Tuesday, June 13, 2017


Until the Sixties, America's foreign policy was the realm of mostly an East Coast establishment.  In the Seventies the pendulum started to be redirected to Texas and mostly to the West Coast.

Today US foreign policy looks like a deranged carousel as seen in Hitchcock's Strangers on a Train.  It is hard to see how the Trump administration might reshape America's role abroad. The first indications are ominous. If one wants to review former priorities, so be it. It is being said that countries have no friends, only interests. One can process a new worldview and go for some new Breton Woods or Yalta. All things are possible as long as there is a there "there". FDR and Reagan shaped an American orbis structured around firm rallying points for others to join for reasons of interest but also out of a desire to share basic philosophical, almost universal aspirations. This often imperfect meeting of minds and goals often collided with a less noble, selfish calculus but the ultimate goal of some form of order generally took precedence over other considerations. Transactions were tolerated, transgressions were penalized.   In the end there was always an underlying aspiration, even when the subtitles for what was done were often far from evident. The motivation was not in doubt.

Now we are heading into deregulated territory. President Trump is the ideal torch-bearer for a pessimistic, selfish, non- reproducing foreign policy wherein only short-term priorities rule: What looks great (if one likes the genre) is good. Hence the cycle of the euphoric versus the aggrieved is relentless, so to leave the onlooker dazed or, better, etherised. This behaviorist aberration is a Steve Bannon tactic, unethical and "alt historic". When everything gets mixed up there is no longer a need for coherence or, for that matter, personnel to serve a concept or strategy since chaos is the new gold standard. Reliability, truth, or cautious informed diplomacy are not made for those Alpha males lost in the video game of their own making.

This void will be filled by other actors and made worse by events which might lead to an unpleasant wake-up call for Americans who discover that they no longer rule the waves or the borders. Next year there might be a different Mexico south. Canada north, like Australia and the Europeans, is starting to prefer distance over proximity. China and Russia never had it so good:  those perfectionists of absolutism observe with glee how a pathological egomaniac is settling his delusions on the remnants of the broken words of Lincoln or JFK. That the American president has Jackson and Churchill together in the Oval Office, shows how "informed" he is.

The hearings about the Russian aggression on America's raison d'etre continue. Most Republicans avoid to theorize about the origins and the facts of this sorry sordid episode. Most Democrats converge on the accessory. Both ignore generally the heart of the matter, the brutal attack by a foreign country against the American system. That associates of the Trump campaign participated in this nefarious endeavor shows that there is something rotten in these current USA. The permanent dysfunctional disturbance which is unleashed by this White House becomes a form of violence directed against the model which was, until January 20, 2017, the envy of the world.

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