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  1. #1
    Senior Member Judy's Avatar
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    World wonders if Trump is eroding US 'moral authority'

    World wonders if Trump is eroding US 'moral authority'

    By Stephen Collinson and Nicole Gaouette, CNN
    Updated 2:34 AM ET, Sat January 13, 2018

    Story highlights

    Many who criticized Trump said his remarks would damage US' global reputation
    The African Union demanded 'a retraction of the comment as well as an apology'

    Washington (CNN)President Donald Trump's reported derogatory remarks about Haiti and slur against immigrants from "shithole" countries in Africa sent shockwaves around the world, simultaneously becoming a diplomatic issue that could damage America's global image and complicating an immigration reform effort at home.

    Shock and outrage greeted Trump's remarks in a meeting with lawmakers on immigration reform on Thursday. Several countries called in US ambassadors for an explanation and to remonstrate with them over the President's language.

    Lawmakers expressed disappointment and disgust, with one declaring the comments counter to the very "essence of American patriotism." Even as Trump's comments provided fodder for late night comics, they raised questions about whether he has now made it harder for lawmakers to find a compromise to achieve immigration reform.

    Critics in the US and abroad noted that Trump's sentiment cut against the idea of the United States as a nation of immigrants and the foundational view that the content of person's character is more important than their origin or the color of their skin.

    Many of those who criticized Trump said his remarks would damage America's global reputation.

    Sen. Lindsey Graham, a South Carolina Republican who has maintained a close relationship with Trump while at times being critical, was at the meeting Thursday.

    "Following comments by the President, I said my piece directly to him yesterday," Graham said. "The President and all those attending the meeting know what I said and how I feel. I've always believed that America is an idea, not defined by its people but by its ideals."

    "E Pluribus Unum"

    "The American ideal is embraced by people all over the globe," Graham continued. "It was best said a long time ago, E Pluribus Unum -- Out of Many, One. Diversity has always been our strength, not our weakness. In reforming immigration we cannot lose these American Ideals."

    Republican Sen. John McCain of Arizona said in a statement that "respect for the God-given dignity of every human being, no matter their race, ethnicity or other circumstances of their birth, is the essence of American patriotism."

    "To believe otherwise is to oppose the very idea of America," he said. "People have come to this country from everywhere, and people from everywhere have made America great. Our immigration policy should reflect that truth, and our elected officials, including our President, should respect it."

    A source briefed on the Oval Office meeting Thursday confirmed that during the meeting on immigration legislation, Trump asked, "Why do we want all these people from shithole countries coming here?"

    Although the President denied he had used such language on Friday, Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin, who was at the meeting with Graham and others, said Trump did do so, and called his language "vile." Two immigration hard-liners, Republican Sens. Tom Cotton and David Perdue, said they "do not recall the President saying these comments specifically."

    Trump on Friday also denied demanding that Haitians be removed from negotiations about protected status for people from certain countries.

    Former Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton weighed in, noting that Trump dismissed Haitians on the eve of the eighth anniversary of a deeply destructive earthquake.

    "The anniversary of the devastating earthquake 8 years ago is a day to remember the tragedy, honor the resilient people of Haiti, & affirm America's commitment to helping our neighbors," Clinton wrote on Twitter. "Instead, we're subjected to Trump's ignorant, racist views of anyone who doesn't look like him."

    A source familiar with Thursday's meeting said the President did not refer to Haiti as a "shithole" country, though he did say it about countries in Africa.

    The source said two different remarks by the president had been conflated.

    First, when talking about "temporary protected status" countries as part of the immigration deal, it was mentioned that Salvadorans, Hondurans and Haitians have that status.

    "Haitians?" the President said, according to the source. "Why do we need more Haitians? Take them out." Meaning take them out of the deal.

    Then, in a separate part of the conversation when they were referencing the diversity visa lottery, Trump referred to people from Africa as coming from "shithole countries."

    Parsing the President's comments does little to mitigate their damage, critics said. Former senior US diplomat Nicholas Burns tweeted that the "damage overseas from Trump's ignorant and racist remarks can't be exaggerated. No President in the last 100 years has reduced America's moral authority as he has."

    The African Union, a group representing the continent's 55 countries, issued a blistering statement saying the President had dishonored US values.

