you are just plain wrong about this.

    The McCarthyist claims of Russian interference in the 2016 election are just that: claims only. No evidence has been produced, yet you can bet your boots that, were there any truth to this story, US intel would already know about it, and so would we. The fact that there’s been nothing of substance to date tells us that they have nothing. Any “evidence” produced from now on, we can safely consign to the “weapons of mass destruction” bin.

    In the normal course of events, I wouldn’t criticise spelling errors, but you’re holding yourself out to be a journalist; such errors bespeak sloppiness. We the readers expect and deserve a great deal better than this.

    This article is evidence in support of Field’s comment about the absence of foreign affairs specialists among our journalists. If you would do this sort of journalism, you need to be a great deal better-educated in both international events, at least since WW2, and in history generally. A good knowledge of politics would also be advantageous. And don’t rely on the overseas or local msm for sources.

  7. Archonblatter says:

    @Historian Pete

    “What is really woeful here is an absolute ignorance of events in the Ukraine!”

    Quite right, and ignorance of a great deal else it seems. Trump is no more than the inevitable end point of US history, but the favoured ‘bash the nasty male’ subject of lady journalists everywhere none of whom I imagine, have ever listened to the speeches of Putin, the statements of the R F Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov or of R F spokeswoman the brilliant Maria Zakharova.
    A dreary, predictable article lacking depth and knowledge.

    • D'Esterre says:

      Archonblatter: “…the speeches of Putin, the statements of the R F Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov or of R F spokeswoman the brilliant Maria Zakharova.”

      They give great speeches, don’t they? And Maria Zakharova: she’s brilliant, right enough.

      Would that we in NZ had pollies of their calibre; but I suspect that a thin skin of ice will be forming over Hell before that happens….

      “A dreary, predictable article lacking depth and knowledge.”

      Yup. Sums it up in a sentence. I wish I’d thought of that!

      • Would that we in NZ had pollies of their calibre; but I suspect that a thin skin of ice will be forming over Hell before that happens….

        No thanks. We had Key and his cronies.

        We don’t need Oligarchs from other countries, as much as you seem to dote on them, D’Esterre. Putin, Trump… you certainly display a ‘thing’ for demagogues.

        • Archonblatter says:

          @Frank Macskasy

          “No thanks. We had Key and his cronies.

          We don’t need Oligarchs from other countries, as much as you seem to dote on them, D’Esterre. Putin, Trump… you certainly display a ‘thing’ for demagogues.”

          An oligarch is not the same animal as an elected politician.
          I am astounded that you have the gall to compare a world stateman like Putin with the forgettable creature who recently slithered off the small time stage of local politics. Small wonder that New Zealand is stuck, it seems forever, in narrow, tunnel visioned, lack lustre mediocrity.

  8. D'Esterre says:

    Frank Macskasy: “D’Esterre, and Francesca – you both bend over backwards to apologise for that demagogue in the White House to such a degree that even your comments bear no relation to reality.”

    My dear fellow, what on earth are you talking about? Critique of this blog post doesn’t entail support for any particular leader. Clearly, you have trouble grasping that fact.

    I agree with Francesca: I too would like to live in a multi-polar, less militaristic world. Russia, Iran, China, North Korea, Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan: these countries aren’t our enemies. We don’t have to like their systems of government, their politics or their leaders; we just don’t see them as enemies. And they’re not.

    Surely, therefore, it is obvious to you that we don’t agree with Trump’s stance on these countries? And – a fortiori – his cosying up to Israel and Saudi? I would have thought that it scarcely needed to be said, but clearly I was wrong.

    It’s really important that you understand what other commenters are saying; don’t graft your own prejudices on to us, and don’t ascribe to us motivations that we don’t have. Go read up on Westphalianism: we need a great deal more of it from the west, in particular from Uncle Sam.

    • Nice bit of deflection. You haven’t addressed a single point I raised.

      If countries like Iran are not our enemies (which I agree), then how on Earth can you support a bloated, lying demagogue like Trump who is not only contemplating war with Iran and North Korea – but selling $110 million of weaponry to the Saudi regime?

      Trump is not an agent for a less militaristic world. He embodies militarism. His own words confirm it to anyone with a non-partisan mind; Trump is simply another variant of the Washington Hegemony and not the “anti-establishment rebel” you think he is.

      • D'Esterre says:

        Frank Macskasy: “….how on Earth can you support a bloated, lying demagogue like Trump…”

        Christ all-bloody-mighty! NOW I’m getting annoyed. Can you not read? We have already said that we don’t support Trump: what the hell else do you want? Surely it’s blindingly obvious?

