One of our goals here is to bring you news and analysis that is “outside the box.” What are serious people saying that is different from popular opinion? Thursday, we found an article that sees Donald Trump’s bluster as an attempt to hide weakness.

In Yahoo News, Matt Bai, says, “Forget Trump’s Bluster. The world is walking all over him.”

. . . all this focus on Trump’s tweets and the stories about his boorishness abroad should please the White House no end. The more the narrative focuses on Trump’s toughness and bluster with our allies, the less anyone focuses on what’s really been exposed in these opening months of his presidency.

Trump is weak, and our rivals have figured it out. They’re walking all over the American president in a way we haven’t seen since at least the days of disco and Space Invaders.

Trump, weak? How can you say that??

Trump punches down. Like all bullies, he prefers to flex his muscle with those who are inherently smaller, or where the stakes are impossibly trivial. . .

A few weeks ago, just after Erdogan visited the White House, a bunch of Turkish goons kicked in the heads of [AMERICAN] protesters outside the country’s embassy on Massachusetts Avenue. Thanks to this excellent video analysis from the New York Times, we know that several of these thugs had ties to Turkey’s security service, and they could be seen conferring with the Turkish president himself before deciding to plunge into the crowd. . .

What did Trump, who talks so tough with other NATO allies, have to say about any of this? Where was the outraged tweet blasting back at a foreign incursion in the American capital? How many Turkish diplomats were expelled?

The answers are nothing, nowhere, and none. Erdogan flipped his middle finger to the White House, in full view of the world, and Trump hid in the West Wing, whining about his press coverage.

You can bet that Erdogan had been watching the way Trump handled Vladimir Putin, after Russian planes and subs showed up to menace the coasts off Alaska and Connecticut. A stronger leader might have politely put the Russians on notice that we take our borders seriously, and the next Russian pilot who wandered into our airspace might not be coming home.

So Turkey’s thugs beat up Americans on our soil. What else?

Then there’s Kim Jong Un, who’s setting off a new rocket every week now, boasting about his intention to reach American targets. . . Why are Trump’s competitors so confident they can brush him aside? Probably they can see that he doesn’t have much grasp of world affairs, or a ton of interest. . . But the better explanation is that other world leaders can sense something essential about Trump. The one thing they share is probably an innate ability to size people up. . .

And what they see in Trump is insecurity. The carrying on about his ratings and poll numbers, the impulsive tweets on a sleepless night, the childlike boasts and pleading diatribes — all of it betrays a need to be loved, rather than feared.

They look at how Trump sucks up to a miniature authoritarian like the Philippines’ [murderous] Rodrigo Duterte (who Trump gushed was doing “an unbelievably good job” during an embarrassing phone call in May), and they see a man who admires steel in others precisely because he doesn’t possess it himself.

But we only have ONE “superpower” in the world, now, right? Who cares what anyone else does or says?

All of this creates an opening for a leader like Merkel or France’s Emmanuel Macron, who see a vacuum emerging in the West. Macron made a point this week of demonstrating what spine in a statesman looks like, condemning Russia’s anti-gay bigotry and state-controlled media while standing next to Putin himself. (And this was after Macron gripped Trump’s hand as if he meant to pulverize and eat it.) . .

It’s one thing for the Russians to have poked our border patrol with no response. But what happens when their troops are crossing the border of a Baltic nation instead, because Putin figures no one will stop him? What happens when North Korea finally gets a rocket to Guam — because, you know, why not?

Meanwhile, the conservative Chicago Tribune warns that a weak president is also a risk at home.

Since Trump tends to lash out when losing, he remains a danger to democracy even if he is weakened, Ezra Klein argues. He could do plenty of lashing out in ways that tend to de-legitimize important democratic institutions such as the courts, Congress, the media and political parties.

On the other hand: As Politico’s Tara Palmeri reports, while Trump needs to be carefully managed in order to keep him from saying and doing inappropriate things, it’s not especially difficult to manipulate him. . . . For one thing, presidential weakness is bad for the nation. Without a strong president to push hard on executive branch departments and agencies, they’re liable to atrophy. . .

When you hire people who brag that they want to destroy the department they’re about to lead (most notably Betsy DeVos and Rick “Oops” Perry), matters are even worse when the president isn’t strong enough to stop the destruction.

For another, presidents who get frustrated because they can’t get Congress, the courts or even the executive branch to do what they want may turn to those within the presidential branch (that is, the White House staff and other agencies within the Executive Office of the President) to do their bidding. That’s the story of Watergate. . .

