The World

Oct 31, 2017

Yale Diaries: America’s ‘credibility’ is not the problem here

While pundits wring their hands over Trump eroding America's global "credibility", the rest of us are more concerned about the world blowing up, says Yale fellow and freelance writer Emma Shortis.

The White House is giving foreign policy types and regular humans all kinds of things to worry about. There’s North Korea, of course, and the very real possibility of nuclear war. There’s the ambush and death of four American troops in Niger amid some pretty questionable circumstances. There’s the deliberate sabotage of global action on climate change. There’s inflammatory statements about terrorism, refugees and immigration. There’s the decimation of the State Department and American diplomatic expertise. I could go on.

Some American foreign policy pundits, though, are busy wringing their hands about something else: Trump’s erosion of American “credibility” and his total disregard for this seemingly central aspect of US foreign policy.

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6 thoughts on “Yale Diaries: America’s ‘credibility’ is not the problem here

  1. lykurgus

    You do understand that booking a nuclear strike can take several hours? Authentications have to be sent and received (encrypted/decrypted each time), then the actual platforms have to be booked (they won’t all be available and within range at time of booking, even if you’re not using the submarines – which have most of the newer nukes).

    And the POTUS has to sit in the corner and play quietly with his building blocks and choo-choo train the whole time. He won’t do it!

    1. [email protected]

      About ten minutes, actually. There’s a really good explanation of the process here, from a Professor in Constitutional Law:

      Plus, I wouldn’t underestimate Trump’s willingness to use nukes, especially if he feels cornered by other events and is looking to lash out. See

  2. James O'Neill

    Talk about rewriting history! The author might like to acquaint herself with NSAM 263 which was Kennedy’s directive for the withdrawal from Vietnam. Reversing it was the first order that Johnson made. There was also the false flag Gulf of Tonkin incident that you seem unaware of. There are so many misinterpretations that it would take an essay to rebut them. I will just make one other note. The US no longer has the “ability to dominate the world”. Excluding the Granada and Panama excursions, it hasn’t actually won a war since 1945, and only did that thanks to the Russians and the Chinese in Europe and Asia respectively. The days of America’s unipolar view of the world are gone. If McCoy and Galtung are correct, even the days of US power (as incompetent and corrupt as it is) are strictly numbered.
    All the more reason for us to sever that “joined at the hip” syndrome and actually form plate a foreign policy that serves Australia’s interests.

    1. [email protected]

      We are a small under equiped limited defence asset country with US intelligence first nuke strike risk bases and little else and are stuck with the yanks as the Indonesians, China India, phillipines, Pakistan and Vietnam are not trustworthy nor ever likely to be. We have no choice but be their military R&R hoping for information parity at least if a flasb point erupts in europe the middle east or as more likely Africa where an undeclared war for resources gathers pace.

    2. Emma

      I’m well aware of the Gulf of Tonkin, thanks. And while Kennedy was making noises about getting out of Vietnam, it’s by no means certain that he would have withdrawn completely. The jury is still very much out on that. I was merely suggesting that Johnson was wary of appearing (whether he was or not) to be undoing Kennedy’s platform. It wasn’t the only one, but maintaining American “credibility” was a justification he used time and time again.

      On US dominance: there’s certainly evidence that US power is waning. I understand your argument that the US hasn’t exactly been successful when it comes to “winning” wars, but its “ability” to dominate, as you put it, very much remains. It’s still by far the greatest spender on military/defence and, whether we like it or not, continues to dominate, militarily and politically, all of the major institutional frameworks of global politics. For just one example, see

  3. AR

    Surely ameriKKKa is a txt book example of a failed state?
    Untrustworthy, belligerent, bankrupt (fiscally & morally), headed – if not ‘led’ – by an amoral psychopath, a danger to the rest of the world and wildly over armed and under educated, hollowed out by intolerant, apocalyptic & anti science religiosity and arrogant in its overwheening ignorance.
    And those are just its good points.

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