In response to an FT Blog by Larry Summers on 9th July 2017, entitled 'Donald Trump's alarming G20 performance'
My original response to Summers article was held pending. It eventually re-appeared a couple of hours later. This is a fuller version.
In a valiant attempt to stem the tide of his own irrelevance, this week Larry Summers returned to the FT's second favourite form of virtue signalling - 'Trumpophobia'. (Regular pop-pickers will be aware that 'Brexit Denial' is still riding high after a record 65 weeks at number one).
Firstly, on context:
‘The existence of the G20 as an annual forum arose from a common belief of major nations that there was a global community with common interests in peace, mutual security, prosperity and economic integration and the containment of threats even as there was competition between nations in the security and economic realms’ - Larry Summers
The first G20 meeting of Heads of State was nothing to do with ‘peace and mutual security’. It was a response to the financial panic in 2008, on the initiative of Bush and Sarkozy, because A) They recognised (or in Bush's case were told) that China would be needed to bail out the global economy, and China was not a member of the G7. B) It was way above the pay grade of the existing G20 of Finance Heads, which although it had been in existence since 1999, had totally missed the crisis as it unfolded right under their noses.
Secondly, on substance:
If you are genuinely concerned about Trump's danger to ‘peace and mutual security’, then your attacks these past months have missed the mark badly. Why no outrage when he bombed Syria on the basis of zero substantive evidence of a chemical attack from Assad? Why no mention of this?
"I stand ready to provide the country with any analysis and help that is within my power to supply. What I can say for sure herein is that what the country is now being told by the White House cannot be true and the fact that this information has been provided in this format raises the most serious questions about the handling of our national security"
- Dr Theodore Postol, Professor Emeritus of Science, Technology, and National Security Policy, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
I don’t think your problem with Trump has anything to do with ‘peace and mutual security’. The most peace-disturbing thing about Donald Trump is his sudden ‘conversion’ to the neoconservative/liberal interventionist narrative, which you have made no mention of. Power hungry ‘liberals’ like your chum Hillary Clinton are firmly aligned with 'neocon' morons like John McCain in their desire for confrontation with Russia and Iran…even if it means lying through their teeth about the main sponsors of terror in the west: Saudi Arabia.
But it seems that for you, this pales into insignificance next to this:
“It is rare for heads of government to step away from the table during major summits. When it is necessary, their place is normally taken by the foreign minister or another very senior government official. There is no precedent for a head of government’s adult child taking a seat, as was the case when Ivanka Trump took her father’s place at the G20. There is no precedent for good reason. It is insulting to the others present and sends a signal of disempowerment regarding senior officials” - Larry Summers
Aw diddums. Have a few of your pals had their fragile egos put out of joint? Tell them to have a nice cup of cocoa and find an adult to speak to. They should try Angela Merkel - apparently her ego is not suffering under the trauma of insult, and according to her, ‘stepping away’ is not unusual.
Finally, on your moral outrage on behalf of the constitution:
“The president’s cabinet and his political allies in Congress should never forget that the oaths they swore were not to the defence of the president but to the defence of the constitution” - Larry Summers
I’m glad you’ve come round to the idea that there’s a constitution worth defending. It’s a pity that you didn’t make any fuss over the previous 15 years when Bush and Obama were systematically trashing the fourth amendment. What you are hinting at here however, although you lack the necessary vertebra to call for it openly: is impeachment...or direct removal through an invocation of the 25th amendment. You may get your wish. You’ve got a lot of ‘soul mates’ to help out - Washington is full of scared politicians and cheap hacks dressing up their personal agendas as ‘principle’. Sadly this is not new:
“My choice early in life was either to be a piano player in a whorehouse or a politician. And to tell the truth, there’s hardly any difference’
- Harry S. Truman
Cheese and Biscuits:
Amongst the cacophony of crud that surrounds the G20, the single most important event that happened this weekend will be overlooked or attacked: Donald Trump spent two and a half hours talking to a guy who could help him deal with terrorism, and avoid world war three - Vladimir Putin. And that is what most scares the power brokers in Washington - rapprochement with Russia is not to their imperial taste.