How Foreign Allies Talk About Trump Behind Closed Doors

Whenever Donald Trump meets with a foreign head of state, he likes to brag about what a great relationship he has with them and regale us with stories about how they praise his leadership of this country.

But now, the British Ambassador to the United States, Sir Kim Darroch, has reportedly written cables indicating how he views the Trump administration. In memos seen by the Daily Mail, the ambassador:

* Describes bitter conflicts within Trump’s White House – verified by his own sources – as ‘knife fights’;
* Warns that Trump could have been indebted to ‘dodgy Russians’;
* Claims the President’s economic policies could wreck the world trade system;
* Says the scandal-hit Presidency could ‘crash and burn’ and that ‘we could be at the beginning of a downward spiral… that leads to disgrace and downfall’;
* Voices fears that Trump could still attack Iran.

In one of the most sensitive documents, Sir Kim writes: ‘We don’t really believe this Administration is going to become substantially more normal; less dysfunctional; less unpredictable; less faction riven; less diplomatically clumsy and inept.’

He also says that he doesn’t think Trump’s White House will ‘ever look competent’.

That represents a pretty good summary of everything I’ve written about Donald Trump over the last 3-4 years. As Kevin Drum noted, “everyone already knows that Trump is an incompetent buffoon, after all.” I’d revise that statement to read: “everyone in the reality-based world  already knows that Trump is an incompetent buffoon,” because there are plenty of people in this country who still think that he is the only one who can restore our days of glory past.

But what is truly revealing about Darroch’s cables is that they are a window into what foreign governments are saying about Donald Trump behind closed doors. The United States is the world’s premier superpower and so no one dares to say it out loud. But when that superpower is dysfunctional, unpredictable, faction-riven, diplomatically clumsy, and incompetent, it has ramifications all over the globe. Countries like Britain, which has been a staunch ally, must find a way to cope with that reality.

I would say that, with Donald Trump as president, this country has become a laughingstock to the rest of the world—if the stakes were not so serious.

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Nancy LeTourneau

Nancy LeTourneau is a contributing writer for the Washington Monthly. Follow her on Twitter @Smartypants60.