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America first. Donald Trump’s message for his election and, to his credit, exactly how he’s played key decisions so far.

Decisiveness is a great presidential trait when you’re right. But it’s a bull in an international china shop when you’re wrong.

The present moment and history will show Trump’s important, key decisions to be the bull in a china shop moment when, rather than making America great again, America withdrew from international leadership and became “just another country.”

And maybe a rogue one, at that.

First was our abrupt withdraw from the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement. Barack Obama understood the U.S. had a vital interest in further asserting U.S. economic strength and involvement in a region so quickly influenced by sometime rival China.

Just days after his inauguration, Donald Trump nixed the agreement, essentially flipping off Pacific and Asian neighbors we would have otherwise desired to hold near.

Power loves a vacuum and Trump laid out the red carpet for China to step in. Just weeks after the U.S. economically retreated from Asia, China formally rolled out its Belt and Road Initiative, essentially greasing wheels and tying up economic deals with both Asian and European nations.

We had a good stake in the game with the Trans Pacific Partnership. Now, with Trump abnegating our partnerships, we’ll passively watch as China becomes fully dominant on half the globe.

What will America be to Asia? Just another customer and maybe sometime protector.

Some 73 years back, heroic American soldiers stormed Europe, turning the tide of war. These men incurred tremendous losses as America gained a foothold in Europe during WWII. American soldiers numbering 135,000 died in Europe, along with 80 million soldiers and civilians from all sides.

These staggering losses, along with continuing threats, led to the United Nations and to NATO. Decades in, these two institutions have largely preserved peace in Europe amidst great upheaval.

Disrespecting the sacrifice of American soldiers who Trump would have had die for nothing, Trump snubbed our NATO allies with no mention or recommitment to NATO’s Article 5, calling for collective military defense by all should any one NATO country be attacked.

As he tends to do, Trump left NATO hanging; no commitment, one way or the other. But in international realpolitik, confusion and indifference invite disaster.

Vladimir Putin could hardly have asked for more. Indeed, if Russia did hack the election, they just hit the jackpot for their efforts. Trump left Europe hanging to such an extent that German Chancellor Merkel mused, “Europe would have to really take our fate into our own hands.”

Divide and conquer. Putin bides time as Trump pulls the U.S. longstanding, hard-won European leadership.

There’s sadly more. Leadership takes many forms, and moral leadership may be the highest of them all. Looking to unwind anything “Obama,” Trump dumped the Paris Climate Accord – as “a terrible deal for America” – even as clean energy creates ever-increasing jobs every year.

Here again, where America had a chance to lead in moral, societal, and technological advancement, Trump looks inward and backward – inviting China, Germany and other European players to take a permanent lead.

Trump sees America’s international leadership as efforts not worth his time and not worth our dime. Double fun if you can unwind Obama’s key achievements.

Thanks to Trump, China is now free to rise in world-wide economic leadership and dominance, even as Germany remarkably ascends to moral leadership of the Free World.

History will record these Trump decisions as the moment when America became “just another nation.” Nothing special. Just another big country, but with big pollution, bad crime and a bunch of guns.

Yes, we’ll still have our military, spending greater sums of treasure on military offense capability than the next seven countries all combined.

Our revved-up war machine has stirred up trouble in no less than 24 wars and incursions since WWII. Even today, America battles in conflicts large and small throughout the globe.

And here at home, we’re re-stoking our prison industry, which already incarcerates a jaw-dropping 2.3 million members of our citizenry.

At a time when technology and society are pushing change at an ever-increasing rate, Trump leads America away, inward, and backward.

Isolating America, we’re becoming not “just another nation” – but a bully nation, raging with guns, prisons and walls.

So much leadership and potential trashed, all in 138 days. As Obama faced an economic meltdown of nearly unimaginable proportions to overcome, similarly, in 44 months our next president will face a leadership meltdown previously inconceivable to any rational American.

God bless America. We’re going to need it to recover.

Gary Horton is a Santa Clarita resident. “Full Speed to Port!” appears Wednesdays in The Signal.

