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Weakened America a 'laughingstock,' Trump laments

by Staff Writers
New York (AFP) April 17, 2011
Billionaire businessman Donald Trump, who is flirting with a White House run, lamented Sunday that the United States had become a "laughingstock" too timid to wield its power assertively on the world stage.

"We have such power if we knew how to use it," Trump told CNN television in an interview.

He said that by failing to move more decisively in its foreign policy, "this country is a laughingstock throughout the world."

Trump, 64, has not yet announced that he is running for president, but he has become more visible in recent weeks, giving more interviews and stepping us his criticism of President Barack Obama ahead of a possible 2012 challenge.

The wise-cracking, straight-talking real-estate magnate, an early frontrunner among possible Republican presidential contenders, renewed his criticism of Obama as an "ineffective" leader.

He offered the US role in military action against Libya's Moamer Kadhafi as proof of America's new impotence.

"Look at Libya. Look at this mess," an exasperated Trump said.

"We go in, we don't go in, he shouldn't be removed, we don't want to remove him, we don't want to touch him, but he should be removed. Nobody knows what they're doing on Kadhafi," he added.

"I'd do one thing. Either I'd go in and take the oil or I don't go in at all," he said. "In the old days, when you have a war and you win, that nation is yours."

The billionaire mogul was equally incensed over US policy toward Beijing.

"If you look at what China is doing, they're stealing our jobs, they're taking our money. They're then loaning our money back. It's amazing," Trump said.

"They're making all of our products," he said. "They are also manipulating the currency that makes it almost impossible for our companies to compete with China."

Trump, as much a celebrity in the United State as he is a business tycoon, has a massive financial empire that spans everything from beauty contests to prime New York real estate.

Ranked the 420th wealthiest person this year by Forbes magazine with $2.7 billion, the man nicknamed "The Donald" has said that if he runs he is likely to make the announcement on his own hit reality TV show "Celebrity Apprentice."

He insisted that he would be a reluctant candidate, despite his recent barrage of interviews.

"I wish I didn't have to do it. I would prefer not doing it. But I love this country," said Trump.

"If you ask me, what are the odds, I'll let you know some time prior to June. But I will tell you, I am giving it serious, serious thought."

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Clinton vows full support for disaster-hit Japan
Tokyo (AFP) April 17, 2011
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton pledged full support for quake-hit Japan on Sunday as the operator of its stricken nuclear plant said it expects to achieve "cold shutdown" in six to nine months. Japan's embattled Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) offered the timeline more than five weeks after a giant quake and tsunami hit the Fukushima Daiichi plant, which has since leaked radiatio ... read more

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