It's not unusual nor is it by accident that Sen. John McCain is attacking President Donald Trump, accusing him of draft dodging in the Vietnam War by falsely claiming to suffer from a bone spur. McCain, who was held prisoner for five years during that war, says that many sons of wealthy Americans at that time used that excuse to escape the draft.
Trump and McCain are at odds with one another, but the recent back and forth comes amid the escalation of words that Trump has aimed against the North Koreans, and alongside the suggestion that the current man in the White House does not know the tragedies of war and has not experienced their effects. Moreover, McCain's attack makes difficult the president's scheduled visit to Congress in the coming days to promote his proposed budget, where Trump must address the military veteran members of the Senate, foremost among them the 81-year-old Republican senator.
Interestingly, this will coincide with former President Jimmy Carter's preparations to go to Pyongyang in order to talk with the young North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in an attempt to broker a solution to the crisis, hijacking the initiative from the hands of officials in Trump's administration.
The former president, who is in great physical shape for a 91-year-old, appeared beside his peers George H.W. Bush, George W. Bush, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama at the end of last week, at an event calling for donations for those affected by the recent hurricanes in the southeastern part of the United States, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.
Although their appearance together was to express solidarity with the residents of the stricken areas, the U.S. media quickly seized the opportunity to decry Trump as the "Great Absentee," content to simply appear in a recorded video in which he praised his predecessors and their records of civil service. It is unknown if Trump was invited and declined, or if he wasn't invited in the first place. Contrary to what is generally customary, none of the speeches offered by the previous presidents included greetings to the current president or mentioned him, despite the nature of the event.
Trump's "isolation," which he maintains in all but a few political positions, has become a great burden. The problem is that he doesn't seem to realize it. He has not backed off at all from his lone ventures into positions that reinforce the impression of "eccentricity." He just doesn't stop with the tweets, which leave him without a friend. If this were not enough, the president gives the impression of being an "equal opportunity" antagonist, who will not hesitate to quarrel even with a politician of the gentler sex – the most recent such occurrence being with Rep. Frederica Wilson, who accused Trump of being unsympathetic toward the families of four U.S. soldiers killed in Niger this month.
Other than shaking his fist almost daily at North Korea and Iran, it doesn't seem like the U.S. president is in the process of forming "definitive" foreign policy initiatives. He is always coming to grips with the reality that the Russians reached the conflict zones before he did and have started operations before America has gotten the chance. This is clearly the case in Syria and elsewhere where the White House does not appear to be prepared to take positions in places where there may be a conflict of interest, such as in Kirkuk, which the U.S. administration still considers to be an "area of dispute" despite developments in recent days.
With regard to the Palestinians, questions are being asked about Washington's actual position when it comes to the reconciliation between Fatah and Hamas. Americans are struggling with how to deal with this difficult situation: settlement, arming the resistance, and mutual confessions.
Noise in Washington — the halls are rife with bickering. As of now, “The dog barks but there is no bite,” as the Arab saying goes.