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  • Brian Baker


    I have to say, it really is a lot of fun watching you lefties wail and moan.

    Okay, NATO. Trump hasn’t withdrawn us from NATO. What he HAS done is tell our “partners” that they’re finally going to have to pay their actual commitments to their share of the funding, something virtually ALL of them have been shirking for God knows how long. What a drag, right? So instead of coasting on our dime, and wasting their own money on their social welfare programs, now they’re gonna have to pony up. Bummer, I’m sure.

    The Paris Accord. That scam that’s SO bad that it was never even submitted to the Senate for ratification, because it was a sure-fire epic fail there. Yep, Obozo had his “phone and pen”, but then, so does Trump. Same phone, same pen. So now we’re out.

    That’s a GREAT deal for America. Instead of keeping our cheap and abundant energy resources uselessly in the ground, while China and India charge ahead with their massive coal-fired energy projects, all while we chase after expensive “green energy” fantasies, we can use those resources to improve our economy and standard of living. Instead of losing millions of jobs and throwing hundreds of billions of dollars to Third World corruptocracies in a massive international wealth redistribution scheme in which we’re the victims, we can keep those jobs and those monies for our own benefit.

    Sounds like a “YUGE” win… for us.

    “So much leadership and potential trashed, all in 138 days.”

    Well, yeah, I know it looks like that… to you. But to me it looks like we’re finally veering away from the socialist highway you guys had us on. I can sure understand why that upsets so many of you, while a whole lot of US are cheering.

    To me it looks like in that same 138 days Trump has actually made a great effort to live up to and fulfill his campaign promises, something I had little confidence he was actually going to do. I’m very impressed!

    • Gil Mertz

      Exactly right Brian on the Paris Accord. Years ago Al Gore tried to get congressional approval on a similar agreement and it did not pass through Congress. Obama’s solution? Don’t let the US Congress vote – just sign it alone and commit America totally on his own. Thankfully Trump cleaned up Obama’s mess – again.

      Obama’s sad legacy will include his ideology that America is not an exceptional country and yet Horton accuses this of Trump. More crazy transference from the far left.

      • lois eisenberg

        It really is going to be a lot of fun watching you right-wingers wail and moan when the wall comes crumbling down *****

    • lois eisenberg

      “The latest Gallup daily approval tracking poll puts President Trump’s approval rating at 36 percent, the lowest point in his short presidency.”
      What is there to be impressed about ????????

      • Brian Baker

        That the same Gallup polling organization that predicted the Hildebeast was going to be win the election for President?

        Why… yes it is!

        • lois eisenberg

          ” President Donald Trump’s approval rating has dropped to a new low of 34 percent” 2 hours ago ******

  • Gil Mertz

    Making America great again means the United States will no longer get played like Obama was over and over again on the world stage during his embarrassing tenure. It means America will not take it’s lead from Europe. It means American taxpayers will not have to fit the bill for NATO nations not willing to pay their fair share. It means we will not be bound by a meaningless climate document that gives the main polluters of the world a free pass while America bends over to appease them. After eight years under Obama, useless partisans don’t know what to think of strong leadership coming from the White House so they say really stupid stuff.

    • lois eisenberg

      “Making America great again means the United States will no longer get played like Trump was over and over again on the world stage during his embarrassing tenure of 140 days” *******

  • Ron Bischof

    Hard to find credibility in your column when you’re using former President Obama as a measure of success in foreign, domestic and economic policy, Gary.

    Contrary to your assertions, calling out fellow NATO members to meet their minimum of 2% GDP on collective defense spending and withdrawal from the Paris Climate Agreement farce signal a return to sensible foreign and energy policy.

    Calling the Trump Administration a failure and ruiner of the nation in 138 days is risible dystopian nonsense for political purposes.

    • Anthony Breznican

      RISIBLE NONSENSE, says man who worships Donald Trump as god-emperor.

      • Ron Bischof

        Nope. Not a fan of Trump and didn’t vote for him.

        But hey, you’re still a writer of fiction, eh?

        • Anthony Breznican

          You trying to get personal, Ronald?

