Happy Fourth of July. Okay–not so much.
I guess Fox News doesn’t mention this sort of thing–or perhaps all those “Make America Great” fans don’t consider leadership of the free world necessary to greatness–but for the rest of us, as this year’s Independence Day dawns, there’s a lot less American greatness to celebrate.
Anyone who actually follows the news is aware, of course, that Trump has embraced authoritarian bullies while consistently insulting our allies and denigrating long-standing alliances. If he and his MAGA troops actually believe that these boorish and destructive behaviors are solidifying America’s stature, or earning the respect of other countries, they are delusional.
Here, for example, is a recent news item we might ponder on this 4th of July:
In a rare snub of the Trump Administration, the United Nations failed to approve an American pick to head an international migration group.
After a third round of voting on Friday, Trump nominee Ken Isaacs was removed from the list of potential candidates to lead the International Organization for Migration.
This is only the second time that an American won’t lead the IOM since the organization’s founding in 1951. Portuguese politician and European Union diplomat Antonio Vitorino earned the necessary two-thirds majority and will become the IOM’s next leader.
Apparently, the United Nations is less enamored of the blatant bigotry displayed by Trump’s nominees–and for that matter, the entire Trump administration–than the enthusiastic and terrifying crowds at his rallies.
Isaacs, the vice president of the evangelical Christian non-profit Samaritan’s Purse, had faced criticism for derogatory statements about Islam that were discovered on his Twitter page. He wrote“#Islam is not peaceful,” “Muslims fast, they also blast,” and “All #Islamic #terrorists literally follow #Islam.”
As a prior Ambassador to the U.N. has noted, the position of IOM Director has been seen as an ‘American seat’ and Trump was unable to place an American in it. So much for all that bluster about “strength.”
The U.S. ambassador to Estonia — a NATO ally bordering Russia — abruptly resigned Friday, telling friends that he cannot abide President Trump’s apparent hostility toward institutions that have stabilized Europe since the end of the Cold War.
James D. Melville Jr.’s resignation comes at a crucial moment for independent countries along Russia’s western border — amid the possibility of military conflicts and as Trump suggests he is rethinking the United States’ traditional support for its allies in Moscow’s shadow.
“The honorable course is to resign,” Melville wrote on Facebook. “Having served under six presidents and 11 secretaries of state, I never really thought it would reach that point for me.”
He added: “For the President to say the [European Union] was ‘set up to take advantage of the United States, to attack our piggy bank,’or that ‘NATO is as bad as NAFTA’ is not only factually wrong, but proves to me that it’s time to go.”
When America’s longtime allies turn elsewhere for leadership, when principled and knowledgable public servants feel they can no longer serve their country in good conscience, when a mentally unstable and profoundly ignorant President retains the support of a significant minority of our fellow citizens by appealing to their racism and resentments–faith in the eventual victory of the Resistance is the only thing we can celebrate on this Independence Day.
We have to believe that victory will come in time to divert inescapable disasters.
Happy July 4th.