Rise of the American Far-Right & No Deal in Play

December 29, 2018 Leave a comment

Cry the beloved country

Trump ‘won’ in 2016 for many reasons. The quotation marks are added as his presidency will ultimately be seen as either an illegitimate blip between constitutional presidents, or the start of a Putin-esque ending of democratic norms in the US. One aspect that has been underplayed, perhaps at the expense of coverage of Russian interference, has been the role of white supremacists in his support base. By any objective standard, he ran a racist campaign. But he did not create the alt-right. The conditions were in place, and as David Neiwert argues in ‘Alt-America – The Rise of the Radical Right in the Age of Trump’, he was the figure that united all strands of the far-right in America. The contrast with his predecessor is stunning, and still at this stage, shocking. The election of a black president enraged the racist minority in America. When Obama was elected, they had a tangible target, one who energised their base.

Niewert is an expert in the murky and frightening world of militias, ‘patriots’, alt-right trolls, and extremist groups in the US. He outlines how the internet allowed such malignant, yet at times marginal groups, to move from stagnant, to culturally cutting-edge movements. There has been vicious racism in America since the founding fathers allowed the abomination of slavery to continue. But the hidden corners of the web acted as an encouraging compost heap for the regrowth of old hatreds. There is a hell of a lot of ‘the crazy’ in the USA, but this may have been contained on the margins were it not for the communications revolution. Alex Jones would just be some kook on the radio, rather than an influential fake-news peddler favoured by the occupant of the White House. We can’t put the genie back in the bottle. The information warfare favoured by the alt-right was innovative in the way it has adapted to new technology.

Incorporating Neo-Nazi ideology, to Richard Spencer, to the bizarre world of 8-chan meme-driven racism, the alt-right, as the loathsome Steve Bannon now typifies it, has sought to sugar the pill of their message. They will try to sell the notion of ethno-separatism as a pseudo-scientific endeavour. This is one reason that these people are so dangerous. They all believe that the white race is inherently superior to all others, and have hit the mainstream with the election of Trump. One can argue, as Niewert does, as the whether the current POTUS is a fascist or not. Fascists and racists saw him as their champion though. Once Bannon stepped into the Oval Office, it was, as the ‘New Yorker’ described it, and epochal event. It was a devastating setback for gradualism, for the notion that things get better, slowly but surely.

The author is fearful for democracy in his country, but he holds out for the essential decency of people. Most of us, thankfully, aren’t of an authoritarian mind-set. He argues for a politics that doesn’t shirk calling out racism and viciousness, but one that remembers the heartlands too. He does not give Trump’s swing states a pass for their ‘economic anxiety’, but he sees hope for the future, and like this writer, believes in the role of a ‘popular front’ in upholding democratic and constitutional values. This is an important book, one that skillfully synthesizes the different strands of old and new racism that are out there for the education of the reader. Niewert is to be commended for getting down into the shit for the rest of us, and warning us of the perils of burying our head in the sand to the dangers of this menace.

Preparing for the worst

Anyone in the United Kingdom who isn’t scared by the prospect of a no-deal Brexit is either very wealthy, and will be able to ride out the ensuing storm, or is ill-informed, through choice, or lack of interest, or sadly, in some cases, capacity to engage in critical thinking. There is nothing good about food or medicine shortages, about troops being on stand-by for unspecified duties, or planes that may be grounded, or the stranding of British citizens abroad, both physically, and legalistically. Yet the ERG group – made up of some very rich people indeed – keep assuring their voters that all will be well in the event of the UK crashing out of the European Union. This is a lie, as most of them know, or should know. A no-deal break will be bad for the EU, very bad for Ireland, but an absolute catastrophe for the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Both Labour and Tories refuse to face the reality that the best way out of this mess for their country is for parliament to reject the advisory referendum of 2016 and remain in the EU, or to have a ‘People’s Vote’. Don’t hold your breath on this one, though. British residents need to prepare for the worst, it might just happen.

