Friday, November 04, 2016

What? Putin Wasn't the Only One Who Noticed?

The damage is done. This presidential election campaign has left America's reputation in tatters around the world. At this point it doesn't even matter who wins.

Harvard professor, Stephen Walt, writes in Foreign Policy that the damage Trump has inflicted on America isn't going away.

That sense of relief [should Clinton win] may be short-lived, however, because Trump’s candidacy and the broader condition of American politics have already done considerable damage to America’s image overseas. If you talk to foreigners a lot (it’s part of my job), you mostly hear repeated expressions of bewilderment: they find the Trump phenomenon as hard to understand as America’s fondness for guns. The French newspaper Liberation called him the “American Nightmare,” and a diverse array of foreign media outlets offer similar appraisals. Or as the New York Daily News headlined in March: “As [Trump] sinks lower, he does lasting harm to America’s image in the world.”

"To make matters worse, the Trump campaign has revealed that a fair number of Americans seem to like the Donald’s disdainful and bigoted views of Muslims, Mexicans, and most U.S. allies. It can’t be encouraging for the citizens of other countries to discover that a non-trivial chunk of the American body politic is xenophobic, racist, protectionist, and ill-informed. That may always have been true, but it took the Trump campaign to put it up in bright lights."

"Alas, the problem isn’t just the campaign. The recurring dysfunctions at both federal and state levels reinforce the growing sense that something has gone badly awry with America’s other political institutions. Congress can’t pass budgets or ratify trade agreements, won’t even bother to hold hearings on Supreme Court nominees, won’t vote either to authorize the use of force or to withhold authorization, won’t conduct genuine oversight of the intelligence community, and won’t perform any of the other key functions the Founding Fathers designated for them. Instead, representatives and senators spend more time “dialing for (campaign) dollars” than they do legislating, while the rascals most responsible for all this obstructionism keep getting reelected. Several U.S. states are flirting with bankruptcy; gerrymandering is endemic; media outlets spew fact-free bile on a daily basis; and the country’s existing institutions seem incapable of undertaking clear, obvious, and farsighted initiatives and then bringing them to fruition."

For nearly 70 years America has reaped great prestige, wealth and power from being the country that most other countries respected, even admired. There's been no other nation where appearances counted for so much. That's the sort of goodwill that pays huge dividends but hard as it is to achieve, losing it is almost effortless.

A word of caution for those tempted to dive headfirst into the pool of Schadenfreude. What Trump has done to America's standing in the world is merely the icing on a multi-layer cake. It's just one more element in the destabilization and decline of the United States. You can add to that the repeated demonstration, in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria and elsewhere, that all the King's Horses and all the King's Men have utterly failed to deliver military victory. Then there's America's debt-fueled economy dependent on the confidence of foreign lenders willing to keep buying the country's debt, a.k.a. the national deficit, and buying it in American dollars. Not one of these corrosive forces is being turned around. America is coming to be revealed as the main street facade of a cowboy movie set.


Anonymous said...

So Donald Trump running for president has ruined America, not 36 years of establishment lies, corruption and looting?

Oh, if only robber barons had been allowed to rape and pillage the global economy uninterrupted without Trump rearing his ugly head a globalization golden age would be upon us! NOW TRUMP HAS RUINED IT ALL!

Time to DRAIN THE SWAMP of all the global oligarch usurpers, bribe-taking politicians and brainless liberal cattle.

Anonymous said...

Anyong.....In his 1989 essay The End of History? American thinker Francis Fukuyama suggested that Western liberal democracy was the endpoint of our political evolution, the best and final system to emerge after thousands of years of trial and error. Fukuyama seems to have been wrong: our recent history -- filled with terrorism and war, rising inequity and the mass flight of populations -- suggests that we've failed to create any sort of global formula for lasting peace and social equity. In the 2016 CBC Massey Lectures, Jennifer Welsh explores how pronouncements about the "end of history" may have been premature.

Have you listened to these lectures? If so what do you think? She has a lot to say about Putin.

Toby said...

Stephen M. Walt's essay brings to mind Alexis de Tocqueville who noticed many of the same traits in Americans 150 years ago.

I was disappointed with Jennifer Welsh's attempt at the Massey Lectures. She spent so much of the first program talking about herself that I stopped listening.

The Mound of Sound said...

Anon 10:52 - you are beyond idiotic. Were you in such a rush to regurgitate your empty "drain the swamp" meme to read either this entire post or the source article? Since you have nothing remotely cogent to raise, I'll move on but not before asking you, yet again, to just piss off.

The Mound of Sound said...

No, Anyong, I haven't listened to Welsh's lecture. I haven't got time to chase it down but I'll keep an eye open for it. Even Fukuyama has long admitted he had it completely wrong and that he was basically a cheerleader for the New American Century crowd of neo-conservatives.

