Here’s another article by me which is not about Berlin – or Germany – although its very controversial subject matter affects the whole world. I’ll risk the flak.
Berlin Bulletin No. 168
During my recent ten-week book tour through the USA I found one sentiment predominant; anger and disgust regarding Donald Trump, which was certainly understandable. But then, my trip covered only the East and West coasts plus Chicago and urban Wisconsin; in other regions the picture would hardly have been so unanimous. Now, from a great distance (in Berlin, Germany) and after lots of water has surged down the Mississippi, not to mention the Dnieper and Euphrates, I want to risk some thoughts, in a way speaking of the devil, which may very well meet sharp disagreement, even anger.
I wonder if I can analyze Donald T’s capricious, maybe deteriorating thinking – perhaps the better term is “thought processes” – in the following way:
First of all, and above all, he has always been motivated primarily by a desire for prestige and unlimited financial fortune, for himself and the Trump family empire.
Secondly, he was always limited by almost total ignorance of all developments outside US borders – and nearly all geography, except perhaps possible sites for Trump Towers. Maybe he has been slightly broadened since then by official travels and meetings – Singapore and Biarritz require longer flights than to Fifth Avenue and Mar-a-Lago, after all – all framed by close media observation at the Fox News or Limbaugh level. And also thanks to quick-changing advisers, though some were hardly wiser than their short-term boss.
Thirdly, I wonder if perhaps misogynism – hatred of women – quite fits him. It is rather a total disrespect and disregard in all connections except as sex objects. But I guess that amounts to much the same in their final, nasty effect.
Fourthly, I wonder if Trump is perhaps less inherently racist – against African-Americans, Mexicans, Central Americans and especially Muslims – as he is just uninterested and pragmatically ready to utilize and encourage such feelings – and actions – among a sector of the population which is indeed motivated by hatred – and whose support he most crucially requires. But true or not, this does not make his strategy one bit less vicious or dangerous. Here, too, I can disregard any difference.
My last idea is most controversial. I wonder if Trump, despite all his greed, narcissism and alliance with militant fascist elements, and what seems like further mental deterioration, does not have, deep down, some inner feeling that in world affairs peace might be better than war. True, he has again and again made bloody threats to reduce whole countries to ruin or ashes – North Korea, Afghanistan, Iran and now Turkey – and has supported actions which were anything but pacifistic, at the cost of Yemen and East Jerusalem to name only two.
And yet, I feel forced to ask myself; were his threats, vocal and otherwise, based on pressures by men who influenced and in part determined his foreign policies, the latest examples being Bolton and (still) Pompeo? Key sections of the Pentagon-CIA-armament lobby crowd are powerful and clever, far cleverer than Donald Trump, especially in the Middle East but also in efforts to break Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela (thus far in vain). There are sometimes hints that he did incline, though as always awkwardly, unpredictably and with many contradictions, towards making peace with North Korea, in Afghanistan and even, on one or two occasions, with Iran. And, most importantly, in a world threatenened by the chance of the least little spark in Estonia, Poland, the Baltic or Black Sea igniting the atomic incineration of the entire world, did any such fears – along with hopes for a Trump Tower in Moscow – play a part in a wish for detente rather than confrontatiion with Russia (and somewhat similarly with China)? I can only speculate.
But aside from any of Trump’s cerebral waves, other waves roll in from Moscow, from Putin. One can hate him, ridicule him or perhaps love him, but it is far wiser to carefully analyze his policies; deserving at least to be read are his relevant speeches which, largely unnoticed, constantly oppose confrontation and call for de-escalation. Even if viewed as bluffs, if they can possibly move us an inch toward lasting peace then such bluffs should be called. But, as in most of the past century, this very idea frightens some people – above all those who manufacture heavy modern weapons or cherish shiny medals. Atomic finality be damned! They always opposed any step toward rapprochement or the very word detente, in the northern Baltic, southern Syria, the Ukraine, or anywhere, coming from Trump or, for that matter, from anyone else!
It was basically pressure from the Russiagate brouhaha – whose exaggerations, I suspect, were encouraged by those same hypocrites who prefer tension between the world’s main powers, which led Trump to retreat from his less belligerent positions, sometimes at the last minute. Was he, in the end, defying Bolton’s urging when he called off the bombing of Iran? Did he retreat from a peace agreement in Afghanistan because he could not withstand pressure from Bolton, Pompeo and those behind them? Was the failure of the rather promising meeting with Kim due to Bolton’s and Pompeo’s spokes in the wheel?
I don’t know and I cannot know. But I think such questions deserve serious consideration.
I could never vote for Donald Trump. On the U.S. domestic scene, no matter how his cerebral waves are surfing on any one day or week, the militia gangs of bigots and thugs which support him recall far too menacingly the forces organized by Hitler in his power seizure. Their American imitators already threaten severe unrest if he loses the election or the House impeaches him and the Senate votes him out. So: Stop Trump!
Worrying me all the same, however, is that the main impeachment thrust aims at minor events in the Ukraine, like that D.C.-Kiev telephone call. It was undoubtedly tainted and no doubt very illegal. But this whole approach ignores, indeed covers over the fact that the whole US policy of violently turning the Ukraine into a US-dominated satrapy and advanced base was achieved by a Democratic administration. This was vividly illustrated by then Vice-President Biden’s televised boast about withholding a billion dollars if the Ukraine did not obey orders and, within six hours, fire an undesirable prosecutor. I find that worse than Trump’s call, with or without any nepotism involved.
The current impeachment move, although supported by many progressives, seems to be a fight against Trump for just the wrong reasons, based on a minor scene in a complex drama where Democrats have been at least as villainous as Republicans. This can distract from genuine reasons for fighting him; his racist actions, his kowtowing to big business, his repression of refugees, ecological insanity and the rest. Avoiding such matters, much of the media has stressed a phone call and now the withdrawal of US soldiers. Is it possible that this decision, ill-advised and ill-timed as it was, may really have reflected a wish for the USA to get out of the Middle East where it doesn’t belong and has created death, destruction and misery for decades, with both parties responsible?
Here, too, hypocrisy rules; for years the Kurds (in Turkey) were all “terrorists” – they become our allies and heroes – tragically abandoned by Trump – only as long as they can oh so heroically provide us with oil and strategic bases in Iraq or Syria, close to Iran and Russia. Our friendship with the Free Syrian Army has been just as volatile; when fighting Assad they were almost holy crusaders. Now, fighting with Erdogan, we observe their media-metamorphosis into vicious murderers of our now heroic Kurds.
Will the impeachment campaign, while perhaps distracting from Trump’s genuine nastiness and homeland threat, also provide excuses for more fateful missteps in the Middle East and further confrontation on a world scale – while trying to salvage a sagging Biden and weaken left-leaning pressures in the Democratic Party? We’ll see!
Since it is now impossible to halt what I see as a questionable impeachment move, it seems imperative to try to alter its thrust; at home, toward opposing his racist actions, brutal immigrant repression, environmental destruction and enrichment of the rich by further impoverishing the poor. And abroad, by opposing him whenever his unpredictable, spasmodic path leans toward confrontation or self-serving regime change, as against Venezuela, Cuba, Iran, but not by applauding or assisting hypocritical steps which really serve only bellicose ambitions and further filling obscenely swollen Raytheon-Northrup-Lockheed portfolios.