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Containing the Chaos; Brexit, Trump, and Putin

November 27, 2018 Leave a comment

A Crunchy Brexit?

The 1980s band Spandau Ballet may not come tripping off the tongue in terms of coolness, but this writer can’t help thinking of their lyric ‘round and round it goes’ when it comes to Brexit. The British government have essentially wasted two years on a project that neither the civil service, business, nor possibly even the prime minister believe in. And where are we now? Theresa May is travelling around the United Kingdom trying to flog a deal that remainders see as an idiotic and unnecessary loss of rights and access, and one that the leavers see as a sell-out, a negotiated surrender to the European Union. She is likely to lose her vote on the matter and it could be a horrendous personal defeat for her of over 100 votes. The DUP have gone nuclear and said they won’t support the deal. There is no path to get over the line in parliament. In the words of the song, ‘and oh where it goes, nobody knows’. The easiest and most elegant solution is to have a double-lock of MPs and a second referendum to decide. But there’s nothing easy about this process. Brextremists and, their fellow travelers, will have a conniption if there’s a ‘People’s Vote’, and there’s no guarantee that such a plebiscite would go to the ‘Remain’ side (although it is looking more likely now). Britain will leave the European Union, but may do so on the softest of terms negotiated by a new government, or go crashing out with a no-deal. May cuts a lonely and pathetic figure who while admired many for her resilience, is, as evidenced by the 2017 general election, a deeply divisive figure, who is a vote-loser for her benighted party. Britain will not get a better deal from the EU, but it looks like it’s going to be impossible to get a Commons majority. The bluster and nonsense of the ‘Leave’ arguments and their proponents has been fully exposed. Nobody knows where this is going; there is no legislative and political bandwidth for anything else while the process continues. We are in the ‘Godot’ stage of the affair; waiting, questioning, and perhaps, ultimately, perpetually detained.

A New Hope?

This month’s mid-terms in the United States offer some grounds for pessimism and lots for optimism. On the former, the Republicans (read ‘Trump’) still control the Senate. This allows them to stymie any impeachment proceedings which may come about following the Mueller report. Then there’s the worrying prospect of Hail-to-the-thief winning the 2020 election (should he still be around) on a minority vote due to the anachronistic electoral college. But there are many more reasons to be cheerful than fearful. The much touted ‘blue wave’ did sweep over the country and the Democrats now control the House of Representatives in the biggest swing since Watergate times. They potentially have the power to subpoena Trump’s tax records and investigate the empty suit inside and out in the run up to the next presidential election. If Muller’s report essentially shows POTUS up as an opportunistic traitor, then the House could set the persuasive mood music to get enough Republican senators to flip to make impeachment a possibility (the odds on this are quite long at the moment though). These are very dangerous times for US democracy, as the recent replacement of AG Sessions has shown. But at least the opposition can move on from fire-fighting to containment, and eventually, prosecution. Trump must be ousted and needs to face the consequences of his high crimes; let’s hope that the tide has turned. The future of democracy throughout the world is at stake.

EU Army Threatens Putin Hegemony

Russia is on maneuvers again in Ukraine. Putin uses every opportunity to sow discord and nullify the advance of democracy on his territory. He is a thoroughly modern despot, availing of all technological means to plant division in the West. He got his stooge in the White House, and cannot believe his luck as to how democracies have been so vulnerable to his sometimes deadly mischief. He is a bully and bullies need to be stood up to. How best to do this?

President Macron’s recent proposal for a European army (an extension of previous rhetoric from EU integrationists over the years) has merit. The United States under Trump is not an ally and cannot be trusted. There is no guarantee that he, or someone worse, won’t be there in 2020. In times such as these, European solidarity is the only bulwark against Russian aggression and expansion. A future European military alliance outside of American control may be an end to the Atlanticists’ dreams, but could be the best solution in the long run to stall the march of neo-fascism. Such a view will be an anathema to many on the left, but this is where we are. Democracy is under fire, and must defend itself.

