Friday, January 22, 2021


Trump left in a last storm of lies, for now. However, one should never expect him to stay low-key. No padlock is strong enough to keep the holding closet shut.  His past tenure will never be a page-turner but his mark will remain an indelibebel Cain's stain for years to come.

The inauguration of the new president was faultless. His inaugural address struke the right tone but was short on specifics. The changing decor in the Oval Office is speaking louder than words. They make clear where his policies are heading. 

The Republicans were correct but there was no room for embrace on eitheir side. The whole atmosphere lacked spontaneity or a form of shared solace. It is doubtful that the President's call for unity will hit many Republican minds and hearts.

Four years ago, Trump set the tone for things to come with his "carnage" speech. He kept his promise: dislodging, dismantling, destroying. Rightly so, President Biden spoke out for a global approach at home and in the world.  Problems and ills  will get worse if not tackled with others, allies or not. The fiasco of "America First" needs to be reversed. This new administration certainly has the make-up for a more creative outreach.

Still, there are no miracles or biblical conversions. The task ahead is a Promethean uphill battle. There are enough Trump supporters who will be tempted to prolong yesterday's nightmare,  for the sake of conspirational fantasies that remain invested in the minds of too many. America faces a split between coasts and an incompatibility  between city and rural. 

It is probably wise to try to heal America first. The world can wait for now. The new president should benefit from some form of appeasement at home before attempting to calm the storms at large.  There is a general desire for a renewed dialogue that goes further than Trump's mad tea party with his clique of "client states."  There should be time for a strategic reinvestment. The new Secretary of State is the ideal personality for rolling back the chaos he inherits. 

Most are relieved that the transition was orderly albeit eerily, almost melancolic. Nobody should understimate the rage of the beast which needs to be fed. The storming of the Capitol was not unlike a hybrid of the fall of the Bastille. The deed was the work of the mob. The reclaiming which followed was the privilege of the intelligentia.

In reality this American saga will be a match nul as long as the Biden/Harris administration is not fully transformational. The outreach is genuine but the larger appeal remains to be proven. All those who believe that societies can improve, challenges met, bad intentions corrected, will wish this team of "best intentions" to win its battle for the soul.

Tuesday, January 19, 2021


So, the arsonist is gone...almost. The trucks of the movers appeared (finally) at the White House but in his last 24 hours Trump might still booby-trap the residence. He leaves a country divided, a world in the emergency room and every form of humanism banned from the GOP lexicon. Trump changed the world by dumping the American dream.

The formerly accepted (albeit reluctantly) borderline which separates truth from lie has become an after-thought from better times, already relegated to history books. The Trump tribes who invaded the Capitol are the real face of Trumpism. The (almost) former president might enjoy the nouveau riche taste of the arrivists, but his Sturmtroopers are to be found in a ragtag of losers, conspiracy junkies and right-wing lunatics.   In the end, he became a hybrid of Maduro and Pol Pot.

Biden assumes an existential task. In four years the world lost its normative compas. Freaky leaders followed Trump's calling. It is not because Europe doesn't have the "costume drama" which prevailed in America last week, that it doesn't have its own devils. They wear grey suits but share the same agenda. The West still doesn't seem to understand that the cracks in the wall might become irreversible. The accumulation of problems is structural and may no longer be able to survive a stress test. The new president will need to be an engineer of sorts, engaged in repairing, replacing and rebooting. Western Europeans had better be helpful and generous, for their own sake.

Years ago climate change looked, rightly so, as the treshhold for survival. This is likely to be overhauled by the social, moral, economic ills that will befall the next generation. Covid-19 is becoming a looming perverse frontier for the West. In this approaching black hole only China might find its calling.

One had better wish that Trump's last hours pass, but remain ready for a nefarious curtain call.

Monday, January 11, 2021


Inge Kritoffersen, colleague and friend, was a personality, unlike the indifferent pack of grey wolves who roam endlessly in the corridors of the foreign ministry in Brussels.

She had her ups and downs but was never under. Her judgements could be sardonic, her culture overriding, but boredom and platitudes were alien to her.

She represented a mindset wherein most sins could still be forgiven, as long as there remained enough room for irony and contrition.

For sure, she looked and sounded "generational."  Besides the sadness for the loss, there is also some nostalgia for the times wherein cultural references ruled over global opportunism.

Thursday, January 7, 2021


The last days of this criminal administration come out of a Bertold Brecht playbook. Trump's harangue to his ragtag base boomeranged. Washington, DC survived a replay of 1812 but the president did not get his "Brumaire". He lies wounded because of the self-inflicted curse of his own lies and vulgarities. He still gets his mob but he lost every chance of respect and redemption.

The storming of the Capitol will haunt Trump and his GOP sycophants forever. The unholy coalition of crazies and their surrogates was a reality show that even some Trumpers could no longer swallow. Half of the country discovered suddenly the enormity of the damage Trump had unleashed since the early days of his "coup".

One can only feel contempt for the half-baked opinions of some "well meaning" moderates who thought they had to give Trump a chance and that America needed a shock. Well, they got it now and feel contrite. One does not play Russian roulette with psychopaths (under "Russian" radar).

The base might go under cover but Biden will receive little goodwill from a GOP that is set for a recovery tour (if at all feasible). The Democrats will have to deal with their own serious generational divisions. 

America might have relinquished for an unforeseeable time its status as the only undisputed superpower.  Russia, China, India  may no longer leave the first tier to the US and start to act as equals, if not rivals. President Biden's expected romance with Europe is more a renewed affair between aging "have beens" than a strategic plus for the two sides.

Trump lacks intellect and any ounce of historical fabric. His ego fills every space in his persona.  Hence, the learning curve or room for empathy or creativity was never occupied. His family and entourage are the manequins seen in Bergdorf's windows, dressed up and tone deaf. A sad lot going into the Gulf ?

People count the days until the Biden inauguration, but there is still enough time for bad tidings to come.