Trump: superficial v intelligent analysis

31 Jul

Sunday’s Observer editorial targets a week of chaos for President Trump, egregious even by the standards of his beleaguered administration. Sunk by John McCain on Obamacare, and with open civil war in his team’s upper echelons – robustly lampooned, below, by Melissa McCarthy and Kate McKinnon as Sean Spicer and Jeff Sessions – the Observer bewails Donald’s unfitness for office.

While the editorial contains obvious truths, it laments the blows this buffoon is delivering to the most dangerous Empire of all time. Take its closing words:

Having played Trump to its advantage, Moscow’s open hand is turning into a clenched fist [now it is] clear Trump could not deliver the concessions on Ukraine Putin craves. Except, in his fecklessness and blind vanity and courting Putin to the end, Trump didn’t see it coming at all. The common factor is Trump’s self-induced powerlessness and ignorance, chronic lack of credibility and presidential authority and consequent perceptions of US and western weakness. And in the case of all three actual or potential adversaries – North Korea, Iran and Russia – these perceptions are highly dangerous because US responses, actions and reactions can no longer be relied upon or predicted, by friends and enemies alike, the potential for calamitous miscalculation is growing. This uncertainty, like the chaos in the White House and extraordinary disarray of the American body politic, stems from Trump’s glaring unfitness for the highest office. As is now becoming ever plainer, this threatens us all.

In sum, the imperial cheerleaders at Guardian Media bewail Trump for damage to the Empire of Chaos, Terror & Destitution and for emboldening the world’s three most demonised states. Not one of those states, note, comes close to the record of aggression and civilian deaths chalked up by Washington. One of them, Korea, was the target of US genocide in my lifetime even as another, Iran, had its elected government overthrown, and the nation delivered to the puppet Shah, for having the temerity to nationalise its oil fields and threaten US and UK profit margins.

(Incidentally, and given that the Shah’s excesses as regional gendarme for the west led to the 1979 revolution and its hijacking by the Ayatollahs, Iran’s fate foreshadows that of other middle east states where, by design or recklessness, imperialist meddling led to grimly theocratic rule.)

As for the third demonised state whose ‘encouragement’ by Trump has upset Guardian Media Corp, Russia’s record of aggression is vividly illustrated by its belligerently cornering itself just to put Washington’s pet project, NATO, in a bad light …

Well that’s the Guardian for you: a veneer of liberalism, even at times of leftism, but in its backing of an imperialist world order not fundamentally different from the Daily Mail.

In fairness, the editorial’s final four words – this threatens us all – are accurate. At the same time they constitute a travesty of truth. Trump’s incompetence threatens us all to the extent that a world made terrifying, for those not fully asleep, by the US Empire, and more specifically its decline, is made even more so by Trump’s antics. But that is to blame final straw for snapping camel’s spine, or a defective fridge for the Grenfell Tower killings, when Guardian Media have done so little to oppose and so much to cheer on the unsustainable – morally or practically; take your pick – world order this fool has been let loose upon.

In contrast to such unwavering superficiality, passed off as informed analysis, comment more penetrating and intelligent is given by Jim Kavanagh in CounterPunch, also this weekend, on the same topic. As Team Trump implodes in ever more bizarre ways, aided – not that it isn’t doing a fine job all by itself – by a DNC mired in its own corruption, Kavanagh’s piece contains these truths:

Trump maintains a core base of support among his voters, but has no intrinsic support among any sector of the permanent government known as the Deep State. It’s not a matter of disagreement, but distrust. Everyone distrusts him, in a radical sense, and for good reason: No one, including him, knows what he will do or say next. He’s got some stubs of ideas, a few of which are not bad (Let’s get along with Russia. Let’s fight ISIS, not Syria.) and most of which are terrible, but he doesn’t have the intellectual capacity for thinking any of them through, let alone the political facility for executing them. He is way out of his depth.

With all these weaknesses, Trump’s only possible political role is as front man for congressional Republicans, who do have thought-out political ideas and programs, and dangerous ones … The Republican Party is a precarious mix of factions – hardline libertarians, religious fanatics, neocon hawks, and legacy Chamber of Commerce types – all frantically trying to stay united around their common priority: the worship and protection of capital. They need a leader who can mediate among them, and be an effective and reassuring presence to the public, helping policy changes that will devastate the lives of most Americans. What they got instead is an incoherent, peripatetic, self-obsessed incompetent, who can’t control his cabinet, his family, or his mouth, and who only further confuses their agenda.

This is a good thing …

The Democrats’ aggressive attacks, through an overwhelming array of sympathetic media and Deep State channels, have worked to provoke and exacerbate the ongoing decompensation and self-sabotage of the Trump administration. Clearly, the Democrats hope the disarray around Trump will drive enough of their constituency, many of whom left the playground in the 2016 election, to return to the Democratic end of the electoral seesaw. This is not such a good thing.

I recommend reading the piece in full. Meanwhile, for light relief, here’s a press briefing from Spicer and Sessions – also known as Melissa McCarthy and Kate McKinnon.

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