There are times that in order to explain an ideology a definition is needed; case in point, Western Liberalism or Democracy-characterized by elections between multiple distinct political parties, a separation of powers into different branches of government, the rule of law in everyday life as part of an open society, a market economy with private property and the equal protection of human rights, civil rights, civil liberties and political freedoms for all people.
The President of the United States of America, leading arguably the most successful practitioner of Western Liberalism, answered Vladimir Putin’s critique of Western Democracy like a fifth-grade social studies student. Mr. Putin who is fully aware of the geopolitical and socio-political ramifications of Western Democracy called it outdated, “The liberal idea has become obsolete. It has come into conflict with the interests of the overwhelming majority of the population,” Putin said. This was not an attack on a political party but an attack on all the western democracies, a fact Mr. Trump failed to recognize.
In the simple mind of Donald Trump, he answered the query by reporters on Putin's remarks with an astounding misunderstanding of the basics of a free democracy. Mr. Trump went on to single out San Francisco and Los Angeles for what he sees as failures of the Democratic party, “I don’t know what they’re thinking, but he does see things that are happening in the United States that would probably preclude him from saying how wonderful it is,” Trump responded. “I’m very embarrassed by what I see in some of our cities where the politicians are either afraid to do something about it or they think it’s votes.”
Although these massive displays of ignorance in foreign policy and diplomacy may make us laugh and gives the likes of Bill Maher and John Oliver easy material to write, this unabashed ignorance should frighten us all. The President over the weekend became the first sitting President to step across the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) between North and South Korea. I have no doubt he expected to be met by Harvey Levin, of TMZ fame, and offered a latte. Hopefully, for my own gratification, you smiled a bit at that line, but the possibility is not that far fetched when it comes to this president.