When Germany’s most influential newsmagazine, Stern, suggests on its cover President Trump’s similarities to Hitler, America has a problem. Germany’s leading newspaper, Der Spiegel, said in a recent editorial, “Donald Trump has transformed the US into a laughing stock, and he is a danger to the world…He is not fit to be president of the United States.” And Chancellor Angela Merkel said of Trump’s ranting, “This contradicts the strength of America. I distance myself from this.” This is Germany, our strongest European ally?

The prime minister of Canada, our closest friend of all, referred to Trump’s racist tweets in understated disgust: “That’s not how things are done in Canada.” And the prime minister of New Zealand (where an ethnophobic gunman recently murdered 51 Muslims in their mosques), said of Trump’s ethnophobic attacks on four dark-skinned US House members, “It will be clear to most people that I completely and utterly disagree with him.” Even Boris Johnson, Britain’s potential next prime minister (a Trump look-alike and fellow ideologue), has said he can’t understand how an American can use such language, which is “totally unacceptable.”

These are our allies, politically and militarily, upon whom we depend to support America in times of international crisis. When they publicly find the statements and actions of our president to be repulsive and hostile to their national values, the United States loses an important element of its security.

How long must we tolerate Trump’s pandering to the 35 percent of Americans who make up his racist and ethnophobic base? He’s alienating the rational and moral majorities with whom we used to stand in alliance against threatening dictatorships like Russia, North Korea, Turkey and the Philippines (and it is their leaders he’s said he especially admires).

It’s bad enough that the Republican Party has become newly identified in terms of Trump’s hates, fears and intolerance. But it’s unacceptable to have the entire nation burdened with this taint as well. Yet we can’t escape it; our president speaks for the nation.

The ideals of equal treatment under law and national security used to define and distinguish us in America. We’re edging closer to the time when they may become part of a past we sorely miss. It’s already painful to watch his thoughtless base cheering Trump’s every step on the descent.

Norm Haughness, Tehachapi