          • Ron Bischof

            Just a statement of fact.

            Are you disputing you’re a public person and nothing I’ve written is “personal”.

          • Anthony Breznican

            To what end is your statement of fact? You are a sad, angry little fellow. And it infuriates you to be corrected. So you’re trying to get personal as a desperate little act of revenge. Pathetic.

          • Ron Bischof

            I’ll take that as your affirmation that you’re a public person and that your attempt to impugn my character failed.

            Nothing personal. I’m only highlighting how absurd your assertions are in the hope it provides an opportunity for you to reflect and grow to a mature person.

          • Anthony Breznican

            You are desperate for a weapon so you reach out of bounds. What a loser…

          • Ron Bischof

            Not really. Your posts document that you have an inflated sense of self-importance.

          • Anthony Breznican

            The knowledge that you had to google me for ammunition that you thought would hurt or cause insult is very … oh, what’s the word? Help me out here …


          • Ron Bischof

            You know nothing. That information was provided by others that have observed the spectacle of you, special one.

            Frankly, I don’t find you an interesting person.

          • lois eisenberg

            “Help me out here …”
            Anthony you don’t need any help in your poster.
            You do very well by riling the boys in the back room ****

          • Anthony Breznican

            It’s like going to the gym! Just throwing around a couple of dumbbells! (You’ve been kicking butt here yourself. These are public spaces and we have to clear out the thugs.)

          • Ron Bischof

            There’s that martial vigor again. So cute!

          • lois eisenberg

            Love when the boys in the back room post, it gives us red meat
            to post back ****

          • Anthony Breznican

            You know they’re really hurting when they start Googling to find out personal details they hope will needle other commenters. And then the ad hominem namecalling, like “cat lady.” But God forbid you dish it back to them. Do they ever hiss and squeal then! 🙂 Anyway, happy to know you, Lois.

          • lois eisenberg

            Anyway, happy to know you to Anthony *****

          • Gary Bierend

            You post libelous statements then cry when someone mentions a fact about you that you have published on the World Wide Web?

            Comedy Gold!®

          • Anthony Breznican

            What are you even talking about? Libelous? Do you know what that word means?

            Also, I’m not the one who went around googling people to find things about their work to post to this board. Pathetic.

          • Gary Bierend

            Spare me your faux indignation. You are actively engaged in self promotion, you lose the opportunity to claim an invasion of privacy when you have a website that bears your name. Give me a break.

            As for libel, yes, I indeed am quite familiar with the word and it’s meaning. I have saved your libelous comments, should you try to delete them.

          • Anthony Breznican

            By all means, let me know what they are! You seem to have an unhealthy interest in me, my personal life, and my comments. Your anger is alarming.

            That aside, I just thing googling and stalking people for the sake of irritating them in the comments section of a local paper is not only weird, but kind of sad and pointlessly desperate.

            For instance, I’m sure I could google you and learn something, but who cares? I wouldn’t stoop to that. To me, it’s just a cheap shot. The tactic of a loser.

            But I can’t stop people. If they want to search for me, and learn where I work, what my favorite color is, or my children’s names, I guess they can do that. It doesn’t say much about their character, though.

          • Gary Bierend

            I invite you to Google me, you’ll find nothing of interest, or at least nothing you could use against me. I’m surprised a guy that creates and hosts a website named after himself would be ashamed of what he posts there. Now that’s weird.

          • Anthony Breznican

            Who said I was ashamed? I’m proud of my kids, my job, my work. I just think it’s weird and the sign of an unhealthy mind to google a person for the sake of tainting them in a comments section over their political views.

            Like I said, the tactic of a loser.

            As for your invitation to google you, I get that you are trying to get some attention, but I’m just not interested. And like I said, I think it’s beneath a decent person to prowl the internet trying to find personal details about someone to use as ammunition in a friendly political debate.

          • Gary Bierend

            The guy that has a website named after him is accusing others of attention seeking!

            Comedy Gold®

            You continue to follow your ever-so-predictable pattern:

            Pot Nonsense,
            Get Owned,
            Claim Victory!