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Crucial Chance to Check the Trump Train

October 29, 2018 Leave a comment

The world is, in the words of O’Casey’s Captain Boyle, in a state of chassis. The victory of a fascist in all but name in Brazil’s recent presidential election should be a clarion call to those complacent about the comparative strength of the democratic ideal versus populist demagoguery. Brexit and Trump were a harbinger of things to come. But American voters have a chance to put a check on Trumpism in the upcoming mid-term elections. Assuming, and it’s an assumption that’s problematic, there’s a reasonably free and fair conducting of the vote, a significant part of the US electorate can start the healing by electing a blue wave of Democrats.

Even by US standards, the last month has been a turbulent and blood-soaked affair. There were two attacks by the far right, motivated by the hate-filled and conspiracy-driven behaviour of the president. The would-be assassin who sent pipe bombs to prominent Democrats turns out to have been – surprise, surprise – a fanatical Trump supporter living in Florida. The FBI has stated that these devices were viable IEDs. Then there was the appalling attack on a synagogue in Pittsburgh; 11 people dead, and the suspect confirmed as a super-user of the alt-right alternative to Twitter, Gab.

And what of Trump’s response? More of the same. His pattern has been to make perfunctory, speech-written, remarks of apparent consolation, surrounded by self-pitying phrases of denial and anger. He has been stoking this anger, this white rage, since 2015, and now the whirlwind is being reaped. His supporters are unwilling to accept reality, many of whom are now driven by a nonsensical pattern of conspiracy-led thought, blaming an otherwise obscure 1990s financier, George Soros, for much of the ills in America and globally. Trump still can’t, or doesn’t want to, grasp that he needs to speak for more than his base. When commentators urge him to do so, they must know that it’s like asking a leopard to change its spots.

Yet the rhetoric continues. Trump observers have noted how it doesn’t really matter that the world’s most powerful elected official has the vocabulary of a middle schooler, and the cognitive ability of the same. His supporters don’t care; in fact, it’s a bonus for a lot of them. The really dangerous ones just want to hear his anger. He is the rage-whisperer, channeling the prejudices and hatreds that his predecessor did so much to try to assuage. But how could Obama have cauterized what is the original sin of the American republic, racism? Trump’s words are lethal now and his unwillingness to pull back on his rhetoric, or what’s left of the GOP establishment to ostracize him, means, sadly, that there’s the potential for more Pittsburghs.

So much has happened in Trump’s last two years that it’s hard to keep up with all the scandals, outrages, stupidity and corruption. Writers such as Amy Siskind and Sarah Kendzior have noted the compelling and frightening similarities between what’s going on in America now, and the patterns and occurrences that befall authoritarian regimes. Both fear for the future of democracy in the US, and based on what’s happened before and since Trump’s victory, they are right to be concerned. We all should be. That’s why the mid-terms are so important. There’s a chance to slow down this runaway train before it careers off the rails. Never let it be said that you had the vote and didn’t use it.

Democrats have a strong chance of taking back control of the House of Representatives, and, on a good day, of winning the Senate. They really need to do both to put an effective block on Trump’s designs, and the best way to do this is to push for impeachment in Congress. Yet, the very mention of this is a taboo subject for most Democrats now. Such is the upside-down world of US politics, that calling for impeachment is considered as ‘extreme’ as calling the press ‘the enemy of the people’. If Beto O’Rourke wins in Texas, it could be a great night for the Democrats and democracy though.

Have things been this bad before in America? Those who remember will tell you that 1968 was worse. The murders of Dr King and Bobby Kennedy caused a psychic damage to the system that in some ways hasn’t healed. It’s as though the wounds of ’68 have been reopened and exploited. Trumpism relies on fear and hatred; he cannot rule as unifier because this would negate the very essence of his success. Like Milton’s Lucifer, for Trump it is ‘better to reign in Hell than serve in Heaven’. There’s an opportunity for the real moral majority in America, those who stand for progress over fear, to change history. Let’s hope they grab this with both hands; the alternative is unpalatable.

