Trump’s Growing International Reputation For Dangerous Ignorance

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trump-world-3The election is over.  What has America done?  Are we better off with Trump instead of Clinton?  Throughout his business career and two presidential campaigns, critics across much of the political spectrum provided repeated warnings regarding Trump’s darker and more negative character traits. He will now be tested under the significantly intense and complex pressures of the world’s highest and most demanding leadership position.  Is this man stable and ready for the job?  Based on consistent patterns in his behavior, I cannot answer this question in the affirmative.

CBC News, a division of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, created a very informative documentary called, “The Rise and Rage of Donald Trump : The Fire Breather”. It highlights just how extreme and menacing the Trump candidacy is:

Canada, like 17 more of the top 20 richest countries in the world, has a very unfavorable view of Trump. He has created a high level of mistrust and serious concern for them. The regions exempt from these dominant negative feelings about him are specific portions of America and Russia as a whole, a nation directed by one of the 5 oppressive dictators that Trump has praised repeatedly: Vladimir Putin, Saddam Hussein, Kim Jong Un, Bashar al-Assad and Muammar Gaddafi. Much research has concluded this, including a YouGov/CNN poll in April 2016 of more than 20,000 adults. The analysts noted:

“Trump leads Clinton by 21 points in Russia, while Hillary has a lead of more than 21 points over Trump in 15 other countries….Perhaps least surprisingly of all, Hillary Clinton’s lead over Mr Trump is highest in Mexico, the country which a President Trump would screen behind a concrete wall along the US southern border. She leads Trump there by 54 points, scores ahead of the other G20 countries.”

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A Trump presidency is an international diplomatic disaster just waiting to happen, not to mention how many experts on both conservative and liberal sides say his domestic policies will seriously damage our economy and other aspects of our quality of life. The surveyed favorable opinions of civilians and records of public approval from world leaders of other countries toward the United States reached a serious low under Bush Jr. and were largely repaired during the Obama administration. These gains would almost certainly be lost if Trump is elected. In many parts of the world, a whole lot of people are already very troubled, baffled and disgusted by his unprofessionalism, pettiness, ignorance, bullying, hateful speech and isolationist policies.

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Time remarked in a piece titled, “The World Doesn’t Think Donald Trump Would Make a Great President, Poll Finds”:

“In a survey looking into the public image of the U.S. around the world, Trump inspires little confidence: 85% of the Europeans surveyed doubted Trump’s ability to do the right thing regarding world affairs. Among them, 92% of Swedes and 89% of Germans said they had no confidence in Trump’s ability to handle the international aspect of the presidency. Some 87% of Australians and 82% of Japanese agreed….The poll showed that Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton inspired confidence from the majority of countries surveyed. Across the 10 E.U. nations polled, 59% have faith that she will do the right thing in world affairs….But neither candidates enjoy the popularity of U.S. President Barack Obama, who received favorable rating on foreign affairs from 77% of Europeans. In 15 of the 16 countries surveyed, majorities expressed confidence in his proficiency when it comes to handling world affairs….Overall, the U.S. enjoys largely positive views around the world. At least 50% of people in every nation surveyed held favorable opinions of the U.S., with higher-than-average ratings in Poland (74%), Italy (72%) and Japan (72%)….The poll was conducted in 10 European nations, four major Asia-Pacific countries, Canada and the U.S.”

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International trust in the leadership and competency of Clinton has risen in the past 8 years:

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In many nations, Pew Research found that Trump is viewed as being even more disliked that Putin. UPI remarked about various surveys, “Republican Donald Trump…doesn’t enjoy high ratings in any of the countries polled. Only 9 percent of respondents in the 10 EU nations said they are confident in his ability to handle world affairs. Eighty-five percent expressed no confidence.”

Much of the attraction to Trump, according many of his followers, is that he speaks plainly and reacts to situations like a non-politician. This is reminiscent of the famous affinity that many Americans from the heartland, both geographically and metaphorically, had toward George Bush Jr. They felt they could relate to him as they would when having a beer with a friend. These two figures have in common a swaggering machoness and anti-intellectualism, in that they possess an apparently unlimited amount of self-confidence and value instincts over book learning. Is it bravery and acumen or recklessness and naiveté? Many seasoned politicians and analysts from around the world have said that these leaders’ self-assurance is more like arrogance and impulsive dismissal of advice from veteran counselors. They have concluded that Trump and Bush Jr. are missing two vital personal qualities that are necessary for anyone to achieve responsible and successful governance: 1) earnest mental curiosity about policy options and 2) introspection regarding one’s strengths and weaknesses. People that want their leaders to talk with explicit toughness and plain language like John Wayne or Clint Eastwood are enamored by those traits in Trump and Bush, even though it may have nothing to do with the country actually being improved or made safer because of their guidance. Their followers find a deep sense of comfort and security if someone is in charge who is visually and audibly strong, even when this is displayed to a cartoonish degree.

In large measure, American voters with an elevated desire for these same preferences didn’t roll their eyes and immediately reject similar candidates who, like Trump and Bush Jr., weren’t as knowledgeable on world history and governmental procedures as most previous leaders. They carried themselves in a much more casual manner, speaking off-the-cuff, while thinking and evaluating problems considerably more often from “the gut”. They placed a substantially smaller emphasis on rational argument and appeals to verifiable evidence. They mocked the traditional authority of seasoned political advisers and especially those in academia who were automatically judged to be out-of-touch with everyday Americans and common sense. This pattern supremely frustrated fact checkers because what felt true to these leaders or what they wished to be true many times didn’t remotely square with reality. Even given the relatively poor track record that typical American politicians have on consistently telling the truth, this new breed of office seekers set a lower standard. In 2006, comedian and political satirist Stephen Colbert called it “truthiness” in relation to the Bush administration. Over the next decade, more examples were offered from the GOP through Sarah Palin, Ben Carson and Herman Cain. These aspiring politicians spoke in an fiercely nationalistic way, along with a folksy quality that to a portion of the American people seemed refreshing in comparison to the professional class of Washington D.C. In July 2016, during an episode of The Late Show, Colbert recalled his invention of the word “truthiness” and compared it to the age of Trump. As reported by The Week:

“‘Just to remind you, 11 years ago, I invented a word: truthiness,’ Colbert said….’You see, truthiness is believing something that feels true, even if it isn’t supported by fact.’ He said that he (the Colbert Report Colbert) and Trump have a lot in common, both being ‘over-the-top TV personalities who decided to run for president,’ though Trump has surpassed him now. ‘Truthiness has to feel true, but Trumpiness doesn’t even have to do that,’ he explained. ‘In fact, many Trump supporters don’t believe his wildest promises, and they don’t care.’ He cited the border wall as an example. ‘If he doesn’t ever have to mean what he says, that means he can say anything,’ Colbert said. ‘Here’s the deal: Truthiness was from the gut, but Trumpiness clearly comes from much further down the gastrointestinal tract.'”

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