Malacandra.me

The dotard disruption

The dotard disruption

by digby


This was the thing about Trump's victory that has always frightened me the most. This eff-ing moron was determined to blow up the global security umbrella without any clue what he was doing and nothing to replace it with. Immature people without any knowledge of history thought that was a great idea because the US had either been "cheated" or was just as bad as the worst dictators anyway so might as well light the fuse and watch the fire.

Dean Acheson, President Truman’s Secretary of State, called his autobiography “Present at the Creation.” The title referred to the task that confronted American leaders at the end of the Second World War and the start of the Cold War, which was “just a bit less formidable than that described in the first chapter of Genesis,” Acheson wrote. “That was to create a world out of chaos; ours, to create half a world, a free half, out of the same material without blowing the whole to pieces in the process.” A network of institutions and alliances—the United Nations, nato, the international monetary system, and others—became the foundation for “the rules-based international order” that the leaders in Charlevoix saluted. It imposed restraints on the power politics that had nearly destroyed the world. It was a liberal order, based on coöperation among countries and respect for individual rights, and it was created and upheld by the world’s leading liberal democracy. America’s goals weren’t selfless, and we often failed to live up to our stated principles. Power politics didn’t disappear from the planet, but the system endured, flawed and adaptable, for seventy years.

In four days, between Quebec and Singapore, Trump showed that the liberal order is hateful to him, and that he wants out. Its rules are too confining, its web of connections—from trade treaties to security alliances—unfair. And he seems to find his democratic counterparts distasteful, even pathetic. They speak in high-minded rhetoric rather than in Twitter insults, they’re emasculated by parliaments and by the press, and maybe they’re not very funny. Trump prefers the company of dictators who can flatter and be flattered. Part of his unhappiness in Quebec was due to the absence of President Vladimir Putin; before leaving for the summit, Trump had demanded that Russia be unconditionally restored to the G-7, from which it was suspended over the dismemberment of Ukraine. He finds nothing special about democratic values, and nothing objectionable about murderous rulers. “What, you think our country is so innocent?” he once asked.

Kim Jong Un is Trump’s kind of world leader. Instead of condemning Kim’s brutal consolidation of power, Trump admires and identifies with it, as if Kim were the underestimated scion of a family real-estate business who’s quickly learned the ropes. “When you take over a country—a tough country, with tough people—and you take it over from your father,” Trump told Fox News, “if you can do that at twenty-seven years old, I mean, that’s one in ten thousand that could do that. So he’s a very smart guy.”
[...]
Power politics favors regimes accustomed to operating outside the liberal order. Asked about Trump’s desire to see Russia restored to the G-7’s good graces, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov was dismissive—“We never asked to be allowed back”—as if Russia were happy not to have to answer to democratic scolds. After Quebec, the German Foreign Minister, Heiko Maas, placed the United States among the rogue regimes: “Donald Trump’s egotistical politics of ‘America First,’ Russia’s attacks on international law and state sovereignty, the expansion of gigantic China: the world order we were used to, it no longer exists.” Europe is rapidly pulling away from the United States, but the European Union is weak and divided. The liberal order always depended on American leadership.

Trump imagines that America unbound, shaking hands or giving the finger, depending upon short-term interests and Presidential whims, will flourish among the other rogues. After his meeting with Kim, he flew home aglow with wonder at his own dealmaking prowess, assuring Americans that they could now sleep in peace. In fact, Trump had secured nothing except the same vague commitment to dismantling North Korea’s nuclear program which the regime has offered and routinely betrayed in the past. Meanwhile, he gave up something real—joint U.S.-South Korean military exercises, which he called “provocative,” the language of totalitarian and aggressive North Korea. Without allies and treaties, without universal values, American foreign policy largely depends on what goes on inside Trump’s head. Kim, like Putin, already seems to have got there.


Maybe it's time to change the global order. If people have better ideas about how to keep from blowing up the planet then let's have it. What's a better way to try to fix climate change, for instance? Or contain nuclear war? Or deal with global wealth inequality? I'm all ears. But if anyone thinks it was a fine idea to put a corrupt, authoritarian, dotard with the knowledge and learning ability of a 4 year old in charge of doing it, they are nuts. "Disruption" is a darling tech term repurposed for everything these days, but it doesn't always work out. And the stakes in this inane disruption are very, very high.

The US is now considered a rogue nation. Great. I'm sure I will hear from many people agreeing with Trump that we always have been and others are too so who cares?

Well, that cynical facile attitude has led to some very, very very bad results.