The View From Out There

It's politics, remember, so they don't tell us the whole truth.

But sometimes they tell some of the truth because - surprise surprise - it's in everybody's best interest to do it, and the Politcos not only recognize that, they manage to do the right thing (surprise surprise again).

This piece is chock-full of little slices of Scary-as-Fuck.

Buzzfeed, Alberto Nardelli:

The current standoff is a dramatic illustration of the grave international concerns over Trump.

On one level, the officials said, he is something of a laughing stock among Europeans at international gatherings. One revealed that a small group of diplomats play a version of word bingo whenever the president speaks because they consider his vocabulary to be so limited. “Everything is ‘great’, ‘very, very great’, ‘amazing’,” the diplomat said.


--snip--

Another diplomat said it had proved impossible to discuss serious international issues, such as Libya, with Trump. And seven months into his presidency, the European officials say they are still struggling to figure out who else they can engage with in the US administration.

Describing a meeting between their boss and the president as “basically useless,” they said: “He [Trump] just bombed us with questions: ‘How many people do you have? What’s your GDP? How much oil does [that country] produce? How many barrels a day? How much of it is yours?’”

“He’s not the kind of person you can have a discussion about how to deal with [Fayez] al-Sarraj [the prime minister of Libya]," the official added. "So you look for people around him, and that is where it’s a problem: The constant upheaval, it’s unclear who has influence, who is close to the president."

A number of European officials compared Trump with Italian former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi – but said the similarities end at their inappropriate jokes during meetings.

“Berlusconi wasn’t ignorant. And behind him he had officials and a whole government structure you could engage with,” one diplomat said.

The officials revealed that at international meetings, Trump has openly mocked his own aides, contradicting and arguing with them in front of other leaders. That has compounded the impression of an administration in chaos. “We can hear everything, it’s weird,” one diplomat said.

Officials also expressed concerns over the status of the State Department, and the lack of seasoned diplomats and experts within the White House. One diplomat suggested that US counterparts have privately lamented to Europeans about the number of roles in the administration that have yet to be filled resulting in a lack of clear positions on many policy areas.

“The White House lacks crucial expertise,” one said. “The State Department and others are isolated. You have the generals, the National Security Council, and then a void. There aren’t enough diplomats, experts etc. in the White House. [Secretary of state Rex] Tillerson has a small team. Does Trump listen to [James] Mattis [secretary of defence], [H.R.] McMaster [national security adviser], to the experts?”



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