NY Times Man in Europe: ‘Selfish’ Trump Not Interfering Enough Overseas During Pandemic

March 24th, 2020 10:30 AM

Steven Erlanger is the chief diplomatic correspondent in Europe for The New York Times. He sits in Brussels and channels the view of Eurocrats. So naturally, Donald Trump is stepping away from global leadership because ....he refuses to agree with everything the socialists in Brussels prefer. Erlanger launched another attack on Trump's "selfish" leadership in Sunday’s paper: “In This Crisis, U.S. Sheds Its Role as Global Leader.”

That’s the same United States the paper criticizes for throwing its weight around overseas, at least under Republican administrations. But now it’s being mocked for not being the world’s C.E.O. during the pandemic?

In the name of “America First,” President Trump has pulled out of the Paris climate agreement and questioned the usefulness of the United Nations and NATO, displaying his distaste for the multinational institutions the United States had constructed and led since World War II.

As the coronavirus crisis escalates across the globe, the United States is stepping back further, abandoning its longtime role as a generous global leader able to coordinate an ambitious, multinational response to a worldwide emergency.

During both the economic meltdown in 2008 and the Ebola crisis of 2014, the United States assumed the role of global coordinator of responses -- sometimes imperfectly, but with the acceptance and gratitude of its allies and even its foes.

Erlanger, who regularly questions Trump’s leadership, rounded up European intelligentsia to bash Trump.

But the United States is not taking those kinds of steps today.

There is from President Trump’s America a selfishness that is new,’’ said Jan Techau, a senior fellow at the German Marshall Fund in Berlin. While all nations act to protect themselves, he said, the United States traditionally saw that responsibility as having a broader reach.

With Mr. Trump’s unembellished nationalism and slogan of “America First,’’ his efforts to blame first China and then Europe for the coronavirus, and his various misstatements of fact, “it means that America no longer serves the planet,’’ Mr. Techau said.

“America was always strong on self-interest but it has been very generous,” he said. “That generosity seems to be gone, and that’s bad news for the world.’’

That's a generosity rarely acknowledged by the European left in the first place.

The United States did provide some early aid to China. But in general, the administration has left even close allies to fend for themselves...

The Times squeezed in a little more of its trademark propaganda for the Communist regime, whose sinister lying and negligence (euphemized in the Times as "mistakes") unleashed the contagion into the wider world.

The contrast is to China, which made huge mistakes at the onset of the crisis, but since then appears to have managed it effectively, using harsh quarantine measures others are studying.

China is also now sending aid -- needed respiratory and surgical masks, ventilators and medical personnel -- to Italy and Serbia, which have condemned their European allies for not providing early and efficient help.

On Wednesday, China offered the European Union as a whole two million surgical masks, 200,000 advanced N95 masks and 50,000 testing kits. On Friday, China sent several million masks to Belgium.