“He should not have the nuclear codes because it’s very easy to imagine Donald Trump leading us into a war just because someone got under his very thin skin. We cannot let him roll the dice with America… a man you can bait with a tweet is not a man we can trust with nuclear weapons…. when the president orders a nuclear attack, ‘that’s it. There’s no veto or Congress. No veto by the joint chiefs. The officers in the silos have no choice but to fire. And that can take as little as four minutes”.
I habitually keep away from foreign affairs commentary-except only as it directly impacts Nigeria. My take is that there are tons of qualified experts out there who are better able to adequately grapple with extra Nigeria issues. I consider it presumptuous of me to presume to pontificate on the European Union, France, China, NATO, Uganda and others. An element of this habit has to do with avoiding what the Nigerian fraternity of the pen calls “going Afghanistan”-that is deliberately avoiding more relevant subject matters for whatever reasons. A large part of it has also to do with the fact that Nigeria (inclusive of sub-Sahara Africa) is peripheral, almost of no consequence, to the global community-except maybe as a nuisance, an object of pity and derision. Where however President Donald Trump is concerned, I have decided to make an exception. For that turn of phrase I give the original credit to Denzel Washington in the movie titled “Equalizer”.
The two Presidents that scare me the most in the world are Donald Trump of the United States of America and Kim IL Song of North Korea. Both basically share the same personality impulse and are prone to the Samson complex. These two men are governed by an infantile ego driven impulse of mutually assured destruction, MAD. If it becomes clear they are going down, they are going to try and bring down the World with them.
America appears to have sleep walked into disaster and the resilience of its normative political order is being put to hard test by the new normless sheriff in town. The consolation is that America has an inbuilt sturdy mechanism of anticipating and containing a rogue President. How America manages to egg this bull out of its china shop is going to remain a classical case study in rogue leadership management.
Of equal concern is how God’s own country descended from the Olympian heights of the noble exceptionalism of electing Barack Obama, its first African American President, to the valley of the base level perversion of electing a serial pathological liar, devious racist and sadistic philanderer as Obama’s successor; a dialectical reversal from progress to regression.
In a most cruel irony of fate, of brazen double jeopardy, we are perplexed at how an unrepentant transgressor who, through the peddling and perpetration of a corrosive blatant lie, inflicted a deep laceration on an innocent predecessor, could be gifted the rarefied political prize of successor to his victim. What lessons are we supposed to learn from this apparent triumph of evil?
I am writing from Nigeria and the fact that a commentator from a country with such poor leadership standard can presume to lecture America on leadership standards is a testimony to how low Trump has taken America. It is a platitude to say that the American election that produced the new ‘big beautiful wall’ President reflects a particularly shocking degenerate propensity in the American electorate. The more alarming revelation is that Trump is a personification of at least forty per-cent of the American electorate-that category whom Hilary Clinton so aptly depicted as ‘deplorables’..”You can put half of Trump supporters into what I call the basket of deplorables” She said. What characterisation can be more appropriate for a typical supporter who, impervious to reason and education, inveighs ‘Obama is a Muslim who hates America’ well into the last year of the second term tenure of the former President.
Three weeks ago, President Trump broadcasted the concocted lie that Obama wire-tapped him: “Terrible! Just found out that Obama had my “wires tapped” in Trump Tower just before the victory. Nothing found. This is McCarthyism! How low has President Obama gone to tapp my phones during the very sacred election process. This is Nixon/Watergate. Bad (or sick) guy!”. The dark truth is that Trump’s fixation with Obama (as fall guy) is rooted in the latter’s vulnerability and utility as lightening rod for stoking the undying embers of racist bigotry in America-to which a substantial proportion of white male America are covertly and overtly sworn.
More illumination was shed by the Atlantic magazine “Trump made himself the face of the so-called birther movement, which had as its immediate goal the demonization of the country’s first African American president. Trump’s larger goal, it seemed, was to stoke fear among white Americans of dark-skinned foreigners”.
