Tuesday, March 13, 2018


Trump's "nights of the long knivestend to multiply. The Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, was not informed of his demise and was dismissed like some parlor maid in a Victorian novel. His successor, Mike Pompeo (Secretary Clinton's nemesis), takes over.  Probably he has the macho profile which the president seems to like. 

Other heads will roll, other changes are being considered. If at all possible the administration is taking an even more indisputable turn to the right. Multi-lateralism is taboo and the unilateral projection becomes the new normal. President Macron's efforts to enlighten Trump on i.a. climate change, the Iran nuclear deal, Russia, are dead on arrival. The North Korean gambit is a perfect illustration for the mindset of an administration which is solely concerned with the moment and which has no time for history or diplomacy.

This president will continue to ignore the mines and enjoy the walk. Anyone who tries to mark out his path will receive a death warrant. This pathology will only increase in time, nurtured by the acclaim of a base which continues to steer an agenda of conservative priorities which could guarantee the Republican hold of the electoral college. The American democracy is under attack from abroad (Russia) and from the inside (the ultra-conservative NRA and Freedom Caucus wing).  Fortunately the Democrats are recovering the terrain lost to Trump but they miss clarity in their message and leadership. A party cannot just be a loose commonwealth of factions, it must be weaponized around a set of agreed principles.

One must hope that the Korean trump card works out for the better. If dramatic mistakes are avoided, it remains to be seen if, afterward, the president would be able to rein in his tendency to lie, revisit and spin. The North Koreans are professionals who can dial whatever is convenient and who might flatter this Manchurian candidate until he bends. If Trump were to smell success he would rush home and appear in some rally in a coalmine decor to taut his performance without the shadow of discretion. If things turn out badly he has "fake news" to blame. That man should have been an acrobat.

Tillerson looked most often lost in a job that was certainly not meant for him. He was a William Rogers-redux, who was knifed in the back by Henry Kissinger. Both fell victim to the whims of cynical, ungrateful presidents. They were chosen for ulterior motives and were discarded when their usefulness, in short supply from the beginning, ran out of steam.  Sic transit...

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