Wednesday, April 27, 2016


As could have been expected, Mrs. Clinton won the Democratic primaries last Tuesday.  So did Trump on the Republican side.  The other candidates still do not give up and this endless boring exhibitionist show goes on.  Cruz and Kasich have made a "Wolf meets Snow White" deal to stop Trump, but this "arrangement" will never fly.  Sanders will try to veer the Democratic platform to his side, and remains the cranky spoiler.

Republican candidates would do better looking at the future than wasting time in pseudo cultural warfare which only contributes to splitting the country even deeper and repeating yet again a Southern strategy from the dark ages.  All candidates try to disguise coincidence into design and flip/flop on most issues.  Trump=noise.  Clinton=avoidance. 

The Republican front-runner remains a shrewd matinee entertainer. The Democratic front- runner often sounds like a weather forecaster who always has a zone of high or low pressure in reserve, in case she falls short of waterproof predictions.

After years of micro-management, the country is all too ready to listen to a global coherent vision on all matters, from trade to terrorism, from debt to a more engaged foreign policy, from racial to moral issues. Paradoxically, the first black president became almost the antithesis of what Afro-Americans imagined. They were rightly proud after his inauguration, but they have had a limited return for their support.

It will be indicative to see whom the two finalists choose as running mates. All bets are on the table. The name of Julian Castro, Secretary of HUD, former mayor of San Antonio, comes up on the Democratic side. This choice would be a nod to the Hispanic vote but one could argue that the Hispanics will vote for Clinton anyway. She may listen to her more hawkish inner persona and come up with a surprise candidate (retired Commander Stanley McChrystal) which would put the Republicans on the defense but would certainly displease the current thin- skinned occupant of the White House. Vali Nasr would be perfect as her National Security Advisor, after the disastrous tenure of Susan Rice.  General Petraeus deserves a major bonus.
Trump is a wild-card. As much as Governor Christie might want to be the Sancho Panza of this "Sears" Don Quixote, the two, seen together, would look like a vaudeville act. So Trump might have to find his Kamikaze elsewhere.

Last week, Obama toured some of the US allies (a.k.a. free riders.)  He was received with skepticism (Sunni Arabs), courtesy (UK) and some warmth (Germany).  Prince George was probably the least critical of all his interlocutors. The President still refuses to recognize the global damage which was caused after his "red line" reversal in Syria. He still does not brand ISIL as an existential threat. Instead, he touts the climate change agreement or the victory (for now) over the Ebola virus as some of his major achievements. His disdain for "dumb wars" is justified, but it becomes equally absurd to repeatedly return to the second Iraq war to find an excuse for not doing enough now. His almost unconditional trust in warfare by proxy (drones, special operations and technology) looks almost Freudian. Notwithstanding his denials, his inroads with the American military remain rocky. He should also refrain from lecturing others and had better take care of his own backyard which looks increasingly neglected or dangerous (inner cities continue to rot, infrastructure is often third world/minus, US military projection is shrinking, the economy lacks balance).

It looks as if a Clinton presidency might also have to do some soul searching: her new (opportunistic) stand on trade is wrong. She needs to come up with a coherent American role paradigm.  Russia and China are "equals" in the fight against ISIL & Co.  Putin's Eurasian-ism will only grow if he continues to be the "uninvited one" by the Western "rationalists".  She must also bring Republicans and Democrats closer to being on speaking terms again.

Cruz is getting desperate and realizing that he remains persona non grata in his own ranks, he has now chosen Carly Fiorina as his running mate. In doing so he selected a woman of superior intellectual agility who is also his Doppelganger, a personality who seems equally unable to win over hearts.  Trump should not be snubbed.  Surely he is a better ad hominen (insult) than ad rem (argument).  His foreign policy address was worse than a misguided effort, it was a bummer, sinking under the weight of platitudes. His chances to be the next president are dim, but Mrs. Clinton's negatives remain swords of Damocles. In the current mood, "what fools these mortals be" comes to mind.  After all, we celebrate Shakespeare!

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