Daniel Larison referenced Donald Trump's letter to Erdogan. It is amusing, to put it mildly, but that's Trump for ya. He is a former NYC real estate hustler and a man not gifted with complex thinking. Trump warns Erdogan: to not “be a tough guy! Don’t be a fool!
Yet, for all Trump's crude "diplomacy" or, rather, lack thereof, not to mention lack of any common state-level courtesy, no one in the US has any reason or justification for complains about "Turmp's failed foreign policy", as Daniel Larison complains, because US foreign policy as a whole is an exhibit A of a failure, miserable at that. In fact, while Trump's shenanigans are amusing, to say the least, it was Clinton, then W, and then, Obama's catastrophic (I stress it) failures in diplomacy, foreign policy that is, which, way before Trump even considered himself a candidate for POTUS position, provided enough impetus for world powers to start rearranging the world away from American vision.
Let's face it, Trump is merely a culmination of the process of completed degradation of American state institutions among which so called diplomacy, intelligence and military institutions are the most affected. In general, a normally functional state would have disintegrated in shame should it have had such "top" diplomats as war criminal Madeleine Albright, psychotic Samantha Power, or clueless Nikki Haley, not to mention such down right stupid people as Michael McFaul, but not in the United States--this is a category of public which passes in the US under the moniker of "diplomats" and whose "expertise" still remains in demand. The problem with the US "diplomacy" is in a simple fact that as of today it is completely corrupted, doesn't have what in other nations goes under the title of national diplomatic schools, which formed over centuries, and have, as it is the case with MGIMO in Russia, special highly prestigious learning institutions which actually prepare diplomats. Some US Ivy League degree mill's "degrees" in International Relations are not worth the paper they are printed on--the list of US so called "diplomats" in the last 25+ years provides and overwhelming body of empirical evidence that those graduates are not quality diplomatic material, to put it mildly. If they were, we would have people of scale of James Baker or Jack Matlock present or emerging in the US top diplomatic (and national security) echelon--no one of this scale is there, zero. Revisionists they have aplenty, true top level diplomats and foreign policy experts--zero.
But then again, this problem cannot be viewed in separation from overall dramatic decline, say of US humanities education, total rot and corruption of media and, in general, must be attributed to a completely formed and well pronounced demand for dishonest, corrupt and down right evil people for the US "elites". People with honor integrity and real competence need not apply, only scoundrels are needed. The edifice of normality, virtue and public service is just that--an edifice and it is crumbling. One may say what this has anything to do, with say, such news as today Putin's proposition for Duma to revoke recognition of commission within framework of Geneva Convention (in Russian). The explanation to this proposition clearly states that since 1991 (rings a bell?) this commission has abdicated its functions on establishments of facts of armed conflicts and, in fact, doesn't work, not to mention has not a single Russian representative. Of course, events in Yugoslavia, Libya, support for bearded children in Syria (you know--jihadists) and other terrorist groups testifies to an absolute uselessness of this organization. As many stated for a long time--the West in general, and US in particular, are not agreement-capable and the number of moral freaks and downright imbeciles in its "elites" grows exponentially. Relying on West's international institutions, such as this commission, is a waste of time and resources.
No, really. Who in their own mind would negotiate in good faith anything with, now defunct, Bolton, still active Pompeo or Merkel? Or Macron, for that matter. These are people who value only power and nothing more. So, in this case, Trump is just a cruder, less sophisticated version of any top level Western bureaucrat. This is not to mention this teeny-weeny fact of American gerontocracy. Today the United States is run by people who are down right ancient. Apart from DJT, who is 73 years old, one of the darlings of the election mill, before he suffered a heart attack, Bernie Sanders is 78 years old, Elizabeth Warren is not exactly a spring chicken herself at 70, being merely a year younger than HRC, increasingly demented Joe Biden is 76 years old, while Nancy Pelosi, who increasingly reminds of a walking mummy (with the same mental abilities) will hit 80 next year. Anyone recalls this? The average age was 70 in 1982, when Brezhnev died at the age of 76.
There is one crucial difference though between early 1980s Politburo and present American political class. For all their mistakes, shortcomings and inadequacies those Soviet old men remembered first hand and did all they could to avoid a war. Modern American political class has no grasp of a war. It also lacks any awareness of the outside world and this, combined with a steady decline of cognitive abilities, is what serves as an accelerator to current American decline due to systemic flaws and mutually-exclusive trends in its political life. In this case, Trump's crude and militant letter must not be viewed in separation from the US "diplomacy". This class, bar some very few exceptions, completely lacks any awareness of the actual US dramatically diminished position in the world. So, pardon my cynicism, everything goes in accordance to "plan" and Trump's letter to Erdogan is just another evidence of increasingly impotent US foreign policy. Same goes for the internal one as well. But, I guess, we all know now where Erdogan will "seek counsel".