Friday, February 10, 2017


The Trump "Page Six" travails continue. One wishes that the permanently vexed occupant of the White House would get tired and leave America alone. No, this voracious reader of clippings and magazines found in doctors' waiting rooms, cannot refrain from invading, interrupting or deluding himself. The cabinet under the baton of this sorcerer apprentice (sorry for Paul Dukas) looks like a group of characters in search of an author (sorry Pirandello). Maybe Steve Bannon (the Dan Brown of the "regime") will come up with some new ominous scenarios.

With the exception of the reigning mood in the already waning cult-like, hard-core Trump camp, the analysis in general is bleak. Pessimism is prevalent and historical associations come to mind, naturally so. Actually, this might even be paying a compliment to what might be the most anti-intellectual board of yes men in US history. Trump is unable for now, by temperament and choice, to make the leap from "so-called president" to becoming one. This exhausting campaign mood will be hard to sustain and could be a lethal handicap in times of international crisis, when coherence must prevail over reactive, compulsory behavior.

In the short term Europe might become a difficult challenge when the aftershocks of Brexit (a cherished Trump Leitmotiv) come home to roost!  Russians and Chinese meanwhile can afford to stay put while harvesting the bonus of the US president's undisciplined moves:  killing the TPP, snubbing NATO, turning a blind eye to Crimea and Eastern Ukraine.

Paradoxically, one should still try not over dramatize. Smart, informed personalities, familiar with Dr. Kissinger's Westphalian thinking, have made major blunders. Sophisticated scholars touted the end of history. Ignorance is seldom entertaining, but it can morph into opportunity. There are many problems waiting on the carousel of history like abandoned pieces of luggage.  One porter might pick one up and change the course of events.

The quandary is that one must be aware of history before choosing to start anew. A Trump presidency might come up with the accidental solution, on condition that it accepts to swap prevarication for a creative remapping of issues. The temptation to deconstruct should be avoided. It is admitted now that the post-World War II orderliness under American stewardship is in need of a major overhaul. Existing deadlocks would benefit from a different approach. Still, the lure of shock therapy, which seems to prevail, has to be avoided if the purpose is to cure the patient.

The current pessimism is understandable. The Trump method lacks both dignity and persuasion. The meetings with foreign leaders might be an education for a man more used to brand a name than to understand what it might cover, other than financial gain. Still he should use his earpiece if he wants to get what his interlocutors are saying. His entourage needs more scrutiny, up-scaling and self-control. Otherwise this administration will meet its premature "foregone conclusion" as in Othello. It has to be wished that false hopes and silly fears might still make room for an innovative soft-power approach ex machina which could amaze, and not baffle as is the case now.

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