Trump’s Nationalism, Rebuked at World War I Ceremony, Is Reshaping Much of Europe

President Trump arriving at Suresnes American Cemetery outside Paris on Sunday as part of the commemoration the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I.CreditCreditTom Brenner for The New York Times

  • Nov. 11, 2018

PARIS — Dozens of leaders from around the globe marched in the soaking rain down the Champs-Élysées on Sunday, expressing solidarity for an international order that had its origins in the end of a world war 100 years ago, an order now under increasing pressure on both sides of the Atlantic.

Only after these leaders arrived by foot at the Arc de Triomphe did President Trump show up, protected from the rain as he made an individual entrance. A few minutes later, President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia did the same.

For Mr. Trump, at least, the separate arrival was attributed to security concerns. But somehow it felt apt that these two leaders would not arrive with the crowd.

No one has done more to break up the postwar global system in the last couple of years than Mr. Trump and Mr. Putin. As the anniversary of the armistice that ended World War I was commemorated on Sunday, Mr. Trump’s brand of “America First” nationalism was rebuked from the podium while he sat stone-faced and unmoved, alienated from some of America’s strongest allies, including his French hosts.

But while he may have been out of step with many of the leaders gathered around him, Mr. Trump remains at the vanguard of forces that are redefining the Western political paradigm in countries like Poland, Hungary, Italy and Turkey. In Britain and Germany, two of the Continent’s major powers, nationalist movements have upended the establishment.

President Emmanuel Macron of France spoke about the dangers of nationalism in a speech commemorating the anniversary of the armistice that ended World War I. In attendance was President Trump, who recently called himself a nationalist.Published OnNov. 12, 2018 Credit

CreditEric Feferberg/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

So a ceremony meant to celebrate the ties that bind the world today in effect showcased the divisions that are pulling it apart.

A 100-Year Legacy of World War I

World War I demolished empires and destroyed kings, kaisers and sultans. It introduced chemical weapons and aerial bombing. It brought women into the work force and hastened their legal right to vote.

June 26, 2014

“Patriotism is the exact opposite of nationalism,” President Emmanuel Macron of France said in a speech at the Arc de Triomphe, welcoming the leaders and extolling an old system now under siege. “Nationalism is a betrayal of patriotism by saying: ‘Our interest first. Who cares about the others?’”

Recalling the forces that led to World War I, Mr. Macron warned that “the old demons” have been resurfacing and declared that “giving into the fascination for withdrawal, isolationism, violence and domination would be a grave error that future generations would very rightly make us responsible for.”

Mr. Trump, who recently declared himself “a nationalist,” appeared grim as he listened to the speech through an earpiece and clapped only tepidly afterward. He had no speaking role and made no mention of the issues Mr. Macron raised during an address later at a cemetery for American soldiers killed in the war.

The ceremony led by Mr. Macron encapsulated the tension in the international arena as Mr. Trump seeks to rewrite the rules that have governed the world in recent decades. He has abandoned international agreements on trade, nuclear proliferation and climate change, and disparaged alliances like NATO and the European Union.

On the campaign trail this fall, Mr. Trump railed against what he called the “rule of corrupt, power-hungry globalists,” as he put it at a rally in Houston. “You know what a globalist is, right? You know what a globalist is? A globalist is a person that wants the globe to do well, frankly, not caring about our country so much. And you know what? We can’t have that.”

Mr. Macron has now, in effect, given a rebuttal. In addition to the speech, he also used an interview with Fareed Zakaria of CNN that aired Sunday to define himself as “a patriot” rather than a “nationalist.”

President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia arrived late to the ceremony, and shook Mr. Trump’s hand before taking his place.CreditPool photo by Ludovic Marin

“I do defend my country,” Mr. Macron said. “I do believe that we have a strong identity. But I’m a strong believer in cooperation between the different peoples, and I’m a strong believer of the fact that this cooperation is good for everybody, where the nationalists are sometimes much more based on a unilateral approach and the law of the strongest, which is not my case.”

Despite the friction with Mr. Macron, Mr. Trump’s views have been embraced by other Western leaders, some of whom, like Viktor Orban in Hungary, have made an anti-immigrant stance the keystone of their policy.