The CNN writer, Nia-Malika Henderson, similarly reasoned “For Trump’s base, Obama is the ready-made villain, he launched a kind of trial run for the White House in 2011 by embracing birtherism. Long after most had given up speculating about Obama’s birthplace — and years after Obama released his birth certificate — Trump clung to the racially charged conspiracy theory, insisting that there were still more unanswered questions. It took him five years to finally let it go. Now, it seems, Trump may have landed on a conspiracy theory that has equal staying power. In fact, the contours of his recent Obama fixation have much in common with birtherism. With his wiretapping claims, Trump once again positions himself as the great unmasker of Obama, a fraudulent figure who isn’t who he says he is — or so the theory goes”.
The most authoritative repudiation of Trump as a liar lately came from the FBI director: “With respect to the President’s tweets about alleged wiretapping directed at him by the prior administration, I have no information that supports those tweets and we have looked carefully inside the FBI. The Department of Justice has asked me to share with you that the answer is the same for the Department of Justice and all its components. The department has no information that supports those tweets.”
A lot has been said and written about the potency of these lies to debase and undermine the credibility of the American Presidency (but), the damage to the American society is actually deeper and more extensive. American children are being schooled by their President that it is not only meet and proper to lie but that when you are called out on the lie, the proper response is to insist on the lie and refuse admission of any wrongdoing. Here are the prescient comments of Michelle Obama at the last Democratic Party convention in Philadelphia.
“We know that our words and actions matter not just to our girls, but to children across this country. Every word we utter, every action we take, we know they are watching. We as parents are their most important role models. This election is about who will have the power to shape our children for the next four or eight years of their lives.”. She added “Being president doesn’t change who you are, it reveals who you are”
And it is not as if there were not sufficient troubling indications of what a potential Trump Presidency harbours for America. At the risk of sounding illiberal-there was the prospect of a first lady who used to pose in the nude. By itself, this colourful resume may be readily discounted but taken together with the totality of the Trump record with women, a rampaging licentious misogynist perversion, it portends the subsisting real life decadent Trump incumbency. The Trump era phenomenon that has emerged in American democracy is a weird portrait of mutual unintelligibility between the wilfully blind and fanatical supporters of Donald Trump versus the thinking, common sense demographic of American society. From the latter came the following prior character witness of the emergent President:
“I am not a highly partisan person. I have views that are left of centre, but others that are conservative. I think well of many Republican politicians, including the last two GOP presidential nominees, John McCain and Mitt Romney, both of whom are honourable men and would have been good presidents.” “Donald Trump is different. “Not just because he is obnoxious, tacky and vulgar, or that his business dealings show him to be a scam artist. He is different because of what he believes…. Trump’s views on policy issues, from social security to taxes, are insincere reflections of what he thinks his supporters want to hear” remarked Fareed Zakaria.
“Trump seems to believe deeply in ethnic stereotypes. The common thread is that Trump is quick to tell Americans facing economic hardship that they should blame their problems on foreigners. He has said and done dozens of things over 30 years that confirm a demeaning view of women — in interviews with Howard Stern, during his ownership of the Miss Universe pageant, when describing working women and when debating female candidates like Carly Fiorina and Hillary Clinton. In addition, Zakaria said, Trump has contempt for many of the foundations of liberal democracy, from banning Muslims from entering America to threatening to jail his opponent if he is elected. “Donald Trump is not a normal candidate. He is a cancer on American democracy,” Zakaria concluded.
Donald Trump, argued the Atlantic magazine,” has no record of public service and no qualifications for public office. His affect is that of an infomercial huckster; he traffics in conspiracy theories and racist invective; he is appallingly sexist; he is erratic, secretive, and xenophobic; he expresses admiration for authoritarian rulers, and evinces authoritarian tendencies himself. He is easily goaded, a poor quality for someone seeking control of America’s nuclear arsenal. He is an enemy of fact-based discourse; he is ignorant of, and indifferent to, the Constitution; he appears not to read”
To the misfortune and consternation of the US and indeed, the whole world, all this was to no avail as the early morning pall of November 10th 2015 gave birth to the unexpected and unwanted monstrous baby.
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Reporting Nigerian Political Economy Perspectives