Trump World Grab-Bag--A Collection

Monday, May 22, 2017

Scenes from a Presidential Trip Abroad

Of all the things I was prepared to grimace about regarding President Trump's foreign travels, the idea of him giving a speech vaguely described as being "about Islam" in Saudi Arabia struck me as being obviously the most fraught with peril. The Muslim ban thing--not likely to be the greatest advance word-of-mouth recommendation regarding his opinions on things Islamic, you know? But the speech wasn't really terrible--given where many are setting the bar for such things on Trump's behalf, anyway. I'm not of the Muslim faith, so the eye-rolling parts might not stand out so much to me--I think that hitting on Iran's support of terror might be a little bit slanted to his SA audience (they just re-elected a moderate and ahem! SA also has their history with terror--and current events!)

But the part about "not lecturing" to the Islamic world also comes at the risk of admitting to the US turning its back to human rights issues in the Muslim world. I don't see that as a useful step for the US to be making, and it erodes the idea we've long-projected of American exceptionalism. The US has had its failings, but I don't think that means uselessness in the attempt to face what is, alongside of terrorism, a form of evil. It is this concern that casts a pall over the arms deal that has been signed--how are these weapons being used, and isn't Trump's Administration not, in signing this deal, also signing off on how they will be used?

I don't know what to make of the $100 million donation being made to Ivanka Trump's nascent women's empowerment fund that will be set up through World Bank and should not be, as I understand it, managed by Ms. Trump herself. (I basically think there's lots of room for crony capitalism in Trump's orbit.) Whether this is exactly like Trump's campaign criticisms regarding the Clinton Foundation strikes me as almost in the vicinity of the question of whether President Trump appeared to be curtseying like a lady--really? This is where we go? (Yeah--of course it is!)

But I have to give extra points to whoever set up the "hands on the glowing globe" photo, which is almost like movie shorthand for "we're just joining forces for world domination like villains do!" Of course, it's not a Giant Globe.  (We've seen how these can go wrong.) But it glows!

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