President Trump stunned the nation yesterday when he kicked off the New Year with a wild, two-hour-long avalanche of incoherent stream-of-consciousness ranting that touched on everything from the border wall to foreign policy to Kanye West.
In the course of his ramblings, he managed to offend not one, not two, but three allied nations who were horrified and confused by the drivel that Trump spewed off the top of his head that represented either enormous shifts in American foreign policy or appalling insults to friendly nations who had done nothing to deserve it.
The nations of Israel, India, and Afghanistan were all left fuming after the president’s unhinged performance.
These are headlines about one Trump Cabinet meeting. pic.twitter.com/GVFd4UiBG8
— Daniel Dale (@ddale8) January 3, 2019
The Times of Israel reports that a senior Israeli official was left in “shock” after President Trump offhandedly said that Iran could do “whatever it wants” in Syria after the United States pulls out its troops.
Admittedly, Iran already is doing “whatever it wants” in Syria, deploying thousands of troops to the front lines of the country’s civil war in support of Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad, much to the discomfort of their rival Israelis.
But Trump’s casual statements are a tacit endorsement of Iran doing “whatever it wants” in Syria, which our allies in Israel definitely do not want to hear. They’ve previously bombed Iranian targets within Syria as part of a larger effort to discourage Iran and their proxies from gaining too much influence across the border.
Why Trump said that is unclear and flies in direct contradiction of both statements by other members of his administration and U.S. foreign policy. While a new approach to relations with Iran is to be welcomed, this isn’t what anybody had in mind.
Several thousand miles away, Trump provoked confused anger in India when he slammed the Indians for constructing a “library” in the war-torn nation of Afghanistan, possibly griping about how they aren’t contributing enough to the coalition that has been unsuccessfully fighting the Taliban for seventeen years now.
Trump mocked Modi, I think, for reminding Trump that India built "a library" in Afghanistan: "We're supposed to say thank you for the library. I don't know who's using it, in Afghanistan…"
— Daniel Dale (@ddale8) January 2, 2019
While India did participate in the original coalition invasion, they are no longer part of the ongoing military mission and instead has spent $3 billion in projects to help rebuild Afghanistan, including an elite high school in Kabul, a 218-kilometer road, a large irrigation dam, a children’s hospital, and scholarships for thousands of Afghan students.
“India firmly believes in the critical role that developmental assistance can play in transforming human lives. India does not send its armed forces abroad except under the specific mandate of the UN Peacekeeping Operations,” fired back “puzzled and upset” Indian government sources. “India plays a significant role as a development partner” focused on creating “a tangible improvement in the lives of its people.”
“Trump doesn’t need to be taken seriously by anyone, as what he’s saying is not flowing from any wisdom or sagacity,” quipped Ajai Sahni, executive director of the Institute for Conflict Management to the Washington Times.
Considering how much damage and destruction the United States has inflicted on the country that by and large had nothing to do with the September 11th attacks beyond allowing a Saudi terror camp in the mountains, we should be very grateful to our Indian allies for helping the Afghan people get back on their feet and building medical centers to take out the shrapnel that we keep dumping into them.
The government of Afghanistan was similarly displeased with Trump, but for a different reason. Trump left the entire world scratching its head when he appeared to praise the 1979 Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, the conflict that led to the rise of the Taliban and set the stage for both the September 11th terror attacks and the current war in Afghanistan.
Trump: "Russia used to be the Soviet Union. Afghanistan made it Russia because they went bankrupt fighting in Afghanistan. Russia."
Trump then goes on to endorse the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. Via Fox. pic.twitter.com/oE0fuDLXyz
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) January 2, 2019
The Afghan government criticized Trump’s bizarre remarks, noting in a statement that “All presidents of America not only denounced this invasion but remained supporters of this holy jihad of the Afghans,” referring to the guerrilla war they successfully waged against the Soviet Union.
Other Afghan politicians were more scathing with their remarks. “Our war against the Soviets was righteous. The international community stood by us. We gave more than enough sacrifices. This man proves to be more mad than people think!” said Saleh Mohammad Saleh, a lawmaker from Konar province.
There’s a clear pattern of unrepentant disrespect that President Trump shows to non-European nations, as was recently shown by his failure to meet with any Iraqi officials on his recent surprise trip to Iraq. He makes it clear that he thinks we are superior to them and therefore they don’t need to be treated as equals, which is equally disgusting and counterproductive for a nation of our international power.
Coupled with his clear ignorance of both U.S. policy and basic modern history, we’re presented with yet more evidence that Donald Trump has no business being the leader of the United States. His presence in the White House is a disgrace to this nation and our next leader will have a hell of a time trying to fix the bridges that Trump appears intent on burning.