Jesus said to them: Did you never read in the Scriptures, 'The Stone that the builders rejected is the one that has become the chief cornerstone. From Jehovah this has come to be, and it is marvelous in our eyes?' This is why I say to you, The Kingdom of God will be taken from YOU and be given to a nation producing its fruits. Also, the person falling upon this stone will be shattered. As for anyone upon whom it falls, it will pulverize him.'"
John Nichols in Horsemen of the Trumpocalypse: A Field Guide to the Most Dangerous People in America (2017) writes that John Bolton was indeed "the stone" that Trump rejected to head the State Department. Nichols writes that it is not as if Donald Trump's selection of his choice for secretary of state was a snap decision. Trump's high-profile search for a nominee to take charge of the State Department took weeks. He rejected prominent prospects such as 2012 Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney and former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton, during the most closely examined and consequential period of the cabinet selection process.
Trump finally settled on a candidate who NBC News introduced to Americans as a "64-year-old veteran oil executive who has no government or diplomatic experience," Rex Tillerson.
Michael Wolff in Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House (2018) also verifies that Bolton was "the rejected stone." Wolff describes a small dinner party, which both Roger Ailes and Bannon attended in Greenwich Village. At nine-thirty Bannon arrived and took control of the conversation. "We're going to flood the zone so we have every cabinet member for the next seven days through their confirmation hearings," he said of the business-and military 1950s-type cabinet choices. "Tillerson is two days, Session is two days, Mattis is two days...."
Bannon veered from "Mad Dog" Mattis--the retired four-star general whom Trump had nominated as secretary of defense--to a long riff on torture, the surprising liberalism of generals, and the stupidity of the civilian-military bureaucracy. Then it was on to the looming appointment of Michael Flynn--a favorite Trump general who'd been the opening act at many Trump rallies--as National Security Adviser.
"He's fine. He's not Jim Mattis and he's not John Kelly but he's fine. He just needs the right staff around him." Still, Bannon averred: "When you take out all the never-Trump guys who signed all those letters and all the neocons who got us in all these wars, it's not a deep bench."
Bannon said he'd tried to push John Bolton, the famously hawkish diplomat, for the job as National Security Adviser. Bolton was an Ailes favorite too.
"He's a bomb thrower," said Ailes. "And a strange little fucker. But you need him. Who else is good on Israel? Flynn is a little nutty on Iran. Tillerson"--the secretary of state designate--"just knows oil."
"Bolton's mustache is a problem," snorted Bannon. "Trump doesn't think he looks the part. You know Bolton is an acquired taste."
"Well, he got in trouble because he got in a fight in a hotel one night and chased some woman."
"If I told Trump that, he might have the job."
I strongly believe that the history between WWI and the period leading up to WWII is about to echo--or more aptly, "repeating itself." As Americans, we are too ignorant of how the election of Donald Trump as president has changed world politics. Fascism has reared its ugly head throughout Europe egged on by Steve Bannon and his Breitbart Network. Trump patterned his pre-election behavior and campaigning on Benito Mussolini's Totalitarianism and Adolf Hitler, who also waged a "flying campaign" and made updated neo-Aryan (White) nationalistic speeches, Aryan racism.
The violence sanctioned by Trump are repetition of the Fascist campaign of Mussolini and the Nazi campaign of Hitler where violence was part of the agenda and, part of the stagecraft in Trump's case. Even Trump's cabinet choices mirror that of the Nazis, SA, and SS that surrounded Hitler. The hiring of a warmonger like John Bolton, a Himmler figure, reflects Trump Fascist instincts. Knowing this is why I am so fascinated with William Shirer's The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich--it is a text written from a witness-to-history, a journalist who uses original German language Nazi sources that helps me prove that history is arbitrator of the present.
However, Margret Macmillan in Paris 1919: Six Months That Changed The World (2001) gives an interesting lead up to the behavior that prepared and cleared the road for Hitler and for WWII that looks so much like the politics of today--in Trump's ability to make his White rural and working-class supports believe that they have been victimized via trade. Hitler used the Treaty of Versailles to draw the German people into destroying their nubile Weimar Republic's democracy and endure self-destruction it engendered is too close to what is happening to the remnants of America's democracy.
Trump, leader of the free world, does not believe in diplomacy, only war mongering that he disguises as "the art of the deal"; thus the appointment of John Bolton, who should have along with Newt Gingrich been strung up by piano wire from meat hooks for treason, as National Security Adviser, and dismissing McMaster via tweet-campaign, comes as no surprise. However, Richard Holbrooke, a diplomat who wrote the Forward to 1919 makes a salient point: In diplomacy, as in life itself, one often learns more from failures than from successes. Triumphs will seem, in retrospect, to be foreordained, a series of brilliant actions and decisions that may in fact have been lucky or inadvertent, whereas failures illuminate paths and pitfalls to be avoided--in the parlance of modern bureaucrats, lessons learned. With this in mind, it is time to look again at what happened in Paris in 1919. Margaret Macmillan engrossing account of that seminal event contains some success stories, to be sure, but measured against the judgment of history and consequences, it is a study of flawed decisions with terrible consequences, many of which haunt us to this day.
