Friday, August 21, 2015

Memo to Trump:You are just what we do not need, another vacuous bully on the international stage

Those eleven million undocumented immigrants, they're outta here the first week I'm in office!

I will build the biggest wall you’ve ever seen between Mexico and the United States, and make the Mexicans pay for it!

Bomb the ISIS oil fields!

Jeb Bush’s crowd down the street, do you know what they are doing....they are sleeping, sleeping sleeping? There is no energy there!

Mexicans are bad people, perhaps a few are even good people, but there are rapists and bad people coming into our country and they have to be stopped!

Hillary is by far the worst Secretary of State in our nation’s history and she could be in so much trouble that sh may not be able to finish her run for the presidency...If General Petraeus, someone everyone liked and respected is destroyed by much less (wrongdoing), how could she not deserve a similar treatment? She might well have to spend time in a cell, not the White House!

All of the other candidates are losers!!

These are just some of the radioactive political statements by the front-runner in the race for the Republican nomination for the president of the United States.

The Donald also, evocative of Hitler’s entrance into Berlin at the opening of Reni Reifenstahl’s propaganda file, Triumph of the Will, in his bi-plane casting a huge shadow on the buildings from the sun, drops out of the sky at the Iowa State Fair, in his own helicopter, blazing his name in large letters on the side of the plane.....and having cauvght everyone’s attention, including the national media cameras, immediately offers free rides to the waiting if any of them would not jump at the chance of a free helicopter ride at the State Fair!

Eugene Robinson writes a piece today in asking the rhetorical question, “Can anyone out-Trump Trump?” Detailing the respective tactics of his opponents to Trump’s style and statements, Robinson is beginning to wonder if this nuclear campaign can or will be stopped. Up until now, most political observers believed sincerely that Trump would flame-out on his own sword, and for his opponents, their initial strategy was to let that happen, without raising a syllable in protest, Only Marco Rubio, taking the high road, and Ted Cruze, sidling up to The Donald are now keeping their powder dry in taking him on. Even Jeb Bush is plaintively crying ‘foul’ over his decade long flirtation with the Democrats, compared with Bush’s career as a  bonafide conservative.

As history and the political gods would have it, former President Jimmy Carter, yesterday announced that in addition to the cancerous tumor that has been removed from his liver, he has been told that there are now four cancerous lesions on his brain. Political pundits, especially on MSNBC, decry his having suffered an imposed reputation as a weak man, since his defeat by the hawkish Ronald Reagan. It is not incidental to note the for the last eight years, the Republicans have painted President Obama with the samje brush and colour they used on Carter. (This space has already been dedicated to the thesis that American presidential elections in 2000 and 2004 were each a referendum on masculinity, not on nuanced debates over policy.) In 2008, Obama presented the voters with a very different choice, especially when compared with his Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton who voted for the Iraq war in 2003, and also when compared with his Republican opponent, John McCain, infamous for his “bomb bomb Iran” imitation of the Beach Boys pop music.

The American people are not only frustrated over the massive job loss to Asia, and the inconclusive results of both the Afghanistan and Iraq wars, as well as the Mexican stand-off in Ukraine with Putin. And then there is the seemingly interminable conflict with ISIS, with their be-headings (most recently of an antiquities scholar in Palmyra) and their massive slaughter of infidels, a conflict that no authority or agency really has an proposal to terminate (all the while uttering words like “degrade” and “destroy”).

Posturing as the real answer to Putin’s bravado, to Kim Jung Un’s sabre-rattling, to the Congressional stalemate over immigration, to the funding of ISIS through black-market sale of oil from fields they control, while name-calling his political opponents in both parties, (as if he were in a high school election for student council president) bragging about how rich he is and that he is only doing this (campaign) to “make American great again”...these features may offer the country an illicit, but not banned drug for their political obsession, their pain and the shame and embarrassment of appearing weak, but the power-drug cannot provide more than a brief, if dramatic and unconventional reprise from the obstructionism and paralysis in Washington. Manufactured in the television and advertising/marketing/public relations offices on Madison Avenue, disdainful of and devoid of all thoughtful, researched and debated public policy options, Trump is becoming what Margaret Atwood hated, a “thing” (after the fame she achieved through her writing), although all reports that outline his performances on the stump and in the television studios shout out his “real” and independent humanity, without the programming that is imprinted into and sabotaging most political candidates today.

The ironies abound. His vacuity of feasible policy options is overlooked and submerged by his bombastic magnetism; his wealth belies his poverty of political acumen, except as salesman. If Putin can and will remain in power through duplicitous deception of the Russian people, controlling as he does, the national media in that country, then how different is Trump really, given the sycophant reporters and talking heads who hang on his every word. Trump blatantly and caustically insults a female reporter for asking “rude” questions and then panders to the owner of the Fox network where she works and everything is smoothed (or smoozed) over. Fox knows a thing or two about ratings and although they expected some 2 million viewers for the first Republican debate, on their network, the viewing audience numbered 24 million. And they were glued to their television sets to see or listen to Jeb Bush, or any of the other candidates, non-entities in Trump’s mind and vernacular.

An instructor in another life reminded the class that there were two kinds of people: givers and takers. And conflicts arise when the givers, realizing how they are being taken advantage of, stop giving. It would seem that the duality of politics in the United States, could be seen through a lens marked “fighters” and negotiators...and the former are more to the liking of a majority of the voters. Hence, Hillary’s “I will fight for the middle class” sell line for her campaign. Bernie Sanders, too, is attempting to generate a revolution, fighting the financial interests of Wall Street, and the politicians whose votes have been bought by the barons of wealth, for the preservation of their narrow interests. President Jimmy Carter wistfully longed to have sent an additional helicopter to rescue the hostages from Iran immediately prior to the election of 1980. He believes today that had he made that decision, he would have won another four years in the White House but will still prefer the opportunity he had to create the Carter Center over a second term.
However, is Trump’s bullish rhetoric, larger-than-life persona, excessive hubris and contempt for his opponents, all underpinned by his $400 billion estate the only answer the American political system can come up with when the world is starving for collaborative, collegial, thoughtful, pragmatic, visionary and sustainable leadership. Stamping out all enemies may have resonance in North Korea or even in Moscow; it hardly serves the west’s attempt to stand strong. In fact, ironically, the  bully is the weakest and most frightened kid in the school yard, just as Hitler was the most neurotic figure in the twentieth century by a long shot.

As Churchill reminds us, The Americans will always do the right thing, after they have exhausted all other options....Let’s hope his prescience is still relevant....
If we find ourselves waking up to a Trump presidency in January 2017, we will all have the biggest and longest-lasting geopolitical headache of the last few centuries.

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