I think most Americans have only the vaguest conception of how their government works. While it’s tempting to bristle at such studious ignorance, I can’t help but to somewhat sympathize. Most people just want to live their lives, and let those whom they employ in government see to their interests. Of course nothing could be more foolish, however understandable. For those who don’t lash their government to the ground and maintain constant vigilance are the same ones prone to keen laments when they look up to see it drifting far from reach.
That’s largely the current condition of Western civilization: states and political apparatuses that now operate wholly outside the interests of their people. And doing so with often dazzling openness.
Consider the issue of foreign influence on government. Almost definitionally, the interests of foreign actors will run counter to those of any domestic citizenry. What is best for you is rarely aligned with what is best for them. As a result, foreign lobbying of their politicians will occur to the near universal detriment of the people who actually elected them to office. Thus it would be a fundamental safeguard of any polity to ensure such external leverage never materializes. This is not an exotic concept.
And so if I were to explain the simple notion to a man on the street and ask him what would be the likely legal response to massive and routine foreign lobbying, he would probably imagine a very active slate of bribery and treason trials. As in practically every aspect of politics, he would be very wrong.
Because not only do foreign entities acquire lobbyists to press their interests on our politicians, they now conspicuously express misgivings for how a President Trump might hinder their designs. These monied foreign interests are no ingenues, and can clearly see where Trumpian rhetoric might ultimately lead: a US government that obliquely benefits US citizens. Can you imagine such a goddamn disaster?
Even if so, your imagination will be stretched to contemplate a piece that actually portrays foreign concerns with sympathy. Trump is such a loose canon that they can’t even be sure of what country they’ve purchased. Let’s read it and weep together.
Trump angst pours in from overseas governments
See? National Review, Salon.com, and overseas governments are feeling angst. I mean, who will this guy work for once in office? It’s scary as a foreign state not to be sure.
Lobbyists in Washington say they are being flooded with questions and concerns from foreign governments about the rise of Donald Trump.
The questions about Trump are “almost all-consuming,” said Richard Mintz, the managing director of Washington-based firm The Harbour Group, whose client list includes the governments of Georgia and the United Arab Emirates.
After a recent trip to London, Abu Dhabi and Beijing, “it’s fair to say that all anyone wants to talk about is the U.S. presidential election,” Mintz added. “People are confused and perplexed.”
The UAE and China have as much right to having their issues aired in Washington as some plumber from Tucson, who has probably never cut a check to K-Street in his life.
The Hill conducted interviews with more than a half-dozen lobbyists, many of whom said they are grappling with how to explain Trump and his unusual foreign policy views to clients who have a lot riding on their relationship with the United States.
“We’re in uncharted territory here,” said one lobbyist with foreign government clients who asked not to be identified.
Oh, so these outside parties “have a lot riding on their relationship with the United States.” I didn’t realize that, and so probably need to temper prior remarks. The only thing I have riding on my relationship with the United States is the legacy of my parents, the inheritance of my children, and what kind of habitat all of us will occupy. So practically nothing in comparison to a Chinese trade agreement.
“The questions coming from the international community are not different than the things, categorically, we’re asking ourselves,” said Nathan Daschle, the president and chief operating officer of the Daschle Group, a firm run by his father, former Sen. Tom Daschle (D-S.D.).
“There’s an added level of bafflement because this is not the United States that they’ve been living with for so long,” Daschle said. “This is not the image the United States has been projecting.”
I hadn’t kept tabs on any Daschles since the senior’s senate defenestration. I’m heartened to see that their loyalties remain rooted outside the country. Though you have to empathize with his stated bafflement. This is not the United States we’ve been living with for so long. There must be a certain brain structure that allows men to make statements such as this unselfconsciously. No Daschle, it certainly is not the US we’ve lived in for so long.
A third lobbyist for governments in Asia said part of his job has been telling countries how to react to some of Trump’s controversial remarks.
“If you come out and blast Donald Trump — for the people who are going to vote for Donald Trump, that could make them like him more,” the lobbyist, who also represents foreign companies with a large presence in the U.S., said he has told foreign leaders.
This all must be difficult for Dung Xiaoping to grasp. That domestic voters might be even more inclined toward Trump when foreign officials insult him for threatening to obstruct the offshoring of American jobs. In such instances we can only recommend the wisdom of the ancients. Sun Tzu say: Biggest check speak in loudest voice.
Representing foreign governments is a lucrative niche industry in Washington. Consultants, public relations advisers and lobbyists are hired to boost diplomatic efforts, promote tourism and serve as a megaphone for foreign clients.
Working for overseas clients requires one to register with the Justice Department under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA), a World War II-era law enacted to ensure that Nazis were not trying to influence U.S. policy.
We must always remain vigilant to the Nazi menace in Washington. Of course, with so much attention justifiably focused on Hermann Goring, it’s almost as if other malign influences have seeped into our government without notice. It’s not as if TheHill.com is openly penning articles about it or anything, but still the slightest hints are there for those with extraordinary powers of perception.
Thank God at least for the FARA registry, else average US citizens might get outbid for their own government.
At least one lobbyist told The Hill that his firm is preparing to write off a Trump White House, should he win the presidency, to focus their advocacy efforts on Capitol Hill.
“A lot of what he says he’s going to do requires cooperation from Congress,” said a fourth lobbyist, whose firm represents a country in Eastern Europe. “You say to people who might be worried: ‘If we have policy concerns about what he’s going to do, then let’s go to Congress.’ ”
Right, we don’t even know what Trump’s rate schedule will be for, say, increasing H1Bs 500%. Whereas congress is comprised of true professionals. You know what you’re going to get for what you pay.
Some lobbyists say they are trying to reassure foreign clients that Trump’s views are not reflective of popular opinion in the United States. But at the same time, they acknowledge that the businessman’s ascent is unlike anything they’ve ever seen.
“Mr. Trump is tapping into what has become the core Republican base, and it’s not pretty,” the lobbyist added. “However, the same tactics he is using to gain steam might very well be his undoing in a general election.”
It’s not pretty indeed. In fact there’s little quite so ugly as a white neighborhood with well-paying jobs. And the prospect of that hideosity just may very well be his undoing for the votes of Washington’s patriotic foreign lobbyists.