Donald Trump, Benjamin Netanyahu, and war-hawk, John Bolton paint Iran in the image of Germany and the rise of Nazis in the 1920s. They want to convince the Western allies who signed the Iran Accord that if regime change is not made in Iran, it will grow into another Nazi Germany. This tripartite, one with financial interest; the other seeking suzerainty in the Middle East; and the other is a misanthrope wants to extend Western imperialism into the 21st century. All three want us to believe that they are as isolated as France was in her complaint against Germany. But 1953, demonstrates that Iran has more to fear from the West than the West has to fear from Iran. The Europeans and other signatories know the history of Operation Ajax and is why they support the Iran Deal.
Macmillan in "Part Eight: Finishing Up" offers an observation of our present
Political quandary of being hoodwinked into war(s). Macmillan writes that in 1924, a British member of the Inter-Allied Commission of Control, which was established by the Treaty of Versailles to monitor Germany's compliance with the military terms, published an article in which he complained that the German military had systematically obstructed its work and that there were widespread violations of the disarmament clauses of the treaty. There was a storm of protest in Germany at this calumny. (Years later, after Hitler had come to power, German generals admitted that the article had been quite right.) Where, said the Germans, was the general disarmament so often talked about? The Americans, who had retreated so visibly from world affairs with the repudiation of the League, could scarcely disagree. Nor could the British. The French found themselves increasingly isolated when they complained that Germany was disobeying the military clauses.
The extent of the violations was not completely known at the time, even to the French. Flying clubs were suddenly very popular and were so effective that when Hitler became chancellor he was able to produce a German air force almost at once. The Prussian police force, the largest in Germany, became more and more military in its organization and training. Its officers could easily have moved into the German army, and some did. The self-appointed Freikorps, which had sprung up in 1918, dissolved and its members reformed with dazzling ingenuity as labor gangs, bicycle agencies, traveling circuses and detective bureaus. Some moved wholesale into the army. The Treaty of Versailles limited the number of officers in the army itself to 4,000 but it said nothing about the non-commissioned officers. So the German army had 40,000 sergeants and corporals. [French General] Foch had been right; a volunteer army could provide the backbone for rapid expansion.
Factories that had once produced tanks now turned out inordinately heavy tractors; the research was useful for the future. In the Berlin cabarets, they told jokes about the worker who smuggled parts out of a baby carriage factory for his new child only to find when he tried to put them all together he kept getting a machine gun. All over Europe, in safe neutral countries such as the Netherlands and Sweden, companies whose ultimate ownership was in German hands worked on tanks or submarines. The safest place of all, farthest from the prying eyes of the control commission, was the Soviet Union. In 1921 the two pariah nations of Europe realized they had something in to offer each other. In return for space and secrecy for experiments with tanks, aircraft and poison gas, Germany provided technical assistance and training.
March 20, 2017 | 10:23 AM
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President Donald Trump has called the North American Free Trade Agreement unfair to American workers. He wants to renegotiate the trade agreement. - SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images
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This story is from our special series that explores NAFTA’s role in our economy from the perspective of workers, business owners and trade negotiators. What exactly is NAFTA? And what happens if it changes? Join us to discuss how one of the most hotly contested issues in our society shapes the way we live.
When the United States, Mexico, and Canada launched the negotiations for NAFTA, each nation sent a delegate to work out the details. Mexico sent Dr. Jaime Serra, the Minister of Trade and Industry there at the time. He joined Carla Hills from the United States and Michael Wilson from Canada. The trio worked together over several months to put together the deal. Marketplace host Kai Ryssdal talked to Serra about his experience and what he sees for the future of NAFTA in the Trump administration. An edited transcript of the conversation follows.
Kai Ryssdal: How did it come to pass that you were the guy sitting at the table doing the NAFTA negotiations 25ish years ago?
Jaime Serra: Well, I was then the minister of trade for Trade and Industry in Mexico. Our relationship with the U.S., which is a very natural relationship in terms of trade and other fronts and trade, was not substantive enough given the fact that we were neighbors and that we will be neighbors forever. And we had a series of agreements that were just getting to that limit. So it was quite obvious that we had to change the rules in order to have a better trade for both other countries. And Canadians, that's something that I think should be in the mind of the negotiators this time around.
Ryssdal: Well, as long as you brought it up, let's skip ahead to the things I wanted to talk about, and let me ask you about this idea that President Trump has of either getting rid of or renegotiating NAFTA. What do you think of that?