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Brexit Divisions and Ridiculing Trump

September 26, 2018 Leave a comment

Labour Brexit Tensions

Labour’s stance on the Brexit was, until this week, as impenetrable as the Schleswig-Holstein question of old; there were few, if any, who understood what the position was any more. But with the quiet diplomacy of Kier Starmer, and other Remain campaigners, it seems that Labour have now accepted, in principle, that a second referendum could take place. This is a huge win for Remainers who have been up against both a hard left hostility to the EU and a sizable amount of MPs whose constituents voted to leave. It seems that most Labour voters and members would like to see a second ‘people’s vote’, if only to settle the question once and for all. Jeremy Corbyn today seemed to draw the line at any Labour support for a No Deal or Hard Brexit. This has to be welcomed as a positive move. It means that that while Corbyn may be lukewarm towards the concept of the four freedoms, and an ever strengthening union, he recognizes, at least publicly, the economic risk of going it alone. The Irish border is still at the physical and metaphorical front-line of the Brexit conundrum. While 80% of the negotiations may be done or doable, there is a border between the European Union and Brexitland that cannot be wished away, despite what former foreign secretary Boris Johnson might say. Labour has pinned its flag to the mast, somewhat. It is up to those who realise that there can be no implementation of most of the Labour policy agenda if the United Kingdom leaves the EU under the hardest terms. The party leadership may still want to leave, but the membership, in a reversal of recent years, may force Corbyn to sail in a different direction. For the sake of his voters, and people looking for a meaningful change of government, he must do so.

Tory Right and Brexit – where they stand now?

While Labour may finally be seeing some sense on Brexit, the same cannot be said for the Conservative party. Theresa May is in an impossible position. She’s unable to meet the main minimum demands of the EU negotiators without alienating the hard right of her party. These Leave Fundamentalists are a mixture of cynics, know-nothings, and English nationalists, most of whom are wealthy enough to ride out the worst of Brexits. May might think she is being clever, or agile, but her constrained position means she has little or zero room for maneuver. She must know, as an intelligent woman, that there are few or no foreseeable circumstances where Britain thrives outside the trading bloc and social union of the EU. But she must maintain the façade that there are more upsides that downsides as she leads her country over the precipice. A real leader would have sought a cross-party consensus on arguably the greatest issue facing her nation since Dunkirk. But she tacked to the right, with both the DUP, and to her own ‘headbanger’ contingent, thankfully still in the minority as Tory MPs, but a substantial one at that. British politics has not been this polarised in over 30 years, and what a time for it to be so. The Conservatives used to call themselves the party of business; it is hard to do so now with the CBI and the top industrialists warning of the consequences of leaving the European Union, and particularly of leaving the union with no deal in place. May can still do her duty and bring her country into the softest of soft exits. Nothing good will come of crashing out.

Trump and the UN

The United Nations General Assembly is not somewhere one associates with mocking laughter, but so it came to pass, when Trump addressed assembled world leaders and diplomats. When he tried to boast in his usual manner that his last two years had been highly successful, the delegates, for the most part, saw through his nonsense and bluster. They laughed. They didn’t boo, or heckle, or walk out; they laughed. Such a reaction may not always be appropriate, and Trump is still a very dangerous individual. But in this instance, it was perfect. There’s nothing bullies hate more than to be at the butt of a joke. Trump has a poor sense of humour and is notoriously touchy and sensitive to the slightest critcisism. By all means, mockery should be a weapon of choice in the arsenal of democracy. Laugh at his pomposity, his pathology as an inveterate liar, his chosen ignorance. Have disdain for his inflated sense of intelligence, and remember how ridiculous this often frightening man is. If only his own party, the so-called Republicans, would see him for what he really is. Roll on Robert Mueller’s final act, because the joker-in-chief needs to meet his Bruce Wayne.

