After the chocolates, the flowers, the romantic music and the loving of yesterday (Valentine’s Day), this morning the dark shadow of geopolitical reality hangs over our heads and our spirits.
Within the last week:
· Kim Jung Un has fired a medium-range ballistic missile, fired this time with solid fuel (not the liquid kind that gives a longer warning to enemies),
· Putin has fired a ballistic missile capable of carrying a nuclear warhead, in direct contravention of the agreement signed by Presidents Reagan and Gorbachev,
· National Security Advisor General Michael Flynn has resigned in disgrace over his at best inappropriate (at worst illegal?) conversations with the Russian Ambassador to the United States, over sanctions against Russia for its intervention into the American electoral process, and
reports circulate from multiple sources that the White House is in “turmoil”…..staggered by the many mis-statements from alternative facts to lies about the three million undocumented immigrants who voted illegally, the request for an investigation into the “sales pitch” from Kellyann Conway on Fox to go out and buy Ivanka Trump’s line.
Whether it is a committee of the Senate or the House or both, investigating the Trump debacle that attempts to pass itself off as the official administration of the United States, testing the White House gang at the moment of its obviously deepest chaos seems to have become the chosen sport of both the North Koreans and the Kremlin. Whether General Mattis, Secretary of Defense, can put a lid on world jitters this morning at the NATO meeting in Brussels, given the depth of the administration’s dysfunction is, for many observers, doubtful if not actually impossible.
While Europe just this morning signed the CETA trade agreement with Canada, removing tariff barriers between Canada and the EU, the angst among many European nations and their leaders grows in the wake of the turbulence in Washington and the prospect of opportunistic “dictators” like Jung Il and Putin to exacerbate the already boiling geopolitical pot(s). The notion of a stable, honourable democratic and trustworthy partner in the White House and in Washington seems to have flown away with the tornado of lies, falsehoods, allegations, “lock-her-up” charges and testosterone-laden invective that spews from the president and his coterie of sycophants. (Incompetence, laced with invective and ego-mongering seeps through in the most innocuous ways: “Prime Minister ‘Joe’ (not Justin) Trudeau”, from the mouth of the White House Press Secretary yesterday.)
The Trump “brand,” having been banned in China, is undergoing a potential resurfacing in light of the dramatically altered geopolitical realities in which the president of the United States puts his business empire’s growth on the table with the many other negotiations, in his hubristic and blind belief that ‘the president of the United States does not have any conflicts of interest’.
This morning reports indicate that there are wiretaps of ‘several’ phone conversations between the Trump campaign and Russian operatives in the midst of the presidential campaign. That, by itself, ought to generate ulcers if not cardiac arrests among elected Republicans, so adamant is (was) their party as the protector of the United States from the “murderer Putin” (to quote Senator John McCain). However, while talk and news reports proliferate in Washington, missiles fired and the strafing of U.S. warships in both the Baltic and Black Seas by Russian fighter jets must be giving everyone watching the jitters reminiscent of the Cold War of the fifties and sixties.
Gorbachev, in a recent op-ed piece in Time, predicted that the world was moving inexorably toward war. In that piece, he called on Trump and Putin to jointly offer a resolution to the Security Council of the United Nations to put the option of war off the international table. Recognizing that neither ‘side’ can or would win in any military conflict, Gorbachev’s incisive analysis and prophetic invitation need to echo in Brussels, in New York, in Moscow and especially in Washington and Beijing.
The world is not ready for, nor can it tolerate another cold war, especially as the existential threats of global warming and climate change, massive immigrant dislocation and migration, the unattended issues of human rights abuses and the rising levels of un-and under-employment resulting from globalization and the widening gap in incomes…..and the rising tide of ill-ease, bitterness and even contempt for the institutional leadership.
Facsists and ultra-nationalists, protectionists and those like Steve Bannon who seek the overthrow of the “establishment” everywhere, (following Italian apocalyptic thinker Julias Evola endeared by Fascists in both Italy and the Third Reich) have to be “outed” from their closet of toxic secrecy and nefarious scheming and shown to be what they really are: dangerous to world order!
Trump says Flynn was fired because of a lack of trust; how ironic! Who can, could or will trust the Trump administration? Sometimes parallel process (whereby precisely the same dynamic is playing out in a private life and a parallel universe, such as the whole administration) is so clearly evident as to be almost ghostly in its weirdness. How could these two dramas being taking shape unfolding on this public stage simultaneously?
And, among the names being floated for Flynn’s replacement is General David Petraeus'; although somewhat tarnished by his disclosure of classified information to his biographer/lover, why would Petraeus even consider such an appointment? Loyalty to his country, of course, for a life-long military careerist who has risen to the top of the national totem pole of power, will go a long way to prompting a positive response should he be tasked with replacing Flynn. And, with the current White House in shambles, the nation’s security being discussed in front of private patrons at Trump’s Florida digs, (not in a private and confidential space!) and the world shaking its head and wagging its collective parental finger at the mess of the first 26 days, little wonder there is anxiety in many world capitals.
Can Petraeus, Mattis, Tilerson at al rescue this administration and keep this national ship “on course” (whatever that might mean under the unpredictable and irascible and uncontrollable chief executive? Will the Wshington Post and the New York Times (the dishonest media in Trump’s mind) uncover and report enough evidence to force the appointment of a special prosecutor, as in the Watergate affair, and will the evidence be so overwhelming as to render the president potentially empeachable?
It is early in the drama; however, there are many demons released from the administration’s closet with more likely to come. Can treason really be on the radar in this deplorable state of the U.S. government just when stability, trust and predictability are what the world needs most?