“He’s not isolated,” said Bruce Jentleson, a scholar at Duke University, citing nationalist politicians across Europe. “They’ve all benefited from him as precedent.” Other leaders have even adopted and adapted Trump phrases like “fake news” and “America First” for their countries.

But, Mr. Jentleson said, it “mostly gives him second-tier players like Poland, Hungary, Italy, and not the big guys like Germany and France.”

And even some of those nationalists do not favor unraveling the world order entirely so much as changing the rules, as with President Xi Jinping of China or the Europeans who want better arrangements within the European Union, not a departure from it.

Daniel Fried, a former assistant secretary of state for Europe, said Mr. Trump’s nationalism did not reflect a consensus even within his own administration, which still has senior officials with a more traditional internationalist outlook.

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French troops during the commemoration ceremony in Paris.CreditMichel Euler/Associated Press

“The danger to the world is not that Trump will lead the nationalists, sweeping them to remake the world in an ugly, pre-1914 image or a dystopian counter-world of the U.S. siding with the fascists in World War II,” he said. “The danger is that Trump may take the U.S. out of the game — à la the interwar period — long enough for one of the serious nationalists, Putin or Xi, to do major damage.”

Aside from the discord with the French president, Mr. Trump’s two-day visit to Paris was marred by his decision on Saturday to scrap a planned visit to the Aisne-Marne American Cemetery at the foot of the hill where the Battle of Belleau Wood was fought. Aides cited the rain in canceling a helicopter flight, but it went over badly in Europe.

Mr. Trump had another chance to pay respects to the war dead on Sunday at the Suresnes American Cemetery outside Paris, where 1,565 American soldiers are buried. Speaking in a drenching rain, Mr. Trump paid tribute to the soldiers and praised Franco-American relations, largely sticking to his prepared text without responding to Mr. Macron.

“The American and French patriots of World War I embodied the timeless virtues of our two republics — honor and courage, strength and valor, love and loyalty, grace and glory,” he said after visiting a field of white crosses. “It is our duty to preserve the civilization they defended and to protect the peace they so nobly gave their lives to secure one century ago.”

In contrast to the stiff interactions with the American president, Mr. Macron and Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany, representing two nations that were once bitter enemies, demonstrated the close friendship that has emerged from the rubble of war. In appearances over the weekend, the French and German leaders — who are facing their own political struggles at home — appeared affectionate, and Mr. Macron on Saturday posted a picture of the two holding hands along with the single word “Unis,” or “United.”

Mr. Putin, on the other hand, seemed focused on Mr. Trump, approaching him at the Arc de Triomphe, shaking his hand and giving a friendly pat on the arm. The two later chatted briefly at a lunch for all the visiting leaders, according to the Kremlin, but will wait for a formal meeting until later this month, when both will be in Buenos Aires for a Group of 20 summit meeting.

Mr. Trump at the Élysée Palace after the ceremony.CreditTom Brenner for The New York Times

In marking the centennial of the armistice, Mr. Macron said that from the ashes of that war and the next one came hope. “This hope is called the European Union, a union freely entered into, never before seen in history, a union that has freed us of our civil wars,” he said.

Yet absent from the ceremony was the prime minister of Britain, which is currently in the throes of trying to detach itself from the European Union. Prime Minister Theresa May attended her own country’s commemorations on Sunday, although she made a point of visiting France and Belgium on Friday to lay wreaths at the graves of soldiers killed in the war.

Among the leaders present on Sunday were Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of Canada, King Felipe VI of Spain, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey, President Petro O. Poroshenko of Ukraine and dozens of others.

The ceremony, in some measure Franco-centric by dint of being held in Paris, made a palpable effort to reach out to other countries that lost hundreds of thousands of people.

While the Marseillaise, the French national anthem, opened the ceremony, the most moving moments came when high school students in yellow scarves read century-old letters from eight men and women who either fought or lived through World War I, sticking to the language in which they were written, including English, French and German.

After the ceremony and subsequent lunch, Mr. Macron opened the Paris Peace Forum, a three-day conference to discuss fostering multilateralism. “History will retain an image — that of 84 chiefs of state and of governments united,” he declared.

