Readers: this blog is set in the future (sometime after the year 2020). Each entry assumes there has been a 5th revolution in the US — the Revenge Revolution. More about the Revenge Revolution and author, Entry #1. Most entries are formatted as conversations. Characters appear in a number of entries, with many entries building on previous conversations.
Occasionally I break from the normal formatting and do a “sense check.” Auditing one’s own work is problematic but I try to be objective. Your thoughts are welcomed and appreciated. Thanks for your time and interest…and comments, please.
During the Independence Day weekend, I tried to assess in Entry #300 whether a 5th US revolution was likely sometime in the next few years. While one should always be careful about claiming objective analysis of one’s own writing, I concluded “Yes, a revolution is likely.”
Well, this past two weeks seemed to add an exclamation point or two to that conclusion. Over the years in this blog I’ve tried to avoid commenting on daily or weekly events. Many such events are merely “noise” over the long-term…and there are many talking heads in the various media offering their analysis.
However, Trump’s behavior recently has been jaw-droppingly bizarre, even by Trump standards. Consider his behavior at the NATO meeting when he trashed the US’ most loyal allies. The apparent effort to dismantle NATO was a pure gift to Putin. The NATO alliance was established by the US post WWII as a counter to the Soviet Union’s efforts to invade other European countries. The history of and reason for NATO seem to be unknown to Trump.
One can argue what percent of GDP NATO countries should spend on defense. The target for countries is 2.0% of GDP and participating countries have been moving toward the 2.0% target. Rather than complimenting these efforts and then taking credit for their increased spending, Trump berated them by offhandedly claiming the countries should increase spending to be more in line with the US, or 4.0% of GDP.
Legitimate arguments have two sides. The other side of demanding more spending on defense is the reminder than the US and western European allies fought a very heavily armed Germany in WWI and WWII. Be careful about encouraging countries to build a very strong defense system when one or more could become your adversary. Remember, it’s better to have a potential adversary inside the tent pissing out than outside ppissing in.
Following the NATO meeting Trump visited England and managed to humiliate publicly Prime Minister May. And for what gain? The US has no skin in the Brexit game. Regardless of the deal Britain negotiates with the European Union, the US can continue to trade with both. So why trash the Prime Minister? Why be rude to THE most reliable European ally? What was there to gain?
The only rationale seems to be Trump wanted to gain approval from Putin. But why court Putin? Putin doesn’t play golf, at least as far as we know. Putin doesn’t appear to be a particularly affable guy. I mean would you really want to sit down and have a beer and cigar with the guy? So why try to gain his approval? Why would you want to be Putin’s puppet?
Let’s start by following the money. Based on what I know about his finances, Trump seems to be in considerable debt to Putin’s cronies (and maybe Putin) — probably hundreds of millions of dollars. With all that debt Trump seems more worried about protecting his own skin that protecting the welfare of the United States. Think about taking a loan from the Russians as taking a loan from the mafia. The Russians, like the mafia, play serious hardball when it comes to collecting debts. Trump and Manafort seem to be aware of the dirt bath they might get if they don’t cooperate with the Russians.
If it’s not the money, then Trump must be so mentally unhinged that he belongs on the funny farm. Likely the cause is both the money and unstable mentally but let’s stick with the money.
Which brings the discussion back to a like 5th US revolution – the Revenge Revolution. While as of this writing Trump’s approval ratings among Republicans remains remarkably high, the very high ratings might be best viewed like a bubble in the stock market or housing market. The bubbles seem to last well beyond what is logical, then suddenly burst and all the air gets sucked out.
What might precipitate the Trump support-bubble bursting? When the scope of the corruption begins to touch those closest to Trump – immediate family. What happens to support when Robert Muller goes before the grand jury and gets indictments for Junior, Ivanka and Jared Kushner? Will Republicans begin to wake up to the extent of the corruption?
What about the public testimony from the US translator during discussions with Putin in Helsinki. What about the transcript the Russians release of the meeting? Republicans, surely you’re not so naïve to believe the Russians didn’t record the meeting.
Will Republicans begin to realize Trump’s relationship with Putin could qualify as treason? Yes, despite the White House flip-flops and wildly funny explanations, the Russians are continuing to try influencing elections in the US. Such efforts could rightfully be considered an attack on the US and therefore any effort to aid and abet the enemy (Russia) would be considered treasonous.
Republicans go look in the mirror and ask yourself, “Why would I support a president whose behavior is not in the best interests of the United States?” “Why would I support a president who shows more support for Russia than our closest allies?”
OK, so you don’t like the French…or even the Germans. And yes, English food is a bit bland. But why should…and no it wasn’t shouldn’t…you support a president who states publicly his distrust for the US intelligence agencies?
Why support a president who refused to allow anyone to sit in on the meeting with Putin in Helsinki? Why support a president who refuses to have someone transcribe dialogue at the meeting? Who refuses (as of this date) to share any information from the meeting with the head of the intelligence agencies or the military? Republicans – doesn’t this behavior give you reason to pause and ask “What is going on here?”
Why would a president want to keep secret dialogue with an arch enemy? Would you still be as supportive if such behavior had been exhibited by president Obama or if Hillary Clinton were president? I’ll just bet you might not be as silent and sanguine.
If you’re a Republican, how can you justify and support Trump’s behavior as president? Your rationale is not only flimsy, but filled with holes. Have you no shame?
While you might ignore all the shenanigans and secrecy with the Russians, claiming the “Trump haters” just don’t understand and are overreacting as usual, I’ll bet you begin to pause when Trump’s so-called “economic policies” hit your pocketbook hard. Without getting into a wonkish discussion about economics, several of Trump’s so-called economic policies – tariffs, even on countries even where we have a trade surplus, massive tax cuts for business and the wealthy, promoting a weak dollar, promoting low interest rates and a couple of others – are at cross purposes. First and maybe most important is the tariffs will raise prices and reduce employment – and your pocketbook will be affected.
If Trump wants to make the US more competitive in specific industries, which everyone supports, then two critical items are necessary – increased investment in those industries and a better education for more people. Trump’s economic polices do neither.
There’s more to discuss but enough for now. The final thought of this “sense check” entry. When all the lower-income Trump supporters finally realize they’ve been had, we will see the tipping point for the revolution. Remember, hell hath no fury like a (former Trump supporter) scorned. So Republicans, be prepared and make sure to enjoy the ride to the Revenge Revolution.