When Good Nations Do Nothing

The Trump White House is more concerned with extending the Trump brand in China than human rights.
04/04/2017 11:50 pm ET Updated Apr 05, 2017

My wife’s grandfather fought in WWII. He was part of the D-Day invasion as a navy man and still, at 95, remembers that gruesome day. He shares details sparingly and his eyes are still wet with the memory. His sacrifice, the sacrifice of this country in his generation, made us moral leaders in the world for the next 70 years. Yes, we only joined the effort because Pearl Harbor was attacked. Yes, we made horrible mistakes like interring Japanese and turning away Jews by the boatload to be returned to certain death. At the same time, we were outraged by the atrocities when they became apparent and we did not shy away from our responsibility. We moved into the fray, risked everything. Every citizen understood and agreed to the necessary sacrifices of rationing and supporting the war effort. When it was over, we helped the Japanese to rebuild. We took lessons from the end of the first world war and we did our best to lead by moral example. We were a country to be proud of. We did not proclaim Christianity with loud and boisterous voice or angry pointing fingers. We led with our compassion and our heart was visible to the world within that leading.

We were a nation to be proud of and it saddens me to say that in the last week that has all ended.

The administration made it very clear that business was far more important than human rights violations...

On Friday, March 31st, 2017, the administration signaled clearly to the world that they would not be putting human rights violations in Egypt or China at the forefront of their concerns any longer. CNN reported on Sunday that, “in its actions and statements, Trump’s administration has signaled that human rights violations won’t be raised in the public forums that past U.S. leaders have used to press for reforms.” The administration made it very clear that business was far more important than human rights violations when they lifted the human rights restrictions on the sale of F-16’s to Bahrain. They doubled down on this message by hosting Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, Egypt’s despotic ruler who was persona-non-grata because of his human rights abuses with previous U.S. administrations. The Trump White House is far more concerned with extending the Trump brand and patent rights in China than human rights, and he continues to fawn over Vladimir Putin, who has a well-known record of suppression and violation of human rights.

On April 4th, Bashar al-Assad reached what the NY Times referred to as a “New level of depravity” when he decided to use gas against civilians in his own country. There were two attacks. The first on civilian populations and then second on the hospitals treating them. This is not the first time Assad’s cruelty has rained down on the Syrian people. But this is the first time it has reached this level of cruelty. Is it any coincidence that it comes days after the White House indicated it’s lack of caring about human rights policies and only one day after they made it clear ousting Assad was not their primary concern? Is it any coincidence this happens only a few months after the Obama administration (who called for the ouster of Assad) leaves?

And what is the response of the nation that was once the moral compass of the free world? What says the new administration about the atrocity and how the U.S. feels about it? Finger-pointing. The Trump administration is blaming what they call the “failed policies of the Obama administration” towards Syria. It is beyond insanity, or gaslighting, or any of the other comparisons I have heard made. Mr. Trump has crossed over from what most considered malignant narcissism into the discompassionate repsonse of the anti-social personality. We have been shown by the actions of the administration this week towards human rights, the response of the Assad regime and the refusal to condemn the actions immediately and outright from a sense of moral outrage that our leader is not a malignant narcissist... he is likely a sociopath.

What is the response of the nation that was once the moral compass of the free world?

And so, with this sociopath at the helm, this great country has lost its moral compass. It has determined that billion-dollar tax cuts for CEO’s of insurance companies are more important than insuring the least of these. That golf trips costing 3 million dollars each are more important than a 3 million-dollar budget for the homebound meals program. That, saddest of all, the lives of Syrian children are less important than potential oil deals with an eventually terrorized, pulverized, but stabilized Syria.

Darkness is rising in this world and the once great moral leadership of the U.S. is all but gone. Edmund Burke was right.

The question is, “In the face of rising darkness, what will the few remaining good people do?”

This country only becomes great again if we rise up against the darkness at the helm.

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