 

 

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McCain’s Passing and Corbyn’s Staying

August 26, 2018 Leave a comment

End of an Era? John McCain and what he stood for.

The death of John McCain earlier today feels like one of those highly significant moments in recent American political history. The tributes pouring in speak to the strength of character of the man. From his time in captivity as a POW in Vietnam, to his recent standing up to Trump, McCain has shown considerable courage throughout his life. He has asked Barack Obama to speak at his funeral, and his younger rival, and later friend, is sure to do justice to his fallen comrade. His stand-out moment in 2008 when he intervened on an audience heckle shouted by an Obama-hater is in such contrast to the coarsening of Republican politics that has taken place ever since. He understood the role of a US senator was to speak truth to power rather than my party right or wrong, and sought consensus over conflict. His politics accepted the Reagan settlement, but his conservatism was in the economic sphere; he was a social liberal. Like all of us, his judgment was imperfect. His 2008 pick of Sarah Palin as his running mate was a disaster, and in many ways opened the floodgates to what we have today. He faltered in that same election as Wall Street tanked. He was, however, that rarity for a politician, a reader. Hemingway was a particular favourite, and one can see why. Much of politically engaged America feels they’ve lost more than a man; they’ve lost a symbol of the better angels of their nature.

Who speaks for America? Is it the thoughtfulness and decency of people like McCain or is the brashness and criminality of the current POTUS? This writer disagreed with many of the departed senator’s views, but he was a man in full. These are testing times for America; will the rule of law be triumphant, or will the country go further into the darkness? Trump is the opposite of all McCain was. Let’s hope the values and integrity of McCain win out, and Trumpism is consigned to the dustbin of history. Ted Kennedy and John McCain were lions of the senate. To paraphrase Barack Obama, they seemed to symbolize an era where politicians could disagree without being disagreeable. May his passing be mourned, and may the best of him be celebrated. A man who did the state some service. Let him not be eulogized, but remembered as someone who served his country with honour and dignity, and his country could not have asked for more.

Corbyn and Anti-Semitism

Commenting on Jeremy Corbyn and anti-semitism feels like grabbing a nettle that’s going to sting however it’s held. But such is the intensity of the row within the British Labour party, it is a subject that’s unlikely to go away. It is a complicated issue, but here are some observations. This writer is no Corbyn fan, but there do seem to be some, if not many, using this as a stick to beat the leader with. Politics can be brutal, and this is one of the most sensitive issues imaginable which should not be exploited for political gain. Having said that, some of the accusations ring true for the following reasons; Corbyn does not deny the holocaust, he doesn’t appear to deny the right of Israel to exist. But there is a nasty, virulent, troll army of his supporters out there who are fellow travelers of these anti-semitic views, and others who are openly quoting the alt-right anti-Soros conspiracy theories. The problem is this; if you lay down with dogs, you end up with fleas. Corbyn has spent a lifetime outside the tent. Some causes were justified, others, like his support for the IRA armed struggle, were not. Anyone who’s ever been on a protest has seen how extremists have always sought to hijack a cause. The current Labour leadership has, infuriatingly, refused to accept the international definition of anti-semitism. Anyone who’s been on marches about Israel’s occupation has heard how rightful condemnation of a sovereign government’s often unconscionable acts has been unwittingly, and wittingly, conflated with the character of the Jewish people. Similarly, when the word ‘Zionist’ is used, it’s frequently is followed by the worst of epithets. This is anti-semitism. Corbyn has lived up and down to expectations. He has never changed his mind about anything, his municipal Trotskyism and pro-Russian views (what is it about the Left and Putin?) make him consistent and predictable. He is never going to change. British politics is in a very dangerous place right now. Corbyn has never voluntarily disowned a cause supporter; is he really the best that the Labour party can do? This is a massive distraction for HM’s opposition with Brexit hitting the shores next year. It’s hard to see a way out of this mess without a new leader.

