The diplomacy of narcissism: E.J. Dionne

Hawaii Intelligence Digest, 05 June 2017, 19:55 hrs, UTC, Post #222.


Accessed on 05 June 2017, 19:55 hrs, UTC.

Author:  E.J. Dionne (“The Washington Post”).

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According to “Washington Post” political analyst E. J. Dionne, the “America First” policy of President Donald Trump is the template for national narcissism, which “substitutes selfishness for realism” and, in the end, “is as unhealthy for nations as it is for people.”

The policy suggests that our nation “stand(s) for nothing beyond our immediate self interest” and that we can continue our lives unaffected by the injustice, civil strife, and chaos already surrounding us.

Dionne believes the “America First” campaign is short-sighted, ignorant, and downright dangerous to us and our dwindling number of nervous allies.  Dionne contends that Mr. Trump has abdicated our global leadership and has opened the floodgates to nations seeking our collapse, including the Peoples Republic of China and The Russian Federation.

In short, Mr. Dionne says the “America First” policy of the Trump administration is a disaster and a diplomatic nightmare:

“A diplomacy of narcissism is of a piece, to borrow from the historian Richard Hofstadter, with the paranoid style of this president. In his statement, Trump spoke of “foreign lobbyists” who “wish to keep our magnificent country tied up and bound down by this agreement.” He painted our nation as a pitiful heap of insecurity. “At what point does America get demeaned?” he asked. “At what point do they start laughing at us as a country?”

“If anyone is laughing after Trump’s decision, it is our actual enemies and adversaries. They welcome an American leader who wants to rip up or weaken alliances and other forms of collective security that our own practical visionaries, since the days of Harry Truman, Dean Acheson and George Marshall, put in place to (BEG ITAL)advance(END ITAL) our purposes.”

“Tragically, this choice was partly driven by selfish political motives. This only reinforces how narrow a definition of self-interest is in play here. Trump seems to realize how much trouble he is in from the metastasizing Russia story. So he sought to appeal to his political base, shrunken though it is, by re-embracing his “nationalist” side. He said he’d pull out of the Paris agreement and, by God, he did it! Doesn’t that make him look strong?”


Mr. Dionne has crafted a sobering and disturbing picture of how to destroy our world leadership in just a few short months. Perhaps, the picture is even darker than portrayed by my more liberal contemporaries.  What, if deep down inside the American psyche, we really don’t care about the problems of other nations and want to remove ourselves from the world stage?  We’ve tried this approach before with disastrous results.  Our failure to join the League of Nations after World War I in favor of a neutralist, isolationist foreign policy during the 1920s and 1930s laid the groundwork for the rise of fascism and naziism. We know where that led–World War II.  Can we just bury our heads in the diplomatic “sand” and hope China, Iran, Russia, and North Korea will go away and really behave themselves? Will it take another 911 incident to shake us back into reality? Whether Mr. Trump completes his full term or faces impeachment in the year ahead, the trend is already established.  The American Century is over.  The predictions contained in George Orwell’s dystopian novel “1984” are coming true.

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Opinions expressed in this blog are mine unless otherwise stated.

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Until next time,

Russell Roberts

Hawaii Intelligence Digest

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