Owen Gray said...

What has happened to the "shining city on the hill?"

The Mound of Sound said...

Owen, I think they didn't manage to pay their hydro bill.

Anonymous said...

The very phenomenon of Trump was directly created by actions of establishment. Thus, the said establishment is fully&solely responsible for "the destabilization and decline of the United States."
Last paragraph of your post seems to be in agreement with that thesis.
Anon @10:52 is also of the same opinion. So why do you call Anon "idiotic" when he (who agrees with you, somewhat indirectly though ;-) invokes "draining the swamp"?
There is nothing to lose if Trump does not "drain the swamp."
Hillary does not seem to have qualification of plumber/landscape architect, anyway...

The Mound of Sound said...

A..non. I will say this one last time. This entire "draining the swamp" meme is a ruse, a mirage, grounded in complete ignorance of what that would entail and the framework of American constitutional law. What Trump hints at, with such exquisite vagueness, cannot be accomplished without two reforms, neither of which is within the purview of the executive branch of government. One would be campaign expense/finance reform, something that lies within the exclusive jurisdiction of the legislative branch, i.e. Congress. The second entails term limits for members of Congress which would require a constitutional amendment. Article 5 sets out the amending power formula. It requires a two-thirds majority in both the House and the Senate or the approval of two-thirds of the states. If you think garnering support of enough Canadian provinces for constitutional amendment is tough, opening the American constitution for reform by the states would be an absolute donnybrook. That then leaves getting a two-thirds majority in both houses of Congress. How many representatives and senators do you imagine would be lining up to curtail their electoral options?

These people who swallow and ape Trump's nonsense about swamp draining have been fed a rich diet of pure thoroughbred horseshit. They're what I call Gullibillies. Unicorns for all!

Anonymous said...

All Trump has to do to 'drain the swamp' is shine the same kind of Benghazi spotlight on Hillary's illegal email server she used to conduct payola side-biz for the CF.

Hillary did nothing wrong in the Benghazi matter. But she has already committed enough crimes to be put in prison over this illegal server:

1) lying under oath (which got Martha Stewart 6 months)

2) destroying evidence AFTER a subpoena (Conrad Black got 6 years for doing the same)

3) mishandling of classified documents (which most certainly should not have been on a private non-secured email server; an investigation will reveal WHY the docs were there)

Bribe-taking politicians won't think it's business as usual when they see Hillary getting grilled under the media spotlight over her shady dealings. Who knows how much corruption will be exposed?


Anonymous said...

It's going to be so dull around here after the US election!

This is a Canadian blog with Canadian comments.
No wonder the USA is so uptight..
Perhaps we will forget it all in a year or two; we did forget the Occupy Wall Street movement.


The Mound of Sound said...

Anon 5:34 - All Trump has to do to "drain the swamp" is get Hillary behind bars, is that right? Where did you pick up this genius notion, at some truck stop or hanging outside the convenience store after hours? Stop writing garbage. Use that time to read and learn. You're obviously interested in breaking the shackles of neoliberalism, an objective you and I share. Only the way you imagine going about it virtually ensures that will never happen. If you want to get rid of neoliberalism you have to have a working understanding of what it is, how it became established and why it remains so powerfully entrenched. You have your work cut out for you. No point wasting time. Get on with it. Then, once you've done all that homework, and there's a lot of it, come back and we'll talk. Until then, as I said before, please just go.

John B. said...

"Lock them up!"

"Lock them up!

"Execute them!"

Yabbut ... Bill The Clinton is a douche ...

Anonymous said...

"If you want to get rid of neoliberalism you have to have a working understanding of what it is, how it became established and why it remains so powerfully entrenched."

Hillary is the embodiment of all of the above.

The Clintons invented the modern practice of taking promissory bribes paid post-public-service in speaking fees. They facilitated the Republican takeover of the Democratic party. Or rather the establishment capture of both. Because both parties were progressive during the Progressive New Deal Era that began with FDR and was ended by Reagan.

Trump will unite the people against him in a movement to restore the progressive era with a Green New Deal. Also by handing Hillary a humiliating defeat, he would clear the way for New Deal reformers in the Democratic party.

Hillary would oppose ending the neoliberal era and split the opposition to it. Trying to primary her would be messy. As Susan Sarandon suggested, "Some people believe Donald Trump will bring the revolution immediately."

Green New Deal 2020.

Anonymous said...

A recent comment from Julian Assange:
“My analysis is that Trump would not be permitted to win. Why do I say that? Because he has had every establishment off his side. Trump does not have one establishment, maybe with the exception of the Evangelicals, if you can call them an establishment. Banks, intelligence, arms companies, foreign money, etc. are all united behind Hillary Clinton. And the media as well. Media owners, and the journalists themselves.”

Anonymous said...

A very different USA, a very different history..


Dr Purva Pius said...
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