        It’s none of our damn business whom Americans elect to be their POTUS; though we all wish that they’d shown a little more discernment over the past 25 years or so. Mind you, look at who they’ve had to choose from, poor sods.

        In the latest election, if the DNC hadn’t white-anted Bernie Sanders’ campaign in a wrong-headed and futile bid to support the egregious Clinton, it’s possible that he’d have got the Dem nomination. AND it’s possible that he’d have snatched the White House from Trump. Unfortunately, that train’s left the station.

        Where Trump’s actions ought to – and do – concern us is in foreign policy. We do not like the line he’s taking in the ME. As we have said. Repeatedly. Sigh…. On the other hand, many of us held out hope that, once elected, he could pursue his policy of detente with Russia. But that really really bunched neocon undies, didn’t it? Looks as if it won’t happen now.

        It’s small consolation to know that if la Clinton had been elected, we would likely be at war by now; pick your target, she had plenty of ’em. I have offspring of conscriptable age, therefore a vested interest in peace.

        I suspect that Tillerson’s impending visit is to twist our government’s arm up its back over more troop deployments in the ME. Just as LBJ did to Holyoake all those years ago over the Vietnam war. Let’s hope that the current PM has the courage to hold the line as well as Holyoake did. In case you’ve forgotten, Holyoake would agree only to volunteers, and only from the military. Unlike Australia, where we were recently; Australians were called up for service. We do not want to go down that path ever again.

        • It’s none of our damn business whom Americans elect to be their POTUS; though we all wish that they’d shown a little more discernment over the past 25 years or so. Mind you, look at who they’ve had to choose from, poor sods.

          Crap!

          That is the kind of support you are showing for Trump, D’Esterre – you’re just too afraid to come out and say it.

          You must be blindingly ignorant if you believe that the POTUS “is none of our business”. What kind of naive fool says that when the US has a direct influence on world affairs; selling high tech weapons; supporting coups; and now, today, abrograting the Paris Accord that affects us all.

          Grow up, D’Esterre. Your one eyed view of the US as some kind of ‘silo’ that does not affect us is gobsmacking ignorance.

          • Francesca says:

            Frank, whoa Tigger
            . D’Esterre has very clearly pointed out that we should be concerned as to who the POTUS is precisely because of his/her influence on world affairs.
            I feel that you are now snarling like a cornered rat defending your corner, which is affecting your thinking
            If this comment thread is any reflection on how people come to understand others viewpoints,I’m not holding my breath for world peace
            You take a segment of D’Esterre’s comment out of context then worry it like a rat.
            Cool down

            • Samwise says:

              Actually, I think Frank has made a valid point. We all have to be concerned with what the US president gets up to. It affects us all. So for D’Esterre to suggest it’s none of our business is dangerously naive.

              Just ask the people of Palestine and Latin America about US policies impacting in their lives.

              If you’re not blind adherents to Trump, D’Estter and Francesca, you certainly make apologistic noises for his corruption.

              • Francesca says:

                please read further down the line of D’Esterre’s post He made the point well before Frank

      • Francesca says:

        Why are you being so bone headed?
        I can’t see a single instance where D’Esterre has endorsed Trump
        Please point out to me where I myself have expressed any admiration towards Trump.You are becoming blinded by a kind of Bush like “You’re either with us or against us”
        I dislike the kind of trivialised journalism that seeks to mock rather than get to grip with underlying issues.Do you interpret this as a defence of Trump?

    • Historian pete says:

      What you need to grasp D’Esterre is that there is absolutely no position you can take to stop Frank from calling you a supporter of Trump.I have on this blogsite called Trump ” Herr Trump”, a buffoon, a moron, the leader of the state terrorist U.S. Empire Fourth Reich,the leader of the Axis of Evil [ the other two being of course Israel and Saudi Arabia].And still I am counted as a supporter of Trump. Get the picture?!

      • D'Esterre says:

        Historian Pete: “there is absolutely no position you can take to stop Frank from calling you a supporter of Trump.”

        Sigh….so it seems.Yes, I’d noticed what he’s said to you on the topic in previous comment threads. I find it quite extraordinary.

        Pearls before swine, I guess?

        • Francesca says:

          The reading and comprehension skills are staggeringly poor.
          Frank and Samwise rush to the keyboard before even reading the entirety of the post.
          “The best lack all conviction while the worst are full of passionate intensity”

    • ALH84001 says:

      D’esterre/Francesa, if you two aren’t Trump supporters, your certainly devoting a hell of a lot of energy arguing with Frank and others who also aren’t Trump supporters.

