I haven’t written much about Trump, and nothing on this page. There’s a lot of pretty cogent (and a great deal more totally incoherent) writing about what Trump has done and where it’s all going (wrong, mostly). One thing that strikes me, and this isn’t really an original thought, is that the entire Trump administration is interested only in getting the most for its own. The other thing is that there’s just a vast amount of pure subversion of American ideals at work in the whole operation.

This post is a little jumbled – mostly written on flights between Hyderabad, India (not Pakistan), Dubai, and Amsterdam.

riding_the_bombI’ve heard that George Bush Junior is getting some rehabilitation these days for speaking against Trump. I can appreciate that, even though there’s no love lost between me and Shrub, and no forgiveness for what he and Cheney and Rumsfeld did to the US. Remember, though, that we never felt from him that he didn’t have the interests of the US in mind. Even when he went to war, he did it with, I think, some thought as to what it meant. (I may be wrong.) When Trump opens his mouth, or does anything (again, not a new thought), it’s an expression of what he thinks in the moment. This may change the next time someone hands him some new information. Like when the PM of China recently schooled him on Korean history. (The problem here is that China’s opinion of Korea might be rather close to its opinion of Tibet – or Serbia’s opinion of Kosovo.) He doesn’t think that anyone else might know more than what he’s just learned. It’s strange – we thought we were the world’s laughing stock when Bush II was president. He seemed to depend so much on his advisors and so little on his own learned assessment of the world. This surprised no one, but at least his advisors, mostly from his father’s circles, had seen the world and served, many of them, as elected officials. Bush II had served more than one term as a state governor, for crying out loud. He wasn’t without experience, even if those of us on the left didn’t think it worth much. We criticised, rightly, how he didn’t even manage managing a baseball team very well, and didn’t get that job on his own merits either.  It was just his dad pulling strings to keep the wayward son busy.

Everything we know about Trump from before the election (I won’t say his election – there’s no doubting the role of state-sanctioned election fraud and gerrymandering in Trump’s so-called victory – not to mention the continued evidence of Putinic interference) pointed to an inability to do anything honestly and a near pathological need to find himself capable even though he obviously never has been. At much of anything except self-promotion. I follow the news, but there’s not telling which direction events will take. Today’s news has indications of tension in North Korea. (In the early 90s, I recall tension, and friends who knew a great deal more of political affairs than I did wondering why the place was so vital after such a long period of relative diplomatic stability. For the last several years we’ve cried at Kim Jong-un’s disturbing assassinations, and at the state of things in N. Korea in general, but haven’t thought it to be an epicentre for the next major war. We being those of us who only casually keep up with the news. It’s possible that people far deeper in foreign policy than I’ve ever been have always known that Korea’s the epicentre of the hot version of WWIII. Or as I usually write, the next battlefield of WWI.

I don’t recall who posted recently that he (80% certain as to sex of the writer) never went to bed during the Obama administration fearing to wake up to the next world war. I felt that way in the 80s, mostly a product of late Atomic age overreaction, but I was 13 when Reagan took office and his sabre-rattling was in terrifying contrast to Carter’s pacifism. I didn’t realise then what the phrases about Eurasia and Eastsaia from 1984 meant. The Carter years, in retrospect, were a brief respite from the wars in SE Asia that had only been over a year or so when he took office.

The incompetent war mongering is one aspect of what passes for policy in the current administration. The threats this week to pull out of/renegotiate NAFTA have us playing the fool on the stage of world economics. Trump seems to find any trade deficit disadvantageous to the US, an argument not supported by experts in world trade (according to Reuters –  28 April 2017). It’s another example of Trump taking a knee-jerk approach to a situation and calling it policy. Much like healthcare (‘No one knew healthcare was so hard’), the policies that define a country’s position in the world are difficult to determine, rely on history, expertise, institutional knowledge, and diplomacy. The idea that a person can learn these things (as a great rabbi discussed) standing on one foot is patently ridiculous. The corollary to the idea that one can’t learn Talmud while standing one foot is ‘Do no harm – the rest is commentary. If the current administration (and the US congress!) could take that tack for the next few years, people would be satisfied. (Alas, as rapper Ice-T once said, ‘Shit ain’t like that.’)