American Matador

Donald Trump: American Matador

By Michael Curtis

This is the season of the running of the bulls in Pamplona, Spain, at the Sanfermines festival, when hundreds of foolhardy youngsters run through the street, as has been the custom for 700 years, defying the animals intent on goring and trampling them.  In 2017, thousands engaged in this diversion, and 64 were injured, in the event that Ernest Hemingway in his 1926 book The Sun Also Rises called a battlefield with brave heroes in the equivalent bullring.

The political international bullring is now the arena for President Donald Trump to display diplomatic skill if not comparable bravado in running or being chased or being gored by NATO members through the streets of Brussels in July 11-12, 2018, sipping tea with Queen Elizabeth at Windsor on July 15 and discussing with Prime Minister Theresa May and perhaps his “friend” Boris Johnson the turmoil in British politics, and going to Helsinski, Finland, on July 16 to meet with Russian president Vladimir Putin, presently basking in the afterglow of the World Cup.  The open question is whether Trump will, like Hemingway’s matador, let the bull pass so close that the man and the animal are one sharply etched mass.

Trump is engaged in two interrelated encounters: the enigmatic Russian regime under Putin, and the NATO trans-Atlantic alliance, founded in 1949, led by the U.S. since its creation, and now numbering 29 members.  An open question is whether going to Helsinski, a few days after Brussels, implies Trump’s displeasure with NATO.  The meeting with Putin reinforces Trump’s emphatic call at the G7 conference on June 8, 2018 for Russia to be readmitted to the group from which it was expelled in 2014 because of the annexation of Crimea.  NATO, exacerbated by Trump’s call, is unlikely to agree with him that Crimea is part of Russia because its people speak Russian. …

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