May. 25th, 2017

l33tminion: (AMERICA!)
For anyone interested in US politics, it's certainly been an interesting few weeks. Trump's definitely not afraid to make enemies, no one tells him what to do, and he goes with his gut when deciding what information to reveal to his friends (and never mind that five seconds ago team Trump was extremely concerned about the "careless" handling of classified information).

I mean, this isn't getting into things like cancelling a visit to Masada after being told they couldn't land directly on the summit (though I joke that Trump's refusal of the cable car ride shows that he's just that unwilling to take public transportation, it was probably due to tight scheduling) or saying "we just got back from the Middle East" in a speech in Israel or a careless note in the guestbook at Yad Vashem or that damn orb photo. Or even doing 100% of the things that Trump criticized Brack Obama, Michelle Obama, and Hillary Clinton for doing re Saudi Arabia. Or the contentious handshakes or assertiveness in a diplomatic crowd. Surely those things are akin to brown suits, dijon mustard, improper salutes, etc. Republicans really do seem to have found someone who mirrors Obama-as-perceived-by-Republicans in a lot of ways.

But seriously, it's a bit troubling if Republican attitudes about political protest have gone so far that Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross bragging about the wonderful lack of protest in Saudi Arabia doesn't seem remarkable to them. Or if Republican attitudes on law enforcement have gone so far that Trump calling President Duterte of the Philippines to say "I just wanted to congratulate you because I am hearing of the unbelievable job on the drug problem" isn't alarming, given that Duterte is an admitted murderer whose own analogy for his approach to the drug problem is that he is to drug addicts as Hitler was to the Jews.

There seems to be a big gap in perception of Trump's first overseas trip overall. It strikes me as pretty normal. A lot of general diplomacy and ceremonial finishing touches on deals years in the works. But the Trump supporters' view seems to be that this is something history-making. Well, I should give some credit. Trump's Riyadh speech was bold in a lot of ways, and surely will draw comparison to Obama's 2009 Cairo speech. It does seem to be a significant turn in rhetoric in some ways, though I'm not going to attempt any detailed analysis right now. Trump's visit to the Western Wall also seems significant. While that didn't include an announcement that Trump is moving the US embassy to Jerusalem as some speculated it would (since Trump's suggested that before) it rhetorically does seem to be moving away from a bit of US diplomatic rhetoric about the status of Jerusalem (that the future of Jerusalem should be part of a negotiated settlement) that's not based on any reasonable person's expectation about the future status of Jerusalem (it's not in any meaningful sense negotiable).
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