Serra: Well, I assume there's a sequence, right? That you renegotiate, and if the renegotiation doesn't succeed, then probably any country in the agreement can remove itself from from the agreement. I think it would be a mistake because what we have now is a very competitive North American region. For every dollar Mexico exports to the U.S., it has 40 cents of U.S. content in any product we send to the U.S. Well, for every dollar that the Chinese send to the U.S., it has four cents of content of American products. So in that sense, Mexico contributes to the competitiveness of the U.S. economy and contributes to the competitiveness of the region as a whole, as opposed to the case of pure outsourcing, which is the relationship the U.S. has with China and other countries. So as I've been saying, we're on the same side of the table, and we are part of the solution, not part of the problem.
Ryssdal: People are of two minds about NAFTA in the United States. Part of that has been exacerbated by the recent political campaign. I wonder what Mexicans think of NAFTA and where it has taken that economy.
Serra: I think that the feeling towards NAFTA in Mexico is a positive one because what it did was basically help the country to modernize and to become much more of a manufacturer than a commodity exporter. As you know, Mexico was and had been before NAFTA pretty much oil dependent. And now, you know oil represents very little of our total exports. So the transformation that Mexico has experienced going from, you know, basically an oil exporter to a manufacturing exporter has been very positive, and it has contributed, again, to the growth of manufacturing in the U.S. and manufacturing in Canada because we complement each other. Our economies are very complementary with each other, no more than substitutes.
Ryssdal: You understand that if you go to certain places in the United States, the upper Midwest being the most obvious example, that is exactly the opposite of way of the way people see it.
Serra: Absolutely. And I think that there is some confusion there because the reason for the trade deficits the U.S. has, or the lack of employment in those areas, is not the fact that they have a future agreement with Mexico. It is a different kind. It is automation, robots, technological change, different forms of training, different training for the workers. That is what explains the situation there. Not NAFTA. Actually, if you look at the numbers, Kai, 90 percent of the trade deficit is explained of trade that the U.S. has with countries with whom they do not have a free trade agreement.
Ryssdal: If President Trump actually does reopen negotiations on NAFTA, what should Mexico be looking for out of this round of talks?
Serra: I think that we need to understand that basically there are two options. One is to introduce protectionist measures within the region, which I think would be suicidal. Truly speaking, I think we would be shooting our own foot because if we introduce protectionist measures within the region, we're going to make the region less competitive. The other approach is to enhance the integration of North America and to make the region more competitive. Like, for instance, to be more competitive with China. So if we agree on that general principle, I think that the potential negotiations could improve quite a bit: our instruments, and our relationship, and therefore the potential benefits for both economies.
Ryssdal: I wonder, though, if there's a failure to agree on those basic principles, right? Because President Trump has said, pretty clearly, "NAFTA is the worst trade deal ever negotiated."
Serra: Yes. Well, I understand that those things were much more of a political moment, I hope. Because the evidence shows that the countries have benefits from NAFTA.
Ryssdal: Respecting the fact that you, in your professional life, were a trained negotiator and diplomat, I guess, in some way, do you take it personally when a President Trump says all these horrible things about this deal that you spend so much of your time working on?
Serra: No, not at all. I'm sure President Trump doesn't mean that to be personal, but more sort of an approach to an issue that he cares very much about. But I don't take it personally. By the way, I never studied negotiation or diplomacy. I'm not a diplomat. I'm an economist, and probably that's what helped the fact that I'm not a diplomat. But I don't want to love or hate that. https://www.marketplace.org/2017/03/20/economy/no-love-or-hate-for-...
Follow Kai Ryssdal at @kairyssdal.
When historians look, as they have increasingly been doing, at the other details, the picture of a Germany crushed by a vindictive peace cannot be sustained. Germany did lose territory; that was an inevitable consequence of losing the war.
The clearest demonstration that the peacemakers had not emasculated Germany came after 1939. With different leadership in the Western democracies, with stronger democracy in Weimar Germany, without the damage done by the Depression, the story might have turned out differently. And without Hitler to mobilize the resentments of ordinary Germans and to play on the guilty consciences of so many in the democracies, Europe might not have had another war so soon after the first. The Treaty of Versailles is not to blame. It was never consistently enforced, or only enough to irritate German nationalism without limiting German power to disrupt the peace of Europe. With the triumph of Hitler and the Nazis in 1933, Germany had a government that was bent on destroying the Treaty of Versailles.
In 1939, von Ribbentrop, the German foreign minister, told the victorious Germans in Danzig: "The Fuhrer has done nothing but remedy the most serious consequences which this most unreasonable of all dictates in history imposed upon a nation and, in fact, upon the whole of Europe, in other words repair the worst mistakes committed by none other than the statesmen of the western democracies."