For the last two years, Donald Trump’s Twitter feed has been de facto required reading for anyone wanting to keep abreast of current events. It’s one big reason world leaders have been more than a little queasy whenever Trump takes to Twitter in order to pound his “America First” line or deny that Russia tried to hack the election.
However, at this weekend’s Munich Security Conference, the annual international gathering of foreign policy experts, American attendees from both parties have found themselves in an unusual position. They’re telling their European counterparts that despite Trump’s incessant tweets, our foreign policy commitments remain unchanged.
Tellingly, members of both parties are on the same page with this line. For instance, at a forum on American foreign policy, Democratic Senator Jeanne Shaheen told the mostly European audience that “here is a lot more support for continuing our past policies than it might appear” from Trump’s tweets. Shaheen, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Homeland Security, added that the people “who are actually operationalizing policy”–that is, the people doing the day-to-day work of representing American interests–almost unanimously support staying the course.
Earlier, National Security Adviser H. R. McMaster told another forum that there is now “incontrovertible” evidence that Russia hacked the election. He also diluted his previous statements calling for a world where nations “compete for advantage,” saying he was actually calling for greater cooperation among Western powers. Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats took a similar view.
Despite this, German foreign minister Sigmar Gabriel isn’t sure whom to believe.
“Is it deeds? Is it words? Is it tweets?”
Another European diplomat wondered if McMaster and other American foreign policy and national security experts are going down the same route that Germany’s elite traveled during Hitler’s rise. Many of them continued to serve in the government for what they saw as the good of the Reich. Tellingly, this diplomat asked The Washington Post not to reveal his name for fear of antagonizing the Donald.
Trump himself may have provided an object example why European diplomats are so skittish. When McMaster declared that there was no doubt Russia hacked the election, he got a 280-character rebuke from Trump.
General McMaster forgot to say that the results of the 2016 election were not impacted or changed by the Russians and that the only Collusion was between Russia and Crooked H, the DNC and the Dems. Remember the Dirty Dossier, Uranium, Speeches, Emails and the Podesta Company!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 18, 2018
According to The Post, Gabriel isn’t sure “whether he could recognize the United States”–a view held by a lot of other people on his side of the Atlantic. Trump’s public trashing of his own National Security Adviser more than justified this wariness.
(featured image courtesy InfoWars)