            Keep it up, it’s enormously entertaining.

          • Anthony Breznican

            Ooookay… you’re the one who said “Google me.” But whatever. You’re making less and less sense. Sometimes it’s funny, but it’s getting creepy. I guess I should just stop responding or trying to have a reasonable exchange.

          • Gary Bierend

            I think everyone here (save for the bingo lady and a couple of others that have simply vanished) would appreciate if you stopped responding. Your sophomoric attempts at debate, while amusing, are tedious and repetitive.

            So yeah, I invite you to stop responding to me, but you can’t.

          • Anthony Breznican

            Funny, I was at an event in real life last night and was gratified to hear people say they’re glad more people are pushing back against the hostile people who lurk in our local comment sections. Anyway, expect more.

          • Gary Bierend

            So predictable, you didn’t make it ten minutes.

            I knew you couldn’t stop responding to me, you just haven’t got it in you.

          • Anthony Breznican

            I get a little email every time you comment. And I was responding to Ronald when you posted. You’re a strange one … you comment at someone but don’t want a response? Okay, if it makes you feel settled, go ahead and say whatever and I will honor your request and not say anything in response to it. (Even better, I won’t even read it when my email alert pops up!) Would that make you feel better?

          • Gary Bierend

            You’re lying. Your response is to me, not Ron. If you’re serious about not responding to me (we all know you are not), may I suggest you block me?

            Now, let’s see if you can make it more than nine minutes this time.

          • Brian Richards

            Wow, what are the odds? I too was at an event last night and I had 136 people say they’re glad more people are pushing back against the hostile people who lurk in our local comments section. I was gratified that so many stroked my delicate ego with words of much needed praise. It made an otherwise worthless existence, a bit easier to take.

          • Gary Bierend

            You’re the one claiming to be offended that someone would mention something that you made public, that sounds like shame to me. If you didn’t want people to know about you, why on earth would you create a website to promote yourself? That’s pretty weird behavior for someone that’s a public figure.

          • Ron Bischof

            The behavior you described was engaged in by your deceased pal Talleyrand. Your preference was based on his inferred politics rather than his demonstrated character.

            Rather than debate, he actually crawled my LinkedIn profile and posted employer and other information in comments here.

            Implying that anyone has done anything similar is wrong on the facts and you present no evidence to the contrary.

            Unlike you, we’re not public persons and therefore your argument is specious.

          • Anthony Breznican

            I have no idea who that is. But I guess you liked that tactic since you’re the one practicing it.

          • Ron Bischof

            Odd, because you agreed with his comments about me.

            Is your memory poor or selective?

          • Anthony Breznican

            Dude. You spend too much time here. I don’t remember every interaction in a comments thread. I have no idea what incident you are describing, but your ad hominem efforts to Google me and post random personal details as an effort to annoy is really pathetic. I think I’ve said that already, but you seem like a slow learner. So I guess it bears repeating.

          • Ron Bischof

            Slow? LOL! You’re the one with memory issues.

            You do know the web site has a search function as does the notifications you receive from Disqus via email, right?

            Now you make assertions on how I spend my time? Who’s being personal here?

            Stop digging, Mr. Breznican.

          • Gary Bierend

            He can’t help himself Ron. I suspect he fears his status as a “public figure” will die if he doesn’t constantly post. He’s a new species, I call people like him a “Troll Shark”.

          • Ron Bischof

            Remember Indy, Gary?

            “That’s one of the reasons why it appears I know all the answers since I have the MBA plus the years of experience running a business.” – Indy Posted: February 11, 2014 7:20 p.m.

          • Gary Bierend

            Of course, who could forget that blowhard? He and Mr. Sensitive have a lot in common, I won’t miss Mr. Sensitive either!

          • Anthony Breznican

            Ronald, like I said, I don’t search through old comments or memorize every slight from some other random commenter. All I know is you went prowling online to find things about me to post here to the boards in the hope of irking me. That’s strange and creepy.

            Sounds like commenting on the Signal is an important part of your identity. That’s fine. But you should stick to the issues.

