Rather Quite Obvious (Priorities)

#PutiTrump | #WhatTheyVotedFor

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson arrives in Mexico City on 22 February 2017. The visit is the second foreign trip of Tillerson’s tenure at the State Department. (Carlos Jasso/Reuters)

The lede from Reuters:

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson plans to skip an April 5-6 meeting of NATO foreign ministers for a U.S. visit by the Chinese president and will travel to Russia later in the month, U.S. officials said on Monday, a step allies may see as putting Moscow’s concerns ahead of theirs.

And a bit of the detail:

State Department spokesman Mark Toner had no immediate comment on whether Tillerson would skip the NATO meeting or visit Russia. Two U.S. officials said Tillerson planned to visit Moscow on April 12.

“It feeds this narrative that somehow the Trump administration is playing footsy with Russia,” said one former U.S. official who spoke on condition of anonymity.

“You don’t want to do your early business with the world’s great autocrats. You want to start with the great democracies, and NATO is the security instrument of the transatlantic group of great democracies,” he added.

Something goes here about what needs to be said. More to the point, it seems worth reiterating:

• The Trump presidency is devastating American prestige. We ought to wonder, at this point, whether that is the plan. After all, as the president and his team wreck the State Department, assail their own intelligence services, propose to scale back our international outreach in general, and have managed to set about alienating international allies, partners, and neighbors before even being inaugurated—or, you know, elected, if we get right down to it—the only reason the question why remains puzzling is that the most likely answer is at least as unpleasant as actually acknowledging that, yes, this really is what it looks like. Puti Toots We can all pretty much see who benefits from all this, but there is a certain sense of threshold about the idea of actually finally invoking the proposition as accusation proper.

That is to say: Looks like a duck, waddles like a duck, quacks like a duck; can’t be a duck, because that would be dehumanizing.

The Trump administration makes it harder and harder to not say something obvious that really ought not be said because it is supposed to be utterly beyond the pale. Except, of course, that after years of complaining that President Obama was secretly selling out the nation to some manner of Muslim conspiracy, of course Republicans went and elected Donald “#NoPuppetNoPuppet” Trump.

____________________

Image notes: Top ― Secretary of State Rex Tillerson arrives in Mexico City on 22 February 2017. The visit is the second foreign trip of Tillerson’s tenure at the State Department. (Carlos Jasso/Reuters) Right ― Puti-Toots. (Image credit: Unknown)

Mohammed, Arshad and John Walcott. “Tillerson plans to skip NATO meeting, visit Russia in April—sources”. Reuters.

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