More likely, however, is the possibility that one or another faction within the administration will be able to manipulate the president into doing something destructive, or carry out big policy initiatives without his knowledge. The former is the story of the George W. Bush administration’s Iraq policy; the latter, Iran-Contra.

One sign of weakness is when a person values image over substance. In a recent article, we reported that while members of the GOP were beginning to talk about impeachment, Trump was only concerned with “how it played on TV.”

Note also that Trump’s response to the court’s rebuff of his Muslim ban was to say (in the headline), “It Makes Us Look Weak,” according to Fox News.

Meanwhile, Russia says Trump is weak.

The Chinese president also says Trump is a weak leader.

President Theodore Roosevelt famously advised, “Walk softly. . .and carry a big stick.” The Trump version, apparently, is, “Wave the stick and hope somebody cares.”

9 COMMENTS

  1. That’s because he is. He is pathetic. No integrity, no honesty, no eloquence, nothing. Just one huge, crass, dangerously harmful, unconstitutional train wreck.

  2. This article says a whole lot of nothing. What new president, be they Democrat or Republican isn’t initially tested by every foreign leader? Was the COMMUNITY ORGANIZER so fearsome that foreign leaders quacked in their boots? If they did it was because of the imposing presence of MOOCHELLE.?

    This article mentions about what hooligans the Turks were. Because of what they did, Trump should have kicked out the Turkish ambassador. Erdogan did what he wanted and in essence flipped off Trump. The article fails to mention that the US later armed the Kurds which in essence flipped off Turkey and Erdogan many times over.?

    Of course we get to the nutcase in North Korea. No President since Eisenhower has been able to rationally talk to that regime, what makes the author of this article think that President Trump will have better luck??

    Finally we get to the domestic situation. Ever since Trump became OUR PRESIDENT, something it seems that the loony left has forgotten, he has been hounded mercilessly. Politicians will be politicians and will always fight against opposing ideology. But then you throw in the liberal judges who are supposed to interpret the law, not bend the law to conform to their beliefs. Of course you have the FAUX NEWS of the MSM and the majority of celebrities in Holloywood who are against President Trump and will slam him multiple times a day. This is dangerous considering many liberals get their political information from the likes of Kim Kardashian.?

    All of these perceived problems could have been avoided if the Democratic party didn’t get the worst possible candidate to represent them. A woman who is a vile, elitist, phony, lying MEGLOMANIAC. Alas the Democrats are going to be the minority party for the next eight years at least.?

  3. The shooting at the baseball field happened because of pure ignorance. The Trump haters can’t accept reality.

    The Philippines loves President Duterte. He’s doing what is right for his country. The liberal wimpy left doesn’t care about the innocent.

  4. Rodrigo Duterte, the Philippines’ strongman leader, has taken a week off while swaths of his country continue to face the horrors of an Islamic State group (ISIS) siege. Philippine forces have been battling Islamist militants in Marawi for three weeks: Civilians are starving and some have resorted to “eating blankets” to survive.

    Duterte has not been seen in public since Saturday. Ernesto Abella, the presidential spokesman, told reporters Duterte was “tired” and needed to “rejuvenate.” The president missed Independence day celebrations leading some to question whether he was sick, but Abella said he was not ill.

    During his presidential campaign, the 72-year-old said that he did not have cancer but admitted to taking painkillers for a spinal injury.

    • President Duterte has been heavily involved in the fighting in Marawi. He’s worn out. That’s why he needs to take a break.

      You’ll find very few leaders as dedicated as he is. The Philippines, where I’m now living, needed President Duterte at least 20 years ago.

      President Duterte was mayor of Davao probably 20 years ago. He cleaned up Davao, the largest city in the Philippines, and it’s now safe.. It will take a lot for him to clean up the Philippines.

  5. The Trump Organization and Century Properties, own Trump Tower at Century City, a 250-unit luxury apartment building that opened last year in Makati City in Manila. Century Properties is led by Jose E.B. Antonio, whom Duterte appointed last fall as his economic envoy to the United States. Meaning, Trump has a personal, financial interest in being friendly with Duterte. Not presidential but nice work if you can get it.

    Tell me, exactly what is so foul in the Phillipines that Duterte needs to clean up? Since his inauguration as President June 30, 2016, Rodrigo Duterte and his so-called “war on drugs,” Philippine National Police officers and unidentified “vigilantes” have killed over 7,000 people and counting. Wouldn’t it be more humane if Duterte tried to stamp out poverty, fed the poor, and established shelters for the homeless?

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