            I’m here to be engaged locally and would prefer to discuss the topics rather than commenting on people’s work, families, or personal lives.

            I guess everyone has a different level of how low they are willing to go. Just know that if you persist down this path, and start posting home addresses or kid names or things like that, I’ll be quick to report you to the moderators. I won’t risk having my little ones endangered by your strange, outsized grudge.

            As it stands now, I can’t help but shake my head. When a person stalks the internet for personal information about a stranger (for the sake of something as petty as quarreling in a comment section) it suggests an individual who doesn’t have proper control of themselves or a clear moral sense.

            I hope you will reflect on your actions and adjust yourself accordingly.

          • Ron Bischof

            I’m not on any “path” despite your ludicrously paranoid assertions, Mr. Breznican. It’s childlike in it’s absurdity.

            You imagine yourself a sophisticate engaging in a counterinsurgency effort on these forums and in District 25.

            As I’ve stated previously, people sort themselves out and you’re making quite an impression with your online prancing, ad hominems and martial language.

            It strikes me as compensatory behavior.

          • Brian Richards

            It’s the internet Anthony. You should learn what it can accomplish sometime.

          • Brian Richards

            Anthony, I have to admit I’ve underestimated your ability to beclown yourself.

          • Ron Bischof

            A wonder to behold, yes?

        • Anthony Breznican

          I must’ve really rattled you for you to go digging around. How … risible.

          • Ron Bischof

            LOL, no! Your self-puffery and delusions do amuse, however.

  • Bill Reynolds

    “Elections have consequences.” Said Barack Hussein Obama. All this side bar whining by the far left and lame stream media is irrelevant. President Donald J. Trump is bringing America’s greatness back slowly but surely…

    • lois eisenberg

      “President Donald J. Trump is bringing America’s greatness back slowly but surely…” HaHaHaHaHaHa

    • lois eisenberg

      “Elections have consequences.”
      The 2016 election has brought us the most damaging, hateful, fear mongering president ever within 138 days.
      The consequences of his presidency are mounting at a very fast pace daily ***

  • lois eisenberg

    “America: just another nation?”
    Gary thank you again for a great column, and for pointing out what is exactly going on with this evil-mad man who in a 138 days has done this horrific, unimaginable damage to our country.
    I’m saddened that some are sticking their heads in the sand, and that they haven’t come
    to the realization that this monster of a man is destroying our glorious country ,
    and damaging our reputation with the rest of the world. ***

    “God bless America. We’re going to need it to recover,” and then some ****

  • Gary Bierend

    Looks like Horton’s Summer of Lucidity has come to an end.

  • Brian Richards

    “Disrespecting the sacrifice of American soldiers who Trump would have had die for nothing”
    A new low for even you Gary. Actually, you are the one disrespecting the sacrifice of American soldiers so you can score your sophomoric political points. NATO has and is ripping off this country and for once, FOR ONCE, a President stands up and demands accountability and you invoke dying soldiers to show your ongoing distaste for the President. American soldiers didn’t die for nothing nor did they die so Germany could provide health care to it’s citizens paid for in part by me while they routinely ignore their obligations. No Gary, American soldiers died ridding the planet of National Socialism! My Grandfather was one of those soldiers and your comment sickens me.

  • lois eisenberg

    America has regained the ugly American Label again because of a very
    ugly American president ****

  • lois eisenberg

    “America: just another nation?”
    Proof the the pudding:
    “There was widespread consensus that the officials were shielding Trump, and clumsily.”
    “Trump aides get tongue tied trying to defend their boss”

  • Gil Mertz

    Lois: “…damaging, hateful, fear mongering…”

    Says the voice of experience.

  • Anthony Breznican

    Great column, Gary Horton. Well thought, well presented. Your conclusions are solid — Trump is making us less safe in the world, less powerful, and causing uncertainty here at home. If you need any evidence that you are on the right track, just look at the comments on this thread and relish the fury of the Trump Apologists. Delicious. They know it’s true. That’s why they are Absolutely Freaking Out. Keep at it.

    • Ron Bischof

      Says the writer of fiction.


      Chilling in Santa Clarita