A nation can survive its fools, but can America survive its president?

Armstrong Williams | 7/19/2018, 10:48 a.m.
It is already all over the “fake news” that President Trump openly criticized the FBI and the rest of America’s ...
Armstrong Williams

It is already all over the “fake news” that President Trump openly criticized the FBI and the rest of America’s intelligence community during his meeting in Helsinki this week with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Except that it wasn’t fake news. The president actually went on live television on foreign soil and did just that.

It is one thing to criticize what the president has termed a “witch hunt” into his campaign’s alleged ties to Russian operatives attempting to influence the 2016 election. Certainly, there are justifiable reasons to suspect the Mueller probe has exceeded its mandate and gone fishing far and wide for crimes that do not fit the scope of the investigation. But it is quite another thing to go before the leader of a foreign adversary, Russia, and openly chastise the entire U.S. intelligence community.

Such a show of disunity and disrespect for American patriots in an international forum is hardly a demonstration of U.S. strength and resolve. Reportedly, the president decided to flatly ignore the recommend course of action prescribed by his national security and foreign policy advisers, seeming to go it alone in Helsinki with an attempt to ingratiate himself with Putin at any cost.

Only days before, the president saw this fly by the seat of his pants approach to foreign affairs backfire when he gave an audience in Singapore to North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. By sitting down with Kim—the first time in more than three decades a U.S. president has met directly with a North Korean leader—Trump handed Kim an impressive public relations victory. Pleasantries were exchanged and photo-ops taken. But in the aftermath of the meeting, the North Korean government immediately broke assurances that it was suspending its nuclear weapons testing programs.

North Korea then spurned follow-up meetings with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo last week, fueling stark speculation that the overtures made by Trump in Singapore were not likely to result in substantive talks about moving forward toward denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula.

The motive behind the president’s unorthodox foreign policy dealings seems to be a burning ambition to reduce America’s military and financial commitments abroad, a misguided approach to putting “America First,” as he has promised. The methods by which he is going about attempting to do so seem hurried, ill-conceived and at times downright reckless.

To compound matters, in addition to cozying up to foreign dictators such as Putin, Kim and Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte, Trump has been rude to our time-tested allies, potentially damaging America’s relations with the G-7, NATO and the EU.

Trump cut his attendance at the G-7 short after getting into a spat with Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau, accusing him of being weak for criticizing recent U.S. tariffs on imports from Canada. He openly criticized U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May on the eve of his visit with her in London, lambasting her handling of Brexit and threatening to abandon bilateral trade deal with the U.K. if it entered in a deal with the EU. In fact, he called the EU a “foe” along the lines of China and Russia for its trade restrictions on U.S. goods and services, which is an outrageous comparison on its face.