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On May 17, 2017 she left her home on Vancouver Island, went to the mainland for the day and renounced her US citizenship. She’d lived as a US citizen in a foreign country for forty years.
Trump’s presidency brings gut wrenching reactions to America. He is, depending who you listen to, the or at least an Answer. Or he’s a dangerous fool. Elsewhere in the world peoples’ reactions are less heated. They tend to spontaneous outbursts of giggles tinged with hope.
The Donald’s presidency continues US nationalism. So we see economic and political threats to traditional allies and military threats to potential opponents. Most presidents direct world affairs through massive political, economic and military powers. The Donald uses those powers based on whim or what is being served for dessert. So why the amusement?
For many The Donald starkly realizes what America has become. They see someone confused by ignorance, narrow, self interested, a juggins, a joskins, a monied hick. Chances are he’ll confuse Damascus with Baghdad, or rename the Canadian PM Justine instead of Justin. Many Americans are embarrassed, sufficiently so for citizens to renounce citizenship.
Finger waggers might frame a pointed question: what in God’s name stopped your renunciation when WMD-lying, war-loving W. was president? When Johnson bombed because ‘America was attacked’ in the Gulf of Tonkin? When Clinton did not have sex with that woman? When Nixon, who was not a crook, was worse? Reagan smiled when he lied and therefore was held to be a great communicator, sure. But didn’t he conspire with a foreign nation to corrupt the presidential race to enable his election? Americans who knew of US chemical and biological warfare in North Korea and China, where was their renunciation? What about the deliberate napalming in Korea of hundreds of thousands of civilians, men, women and children? What about Vietnam when America used napalm, chemical warfare, cluster bombs, torture and assassination to kill, maim and torture millions of Vietnamese, Cambodians and Laotians?
For many world observers the revulsion felt by Americans for The Donald’s bumbling vulgarity is astonishing: for his conduct merely now exposes publicly what has been true of US leaders for generations. Moreover, as the awesome Missy Comley Beattie regularly notes, bumbling vulgarity pales against the mass murder of Koreans, Vietnamese, Cambodians, Laotians, south Americans, Iranians, Iraqis, Afghanis and now, Syrians.
The notorious vulgarities of Johnson, Clinton and W were well hidden behind the chiseled image of a nation with its chest out, rippling, muscular, bicep rich. The indispensable Nation has preened itself for so long on this image that it is humiliated to have a fuller anatomy revealed: below and to the rear of a magnificent show stopping chest there is always an arse, an arse which has now taken over the show, an arse now the face of the greatest nation, a face apparently insistent on daily lowering its pants and doing its business, and doing it in public.
But enough of such soul satisfying churlishness. America should regain some hope along with the rest of the world. Trump could be America’s greatest benefactor if his example, such as it is, steels citizens to take back the nation’s integrity.
The great tragedy is America offers so much to the world, not least in the generosity and genius of so many of its people. As Rafia Zakaria points out all that is wasted by following schizophrenic doctrines flowing from Washington. Professor Zakaria focuses on widespread bombing of countries like Afghanistan while simultaneous humanitarian aid being is supplied by US Aid. She observes that recipients of aid become, in the local public’s eye, collaborators of the bombers, and are victimized as such. America has, of course, lost Afghanistan, as it lost Vietnam, out of stupidity.
Doctrines may elevate; they may also be held in such a way that they create stupidity. Stupidity abounds in US foreign policy: it’s a stupidity that has cost America its integrity. The chief stupidity stems from doctrines supporting interventions abroad to apply America’s political, economic and military powers. Those same doctrines represent the use of those powers as being in the interest of democracy, the rule of law, world peace and, not least, the elimination of ‘terrorism’. America trained, backed and led assassins, rapists and torturers in Central and South America not to promote peace, democracy and the rule of law, but to protect US banana and copper companies. According to widespread reliable Middle Eastern, European and Asian sources the US has armed and continues to arm the very people it currently represents itself as fighting in the Syria and Iraq, ISIS, Al Qaeda and ‘terrorists’. An ORB survey of 2013 found that 81% of Syrians, and 85% of Iraqis believe that ISIS is a foreign/American made group.
It isn’t clear that The Donald’s Presidency will avoid such stupidity. His ability to approximate Truth resembles that of Florence Foster Jenkins to locate high C. The US attacked Syria with cruise missiles while The D ate dessert. According to Lawrence Wilkerson the attack ignored its military on the ground who knew the ‘evidence’ consisted of lies. The US military, with the UK’s, continues to support and train terrorists near Syria’s Al Tanf. This doesn’t surprise those who expect Washington’s duplicity. Duplicity it is: Trump, after all, indicated in the chaotic Presidential race that he would avoid interventions in foreign conflicts and stop trying to topple foreign regimes. Nothing is new here.
The Donald arms Saudi Arabia, the world’s chief supporter of terrorism, and allies America with it. Meanwhile he accuses Iran of terrorism and attempts through military intervention to displace Assad in Syria. America, embarrassed by the Spectacle of the President, is noticing, not because of the dishonesty so much as because it confirms The Donald’s defects. The temper of the nation bore, ignored and suppressed recognition of countless earlier Presidential liars and the deaths and disruptions of the lives of millions of the world’s citizens caused by those lies. It’s The Donald’s character, or lack of it, that has aroused America’s attention.
The Nation can profit from its humiliation at Trump’s Presidency. It isn’t Donald who’s brought American integrity into question. He merely exposes more explicitly to citizens who hadn’t previously noticed America’s world stature.
America’s sway has declined. The great danger now is America’s power advocates. They support America’s invading, assassinating, torturing, regime changing, droning and displacing millions of the world’s citizens. They also support the lie that the use of America’s power is all about noble causes. They may supplant Trump. But it is these power-advocates who lost America’s world leadership precisely by employing the nation’s powers corruptly.
Leaders are supported in the long term because of their character. America can be admired and will be supported by other nations only if it regains integrity. Claiming unimpeachable virtue while preventing anti-cancer drugs for Syria’s children, while torturing, droning, maiming, assassinating, overthrowing and murdering citizens of other nations, is a recipe for lost integrity.
Nations live amongst other nations. In the long term character defines who may lead. America’s has come into disrepute. Donald merely makes it clearer why.