      Kind of a funny way to express your opposition to the Orange One?

      By the way, what’s your views on Trump pulling out of the Paris Climate Accord? Or can’t we talk about that either?

      • D'Esterre says:

        ALH84001: “By the way, what’s your views on Trump pulling out of the Paris Climate Accord? Or can’t we talk about that either?”

        Say what? Have you read the original article? It was posted May 31, and doesn’t deal with the Paris climate accord. We were all responding to the article, not to something that hadn’t happened yet.

      • D'Esterre says:

        ALH84001: “D’esterre/Francesa, if you two aren’t Trump supporters, your certainly devoting a hell of a lot of energy arguing with Frank and others who also aren’t Trump supporters.”

        Firstly, we are NZ citizens; it’s entirely inappropriate for NZers to be “Trump supporters”. We couldn’t vote in the US election, because we aren’t US citizens. Well, I can’t speak for Francesca, but I’m certainly not. Being a supporter or otherwise simply doesn’t enter into it.

        Secondly, it’s Frank and Samwise who are arguing with us, not the other way about. We’re right, they’re wrong, hence their indignation.

  9. D'Esterre says:

    Francesca: “Frank, whoa Tigger”

    Damn! I wish I’d thought of that. Lovely….

    “I feel that you are now snarling like a cornered rat defending your corner, which is affecting your thinking”

    Yup, my view exactly. Frank seems to be unable to “hear” what we’ve been saying.

    “I dislike the kind of trivialised journalism that seeks to mock rather than get to grip with underlying issues.”

    Me too. I believe we’ve been extraordinarily badly-served by rubbish of the sort in this post, masquerading as journalism. It would be fantastic to see the return to NZ of serious, well-researched journalism focusing on foreign affairs in general. But I’m not holding my breath about this: unfortunately, it’s likely to remain necessary to look overseas and online for such journalism. Which is doubly unfortunate, because no journalists are writing about these issues from a NZ perspective. We the citizens are the losers.

    • Francesca says:

      Absolutely. This ultra partisan way of viewing the world always presages an almighty conflagration.Hotheads abound, with a very superficial take on world affairs
      Reading the Guardian these days, now that they,ve kicked out Pilger, Jonathan Cook and Jonathan Steele from his coverage of the Middle East, leads one to believe history started yesterday.
      Robert Fisk and Patrick Cockburn are still allowed to express their views(to a point) in the Independent, but generally the MSM is only useful for its comment sections.
      Cheers

  10. D'Esterre says:

    Frank Macskasy: “You must be blindingly ignorant if you believe that the POTUS “is none of our business”.”

    My dear fellow, of COURSE it’s none of our business: we aren’t US voters and we get no say in whom they elect. We may deplore Trump’s domestic policies, but whether you like it or not, we don’t get a say in that. I repeat: it’s none of our damn business. Westphalianism, remember? Go read up on it.

    As I have already said – but you seem to be unable to grasp – where we ought properly to be concerned with what the POTUS says and does is in the foreign affairs arena. Francesca and I have both expressed our concern at the trajectory of Trump’s policies in the ME. Conditions will worsen for the unfortunate inhabitants; since we apparently can’t exert any moderating influence on US policy, our polity would do well to withdraw our troops and stay the hell out of that part of the world.

    With regard to Russia, many of us would be greatly relieved if Trump were to revert to his original aim of pursuing detente. That would surely be to everyone’s advantage in eastern Europe.

    If all that you have left is reflexive lashing-out at me and Francesca, along with an apparently wilful refusal to understand what we’re saying, please just let it be. As Francesca says, calm down: go comment on something else.

    • Sally's Husband says:

      I could follow your arguments until you got to this point, Desterre,

      “My dear fellow, of COURSE it’s none of our business: we aren’t US voters and we get no say in whom they elect. ”

      That’s a ridiculous proposition by any measure. This is a political forum, Desterre. What did you think would be discussed here?

      Trump’s existence and influence cannot be dismissed. His actions and words have far-ranging consequences, especially on other jurisdictions with their own home-grown, native populist demagogues and right-wing movements.

      His actions and policies (such as they are) need to be assessed, discussed, debated. This is what mature adults do in a world that is now more entwined than ever.

      We cannot ignore Trump any more than we can ignore China in global economics. And believe me, I’d love to ignore that pompous fool. It’s going to be a very, very long four years.

      if he survives that long, god forbid.

