Terrible Times

Denial, anger and depression don’t solve anything, acceptance can only be conditional, and with regards to Donald Trump’s being elected US President bargaining is hardly an option, as Barack Obama will soon find out.  However, since Trump is a prime example of the dog that caught the car, and poorly prepared to staff the White House and form a cabinet, there is some room to negotiate an imaginary future, obviously with the caveat that the assumptions may be as wrong as those that led most of the pollsters astray this week.  The first assumption is that Trump will be a very lazy president.  During the campaign he is alleged to have offered the Vice Presidential slot to John Kasich, who would have full responsibility for both domestic and international policy, leaving plenty of time for the Commander in Chief to tend to his business interests and play golf.  It appears that the same arrangement has now been made with Mike Pence, who will shortly be staffing departments with the same insiders his president campaigned against.  Of all the empty slogans the campaign produced the most recent, ‘drain the swamp,’ takes the cake.

If Pence will effectively be the most powerful man in DC, immediately followed by Paul Ryan, the cabinet will consist of a collection of characters that would make any Halloween party too scary for children.  Rudy Giuliani as Attorney General, John Bolton or Newt Gingrich at State, General Flynn, a paid contributor to Putin’s propaganda station RT, as Secretary of Defense, ex-Sheriff Joe Arpaio, the most racist person in law enforcement in the US, at Homeland Security, climate change denier Myron Ebell as head of the EPA, and Sarah Palin as Secretary of the Interior.  No cigar for Chris Christie, who will be punished for having put Jared Kushner’s dad in jail. Every organization rots from the top, and so will those departments, with a highly dysfunctional government as result.  The White House won’t be any better.  Reince Priebus and Steve Bannon are competing for the Chief of Staff position, a fight that the latter will probably win because Trump realizes that Priebus next to the Oval Office would give Ryan too much control.  Maybe he’ll try to balance Bannon’s Alt-Right mentality with Kushner as his deputy.

A government of that dubious a quality, supplemented by some minor players like Larry Kudlow as Chair of the Council of Economic Advisers, Laura Ingraham as Press Secretary and Cory Lewandowski as CIA Director can do tremendous damage in a very short time, both nationally and internationally.  In the US, blacks, Hispanics, Muslims and the LGBT community, and internationally NATO members and refugees from Muslim countries have to be frightened.

The irony of Trump’s election is that he won’t do anything for the white male underclass that was the core of his electorate.  There may be some benefits from a comprehensive infrastructure program, of the kind that Obama never got funding for from Congress, but they will be offset by 20 million Americans losing their health insurance and austerity caused by tax cuts for the rich.

The environmental impact of Trump’s policies will be devastating, and at the end of four years Trump will have been outmaneuvered by Putin in every area.  Iran will have nuclear arms, unless Israel has started a war that would dwarf the current fight with ISIS.

Hugo Kijne

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