“What is uncertain for the future is how this image will be interpreted,” he continued. “Will it be a ringing symbol of a durable peace among nations or the photograph of the last moment of unity before the world goes down in new disorder?”

Mr. Trump was not there to help answer that question. He skipped the forum and headed back to the United States.

Follow Peter Baker and Alissa Rubin on Twitter: @peterbakernyt and @alissanyt.

A version of this article appears in print on Nov. 11, 2018, on Page A1 of the New York edition with the headline: ‘America First’ Draws Rebuke At Ceremony

The mental health and stability of Donald Trump is questioned in Brandy Lee's The Dangerous Case Of Donald Trump: 27 Psychiatrists and Mental Health Experts Assess a President (2017).  No president in American history since Woodrow Wilson mental stability has been questioned.

Psychiatrist Steve Wruble's “Trump’s Daddy Issues: A Toxic Mix for America,” is a chapter in The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump.  He declares that fathers and sons have a storied history of playing off each other as they grapple with their evolving separate and shared identities.  I [Wruble], like Donald Trump, grew up watching and interacting with a strong, proud, and successful father.  The spectrum of how sons interact with their fathers is vast.

As much as I am disturbed by Trump's behavior, I can't help but wonder what of him is I me and vice versa.  Who is this man who has captivated so much of the American electorate, and for that matter, the whole world?  As a son locked into a drama with a father, can I shed light on that question?

Politically, many people in America are single-issue voters.  Whether it be abortion, the economy, or foreign policy, it's that one main issue that holds sway over their vote.  In my family's case, that one issue is Israel.  I come from a family of Modern Orthodox Jews, and Orthodox Jewry as a group has thrown its support behind President Trump because it feels Israel will be safer under his watch.  Of course, other issues are also important to Orthodox Jews, but these are usually overshadowed by concern for Israel.

Senior Israeli Doctors Protest Trump's Aid Cut to East Jerusalem Hospitals

Eighteen senior Israeli doctors say sudden $20-million cut will significantly harm the health of Jerusalem's residents

Nov 13, 2018 10:49 PM
A Palestinian child at Augusta Victoria Hospital, East Jerusalem, September 10, 2018.
Palestinian child at Augusta Victoria Hospital, East Jerusalem, September 10, 2018." width="100%" height="" /> A Palestinian child at Augusta Victoria Hospital, East Jerusalem, September 10, 2018.Ammar Awad/Reuters

Eighteen senior Israeli physicians have written an open letter protesting the Trump administration’s decision to cut more than $20 million from U.S. support for hospitals in East Jerusalem.

The letter appeared in the American Journal of Public Health, a publication of the American Public Health Association, under the title, “American Funding Cutback to East Jerusalem Hospitals: A Blow to the Health of the City.” In the text doctors made it clear that this broad, sudden funding cut would significantly harm the health of Jerusalem residents.

The letter was initiated by Prof. Mark Clarfield of Ben-Gurion University and Prof. Karl Skorecki, a senior physician at Rambam Medical Center and a lecturer at the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology. Signatories include the director of Rambam, Prof. Rafi Beyar, the director of Shaare Zedek Medical Center, Prof. Yonatan Halevy, and the dean of Hebrew University Medical School, Prof. Dina Ben Yehuda.

“We wish to protest the recent decision by the U.S. government to withdraw funding of up to $25 million from the East Jerusalem Hospital Network,” they wrote, and listed the six East Jerusalem hospitals expected to suffer from the decision: Makassed Islamic Charitable Hospital, Augusta Victoria Hospital, Red Crescent Maternity Hospital, St. John’s Eye Hospital, Princess Basma Rehabilitation Center and St. Joseph’s Hospital.

“They have been the main providers of tertiary referral care for Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip for health services for which the [Palestinian Authority’s] Ministry of Health is unable to provide, such as cancer care, cardiac and eye surgeries, neonatal intensive care, children’s dialysis and physical rehabilitation of children,” they wrote.

The doctors noted that the American people have always been very generous to both Israelis and Palestinians in many fields, including health, and that they were most grateful for this aid. “The U.S. government is of course entitled to decide whom they wish to support, in what domains, and in what way. However, it is evident to the undersigned that a sudden and significant cut of support for medical services will cause imminent and serious harm to the health and well-being of those residents of the city who are well served by these hospitals and medical centers,” they wrote.

