In The Bloody Decade After… [update]
As bitter as Clinton’s failure must feel to her, and as ignominious her and her husband’s fall from grace in the Democratic Party is going to be over the next two years*, in the end she will probably come to reluctantly admit it was better that Trump took the reigns and drove the country into the shitter than for her fingerprints to be on the controls in 2020. Barack Obama will probably come to realize the same thing, that it was better for him to have been a thwarted figurehead for six years than to have actually enacted any programs, for had those programs not been instantly and obviously 100% successful, his place in history would have been tainted by them.
Now he goes down as a heroic champion, stymied by the incipient racism of conservative politics, a Kennedy-esque figure without the liability of actually having to get shot.
Like it or not, here is the problem: Big Money, always a player, has taken control of the political system in this country and several others.
They are like professional athletes who have conspired to get all the refs and umpires thrown out of the stadium and regard the rulebook with contempt, playing the game as they damn well like and expecting the fans to love it and continue paying them exorbitant fees to do whatever they feel like doing and who gives a rip if the crowd likes it or not?
If that sounds stupid, it is: Nobody except Big Money has ever claimed they were smart and Big Money’s proof of their intelligence are the huge piles of money they steal or extort from others.
If history is any example -- and boy howdy, is it ever! -- then they are going to get a bunch of laws passed to enrich themselves, another bunch of laws repealed or changed so they can avoid paying their fair share, and then everything will go to hell in a hand basket.
Smart Republicans -- yes, they exist -- are going about with forced smiles on their faces, hoping Trump runs things off the rails right after the mid-terms in 2018 so they can blame him** for screwing things up and position themselves to remove him from the ticket in 2020 and hopefully spare themselves from the ethics of retaliation yet again.
Trump's negotiating history is this: He finds a mark who wants to make money or otherwise get something out of the deal (acquire a property, etc.).
He makes grandiose non-specific promises and lets the mark fill in the details in their own head.
Once Trump gets what he wants, he disengages as quickly as possible. If the mark is lucky, the mark has gotten all or most of what they wanted. If the mark is unlucky, they have to deal with the people Trump hands off to.
If the mark is really unlucky, Trump stiffs them. They then face a range of options going from shutting up and accept being stiffed, settling for a lesser amount, or suing (and the whole gamut of options there).
Rarely does anyone take it all the way through court and successfully recover what is owed them plus attendant court costs.
Trump repeats this again and again. Eventually the word spreads and he runs out of easy marks. This happened to Trump in the US as US banks and investors, wary of his shenanigans, refused him money.
Trump is approaching foreign policy in the same manner, assuming his brashness and braggadocio will get him what he wants without blowback.
Unfortunately, he can't walk off the world stage. To paraphrase a line in Watchmen, the world isn't locked up with him, he's locked up with the world.
He is dealing with people who have much different agendas than self-enrichment. World leaders are motivated by internal factors Trump has no control over, and which Trump can't negotiate on.
He can offer a short changed investor pennies on the dollar, he can't offer to turn a foreign nation's internal pressure down.
His behavior, in fact, will only acerbate this.
© Buzz Dixon
* Like it or not, they are tainted goods now, and for whatever valid advice they may be able to offer, it will have to be behind the scenes.
** You know he will loudly be taking claim for every good piece of economic news before then.