Search This Blog

Saturday, 19 August 2017

Trump Trumped?

At seven o'clock this morning I saw from my window in Bakewell what was perhaps the most perfect rainbow I have ever seen. The colours were brilliant, the bow was complete and behind it the rain clouds were dissipating quickly. From my radio I heard comment on the departure of Steve Bannon from the White House: and it would have been easy to take the atmospheric phenomenon in the English East Midlands as a portent of better times to come in the District of Columbia. But to ascribe to natural events, whether it be the positioning of stars in the zodiac or a trick of the light in the Peak District, as an indication of the future trend of events in politics, in society or in one's private life is to abdicate responsibility. The management of one's conduct in the circumstances where one is placed in life is the sole responsibility of the individual; and the people who went out last evening in Barcelona to oppose immigrants [especially Muslim immigrants], and the contrarians who went to oppose them, were each responsible for being there however far they may have participated in mob behaviour if things had become any more stressful.

Similarly, the events in Virginia earlier in the week showed divergences in people's reactions to circumstances; and the President of the United States [possibly with Mr Bannon's advice] made a major mess of responding to it. It is possible to read President Trump's reaction as a perfectly comprehensible determination not to endorse the 'left', who show an increasing tendency to violence and intolerance. The president now has a huge task of deciding what he means, then of saying it consistently. The removal of Mr Bannon should help, at least a little, in this process. Mr Bannon appears to have an obsession with war. In the last couple of days he has argued that the spat with North Korea over nuclear weapons is a sideshow; which has distracted the president and the media from the 'real war' that is the trading relations of the two dominating economies. It is more important that Bannon should be whisked off the official stage if he is correct in his assessment than if he is wrong: incendiary utterance [written or spoken] can be hugely damaging in the resolution of a matter of such complexity as US-China trade relations, which will take decades to resolve satisfactorily.

Bannon has said that he will now feel free to wage war against the president's enemies. He will surely find that as the president is managed into moderation 'the president' [or, at least, the presidency] will become the target for more and more opposition and abuse from Mr Bannon's shrinking cohort of ultramontane conservatives.

The question has now become explicit: can Mr Trump be controlled so that he can be made to appear as a more intelligent and sensitive person than he has displayed over the years? I call to mind the image of Woodrow Wilson, a two-term president who had redrawn the map of Europe but failed to get the US Congress to agree to the treaties that created the League of Nations, who spent his last months in the White House as a shriveled shadow 'managed' by his wife. The image of Trump constrained by a kitchen cabinet, and thus protected from impeachment and not allowed to resign, is intriguing perhaps my rainbow was a portent, after all?

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please feel free to comment on any of the articles and subject matter that I write about. All comments will be reviewed and responded to in due course. Thanks for taking part.