  11. D'Esterre says:

    Francesca: “Robert Fisk and Patrick Cockburn are still allowed to express their views(to a point) in the Independent, but generally the MSM is only useful for its comment sections.”

    Indeed.The tragedy of what the msm has become isn’t restricted to the US. Old Blighty has the same issues, and for the same reasons. Given that UK outlets were once considered the voice of record, it’s a colossal slump in their standards.

    Samwise: “We all have to be concerned with what the US president gets up to. It affects us all. So for D’Esterre to suggest it’s none of our business is dangerously naive.”

    The point I was making went thataway! See it? It’s way up ahead there. If you run fast enough, you may catch up with it.

    “If you’re not blind adherents to Trump, D’Estter and Francesca, you certainly make apologistic noises for his corruption.”

    Sigh…. read again what Francesca and I have said. Repeatedly. Don’t run our comments through the lens of your own prejudices.

    It appears that you and Frank have some sort of blind spot on this issue. Give it up: you aren’t contributing anything of value to such debate as there has been on this thread. Turn your attention to something else, and give that dead horse some peace.

    • Otto Mann says:

      “My dear fellow, of COURSE it’s none of our business: we aren’t US voters and we get no say in whom they elect.”

      Are you for real?

      What do you expect us to discuss here? Cooking recipes?

      Where else do you think we should discuss a man who is one of the greatest menaces to our environment since Year Dot. Get a grip, D’esterre, Trump’s actions affect us all. We cannot turn a blind eye to his stupidity no matter how much you worship the Orange One.

  12. Theodore says:

    “My dear fellow, of COURSE it’s none of our business: we aren’t US voters and we get no say in whom they elect.”

    Yes it is, D’Esterre . Very much so.

    The US administration affects every nation on earth. It affects us all. Try asking the people of the middle east or Chile or Vietnam if it makes no difference.

    I recall you making that same remark a few weeks or months back. I thought it was just a mistaken way of expressing yourself. But you’ve repeated that statement.

    It is highly foolish to hold a view like that for the reasons I expressed above.

    I can only guess that it is a coded way for you to try to shut down debate on a Presidency that is unpredictable, dangerous, and beholding to Wall St (despite your and others assertions to the contrary).

    If you don’t want to discuss the US presidency, then don’t participate. Trying to get the rest of the world to ignore Trump’s shenanigans is like trying to dam flood.

    trump’s latest moves to abrogate US commitment to the Pais Accord is another example why we cannot ignore him, nor forego commenting on the new Washington paradigm.

    You can call me “lashing out” at you if you like, it don’t change a thing. Ignoring Trump is like ignoring a very big, bolshie, orange elephant in the room.

  13. D'Esterre says:

    Theodore: “The US administration affects every nation on earth. It affects us all. Try asking the people of the middle east or Chile or Vietnam if it makes no difference.”

    And yet we who aren’t US citizens get no say in its election. It’s US citizens’ business, not ours, whom they elect. Nor does our opinion on US administrations’ domestic policy matter a good goddamn, however much we may deplore it. This may be difficult for you, Frank and Samwise to accept, but there it is, an incontrovertible fact. You do realise, don’t you, how silly it looks, you and others wittering on about US affairs as if you were a US citizen?

    However – as Francesca and I have pointed out repeatedly – it is US foreign policy which is of moment to the rest of us. We have expressed our concern at the trajectory of Trump’s policy in the ME, and our preference for him to return to his pre-election plan for detente with Russia. I would add that none of our opinions on this issue will matter a damn, in any event. Uncle Sam isn’t remotely interested even in what our government thinks about US foreign policy, let alone what people like us think.

    “I can only guess that it is a coded way for you to try to shut down debate on a Presidency that is unpredictable, dangerous, and beholding to Wall St (despite your and others assertions to the contrary).”

    Using Francesca’s nifty phrasing: whoa, Tigger! Do not attempt to interrogate my motives, or to make claims as to what I have said. Speak for yourself, not for me.

    • Using Francesca’s nifty phrasing: whoa, Tigger! Do not attempt to interrogate my motives, or to make claims as to what I have said. Speak for yourself, not for me.

      You have spoken for yourself, D’Esterre. You’ve been crystal clear in trying to (a) defend Trump and (b) close down all criticism of the current US regime. I think plenty have understood your plain speaking on the issue.

      By the way, you accused me and others of ad hominems? Easy up on the Poo Bear references unless you want hypocrisy added to your resume.