Monday, February 19, 2018


The traditional meeting between European and American decision-makers now taking place in Munich is an indicator of an Atlantic partnership in free-fall. While the Europeans can hardly hide their misgivings about the US president, members of the US administration present are trying hard to dissociate policies from tweets. This is an uphill battle since Trump has lately been over-tweeting, accusing, lying (again) like some cornered beast. The closer the Mueller investigation comes to the Russia trail, the more furious and vicious the denials become. Only Russia and Putin receive a free pass from this unchained president.

Trump's onslaught on strategic management leaves Europeans (as well as the world at large) with unanswered questions. Nobody knows where America is heading since in Washington the blind are leading the blind. There is no learning curve, no teaching moment, no Pole star.  It is not even chaos since that might bring with it a form of catharsis or reckoning. It is sheer ignorance and corruption under the cover of blind arrogance. Trump and sons look like some Laocoon attacked by the serpents sent by the gods--in this case the indictments piling up by Robert Mueller. The feeling of impending crisis is the more ominous after another school shooting in Florida exposed another collusion, that of the Republicans with the NRA (National Rifle Association). The grotesque maximalistic interpretation of the Second Amendment is the more cynical since the conservatives argue that the Constitution should only be taken literally and not given the leeway of time. For them, the letter overrules the bench unless it serves a hidden agenda.

Trump has followers in Europe, where the former Visegrad group of Central European countries follows a populist agenda. The United Kingdom is already a lost cause and the smaller Western European group has no alternative than to sideline Trump for the time being and to try finding a modus vivendi with the more normal leftovers of an administration which appears to cannibalize everyone who serves in its shrinking midst.

This America should not hide the larger other America which is the primary victim of this moral eclipse. The communality between Europe and the United States is for now in the waiting-room of history. Americans were duped and voted for an empty suit man without morals, historical perspective or existential respect for the presidency. Abuse replaced dignity, venal preoccupation chased away any form of empathy. The bedrock of democracy suffers under a stress regime never seen before. Trump is the ultimate ear worm one cannot get away from.

The president is losing the little self-control he had and his posture no longer surprises, it puts people off.   He starts to look like a lonely, friendless man lost in a situation which is too complex for him to understand. His cronies are a corrupt lot, guided by self-interest, hiding their knives for now.  The danger is that he is trapped in some illusion comique and that he might be tempted to do even crazier things...if possible.

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