The Perverse Joy of Trump

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.

More articles by:
Weekend Edition
March 16, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Michael Uhl
The Tip of the Iceberg: My Lai Fifty Years On
Bruce E. Levine
School Shootings: Who to Listen to Instead of Mainstream Shrinks
Mel Goodman
Caveat Emptor: MSNBC and CNN Use CIA Apologists for False Commentary
Paul Street
The Obama Presidency Gets Some Early High Historiography
Kathy Deacon
Me, My Parents and Red Scares Long Gone
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Rexless Abandon
Andrew Levine
Good Enemies Are Hard To Find: Therefore Worry
Jim Kavanagh
What to Expect From a Trump / Kim Summit
Ron Jacobs
Trump and His Tariffs
Joshua Frank
Drenched in Crude: It’s an Oil Free For All, But That’s Not a New Thing
Gary Leupp
What If There Was No Collusion?
Matthew Stevenson
Why Vietnam Still Matters: Bernard Fall Dies on the Street Without Joy
Robert Fantina
Bad to Worse: Tillerson, Pompeo and Haspel
Brian Cloughley
Be Prepared, Iran, Because They Want to Destroy You
Richard Moser
What is Organizing?
Scott McLarty
Working Americans Need Independent Politics
Rohullah Naderi
American Gun Violence From an Afghan Perspective
Sharmini Peries - Michael Hudson
Why Trump’s Tariff Travesty Will Not Re-Industrialize the US
Ted Rall
Democrats Should Run on Impeachment
Robert Fisk
Will We Ever See Al Jazeera’s Investigation Into the Israel Lobby?
Kristine Mattis
Superunknown: Scientific Integrity Within the Academic and Media Industrial Complexes
John W. Whitehead
Say No to “Hardening” the Schools with Zero Tolerance Policies and Gun-Toting Cops
Edward Hunt
UN: US Attack On Syrian Civilians Violated International Law
Barbara Nimri Aziz
Iraq Outside History
Wilfred Burchett
Vietnam Will Win: The Long Hard Road
Victor Grossman
Germany: New Faces, Old Policies
Medea Benjamin - Nicolas J. S. Davies
The Iraq Death Toll 15 Years After the US Invasion
Binoy Kampmark
Amazon’s Initiative: Digital Assistants, Home Surveillance and Data
Chuck Collins
Business Leaders Agree: Inequality Hurts The Bottom Line
Jill Richardson
What We Talk About When We Talk About “Free Trade”
Eric Lerner – Jay Arena
A Spark to a Wider Fire: Movement Against Immigrant Detention in New Jersey
Negin Owliaei
Teachers Deserve a Raise: Here’s How to Fund It
Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
What to Do at the End of the World? Interview with Climate Crisis Activist, Kevin Hester
Kevin Proescholdt
Secretary of Interior Ryan Zinke Attacks America’s Wilderness
Franklin Lamb
Syrian War Crimes Tribunals Around the Corner
Beth Porter
Clean Energy is Calling. Will Your Phone Company Answer?
George Ochenski
Zinke on the Hot Seat Again and Again
Lance Olsen
Somebody’s Going to Extremes
Robert Koehler
Breaking the Ice
Pepe Escobar
The Myth of a Neo-Imperial China
Graham Peebles
Time for Political Change and Unity in Ethiopia
Terry Simons
10 American Myths “Refutiated”*
Thomas Knapp
Some Questions from the Edge of Immortality
Louis Proyect
The 2018 Socially Relevant Film Festival
David Yearsley
Keaton’s “The General” and the Pernicious Myths of the Heroic South