jump to navigation

Trump times… January 31, 2017

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.

The events of last night in relation to Acting US Attorney General Sally Yates are telling in a number of ways. She clearly had the right to demur from his executive order, the administration seem to have the right to fire her. Whether this was the place for her to make a stand is a different matter but her successors clearly won’t. It is instructive in terms of showing up the manner in which the incoming administration will brook no criticism from within or without. But above all the sheer petulance of the White House statement on her firing is something else. That perhaps is the key indicator of the underlying dynamics where those who dissent will be attacked as well as pushed aside rather than just being pushed aside. How that plays out across the next four years…

And this links neatly into this, here where if even a quarter of what Maureen O’Dowd – and I’m no fan of hers – writes is accurate in relation to Trump’s response to the inauguration crowd we’re in much more severe trouble than we’d thought. And I suspect most of us figure we’re in quite a lot of trouble. It’s not so much the sheer pettiness of the issue as the sense that the new President is uncontrolled and uncontrollable, those around him unable to contain his seeming pathological desire to shape the world around him.

Of course if it were limited to that sort of stuff the next four years wouldn’t be a problem, but it’s not. Nowhere near limited to that. Already we have the chaos of the vicious immigration and refugee controls brought in – the seeming indifference to their economic effects (we’re way beyond this administration caring about human rights and what is it day nine?).

What’s fascinating, though, is how opportunistic all this is. There is no real Trump programme, the sheer incoherence of those around him points to the fact that different groups have grabbed his coat tails as he has swept (albeit not in an entirely commanding way) to power. What there is is a single man’s ambition to be President and what appears in retrospect to have been a disbelief on almost all those around him that he would make it (though one has to doubt he shared that disbelief). That’s kind of it and the alliances he made were all shaped to that end. Small wonder they’re so variegated given he was not naturally a Republican (and there’s a part of me that wonders could one run a counterfactual where he took a different path and became a Democrat nominee? Unlikely, but not absolutely so). Those of us who, however hesitantly still consider Marxist analysis of some utility, may find the sheer power of an individual, their ability to wrest events, troubling. Absent Trump, replace with Clinton and little or none of this would be happening. Absent Trump and replace with Cruz, some of this might be happening. But not in such a pointed way. But Trump is Trump. This is happening.

A deeper question remains. Does he represent a genuine rupture with all that has come before – the post-1945/post- 1991 dispensation or will matters return largely to that status quo ante when he (fingers crossed) leaves the White House in four, or God forbid eight, years? How resilient are the various global systems, or US democracy, or the US state and deep state? Part of me wonders why we haven’t seen his like in the recent past, he surely is not entirely dissimilar to some of the post-Soviet leaders in the former Soviet Republics (or would it be fair to say he is a Yeltsin like figure? ). But US democracy, with wobbles, has managed to at least propel relatively uncontentious people into the Presidency – sure, Nixon was Nixon but his flaws seem different to those of Trump. GW Bush likewise. Or is it that Trump, strangely, was just the right candidate for a social media inflected US?


1. Starkadder - January 31, 2017

“There is no real Trump programme, the sheer incoherence of those around him points to the fact that different groups have grabbed his coat tails as he has swept (albeit not in an entirely commanding way) to power.”

Steve Bannon seems to have jumped on the Trump wagon in the hope of becoming the Aleksandr Dugin of the US. He’s been given
an unprecedented amount of power at the NSC. It’s believed Bannon is behind the Muslim ban, and some are also blaming him for the Holocaust Memorial Statement that omitted to mention the fact Jews were the main victims of the Nazis:




CL - January 31, 2017
2. CL - January 31, 2017

What he has done is to take the few things on which neocons, realists, and liberal internationalists agree and throw them out the window..
Trump’s foreign policy often seems invented in the moment—a mixture of impulse and ignorance amid a morass of contradictions. But in fact its essence…. has been remarkably consistent for decades….
The views Trump published in 1987, when he was forty-one, have not changed with time: mercantilist economic views; complete disdain for the value of allies and alliances; the conviction that the world economy is rigged against us and that American leadership is too dumb or too weak to fix it; admiration for authoritarian leaders and the view that the United States is being “spit on,” “kicked around,” or “laughed at” by the rest of the world….
Trump’s core views don’t align with any of the current approaches to foreign policy I’ve mentioned. Their close relatives are to be found in Charles Lindbergh and the America Firsters’ admiration for dictators, the mercantilist and isolationist policies of Robert Taft, also in the 1940s, and the similar views of Patrick Buchanan twenty years later….

