Showing posts with label president. Show all posts
Showing posts with label president. Show all posts

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Covfefe - I don't know what it means, either

Trump tweeted a new word last night - "covfefe."

No one seems to know what it means.

I won't even hazard a guess.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Trump And NATO - Making The World Safe For Democracy

A century ago last month, President Woodrow Wilson announced the entry of the United States into World War I "to make the world safe for democracy."

Wilson might have made the announcement as early as January of 1917, except for one thing - the world's most oppressive autocrat - the Tsar of Russia - was a key member of the alliance against Germany and Austria. But then on March 8, 1917  the Russian people overthrew the Tsar and established a parliamentary government.

After that, Wilson wasted little time entering the war against Germany, whose submarines were destroying unarmed and neutral American merchant ships on the high seas.

Wilson declared a number of aspirational goals, spelling some out in his famous Fourteen Points. Among them: "Open covenants openly arrived at;" (no more secret treaties); "National self determination,"

The commitments to democracy and to national self determination proved to have a powerful positive influence on allied efforts against the Central Powers. That effect may well have been more powerful than the vast influx of arms and men to the Western Front.

Thus, Democracy was one of the most effective weapons for the allies and continued to be effective in negotiating the peace. We should never forget that.

What did Wilson mean by democracy? Holding elections was not enough. He meant countries that governed themselves.

Wilson's biggest disappointment was his failure to persuade Republicans to support the League of Nations. That failure to involve the United States in the proposed collective security measure at least contributed to the outbreak of World War II.

Seeing that war on the horizon, Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Winston Churchill tried again with the North Atlantic Charter in 1941. That charter became the foundation of the United Nations. The centerpiece: commitment to democracy and to national self determination.

At the time of the Charter, many observers of the international scene thought that authoritarian dictatorships were the wave of the future. Among those observers was Charles Lindbergh and his fellow members of the America First Movement. The Atlantic Charter declared otherwise:

The eight principal points of the Charter were:
  1. no territorial gains were to be sought by the United States or the United Kingdom;
  2. territorial adjustments must be in accord with the wishes of the peoples concerned;
  3. all people had a right to self-determination;
  4. trade barriers were to be lowered;
  5. there was to be global economic cooperation and advancement of social welfare;
  6. the participants would work for a world free of want and fear;
  7. the participants would work for freedom of the seas;
  8. there was to be disarmament of aggressor nations, and a post-war common disarmament.

Four years later, when our soldiers, sailors and airmen returned from the war, we all recognized the outcome reflected the triumph of democracy over authoritarian dictatorships. Over the following decades, we did our best (and largely succeeded) to extend the reach of democracy in the world.

This week in Brussels, President Donald J. Trump abandoned that effort.

This is a tragedy and an outcome up with which we should not put (to borrow from Churchill's observation about dangling prepositions.)

As we approach Memorial Day, please remember that many Americans have dedicated their adult lives to the defense of democracy. They have never sworn personal loyalty to any president (thanks to the foresight of our founders), but have sworn to protect and defend the Constitution, to which our loyalty belongs.

This is our oath to democracy.

Let's renew our global effort to defend democracy.