    "The African Union Mission wishes to express its infuriation, disappointment and outrage over the unfortunate comment made by Mr. Donald Trump, President of the United States of America, which remarks dishonor the celebrated American creed and respect for diversity and human dignity," the AU mission in Washington said in a statement.

    The group demanded "a retraction of the comment as well as an apology, not only to the Africans but to all people of African descent around the globe." Saying they believe the administration has a "huge misunderstanding of the African continent," the union said "there is a serious need for dialogue" between the Trump administration and African countries.
    Africans of all stripes took to social media. Kenyan activist Boniface Mwangi tweeted, "Africa isn't a shithole. It's the most beautiful continent in the world. Beautiful, hardworking people. We have diamonds, gold, iron, cobalt, uranium, copper, bauxite, silver, petroleum, cocoa, coffee, tea etc."

    South Africa's best known morning-news anchor, Leanne Manas, tweeted, "Good morning from the greatest most beautiful 'shithole country' in the world!!!' Elsewhere on Twitter, many Africans posted landscape pictures testifying to the true identity of their nations.

    Senegal's President, Macky Sall, said in a tweet that he was "shocked by the words of President Trump on Haiti and Africa."
    "I reject them and condemn vigorously. Africa and the black race deserve the respect and consideration of all," Sall added.

    Botswana's Ministry of International Affairs summoned the US ambassador to complain about Trump's disparaging comments.
    "The Bostwana Government has also enquired from the US Government through the Ambassador, to clarify if Botswana is regarded as a 'shithole' country," the statement said.

    Comics riffed off the statement, with "Daily Show" host Trevor Noah, a South African native, saying, "I don't know how to break this to you, but I think the President might be racist."

    But some comics stopped joking. "It really is unfathomable," said Jimmy Kimmel. "You just can't believe this is the guy running our country."

    Trump's comments hit hard in Haiti, which on Friday marked the anniversary of a 2010 earthquake that killed between 220,000 and 300,000 people.

    In an interview with NPR, Haiti's ambassador to the US, Paul Altidor, said he was "surprised and disappointed" in Trump's remarks.

    'Misguided, misplaced'

    "If they are to be true, we hope there will possibly be an apology for what was said here because we thought they were misplaced, they were misguided," Altidor said.

    "These type of statements do not help in enforcing the relationship between Haiti and the US."

    The ambassador said the Haitian government had summoned the US chargé d'affaires to clarify the remarks.

    The furor lent new significance to already planned remarks Friday by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to staff at the State Department in which he stressed that "values matter."

    "Our values as a nation bond us together and define who we are," he said, and "form the foundations of trust" in the workplace.

    "America's birth was far from perfect," said Tillerson, recalling the country's troubled past from its founding, through the civil war, the suffrage movement and the civil rights movement, "and we're still not perfect, but we've never lost sight of aspirational values."

    A Senior State Department official said US ambassadors had been issued guidance on how to deal with the remarks if called in by foreign ministries to explain them.

    The diplomats were encouraged to assure host governments that the "US has great respect for the people of Africa and all nations, and our commitment remains strong."

    The official said each envoy should note what an honor it is to be in their post and how much they value the relationship with the people of their host country.

    CNN's Jake Tapper, Abby Phillip, Elise Labott, Laura Koran and Catherine Treyz in Washington as well as David McKenzie in Johannesburg contributed to this report
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  2. #2
    Senior Member Judy's Avatar
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    Giggles. The United States has never been the "moral authority". What are they talking about? We're free love, high divorce rate, most of our Presidents had affairs in the White House. We won WWII on two fronts in 3 years and 8 months, and we didn't do that playing "nice". We're the world's largest importer of illegal drugs and the largest user of pornography. I mean, we're the only country in the history of the world that had to fight a civil war to end slavery. we actually have people who are forcing pregnant children into childbirth against their will to support the adoption industry run largely by churches for money.

    No, Americans are lot of things, a lot of wonderful things, but being authorities on "morals" ain't one of 'em. I don't even know an American who wants to be such a thing.
    Last edited by Judy; 01-13-2018 at 04:16 AM.
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  3. #3
    MW is offline
    Senior Member MW's Avatar
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    Why does the USA think it is the moral compass for the world?

    Dan Holliday, I am an American
    Updated Mar 26, 2016 · Upvoted by Marc Bodnick, Harvard Gov major, Stanford PoliSci PhD student and Carter Moore, Degree in Political Science, former Congressional aide and Federal employee

    Because it is.