Liked by 1 person

3. FergusD - January 31, 2017

Interesting comment here on “librul” reaction to Trump’s immigration moves:



soubresauts - January 31, 2017

Yes, that makes more sense than the anti-Trump hysteria in The Guardian and The Irish Times. Another rare example of journalists sifting out the truth from mostly-fake news is WeAreChange:

It’s funny, when Reagan and the Bushes were elected we knew they’d be disasters for the whole world — and they were — but there wasn’t nearly so much of this taking-to-the-streets outrage.


CL - January 31, 2017
WorldbyStorm - January 31, 2017

A couple of thoughts strike me, first there’s an element of hypocrisy yes in protests but perhaps also an element of learning, it is precisely because of the experience of Bush and Reagan people realise what is at stake, secondly the uproar re the nsc isn’t simply over the chair of the joint chiefs being pushed somewhat aside but the fact bannon, an avowed ‘nationalist’ (of the white variety) is appointed to it, thirdly yes the dems might indeed have introduced or continued some of this sort of legislation but… if this is just business as usual how then to explain the huge pushback from the defence and military and intelligence sectors saying it is an historic mistake which will exacerbate anti us sentiment. And this is just one set of issues, we’ve an SC nominee tomorrow who promises to rollback gains not just on social issues but union rights etc. So it’s not a simple equation of Trump abysmal Clinton only slightly less bad. However wretched as the head of the dems there would be constituencies that would hem in her worst instincts. There is something a bit tiresome about a keyboard warrior bitching about people who have gone out to try to smooth down the rough edges of a policy that is genuinely impacting on many others. Finally and this is purely stylistic using the faux term librul is kind of annoying in that piece linked to.


CL - January 31, 2017

‘some establishment Republicans are voicing growing doubts about the administration’s competence…
more than two dozen Republican senators and congressmen have spoken out against the travel restrictions’

Its a hopeful sign that it seems that Trump won’t be able to make the trains run on time. But the Trump/Bannon project is to reverse all social progress including the New Deal. And there are some who believe they would even like to repeal the Enlightenment. So its no accident that this Great Reaction is provoking widespread resistance.


WorldbyStorm - February 1, 2017

+1 CL


soubresauts - February 1, 2017

Well, I get the impression there’s nearly as much anti-Trump hysteria here as in The Guardian. Surely we can do better than get our “truth” from salon.com, Time and the FT? Is Bannon worse than Rumsfeld? Oliver North?

A few gems in the Guardian today…
It begins “In the scramble to make sense of the post-inauguration world…”
As if the Guardian columnists are the ones to make sense of it.
Another article today typifies the Guardian talent for avoiding reality: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/feb/01/austria-burqa-niqab-ban-identity-wars-muslim-non-muslim


WorldbyStorm - February 1, 2017

I’d question that it’s hysteria. Are you saying that there aren’t massive problems with individuals like Bannon who are overtly championing the far-right and ‘nationalists’, with all the attendant racism, misogyny, etc? Rumsfeld was grim, North too, and I won’t defend them, but they are a different sort of a creature – just as there is a distinction between conservatism and fascism.


CL - February 1, 2017

And between Le Pen and De Gaulle, etc, etc


4. ivorthorne - January 31, 2017

I can’t find it now but I read an article the other day that suggested taking “bold” – not to mention potentially unconstitutional moves immediately was a calculated move. The aim, it was suggested, was to identify and dispose of potential troublemakers and to see which agencies would be pliant.


5. Starkadder - February 1, 2017

“taking “bold”… moves immediately was a calculated move.”

Interesting, but Richard Seymour suggests that Trump has over-reached himself and triggered massive opposition. Had he disguised himself as an Eisenhower-ish centrist for a few months following the Inauguration and then weighed in with the anti-Muslim and anti-Mexican acts, the opposition-both from protesters and the US Establishment- would be far weaker.



6. Paddy Healy - February 16, 2017

Drift to New World Economic Crash and Inter-Imperialist Conflict Continues
The Global Paradox by Michael Roberts Marxist Economist
Full New Document http://wp.me/pKzXa-ua
The office of the US Director ofNational Intelligence (DNI) reckons that things are not going to get better. “The next five years will see rising tensions within and between countries. Global growth will slow, just as increasingly complex global challenges impend.”


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: