Kudo’s to the Nobel Prize Committee for their announcement last week of the 2017 winner of their Peace Prize: The International Coalition Against Nuclear Weapons. It may seem at first like another “motherhood and apple pie” award to which no sane person would be opposed.
Sometimes the timing of an announcement in geopolitical affairs is as important, if not more important, than the precise content of the announcement. And that could be the primary and lasting impact of this announcement. With the North Korean regime aggressively pursuing nuclear weapons, with the Iran nuclear accord potentially being axed by trump, thereby releasing the Iranians from any modicum of restraint in their pursuit of nuclear weapons, and today, with NBC’s reporting that trump is seeking a ten-fold increase in the number of nuclear warheads in the U.S. arsenal.
Of course, trump denies he ever said this, preferring the more modest cover, “I only said I wanted them updated and modernized.” Nevertheless, stories abound from a variety of sources that depict the president as isolated, angry, like a te-pot needing to vent and when unable, about to blow (we are now in the latter stage, according to one source).
Hints of the 25th Amendment to the Constitution are being reported by sources like Vanity Fair, and former White House Senior Advisor, bannon who allegedly told the president directly that he should be wary of that piece of law. “What’s that?” snapped the president, when told of the enabling legislation should the Cabinet consider their boss unfit to govern. (Read more in this space, under the title “Don’t Hold Your breath waiting for trump removal”)……
Comparisons with Nixon in the last days of his presidency are being touted, while accompanied by the caution that “this is worse”.
For the Nobel Prize Committee to fire a diplomatic ‘shot’ across the bow of the trump presidency at this moment not only signals what we are all experiencing, an elevated level of anxiety and fear, but also a warning that the whole world is watching. And there is something to the notion that some (not in this administration) Americans really do value and treasure their nation’s historic reputation around the world, a reputation that has been seriously flawed since Bush’s Iraq war in 2003.
For General Mattis and his crew to have to fashion some kind of jerry-rigged compromise for trump to be able to decertify the Iran nuclear deal, because his boss thinks it is a bad deal, while all of the other countries, plus the IAEA, confirm that Iran in is compliance with the terms of the deal, is just another sign of the “pot’s” readiness to explode.
Threatening the broadcasting licence of NBC, because of their telling the world that Tillerson called him a ‘moron’ and that he himself wanted to elevate the number of nuclear warheads by a factor of 10….both of which he considers ‘fake news’ is another sideshow, threatening to morph with the several other ‘sideshows’ into one gigantic volcanic eruption from which not only the country, but also the rest of the world will take years to recover.
There is a kind of ironic, self-fulfilling prophecy to the psychic orientation of this man: if the whole world is your enemy, (in your belief system) and you act from that premise, then it is only a matter of time when the “belief” (perception, world view, core attitude) becomes its own flower…and the whole world turns back on you with a vengeance. And this vengeance is not without merit or might. That irony may seize the members of his own cabinet, after too many public humiliations. It may be that his best trading partners (Canada and Mexico) find other partners. (Britain has already put out feelers about joining NAFTA if trump kills the original tripartite deal).
While trump takes the axe to foreign aid, we learn that China has already invested some $350 billion in developing countries in foreign aid, for growth and for infrastructure projects and obviously engendering thereby a supportive reputation that will only serve their national interests when necessary. Wisely, and with foresight, the Chinese have also tied their aid to loans that need to be repaid with interest, thereby enhancing their own national coffers, while dancing with their recipient partners.
The old “ugly American” archetype of the 1950’s, represented by a merely bungling and undiscerning American ambassador to an Asian conflict, is a pale analogy to this president. Innocuous, benign and uninterested would be less frightening than the current chief executive who has to be depicted as malignant, narcissistic, untameable and globally ‘nuclear’.
Recent reports indicate that 99% of original trump supporters believe he is doing an outstanding job as president. And that ‘army’ of angry, equally racist and equally malignant sycophants will, undoubtedly, cause a serious problem should their “hero” be politically decapitated. In fact, it is not inconceivable that violence in the streets of cities and towns across the country would break out, testing the strength, resolve and the resources of every law-enforcement detachment in the country. The fact that many of those forces have been armed with military equipment, far above the former (and normal) enforcement arsenals, only adds to the potential dangers for every American citizen. Minorities, especially, will be at risk, as this president has already unleashed his own brand of permissive racism that gives licence to racist law-enforcement on steroids.
From inside, from outside, it is clear that a system that has constitutionally granted unlimited powers to a single person, as the culmination of the wishes of the American people, through their legal right to free speech and the unfettered release of money as the loudest expression of that “freedom”, in an unforeseen age of social media, international cyber crime, and the demise of “truth” as a litmus test of public servant cannot continue as originally envisioned.
First, though, this debacle has to be brought to an end.