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No Summer Break from Trumpism

Bannon’s Bile and Brexit

Recent revelations that the Tory Right has been meeting with Steve Bannon should be cause for grave concern. Bannon is a proud ethno-separatist, and any reading of his views would see him firmly in the neo-fascist camp. He is the sort of individual that used to be placed under an exclusion order in the UK, but now he consorts with the tiresome Rees-Mogg, and purportedly has sought to advise Gove and Johnson. In short, the Brexit fanatics are either showing their true colours, or are so desperate that they have only the far right to turn to, or a combination of both. Nothing the likes of Bannon offers should be accepted; his is the politics of hatred and division, and his hankering for the strongman has obvious parallels with the rise of fascism in the 1920s and 30s. Any democrat or anyone claiming to be a parliamentarian should be shunning this worst of the worst that America has to give. The Bloated Boswell to Trump’s Doctor Johnson, Bannon taps into white anger like a bogus preacher in the boonies. It is appalling that a large section of the Conservative party think that he’s a valid political commentator, but there we are. We can recall David Cameron’s infamous tweet in 2015 that a vote for Ed Miliband was a vote for chaos. How comparatively innocent those times seem now, a mere three years ago, before the storm. Theresa May must do more to marginalise and shame her ultra-nationalist wing before they shame her party further.

Attempted Diplomatic Surrender

Trump’s summit in Helsinki with Putin saw the fake president abase himself on many levels. He is clearly in hock to the Russian premier, for financial and/or personal reasons. Who knows what was said in their secret meeting? Did Trump promise to recognise annexed Crimea in the near future? What was discussed about the mid-terms, and Russia’s hacking? One thing we know for certain is that the Liar-in-Chief was prepared to throw a loyal public servant, and former ambassador to Moscow, Mike McFaul, under a bus. That he would even consider a distinguished ex-diplomat to be questioned by the FSB was shocking enough, but the fact that his Proxy-Liar Sarah Sanders said that the matter was under consideration from the White House was galling. It is a core principal of diplomacy that diplomats have protection before and after their term of duty for their time in foreign service. This covenant is broken only under extremely infrequently occurring circumstances, and none of the former ambassador’s behaviour comes under this banner. He is on Putin’s enemy list, and is in distinguished company there. Congress rapidly passed a resolution to underline that McFaul will not be used as some bargaining chip in Trump’s appeasement of the Russian gangster premier. There is little that Blotus [sic] won’t do to stay beyond the reach of the law. There can be no entertainment of his authoritarian impulses. He will do what he can get away with, or is allowed to do. Where the latter can be prevented, it should be.

Mid-Term Fears

The US mid-term elections are less than 100 days away. That’s just over 3 months in which Russia will be implementing active measures, including disinformation campaigns, possible vote hacking, and sponsorship of friendly candidates. There is real concern that the outcome of November’s polling will be neither free nor fair. There’s already been signs that candidates hostile to Moscow are being targeted and the working assumption in the US intelligence community is that Trump is either encouraging this or turning a blind eye to such activity. It’s always been the opinion of this commentator that the first citizen been is a traitor, put in by Moscow to do their bidding. Any vote rigging in 2016 will have been scrubbed clean after it happened. The denial is not that Trump won, but that he cheated, as he might say, on so many, many levels. There is a simple and effective way to call a halt to Russian interference in the mid-terms, and that’s to mandate that any electronic voting system has a verifiable audit trail. If this can not be guaranteed, there should be a return to paper ballots. The vote is the most precious duty and gift that a citizen has; to have it cheapened or robbed because of a commitment to failed procedures is an outrage. American democracy is deeply flawed, yet there is a structure that can be reactivated that would uphold the integrity of the system. The Republicans who oppose this are threatening the very fabric of democracy itself. There are still grounds for optimism that Trumpism can be defeated, but there are significant hurdles to overcome. In the end, most people don’t want him. They need to stay woke, remain angry, and still be shockable. Trump relies on exhausting his opponents; don’t give him that satisfaction.