The doctors addressed the political motivation behind the decision, writing, “Although we, the authors of this editorial, have diverse political views, as medical professionals we are uniform in our conviction that health cooperation is an area in which we urge decision makers to distance themselves from politically related considerations. We view this sudden withdrawal of support for such health care institutions as anathema to our prime commitment as medical professionals, and we see no benefit whatsoever and only harm accruing from such a decision.”

Accordingly, the doctors asked the U.S. administration to reverse the decision, “to avoid clear and certain medical harm and deleterious consequences for the health of patients served by the hospitals of east Jerusalem.”

Prof. Ziv Gil of Rambam Medical Center, another signatory, said, “This decision can be expected to pose serious problems for treating patients who get medical services in East Jerusalem, both Israeli Arabs and Palestinian Arabs, including life-saving treatments. The sum the Americans plan to cut is equal to the deficit of a large Israeli hospital. It will also increase the pressure on the other hospitals in Israel. It’s a decision that will harm human life and we felt an obligation to protest.”

The Trump administration’s decision to cut the aid was made in September, over the objections of Christian groups in the United States that support some of the hospitals. East Jerusalem hospitals are licensed by Israel and are supervised by the Health Ministry, but a significant number of patients are from the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, who come to Jerusalem mainly for complex treatments. The PA’s accumulated debt to the hospitals comes to 280 million shekels ($75.9 million) which is impeding their ability to function. This debt is one reason why almost all the hospitals in East Jerusalem have been in financial crisis or on the verge of bankruptcy in recent years.

Ido Efrati

Dr. Wruble declares that the human brain can protect us from seeing and feeling what it believes may be too uncomfortable for us to tolerate.  It can lead us to deny, defend, minimize, or rationalize away something that doesn't fit our worldview.  Actually, as I observe present Trump's behavior, I imagine that there is a good chance he identifies with his father's aggressive business style and parenting, and is now employing that orientation to his role as president.


In psychology, this is called identification with the aggressor.  At first, it may appear counter-intuitive to identify with an aggressor who has abused his position of power to take advantage.  However, our brains often use this early relationship as a template to shape our future behavior.  Taking all this into consideration, president Trump's aggressive behavior seems to illuminate the part of his father that still lives on within him.


Individuals with such a history often exhibit insecurities that can lead to all kinds of compensatory behaviors.  Trump's sensitivity to being seen as weak or vulnerable along with his need to exaggerate and distort the truth are signs of his deep-seated insecurity.  His confabulation protects his fragile ego.  Meanwhile, his blustering becomes fodder for comedians and the media.  Watching reporters try to address the “alternative facts” and Trump's impulsive tweets with his press secretary staff is comically surreal.

In simplified fashion, in order for Trump to avoid feeling the effects of his insecurities, and to feed his narcissistic needs, he appears to compensate by trying to be seen as powerful and special with the hope that he will indeed feel powerful and special.


Wruble posits that Trump doesn't appear to have the flexibility to switch gears in order to deal with the function of his job as president.  His handling of FBI director James Comey is a good example.  Conversations about loyalty appear to have contributed to his firing.  Trump's befuddlement regarding all the fireworks that ensured makes it appear that he is either limited in understanding the impact of his behavior or insensitive to it.  Either way, his leadership leave a large segment of the population feeling insecure and fearful about what to expect next.

Fred Trump's competitiveness was quite apparent near the end of his life, when he was quoted as saying that his thrice-divorced son would never beat him in the “marital department,” since had had been married to the same woman for sixty years.


Since trump has taken office, I [Wruble] have tried to engage my father, and others within my family and in the Orthodox Jewish community, about my concerns with Trump's exaggerations and lying, along with his xenophobia, all of which appear to be playing on the fears and insecurities of his support base.  I was accused of having drunk the liberal Kool-Aid.  Some inferred that I must believe that Israel wasn't without sin in its fight to live in peace with the Palestinians.  Others accused me of wanting a socialist state.  It became clear that, in parts of my family and within the wider community of orthodox Jews, there was an “us-versus-them” mentality.  It's frustrating to be told that my thoughts and clinical ideas about unfolding events are really just politically motivated.


