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My Apology Tour

Summary:
Many among the large majority of Americans who didn't vote for Donald Trump feel profound remorse for the damage their president is inflicting on countries around the world. The best way to reassure them – and preserve as much of America's global influence as possible – is to ask for their patience and forgiveness. STOWE, VERMONT – American presidents are supposed to take America’s side when dealing with other countries. When Barack Obama was (falsely) accused of starting his term with a Middle East “apology tour,” it was understood that apologizing to foreigners would have been a bad thing, if true. Now Donald Trump is being heavily criticized for failing to take the side of his own intelligence services and law enforcement

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Many among the large majority of Americans who didn't vote for Donald Trump feel profound remorse for the damage their president is inflicting on countries around the world. The best way to reassure them – and preserve as much of America's global influence as possible – is to ask for their patience and forgiveness.

STOWE, VERMONT – American presidents are supposed to take America’s side when dealing with other countries. When Barack Obama was (falsely) accused of starting his term with a Middle East “apology tour,” it was understood that apologizing to foreigners would have been a bad thing, if true. Now Donald Trump is being heavily criticized for failing to take the side of his own intelligence services and law enforcement agencies when their findings about his friend, Russian President Vladimir Putin, ran counter to what Putin assured him.

But while US presidents are not supposed to apologize for their country, nothing says that professors can’t. Here goes:

Dear World: Not all Americans pay attention to foreign affairs. But presuming to speak on behalf of many who do: we are abjectly remorseful for inflicting Trump on you. We hope you still believe that America is better than this; will try to remain patient until this bizarre historical episode passes; and, when it does end, will join us in rebuilding an open and cooperative rules-based world order.

Many of you deserve a dedicated apology. In alphabetical order:

Dear Africa: We apologize for Trump’s obscene remarks insulting your countries in January.

Dear Australia: We apologize for Trump’s January 28, 2017, phone call with your prime minister, in which he insulted immigrants, willfully misunderstood facts regarding an American commitment, and concluded that he found talking to Putin more pleasant.

Dear Britain: While visiting your country this month, Trump thoughtlessly undermined the political position of Prime Minister Theresa May. Sorry for that, and for his mendacious attacks on London mayor Sadiq Khan.

Dear Canada:...

Jeffrey Frankel
Jeffrey Frankel, a professor at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government, previously served as a member of President Bill Clinton’s Council of Economic Advisers. He directs the Program in International Finance and Macroeconomics at the US National Bureau of Economic Research, where he is a member of the Business Cycle Dating Committee, the official US arbiter of recession and recovery.

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