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The Unjust Ruler – Trump Tests Resilience of the System

The potential tyranny, of the US president, has been underestimated by many. The last few weeks, with a combination of detaining children at the Mexico border, cosying up to brutal dictators, condemning age-old alliances, seeking to damage democracy in Germany, have all contributed to this being one of the more chaotic and frightening periods of Trump’s turn in office so far. You always think there’s a rock bottom, only for him and his ghoulish thug circle to go even lower. If he’s brought to justice, it could be the saving of the liberal democracy. But, for now, he holds the reins of power.

The pictures from the border detention camps of children separated from their families have shocked most Americans and right thinking people. This cruel and inhuman policy is a direct follow-on from the president’s racist campaign rhetoric and pledges. The fear is that this is a prologue to further outrages. This is the ethno-nationalism, fascist, hard-right, in ascendancy. Appeal to the base at all costs, dehumanize, lie, and gaslight. The push-back has been strong, and this could be part of the straw that breaks the camel’s back for the Republican establishment. For if not this, what will it take? Trump can stop this NOW, but he chooses to use these children as political pawns to get his wretched wall. MAGA voters have no shame.

The pseudo-event summit with North Korea is part of this pattern of a move from democratic to authoritarian values. Trump reveled in the moment. His meeting with Kim produced nothing for the US above temporary spin, and a very short-term de-escalation of tension. A responsible grown up would have prepared for the summit, not bet the house, and not praised one of the most despicable dictator’s in power. Trump’s whole demeanor suggested he was enthralled to have met an equal. The ego is everything. Can you seriously imagine Obama behaving in a similar manner for so little in return?

Then there’s Germany. Trump’s ambassador there has already tried to undermine the democratic process by favouring the far right AfD and other extremist movements in the EU. Trump has jumped in, where else but on Twitter, to stir the pot, by lying about crime and immigration in that country. Merkel is everything Trump isn’t; consensus focused, a moral leader, committed to democracy, and open to the exchange of ideas. He fears her openness. If Germany or France were to fall to the neo-fascists, the EU as we know it would be finished. That is one of his, and Putin’s, main goals.

The most venal president in US history may force the world into recession with his cack-handed knowledge of economics. The trade war has started. The G6, as it now is minus the US, is not going to cave in to American demands. He tried to bully his way at the recent meeting in Canada and the other countries were rightly having none of it. His demand that Russia be readmitted into the G7 was another attempt to drive a wedge in the western alliance. But even the new Italian government, where the extreme right serves in cabinet, baulked at his suggestion.

His renunciation of the Iran deal sealed his reputation as a dangerous international adventurer. The deal wasn’t perfect, but it was the result of serious negotiations by serious people. He has shown that the US, under his watch, cannot be trusted to keep their word. He has walked away from this deal mostly to spite his predecessor, that is how petty a man he is. His moving of the US embassy to Jerusalem was a needlessly inflammatory move.

Underlying all this is corruption. His daughter and son-in-law making millions while being employed by the government is just the tip of the ice-berg. The secretary of the EPA is destroying the environment while enriching himself, the cabinet is barely functioning except to facilitate lobbyists who want to eradicate most consumer protection and health & safety legislation. Beneath all of this is the ticking time bomb of the Robert Mueller investigation into 45’s links with Putin. He is an immoral, inadequate, failure of a man. For Trump, money and lying go hand-in-hand.

Most observers veer between optimism and pessimism. To look at the latter first; who is to say that Trump won’t succeed, that he goes on to win in 2020 with a combination of Russian help and voter suppression? What if he fires Mueller and the reaction to that isn’t enough to bring him down? That is a possible outcome. But it is also possible that this phony, this race-baiting moron, this worst of the worst, will end his life in the justice system, failing to raise anything but a rabble, in a country that is no longer listening to him, seeing him for the fake he always was.

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