Family and friends wrongly assume that I must not care about Israel enough, or that I am more sympathetic to the plight of Syrian refugees than to the safety of Israelis and Americans.  I try to explain that my love for Israel is separate from my feelings for anybody who is being trampled on by Trump's process.  No lies should be dismissed as unimportant.  All this feels surreal as I try to emphasize that any end, even Israel's security, that follows an inappropriate process is dangerously fragile and not worth depending on.


The online environment of Facebook has taken center stage as the arena of choice for many Jews to fight about politics in general and about Trump specifically.  A “friend” charged that I [Wruble] that by continuing to attack Trump's behavior, I was forgetting the Holocaust.  Trump was keeping “dangerous” people outside our borders.  The fact that innocent people were being harmed, they said, was an unfortunate but necessary side effect.


Conversely, a few Jewish patients I treated who are children of Holocaust survivors fear that another Holocaust is more likely because of Trump's policies and his association with the lies of Steve Bannon.  They are afraid that those in bed with white nationalists send a message to anti-Semitic people that it is safe to act out their racist and prejudiced agendas.


Wruble spent the Jewish holiday of Passover with my family at a resort where a conservative political writer had been hired to speak.  My family and I attended the talk, which I assumed would be pro-Trump.  I sat with my father while the speaker made clear that he was not happy with Trump and, furthermore, he felt that Trump's leadership style was dangerous.  I almost laughed out loud as I watched my father's mouth drop open.


During the question-and-answer session, I asked about the impact on Orthodox Jews voting for a man who has such a flawed process of leading, yet who strongly supports the State of Israel.  The speaker validated my concerns by responding that the ends do not justify the means, stating emphatically, “President Trump needs to shut up and just let those he has selected for his Cabinet do their jobs and push their conservative agenda forward.”


As with all adults, Donald Trump's early development created who we are witnessing.  Despite their appreciation for each other, the tension between father and son caused Donald psychological wounds that still fester.  To compensate, Donald Trump puffs himself up to project a macho image that appeals to many of his followers.  But it’s empty, a defense against his fear of seeming weak and ineffectual like his brother  Before being elected, Trump could treat people as he wished, using his wealth and status as a means to achieve his goals.


As the president of the United States, he is expected to handle issues more delicately and follow the checks and balances that make up our democratic society.  Unfortunately for him and possibly the nation, his strengths that got him elected president don't ensure success in that position.

In France, Trump And Others Commemorate The End Of World War I


Views: 57

Comment by mary gravitt on November 15, 2018 at 12:15pm

If it were not for the free American free media, we would not know that Trump is insane.  He has fostered an US vs. US philosophy that is Guaranteed to dis-unite the United States.  We are in a historical moment that appears to be twinning the Civil War and moving with all deliberate speed toward the period before WWI.

This move toward WWI is what is worrying the Europeans who have had two world wars fought on their land mass.  The Europeans understand the destruction that war causes.  But Trump, who attended military school as a young man, sees war as a great adventure.  He has never served in the military nor even visited Our troops in a War Zone.

The only ones who win in war are the arms dealers, Trump's business friends, and the undertakers.

Comment by J.P. Hart on November 15, 2018 at 12:57pm

When you and me finally meet dear Mary we'll enjoy Dreamsicles in those balcony 747 chairs and not say much while Blue Velvet fills the Sensurround horizon. . .

Comment by mary gravitt on November 15, 2018 at 1:19pm

Will be my pleasure J.P.

Comment by Robert B. James on November 15, 2018 at 6:21pm

Keep at it MG.

Comment by J.P. Hart on November 16, 2018 at 1:17am


Only 109 days until Mardi Gras 2019! I'll try and have what I call my Senator John Edwards attire organized: crisply pressed white pants, mirror-toned glinting Sicilian half-boots, my 'anywhere~anytime' midnight blue blazer over my Red Cross T. I'll try to borrow a DeLorean. Strictly Platonic (; Please know my hair never looks right but my laugh is contagious...and you'll be 'interviewed' for my work~in~progress : Women of the Avant-Garde What??
You thought I was one of the old men in the club car??


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