Monday, January 22, 2018

TRUMP : Now is the winter of our discontent (Richard III,I.I.I.)

This last year, Trump's first, feels like a "season in hell". The government's current shutdown is the poisonous cherry on this foul-tasting cake. Since January 20, 2017 America has lost its looks and its friends. It is left with broken pieces inside and with an unreliable coterie of occasional accomplices outside. The president runs around the White House like a demented monarch wearing earplugs to protect him both from legitimate outrage or embarrassing vulgar adulation. The former dubious real estate joker has become a pariah.

The damage done is enormous. The United States do not fair better than, let's say, Russia and they score lower--by a large margin--than China. The Europeans are, for the time-being, like a lover on ice. This administration is seen as an unreliable light-weight, while the problems pile up. The "America First" mantra has become a shortcut for overall meltdown. The White House brags about the tax cut, the Wall Street boom and the "home coming" of money and investment that are lured back by the lower corporate taxes. By executive order and deregulation, the fundamental rules and principles of governance are now being dismantled. The constitutional "tripod" is under attack.  America was often greater in attempting than in achieving. Now it is remarkable in failing. All administrations have tried, with various degrees of success, to correct, rebuild, improve the fabric of society. Today, war has been declared against all that lifted people up. Only the Camorra, which has surrounded Trump from his Casino days until now, benefits. The corrupt cloud hangs over the president and the toxic louche whispers permeate the air.

As a result, the Western hemisphere has gotten a black eye. EU countries take advantage of a regained room to manoeuvre given "on the cheap", turning a cold shoulder to the US.  Trump remains basically insecure. He hates proximity, be it in international relations or in the private sphere. He plays the car salesman but despises the customer. He charms (?) who he needs but ends up on his own. He plays his family but would be ready to dump any of them suspected of lese majeste.   He prefers to be flattered ad nauseam, rather than risk the hurt of slight. His fellow "strong leaders" worldwide know too well his craving for flattery ketchup and wisely abstain from lecturing him Kissinger-style, as Europeans usually try, without success.

America has seen it all, but this might be the first time that this extraordinary experiment comes face-to-face with its possible limitations. The majority of Americans feel dejected.  Even the infamous Trump-base might wake up some day to face the music. They were promised coal mine days and in the end they might even get them, and choke on the dust of their gullible naivety. The new oligarchs made in the US prosper but will miss the new economy train which is leaving the station. In this America, as in authoritarian regimes, innovation is becoming the rattle of the privileged rather than the motor of a society as a whole.

When there is a draft one closes the window. The air coming out of Washington is foul.  From California to the EU windows are being secured. Sometimes principle must come ahead of loyalty. Alliances are not set in stone. There is nothing wrong in revisiting them. Europe and the United States loom larger than a bad weekend. Their basic existential raison d'etre should not be allowed to fall prey to a pack of greedy amateurs or foolish outbursts. Unfortunately, the stockholders of the former rock-solid Atlantic idea might lose patience. That Michael Wolff's Fire and Fury is number one on the non-fiction best-seller list says a lot about the current mood in the land. The ridicule has invaded 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, which risks becoming a lonely place.

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