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Consider it an irony or simply a reality of our moment, but these days Donald (“America First”) Trump is looking ever less like an old-fashioned, pre-World War II isolationist. In a mere three-plus weeks in office, he’s managed to mix it up royally with much of the rest of the planet. He threatened to send American troops into Mexico (hey, it was a joke, just lighthearted banter!); he insulted the Prime Minister of Australia by shouting at and hanging up on him (“fatigue was setting in” and anyway maybe he thought it was Austria!); he threatened Iran with everything but the kitchen sink (which he evidently couldn’t find in the new, under-inhabited White House); he insulted Iraq by banning its citizens from visiting the land that had invaded and occupied them and essentially dynamited their country; he insulted German Prime Minister Angela Merkel for her handling of the refugee crisis and may still be playing with the idea of appointing an ambassador to the European Union who would like to see it go the way of the old Soviet Union. He put in place the Muslim ban that wasn’t a ban on immigrants and visitors from seven largely Muslim lands — before an obviously Islam-loving so-called judge in San Francisco (natch!) temporarily banned it. After being played like a fiddle by military officials who told him that President Obama would never have had the guts to order such a raid — great presidential button-pushing, guys! — he green-lighted a disastrous Special Operations mission in Yemen in which the raiders didn’t get their guy (but did get a long available terror video), while one American and up to 30 civilians, including children, died. (The Yemeni government, possibly also angered by being put on Trump’s list of banned countries, has now banned such raids in its country, or not.) And to give Trump total credit, he staunchly defended the honor of the American people, as he had always promised he would. When Bill O’Reilly, in a pre-Super Bowl interview, called Russian President Vladimir Putin a “killer” without offering a single kind, offsetting word of praise for the United States, the president promptly insisted that the Russians had no monopoly on killers in high places, not on an America First planet. He shot back: “There are a lot of killers. You think our country’s so innocent?” Exactly, Donald. We kill with the best of them!
According to recent research by the Global Impact Institute (GII), in his first 21 days in office, President Trump only missed messing with 13 of the 190-plus nations on the planet, an oversight he’s undoubtedly planning to rectify in week four. (Okay, okay, the GII only operates inside my brain, but take my word for it, it’s no less accurate for that.) And the president has obviously been saving the best for last, despite a recent molifying gesture. I’m talking, of course, about that ominously rising power, China. No other country offers such a mix-it-up opportunity for global economic chaos, outright war, and future Armageddon. But let TomDispatch regular Rajan Menon, author of The Conceit of Humanitarian Intervention, fill in the details on a country that gives Trump the chance to replay a reel of best of John F. Kennedy moments from the Bay of Pigs to the Cuban Missile Crisis — and believe you me, if Donald Trump had been there, Cuba might not have been.