Monday, November 13, 2017


The American president's Asia tour was embarrassing. There are no other words. He reinforced the US overhaul of the former pivot to Asia policy. He recognized China's de facto leadership, giving President Xi Jinping an opportunity to steer the larger themes of globalization, trade or climate change. He tried to cozy-up with Japan, North Korea and Vietnam. He was serenaded by the Philippines' "Mr. Nice", President Duterte, of all people. All the leaders he met remained polite.

He brought his usual wardrobe, went off script and left some bewildered, bruised or not believing their eyes and ears. He acts like Pythia, the high priestess of  the temple of Apollo in Delphi, uttering surreal one-liners ranging from North Korea to the Indo-Pacific surge, without going into detail. Against all rules of protocol he attacked the American intelligence agencies in the presence of other leaders and  reiterated his "penchant" for President Putin both in words and by embarrassing body language.

The US administration, under this pathological president, is actually waging a war against truth in all possible domains, inside and outside America. Facts are the enemy, spite is the driving force since Day One. All accepted rules have to be reversed, while the institutionally accepted bedrock of international relations and alliances must be dismantled. The Trump/Bannon Republicans are the ultimate demolisseurs d'empire", in contrast to Boris Vian's "Les batisseurs d'empire". Hence, cabinet secretaries are practicing euthanasia on their own departments while abroad an empty State Department is no longer willing or able to monitor all the various theaters which are now barely outsourced to amateurs who are accountable to no one but the president. As a result the unknowns pop up, from Niger to Lebanon. 

The alleged "chaos theory" does not spare the former bi-partisan ideological consensus within the United states. The civil war by proxy between the conservative/evangelical camp and the Democrats/establishment Republicans is becoming ugly. The Poland/Brexit situations in the EU have a lot in common with the "survival of the whitest" here (while the more religious-leaning factors are more prominent in the US).  Steve Bannon is supposed to be the brain behind the war against the "deep state" and favoring the priority given to a mix of nationalism and nativism. Presently America is a vast conservative no-man's-land flanked by liberal western and eastern corridors.  The Trump base occupies this fly-over middle. Many observers see in the results of the partial elections last week a hopeful sign for the elections in 2018 (for a number of seats in the House and Senate). One can hope, but the Trump machine is changing the rules of the game by way of judicial appointees, electoral hocus-pocus, tax breaks, gun lobby and blatant corruption. In Trump's words, the Russia investigation is a "hit job". It is certain that the majority of his followers stick with him, whatever the news or outcome might be. It is likewise probable that he will come up with some form of a stunt in the Middle East or North Korea, whatever the cost, as long as the Barnum added-value is assured. Truth again will be the first to climb the scaffold. In Hilary Mantel's words: "Bring up the bodies"!

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