No competition: Trump’s Worldwide Retreat.

www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2019/09/17/how-vladimir-putin-is-outplaying-us-africa/

“With time, however, the Withdrawal Doctrine is undermining the administration’s commitment to deter and contain Russia. Nowhere is this contradiction more clearly on display than in Africa. The Trump administration’s reduced engagement on the African continent has created new opportunities for Russia to move in. As the United States withdraws some troops from Africa, and signals indifference to African affairs more generally, the Kremlin has dramatically and dangerously stepped up its military and commercial dealings across the continent.”

“The contrast between Washington and Moscow’s focus on Africa is stark. Trump’s assault on diplomacy and development programs has left U.S. embassies short-staffed and in policy limbo. This is true globally, but Africa-related work has been especially hard-hit and appointments extremely slow in coming. Amazingly, South Africa — a regional leader with the second-largest economy on the continent — has been without a U.S. ambassador since Trump took office. Trump has had little interaction with African leaders and little to say about the region (with the notable exception of his reference to African states as “shithole countries,” a comment that continues to reverberate across the continent).”

Medicynical note: Trump’s ignorance manifested by his racism and fealty to such dictators as Putin, Kim and Egypt’s el-Sisi undercuts our foreign policy objectives of encouraging democracy and aiding emerging nations towards stable democratic governments. Trump really isn’t smart enough to give a damn.

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