Friday, November 18, 2016


Already the legend is catching up with the President before he leaves office.  Forgotten and forgiven are his often Hamlet-like mindset, his over-intellectualizing and his distance.
Michelle Obama likewise entered with him into what is becoming a saga of a partnership uniquely equal and supportive.  Compared with the current awful, mostly outrageous transition, the previous eight years look like an exercise in style and graciousness. While there is certainly room for legitimate critical revisiting of the Obama years, it is impossible to find the slightest sign of the pugilistic postures that are for now the trademark of the changes both in personnel and tone under the president-elect.

Rightly, everybody outside of the Trump machine, maintains a wait-and-see attitude. Nevertheless, the choices already made and the style (modus operandi) give ample reason for nervous assessment.   A lot is being said of Trump's predilection for making "deals". The latter indicates that agreements can be considered between "equal options". However we find ourselves in a world wherein unequal realities collide--as in WWII , the Cold War, the fight against terrorism, the unilateral disrespect for borders or for the pacta sunt servanda--and wherein deals become unrealistic if not immoral. The Western "Atlantic" world is still one of shared values and accepted rules of engagement between states who try to live under the rule of law. This concept was never taken hostage by "obscure" incoherent ideologies as might be the case today. It is too early to judge what the role of the extremes might be under a Trump administration but the entree of Breitbart into the White House is an ominous sign.  Steve Bannon & Co. are not known for their skills with nuance and fair-play. They have an agenda and are not prone to compromise.

America's allies are worried and the fear exists that this Right Wing oil spill might also engulf Europe, shaking systems and beliefs.  The Trump administration will have to come up early on with clear answers regarding Article 5 of NATO, trade, globalization, non-proliferation, climate change, all issues of major importance which rest on agreed beliefs which should never be reduced to parts of a deal. There looms a major danger in all this insofar as a conservative bigoted mindset might reverse existing priorities. Perverse idelogy could marginalize strategy and partnership.  If the art of the deal is nothing more than for the president-elect to see Dr. Kissinger and Nigel Farage on the same day, something is rotten in Trump Tower. Two extremes are not always each other's opposites.  President Obama struck a most statesman-like posture in Germany. The form and the content of his message were each other's complement. Enjoy the class act when it still has a short lifetime. 

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