Someone Should Tell The President To Stop Trying To Save Face
First off, America’s credibility in the world does not simply reside in its presidential powers — especially with President Trump in particular, that is more seen as bloviation rife with bluster. The credibility of the U.S. is embedded in it’s ability to uphold democratic principles which incur commitments of reciprocal support and cooperation from its allies and friendly nations around the world. Though these very same principles have become fragile as of late, there is quite a bit of reputation and contributive diversity that precedes it, and has given way to a superpower standing in the world. Marked by wide ranging symbolism, from its constitution to the Statue of Liberty, the most emphatic call to democratic principles and actions have led to open immigration, military and or relief aids to impoverished or wildly autocratic torn countries over the years. Many seem mistaken by the counterintuitive influence-peddling seen in the White House today, but this is due to the remarkably motivated ignorance on display there.
The preponderance of white males in positions of power to narrate and influence comports with a strong desire for them to prove their self-acclaimed status in the social hierarchy. It is definitely not representative of a multicultural society. It is a very dangerous proposition in this imagined sphere of social order which inspires inveiglement that tendentiously leads to aggrieved outcomes of indignation, and encourages dissociative features of governance that marginalize outgroups — which noticeably includes white women of whom represent a distortion — while being beneficiaries of substantial privilege in exchange for minorities’ hard fought strides for equality. This makes contemplating the objectivity of white males in positions of power nearly impossible when determining the authenticity of competence and credibility from a reputation that is fraudulent of patriarchy.
I’m not sure why this ingroup would even consider or support, let alone rely, on such a disingenuous aspect of reputation based on the historical record of legitimate grievances that warranted civil rights legislation, and that conspicuously conflict with reputational credibility. It should come as no surprise then that members of the outgroup are being made once again to fight for and prove equality — that Black lives matter, that Asians don’t want to live up to model minority prescriptions, that Latinos and Hispanics are infringing upon them with their linguistic demands, …et al under this distortion of nationalism.
Nationalist movements are an irreconcilable cause for the globalizing effect of technology in the current throes of our civilization. Nationalism remains a false identity within a false narrative. Such falsities are threatening to the psyche and the body when a group decides to oppress other groups for security and socioeconomic gain. This leads to a credible threat on the domestic stage that is marked by a disposition inclined toward racism and discrimination based on the past actions theory. The recent Missouri Travel Advisory is indicative of the credibility of this threat towards minorities on the domestic front.
On the foreign policy stage the credibility of a threat based on the past actions theory is insufficient. The U.S. can’t possibly follow through on every threat and confront every adversary, every time in order to assert its credibility. This would truly be exhausting and nonsensical. However, no one told the incompetent Trump about the various credibility traps that have been left out in the open for him to fall into. Even if someone tried to advise the president, Trump seems too preoccupied with saving face both domestically and abroad. The Political Media Complex can be seen as whitewashing (interesting term here) or enabling this president to his own detriment, and speciously mischaracterizing credibility on the foreign policy front. Credibility has been plausibly put into proper context via Vox below.
Under this line of thinking, if the US fails to follow through on a threat or stand up to a challenger in one part of the world, then its allies and enemies globally will be more likely to conclude that all American threats are empty, and that America can be pushed around. If the US backed down once, it will back down again.
It’s easy to see how people could be attracted to this idea, which puts complicated geo-politics in simple and familiar human terms. It encourages us to think of states as just like people.
But states are not people, and this theory, for all its appealing simplicity, is not correct. There is no evidence that America’s allies or enemies change their behavior based on conclusions about America’s reputation for credibility, or that such a form of reputation even exists in foreign policy.
Here is a more succinct definition of credibility from the Harvard Law Review that has some muster to it.
The credibility of a threat is “the perceived likelihood that the threat will be carried out if the conditions that are supposed to trigger it are met.” When people believe a threat will be carried out, it is credible; when they believe it is a bluff, the threat is not credible. Credibility is an audience’s perception. If the United States thinks its threats are credible, but opponents do not, then the threats are not credible. Credibility is also not universal. Different actors might assess the credibility of a threat differently — and different individuals within the same government might debate the credibility of a threat.
Acting on a politically localized threat (reverse racism, affirmative action) is different in dynamics, scope, and scale to a global threat that unavoidably would result in the engagement of a prolonged and costly war, while both involve casualties the former actually does more to ruin reputation. The current calculus theory holds very well here.
Current calculus theory holds that credibility is not a function of past actions or reputation, but rather a function of a country’s present capabilities and interests in a particular situation.
Someone needs to inform President Trump that his reputation along with his flunkies and supporters has already preceded them and he need not make empty threats or encourage rogue nations to carry out their threats to save face in order to whitewash a domestically tarnished reputation.
The logic of reputational credibility can only ever lead to the same conclusion: toward the use of American military force abroad, even in cases where there is no clear reason to intervene and where the downsides of intervention would seem to outweigh the upsides. It is a compass that only points in one direction. — Jennifer Lind, International Security Studies Forum, Dartmouth University