Blog Credo

The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.

H.L. Mencken

Saturday, January 28, 2017

American Exceptionalism In Trumpistan

The conservative drum-bangers for American exceptionalism have always said that America is a different and better country than any other.  Therefore the usual rules and labels don't apply to us.  That's how we can take over a country, destroy its governments and institutions and create a power vacuum that has led to a debilitating civil war and call it "Operation Iraqi Freedom."

Trump's global agenda is so clearly and nakedly immoral, that it undermines any pretense of American moral exceptionalism, as my Senator makes clear here. 

Realists hold that countries have no friends, only interests.  I have certain sympathies for this position, as my increasing frustration with Israel under Netanyahu stands as an example.  Our interest: a two-state solution that drains some of the poison from the Middle East stands in opposition to our "friend" Israel.

Trump will make America a slave to what Trump determines is our "interest."  However, since he is both ignorant and unintelligent on these issues and because he has the attention span of a gnat, Trump is unable to discern American interests beyond whatever makes Trump feel like a "Big Man" in any given moment.

America created a fundamental new order after World War II.  This was based on military alliances - like NATO - and economic integration - via the various Bretton Woods institutions and free trade zones like the European Common Market and later iterations like the EU and NAFTA.  This represented a chance to end the cycle of wars that had devastated the world in the 20th century, as post-1945 conflicts could wipe out all life on earth.  American chose stability and integration over isolationism and conflict.

Trump will undo 75 years of American foreign policy in the course of his presidency.  No other president will do more to advance the power and prestige of nations like China, Germany and, yes, Russia.  The world has always had a fitful relationship with the US, admiring and needing our strength, while worrying about it's import.  Now, all their worries appear to be borne out.

Can American put global order back together after Trump?  I wonder.  I guess it depends on how badly he breaks it.

No comments: