American Wreckage: Trump Is Radically Degrading the United States

Donald Trump was standing before one of the holy relics of the 21st-century: a twisted piece of the fallen World Trade Center, destroyed on September 11, 2001. It was a dedication ceremony at the new headquarters of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, and speeches were being made about two memorials, one for the Berlin Wall and one for 9/11 and Article 5 of the treaty, which says that an attack on one NATO country is an attack on all of them. After 9/11, NATO invoked Article 5 for the first time, and, like a Megazord of justice, all the the allied nations in the organization joined with the United States to fight in Afghanistan.

I was in Denmark shortly after 9/11, and I met soldiers there, young Danes, who were on their way, proud to take part in a war on terror, however misguided it may have been, alongside the United States.

Introducing Donald Trump, who, we always remember with the shock and force of a cattle prod, is the president of the United States, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said, "When our open and free societies come under attack, we stand up for our values and our way of life. That is why a strong NATO is good for Europe, and good for North America. The 9/11 and Article 5 Memorial will be a daily reminder of our vital bond."

And then Trump strode over to the lectern, dropped his pants, and shit all over the gathered leaders, shit all over the treaty itself, and, indeed, shit all over the 9/11 wreckage.

It must have been odd for the presidents and prime ministers to think that Trump, a mere few days ago, was standing in a golden palace in Saudi Arabia, praising the repressive, torturing, warmongering, terrorist-supporting Saudi monarchy. And then he stood alongside the barbaric leader of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu, and gave him the kind of accolades reserved for saints. Even Angela Merkel, who has experienced firsthand Trump's shallow ignorance, must have just thought, "What the fuck?"

Because, see, Trump started his speech with his usual combination of false sorrow and bullshit bravado. "All people who cherish life must unite in finding, exposing, and removing these killers and extremists -- and, yes, losers," he said, repeating his latest moronic Trumpism. "They are losers." He did observe that the 9/11 attacks led to NATO "invoking for the first time in its history the Article 5 collective defense commitments."

And then shit got weird.

Again, just to remind you, this was a 9/11 memorial dedication ceremony. So when Trump started gushing about Saudi Arabia, where 15 of the hijackers came from, that was kinda fucked up. And then he said, "I spent much time with King Salman, a wise man who wants to see things get much better rapidly."

You know that more than one of the European heads of state wanted to raise a hand and say, "Um, maybe he should start at home. No, like, literally in his house." Or maybe someone wanted to tell Trump, "He's a king. We were all elected. What the fuck is wrong with you?"

And, again, it can't be said enough, this was a ceremony dedicated to the fall of the Berlin Wall and the way that nations came together under Article 5 of the NATO treaty, the T in NATO, to help the U.S. after 9/11, nations that lost soldiers in the war they joined under Article 5. Got it? Because then Trump outright fucking accused the countries represented there of being cheats and cheapskates, even though that's a complete and utter filthy lie. But that never stops our goddamn president.

"23 of the 28 member nations are still not paying what they should be paying and what they’re supposed to be paying for their defense," Trump said, completely ignoring that the member nations have until 2024 to meet that obligation. And, frankly, what the fuck gives this guy, who stiffs small contractors at his casinos, the right to even bring up debts owed, real or fake. But he went on, "This is not fair to the people and taxpayers of the United States. And many of these nations owe massive amounts of money from past years and not paying in those past years." And he kept going, like that douchey friend who doesn't think it's fair to split the restaurant bill evenly because he had water while everyone else got sodas. Fuck you, Don, you should have gotten a Coke.

Was Trump a complete dickhead? Of course, he was. He noted that he was in the new NATO building and said, "I never asked once what the new NATO Headquarters cost. I refuse to do that." It cost about a billion Euros. Yeah, it's expensive. You might wanna talk to some Republicans about the nearly billion dollar American embassy in Iraq for a cost comparison.

You know what Trump didn't do in his speech? He had pretty much already shit the bed, having shoved the prime minister of Montenegro aside so he could prance and preen for the camera, and having told the European Union members that Germany is "evil, very evil" for selling so many cars in the United States (which, funny story, they make in U.S. factories with American workers). But he didn't say that he supported Article 5. He didn't say that the United States would honor it, even though he was at an Article 5 memorial dedication. Instead, he implied that, unless the rest of NATO paid a protection fee, America wouldn't live up to its treaty obligations.

In a single meeting, Trump degraded the place of the United States in the world. He went to Brussels and was essentially a drunk businessman, fingering the help and pissing in the fountain. He allied us with dictators, kings, and madmen, and he told our long-time, most reliable allies that there was really going to be a new world order. Trump is a radical without a cause or an ideology. And it's fucking terrifying.

And, as with everything with this petulant, paranoid, petty president, it's an embarrassment.