A gentleman named C. Parker is generally considered to have been the first con man to have "sold" the Brooklyn Bridge to an unsuspecting, and trusting, buyer. The identity of the unfortunate victim in this scam is unknown. Also unknown is what relationship he may or may not have had to the current President of the United States.
Assuming gullibility is an inherited trait it seems increasingly likely, however, that there is some direct, family connection.
This President has, since the day he entered office, pursued a foreign policy composed of equal parts ignorance and arrogance. He has moved from crisis to crisis, buying the most absurd and transparent lies from the world's greatest thugs and dictators. One disaster after another has ensued. He has failed, or perhaps refused, to learn from any of these debacles. We are careening into the final year of his tenure in more peril it seems that at anytime since the end of the Cold War.
The Chinese have annexed the South China Sea and are in the process of heavily arming artificial islands constructed in those waters. They have characterized these actions as being "defensive" in nature and not evidence of an expansionist intent. We have expressed mild disapproval but also indicated that we need to discuss these events further, because the ultimate Chinese goal, clear to everyone else on the planet, remains unclear to us.
The Chinese have waged an unrelenting war against us in cyberspace for a full decade now, stealing our defense secrets, robbing our corporations of their most precious data and gaining a massive strategic and economic advantage. We have responded by inviting the Chinese leader to the White House, wining and dining him and then accepting his assurances that he will get to the bottom of this whole cyber attack "mystery". A story about a fox and a henhouse comes to mind, but that is for another time.
The Iranians, who have lied to our faces for decades regarding their nuclear program, have informed us that they now intend to walk away from their nuclear ambitions. We have accepted these assurances at face value, signed onto an agreement that allows the Iranians to conduct their own inspections of their own facilities and agreed to release $100 billion in assets into the coffers of the Ayatollahs and the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps. Hezbollah and the other Iranian proxy militias are already putting the cash to good use expanding their reign of terror.
Perhaps, though, it is in regard to Russia and Vladimir Putin that the gullibility of this President has reached it absolute zenith. On this Administration's watch, Putin has invaded and annexed the Crimea, waged war on Ukraine, threatened a host of other nations in Eastern Europe, surged troops into the Arctic to seize oil and natural gas reserves and now intervened directly into Syria to prop up the bloodthirsty, morally bankrupt regime of Assad and his Iranian henchmen.
In response we have done nothing of consequence. To the contrary, not only have we not pushed back anywhere on Putin, we have returned again and again to the preposterous notion that he can be trusted and that we can engage with Russia as a partner in resolving international issues. Even as Putin was taking the first steps, behind our backs, to move troops into Syria and intervene in the conflict there, our Secretary of State was trotting out yet again the notion that Putin, and his Foreign Minister Lavrov, would work with us to bring the fighting to an end and to take away Assad's chemical weapons capability.
And, now, after years of Russian deceit, we are poised to walk down precisely the same path again. This President, who has been lied to over and over and over again and has accepted a seemingly endless series of meaningless Russian promises has announced that he will sit down with Putin sometime in the coming days to ascertain Russian intentions in Syria and elsewhere in the Middle East and "to test whether we can make progress through high-level engagement with the Russians".
Vladimir Putin has no interest whatsoever in "high-level engagement" other than as a tactic to waste time and distract us while he takes direct, concrete action in furtherance of his aims. While we talked and expressed concern regarding his move into Crimea he invaded and occupied that portion of Ukraine. While we dither and fret and suggest meetings, he is chewing off another piece of the Ukraine. While we ask the United Nations to rule on Russian claims in the Arctic he is altering the reality on the ground and presenting us with a fait accompli.
In regard to Syria, Putin has taken the measure of this President, found him lacking, and embarked on an aggressive, expansionist policy that will dramatically alter the balance of power in the region. He has forged an alliance with Syria, Iraq and Hezbollah against us, is surging troops, tanks and aircraft into newly constructed bases and is declaring our support for rebels fighting Assad illegal.
Nothing Putin says in his meeting with the President will change any of that. No promises he makes will mean anything. We are being played. Again. And, if the President doesn't understand that, well, then, I've got a bridge to sell him.