    Look. You can be crusty all you want. You can throw out red herrings and cherry pick all you want. But the US has been the moral compass of humanity for 100 years. That moral compass will not remain in American hands for forever. I happen to think it's moving back to Europe and will return to an axis between the US and the EU. But if you think for a moment that the US hasn't been and isn't the moral compass for humanity, you're wrong.

    Pick a spot. Name it. Europe? It's free and at peace because of the US. Japan? Philippines? Taiwan? South Korea? The Pacific? They're all free because of the US. Latin America? Yep, totally meddled with because of America, but guess what? The moment the threat of a USSR-supported block disappeared, the US tore down every dictatorship and pressured every one of those nations to become transparent democracies.

    Now, you might want desperately to pick all the flaws the US has (it has a TON and I'm one of the loudest Americans for pointing out that Bush should be languishing in a prison and that my nation could have and should have done better; the US has never made right what it did wrong in Vietnam; the US is failing in Afghanistan, where it should have been focused for the past 15 years). But on the whole, the US is way better than most of the world (parts of Europe do much better). But every single time I turn on my TV (Right now for example) I see people hating the US, but I'd wager that --unless they're wealthy-- they'd hop on a plane tomorrow and immigrate here. When they get into trouble they get angry when the Yanks don't save them.

    In the history of hegemonies, the US is by far the best one ever. There's been none in the past (the USSR, Russia, the British Empire, the Ottomans, the French Empires, the Spanish Empire, Rome, China, Japan, Mongols -- pick one) that even compares in terms of largesse and magnanimity (compare life in the two blocks after WWII: where would you want to live? The Soviet Block or the American Block?). When every other hegemony in history beat an enemy, they salted the Earth and depopulated the land (some, like the Brits did do marginally better), the US rebuilt Europe and Japan.

    Remember: I'm not saying Americans get to wash their hands of their misdeeds. Not by a long shot (but that's not the question). The question is simple: Why does the US have the moral compass to lead the world? The answer is: the US has the moral authority because it was given it. Every time it walks away from that authority, people get gassed. When it tries too hard, people bitch. When it tries too little people bitch. It's in a difficult spot.

    But make no mistake, in the absence of the US tomorrow, this world falls quickly to pieces and a LOT of free places (Japan, Canada, Australia, Israel, Europe) suddenly have to rethink their entire existence and an arms race like nothing since right before the First World War takes place. And we're right back to where we started in the 20th century. The US buys the world a lot of free shipping lanes, free trade and oh so much stability.

    The US --by being the central enemy and good guy of the planet-- absorbs both the sins and and the responsibility of the planet. The US keeps the focus on the US and buys Japan, South Korea, Philippines, Singapore, Australia, Canada, Latin America, Israel (and even Saudi Arabia, Kuwait) and Europe the freedom to take care of a LOT of stuff that, without the US, they'd be in for a world of hurt. It's a tough job, but I'm happy we do it.

    To quote The West Wing (via Marc Bodnick): "They'll know we're right when we've won." Freedom is right. Tyranny is wrong. If this is even a debate in your head, you're not qualified to have a discussion on "right or wrong". Human dignity, human liberty, freedom of ownership, transparent government, fair trials, freedom of religion, gender equality -- those are non-negotiable. If they are for you, then you're not qualified to discuss any of this. If you think theocracies, murdering of gays, subjugation of women, discrimination against minorities, kleptocarcies or tyrannies have even an inkling of justification, you lack the moral ground to have any discussion on "right or wrong".

    Remember: I'm not giving the US a free pass. Ask the question and I'll list every one of our horrible, grotesque sins. The difference is: I admit them, I fight to have the US admit to them. But at least I can do that; I won't be arrested for criticizing my government nor will I cause my family to suffer for that. If you're in China or Russia or Iran or most of Africa, you don't get to have that kind of freedom. The US stands as a very flawed (yet wholly better-than-nothing) firewall between what is good and bad on this planet. And long may it continue.

    Not going to say I agree with absolutely everything this guy has to say, but for the most part he makes a very persuasive argument on why we are considered by many to be the moral authority of the world.

    "The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing" ** Edmund Burke**

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  4. #4
    Senior Member Judy's Avatar
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    He's wrong on his premise. His premise is "why does the USA think it's the moral compass of the world?" I don't know any Americans who think we're the moral authority, believe that we're the moral compass, or even seek the titles.
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