About those ‘very spe­cial bonds’

The Signal - - OPINION - Gary HOR­TON Gary Hor­ton is a Santa Clarita res­i­dent. His col­umn, “Full Speed to Port!” ap­pears Wed­nes­days in The Sig­nal.

I’m writ­ing this just as Don­ald Trump’s sum­mit with Kim Jong Un is wrap­ping up. So far as we know things went very well. Sum­ming up at the con­clu­sion, Trump said, “We both want to do some­thing. We both are go­ing to do some­thing. And we have de­vel­oped a very spe­cial bond.”

Per­sonal bonds be­tween par­ties are among the strong­est forces for deals to get done. If Trump’s dic­ta­to­rial, “take no pris­on­ers”, grandiose, bel­li­cose, even ob­nox­ious per­sonal tac­tics ac­tu­ally res­onate with Kim’s same style and gets this deal done than, thank God - we have a Man for Our Times and a Man of the Hour. And sin­cerely so.

Trump once told “Lit­tle Rocket Man” we had big­ger nukes than he and im­plied we wouldn’t hes­i­tate to use them. Per­haps dic­ta­tor-style bul­ly­ing with gi­ant nukes against petty dic­ta­tors with lit­tle atom bombs is what it takes to get things mov­ing. I can’t sec­ond guess that.

What we do know is that a “state­ment is signed” and the state­ment in and of it­self deesca­lates a whole bunch of bad feel­ings and provoca­tive ac­tions and who knows but in five years your next Sam­sung TV will ship out of North Korea and qual­ity cheap sneak­ers will cost five bucks thanks to Trump and Kim do­ing man-hugs. You might even some­day be driv­ing a North Korean elec­tric car and imag­ine that?

Truly, if this goes down right, Trump gets mu­cho credit and no one can take it away. There’s no “buts” on this. There are how­ever, “Ands.” And, this same week, we saw and heard the same Don­ald Trump ma­lign not only Prime Min­is­ter Trudeau of Canada but all the other G-7 lead­ers, who seem to be quickly be­com­ing the G-6 plus one. That the Canadian Prime Min­is­ter is “weak and a liar.” That, “Trudeau had “stabbed Trump in the back.”

Trump ma­ligned other G-7 mem­bers of be­tray­ing the U.S. and of poor deal­ing. He threat­ened Ger­many about cars. Canada about dairy cars. Trump ditched the G-7 meet­ing early and moved on to bask in the spotlight in Sin­ga­pore.

Dur­ing that sum­mit, Don­ald Trump said of his new North Korean dic­ta­tor friend, “He is very tal­ented,” cit­ing Kim’s abil­ity to, “take over a sit­u­a­tion like he did at 26 years of age and run it, and run it tough.” Yeah run it tough, like an in­ter­na­tional crime or­ga­ni­za­tion and mur­der­ous mafia fam­ily. Yet of the Prime Min­is­ter of one of the world’s finest democ­ra­cies, Trump says, “Very dis­hon­est and weak.”

Ger­many’s An­gela Merkel com­mented that Ger­many may no longer be able to count on its U.S. ally. France’s Macron said, “The Amer­i­can Pres­i­dent may not mind be­ing iso­lated, but nei­ther do we mind sign­ing a 6-coun­try agree­ment if need be. Be­cause th­ese 6 coun­tries rep­re­sent val­ues, they rep­re­sent an eco­nomic mar­ket which has the weight of his­tory be­hind it…”

Trump alien­ates our best al­lies while all but makes love to dic­ta­tors Putin and Kim. Birds of a feather?

Mean­while, this very same week, Car­rie and I vis­ited Ber­lin. We saw the Wall that sep­a­rated fam­i­lies for decades. We saw the com­mu­nist East German guard posts from which cit­i­zens were mur­dered. We stud­ied the Ber­lin Block­ade and the Al­lies’ re­spond­ing Ber­lin Air­lift, when Eng­land, France, Canada, Aus­tralia, New Zealand, South Africa and the U.S. sent a con­tin­u­ous stream of cargo planes to West Ber­lin at up to 20 flights per hour for 14 straight months, keep­ing 2 mil­lion Ber­lin­ers alive and func­tion­ing un­til the Sovi­ets re­lented on their own bul­ly­ing at­tempts.

Later, th­ese same al­lied na­tions fought in the wars the U.S. de­cided to wage, like Korea, Viet­nam, Iraq I and Iraq II – of­ten when they had lit­tle self in­ter­est in it other than to re­pay the U.S. for when we stood up for them. We all gave and gave alike. Friend­ships and bonds forged in friend­ship, blood, money, ef­fort, give and take over decades.

Per­haps Trump should take a long tour through Europe be­fore he un­leashes his loose tongue again. Per­haps he should visit Ber­lin in­stead of Moscow. He should see the wall his Rus­sian friends built. He should study the Ber­lin Air­lift. He might con­sider what the Sovi­ets did to Ger­many and to East­ern Europe and have done again to the Ukraine be­fore he heaps so much con­tin­u­ous praise on Rus­sia, urg­ing their in­clu­sion back into the lead­ing group of demo­cratic in­dus­trial na­tions when they are nei­ther demo­cratic nor a lead­ing in­dus­trial na­tion. He should study his­tory and learn from it be­fore the bull in the China shop act ac­tu­ally breaks some­thing very valu­able.

Our fathers and grand­fa­thers fought and bled and gave and took to build what be­came the G-7 na­tions, united in democ­racy and lib­eral eco­nomics. We jointly stood against dic­ta­tor­ships and re­pres­sion of rights. To­day Trump is very cor­rect to open chan­nels with North Korea and build peace. And ku­dos if he gets it done. Yet, he is very wrong to min­i­mize and triv­i­al­ize our broth­ers in both val­ues and in arms, while prais­ing the ac­tions and val­ues of dic­ta­tors like Putin and Kim.

Pres­i­dent Trump: Re­mem­ber walls and gu­lags and tor­ture and re­pres­sion. Hold our friends in higher es­teem than our en­e­mies. We don’t strengthen our val­ues by ma­lign­ing our al­lies while pro­mot­ing lead­ers with val­ues so very con­tra­dic­tory to our own. Re­mem­ber the bonds that were es­tab­lished long be­fore you and hope­fully will last long af­ter. This, along with new friend­ships and hope­fully newly freed peo­ples you are work­ing to­wards.

We don’t strengthen our val­ues by ma­lign­ing our al­lies while pro­mot­ing lead­ers with val­ues so very con­tra­dic­tory to our own.

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