bullyDon’t We Already Have Enough Enemies?

It seems like Trump is just itching to pick a fight with Mexico, gratuitously behaving like nothing more than an obnoxious bully, unnecessarily kicking sand in Mexico’s face.  Like a real showoff.

Who does Trump think he’s representing when he behaves this way, like a classic “Ugly American”? Maybe some of those who voted for him. But that’s no excuse for treating Mexico like an enemy, like . . . some ISIS thug.

I can’t imagine that Trump’s expressing the prevailing American sentiment in the way he’s treating Mexico over who should pay for . . . the wall. I suspect that most Americans think of Mexico as a neighbor, a friend. This is not how one treat’s one’s friends. Trump is embarrassing America.

Trump says a country without borders is not a country. I agree with that. I’m sure most Americans do as well.

But Mexico is a friend, a neighbor, not the enemy. Trump shouldn’t start by kicking sand in Mexico’s face. He should at least try to work with Mexico to fix our common border problems. Do we need a wall? Maybe so. Maybe not a bad idea. But does that mean Mexico should pay for it? All of it?

As a lawyer with more than 50 years of experience in resolving disputes, I learned a long time ago that sugar generally works better than vinegar when there is a difference to be resolved, a gap to be closed. At the very least, one should always try sugar first.

Trump has not done that with Mexico. He’s gone straight to vinegar. How does he expect Mexico to react to that kind of treatment? Like any other country worth its salt, Mexico is going to resist that kind of behavior. I would. They should. And most of the world will rally behind Mexico, starting with most, if not all, of Latin America.

I thought Trump was supposed to be the expert negotiator. Does he really believe his approach with Mexico so far is calculated to achieve a positive outcome? Even if Mexico ultimately has to buckle under and pay for the wall, it will never forgive the U.S. for treating it this way.

Who does Trump think he’s impressing, behaving this way? Maybe some of his supporters, but probably not the majority of Americans. At least, I hope not.

I was raised to use compromise and mutual respect to work through differences with friends. If we need to have a wall, why not propose to Mexico, “Hey, how about we split the cost fifty-fifty? If that doesn’t work for you, what do you think would be fair?” If Mexico fails to respond in kind, in good faith, that’s soon enough to move from sugar to vinegar. I could support that. Be nice. Give Mexico a chance to do the right thing too. To work with America on this issue.

But I can’t support Trump’s “Ugly American” bully tactics. That’s just not the way to win friends and influence people. In this day and age, we don’t need more enemies. We already have enough. Some things are unavoidable, like improving our vetting processes before we allow those not genuinely committed to America to migrate here. Kicking sand in Mexico’s face is not one of those unavoidable circumstances.

Editor’s Note: Now that Trump has straightened out Mexico, it was revealed yesterday that this past weekend he moved on to putting another one of our allies in place, this time Australia. Seems Trump is upset that Australia is holding the U.S. to a deal the two allies made before Trump became President that requires the U.S. to take 1,250 refugees off of Australia’s hands. Trump doesn’t like the deal and doesn’t want to honor it. He may have no choice, but he isn’t happy about it and he went out of his way to let Australia’s prime minister know it in their scheduled telephone conversation last Saturday. Even though Prime Minister Turnbull offered to soften the agreement by volunteering that the U.S. would only need to admit the refugees after they were fully vetted to the Trump administration’s satisfaction (which seems remarkably gracious),Trump apparently wanted Australia to drop the agreement altogether simply because he doesn’t like it. When Trump didn’t get what he wanted, he reportedly had a hissy fit and gratuitously told Turnbull their conversation was the worst conversation he has had with a world leader since taking office and he then ended the call before taking up the other topics scheduled for discussion. Sadly, Trump seems to feel that he can treat heads of state like they are nothing more than one of his painting subcontractors, placing more importance on renegotiating whatever he doesn’t like than maintaining long standing, vital relationships with our closest allies. Turnbull tactfully declined to publicly reveal the content of his and Trump’s conversation, pointing out that such conversations are and should be private. In contrast, “anonymous” persons in the Trump administration with personal knowledge of the call actually bragged publicly yesterday about how Trump had put Turnbull in his place. Attaboy Donald. Tweet to follow, no doubt. At this rate, Trump and his “two Steves” (policy wonks Steve Bannon and Steve Miller) will soon have difficulty finding a fourth for bridge, let alone preserving relationships with any of our traditional allies, or even “his” own Republican Party. If he’s not careful, he may make it difficult to get his Supreme Court nominee confirmed, which is the one good thing I thought might come of his presidency. Someone needs to tell Trump that the Supreme Court appointment “advise and consent” process requires more than Trump’s nomination, and the approval of his two Steves. (Remember, I didn’t vote for Donald or Hillary.)

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