Trump bashes Paris, sucker punches our oldest ally, rewards terrorism

Mark down this unprovoked Paris slam as another inexcusable Trump hustle, beyond any apology that will never come.

Image credit: Gage Skidmore

Why slam a resurgent, anti-terrorist partner? Have you no shame, sir?

Now he’s really done it, the reckless, loose-cannon of the western world. At CPAC the so-called president threw Paris, the most beautiful, most visited European jewel, under the indiscriminate Trump bus. Yes, another cheap shot at our historic first ally, France, devoid of context, evidence or provocation. Is this willful blindness the real Trump speaking, or the real Bannon, or both? What’s in it for Trump to diss a critical, loyal alliance?

According to a badly unidentified “friend” named “Jim,” Trump the provocateur claims that because of terrorism alone “Paris is no longer Paris.” Here’s Trump again demonstrating to all the world what being unpresidential means. Why slam Paris (falsely) as unworthy, indeed kaput, simply because France endured terrorism? Who hasn’t? Wouldn’t it be more logical, if not civilized, to compliment the City of Lights for its rational, lawful responses that, unlike Trumpery, shred legalities? Proof again Trump’s isolationist fear-mongering knows neither bounds, nuance nor history, implying “see what happens after terrorist carnage. That’s what I alone will never allow.” Right.

Trump acts like terrorism has succeeded in hallowing out major cities or populace states. The mind reels. Forget that Parisian terrorism has never matched our horrendous, multiple 9/11 assaults. What about the Boston bombing or Orlando or the never-ending tragic series of domestic mass murders – with less explicit causes than vengeful fanatics claim?

In fact, to my shock Wikipedia lists 70 terrorist attacks across America from 2000 to 2017 (and the year is young). 70! Is New York or Washington, San Bernardino or Boston (“Strong!”) wasted by political violence, no longer what they once were? Hardly, in fact, quite the opposite, all revealing grace under pressure. Why not throw in Berlin or Brussels or London – defiant against brutality. What about all those places across the Middle-East, Africa or the Far East plagued by rogue insurgencies? Are all such targets automatically worth less? Have they lost their essential appeal? In short, no one in America gets to demonize foreign targets without crass hypocrisy.

Insularity hits new low

What Trump exposes is his dangerously insular worldview, as if America under his governance will stop such disruptions by fiat. Or that “greatness” comes down only to immunity from mayhem. On point, are we safer now that this so-called president has needlessly alienated another critical partner? Did Trump, the non-reader and history ignoramus, never learn that, without French support, our revolution would have been crushed by the British Empire? That American “greatness” owes an enormous debt to French greatness?

Presumably, Trump figured on pandering to his isolationist base, insulting a “foreign” (thus suspect) country – one that refuses to slavishly follow our every military arrogance. Is this Trumpian punishment against those daring to question unspeakable US invasions? No doubt this gratuitous swipe follows up Trump’s sweeping, self-destructive whining about NATO. Must we learn again the painful truth that presidential illegitimacy is less about how weirdly you got elected than how and what you say once in power?

Perhaps this mean-spirited putdown is simply more irresponsible headline grabbing. If so, how crude the pitch, reminiscent of the cheap GOP slam some years ago renaming French Fries as Freedom Fries. As with Trump’s recent dig against Sweden (with zero “immigrant” violence), such pandering descends to the lowest denominator: apparently, for loyal Trump provincials all foreigners are alien, untrustworthy outsiders.

Is not Trump’s insolence presuming that whatever is not strictly American, or obedient to our demands, is open game for his scatter-gun? It’s one thing to manufacture constant wedges to divide America even further, but does this slam not reward terrorism – in effect confirming that urban bombing achieved its intention? Don’t terrorists claim “success” by propagandizing that disruptions are 100 times more damaging than they are? By exiling Paris as less worthy to visit, Trump becomes a (French) fifth columnist, bizarrely verifying that terrorism succeeds, even when all facts prove otherwise.

Fraudulent, malicious Trumpery

Instead of celebrating Paris’ effective renewal, Trump punishes the victim by doubling down. There is apparently no craven bottom for Trumpism, digging new holes, then filling with garbage. Perhaps France should name him as co-conspirator in the war against western civilization — even refuse state visits unless he rescinds this latest nastiness.

Full disclosure: I have visited Paris twice in the last six years, sharing its immense charm with a good friend who spends many months annually in this, his favorite city. I know of no place more important to western civilization, especially when we value beauty and knowledge (art, sculpture, literature, architecture), history, science, and philosophy, if not the best food and wine anywhere. Further, especially as Trump’s America penalizes immigration, Paris (and France and much of Europe) display a tolerance for diversity that shames this alleged melting pot. If years of WWII Nazi occupation didn’t destroy Paris, what perversion thinks infrequent, if vicious bombing will wipe out Parisian glory?

Disgracefully dissing close friends

Of course terrorists attack the freest, openly secular, highly-celebrated centers where millions enjoy life. No point bombing vacant expanses in Greenland or the Sahara. We’re back (again) reckoning whether Trump is simply a reckless, unaware fool or a crude knave that makes us envy other world leaders – or both. Ultimately, in terms of damage done, it does not matter.

I think such unmotivated folly embarrasses America, brandishing us with lose-lose Trumpian dysfunction. Does history, if not common sense teach that sustained foreign affairs blunders increase global instability, with more conflict and tension, more unwinnable, proxy wars, as in Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, Yemen et al?

So, mark down this unprovoked Paris slam as another inexcusable Trump hustle, beyond any apology that will never come. Too bad our impeachment doesn’t cover negligent, disloyal attacks on our oldest European ally, one that critically facilitated the American “greatness” Trump claims to celebrate. Disgrace is disgrace is disgrace – and enough cracks in today’s diplomatic, tectonic plates will resound against us with volcanic force.


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For over a decade, Robert S. Becker's independent, rebel-rousing essays on politics and culture analyze overall trends, history, implications, messaging and frameworks. He has been published widely, aside from Nation of Change and RSN, with extensive credits from OpEdNews (as senior editor), Alternet, Salon, Truthdig, Smirking Chimp, Dandelion Salad, Beyond Chron, and the SF Chronicle. Educated at Rutgers College, N.J. (B.A. English) and U.C. Berkeley (Ph.D. English), Becker left university teaching (Northwestern, then U. Chicago) for business, founding SOTA Industries, a top American high end audio company he ran from '80 to '92. From '92-02, he was an anti-gravel mining activist while doing marketing, business and writing consulting. Since then, he seeks out insight, even wit in the shadows, without ideology or righteousness across the current mayhem of American politics.