John Chuckman



“Trump Folds at G-20 on Everything

“To the neocons. “Welcome to the end of Trump’s presidency…He has become Bush the Lesser with arguably better hair.”


I agree with the thrust of this piece by Tom Luongo.

I have been saying much the same thing, with some different emphasis.

It almost makes me smile when I see pieces on the Internet still displaying the naive belief that Trump is “out there” fighting the good fight against the forces of evil in Washington, pieces written by people who have adopted Trump’s vision of himself as revelation.

What can you say when people so deceive themselves?

But there is, and always has been, a great deal of self-deception in the world.

It’s what makes cults and fads and great scams and meaningless political movements possible, and are those very things not major landmarks on the American social and political landscape?

Trump is a kind of gigantic bad joke in fact. He is bereft of any real knowledge of history, itself a common trait in America, or of much else outside the field of fleecing people out of their money, which very much represents his life’s work. Vision from this man? To embrace him as a source of vision is a kind of sad public confession.

And he has this inner conviction, much resembling an intense, cultish religious conviction, or perhaps the delusion of a crazed person, that he represents “the great man” able to lift America out of its sleepwalking and lethargy.

As that old Neocon and worker for American empire, Madeleine Albright, conferred a title on the cause for which she so mightily laboured, the “indispensable country,” so Trump sees himself as a kind of indispensable man working for the same cause.

And a good many naive people believe him, just as many people, many in perhaps more influential positions in Washington, accept Madeleine Albright’s view of America.

It is all self-delusion, bred of the immense, corrupting influences of great wealth and power. The wealthy actually almost always regard themselves as somehow exceptional apart from the mere fact of their wealth. It is perhaps an extension of the old Puritan doctrine that material success and prosperity only display God’s special acknowledgement of an individual’s worthiness. And just so, America’s power establishment. That provides the nourishing environment for American Exceptionalism, a very real and palpable faith.

At the level of Trump’s supporters, many a bit lower on the social-economic totem pole, the sense of exceptionalism came out of a postwar period when American workers sometimes reached the level of a genuinely privileged working class. You know, it’s very easy to fool yourself with the idea that such success represents your own special merits. American politicians and elites have traditionally been only too happy to foster the belief.

But the situation resulted not from any special merit of American workers. Nor from any special magic of American society endowing its people with special properties. It represented a temporary set of circumstances resulting from the collapse of much of the world in a great war and America’s unique position, relatively unscathed by the war, of being able to supply a great part of the world’s demands, thus producing jobs and incomes for American workers that were indeed exceptional by world standards.

Thus, the appeal of Trump’s empty slogan about making America great again. What he is really saying is about bringing back the glories of the 1950s, the time of the birth of another slogan, the American Dream. It is obviously an impossible expectation and an impossible task, but what did I say above about there’s always a lot of self-deception in society?

And slogans, when they are timed right, much like advertising jingles, find a new batch of willing believers, at least for a while. Another of America’s great Trump-like promoter types, P. T. Barnum, famously said there was “a new sucker born every minute.”

Anyway, this hopeful illusion plus lots of rhetoric about keeping America free of others who aren’t entitled to share the Dream – migrants, refugees, foreigners in general – is how Trump keeps his pretty much hopeless political base fired up. Of course, he cannot succeed, but the self-deception is enough to get him by in office. Broken election promises are an accepted reality in American politics, and Trump’s are no different for being based in fantasy.

It cannot be 1950 again. No matter how hard he tries, and he cannot make it so. He perhaps believes, having sold so many condo units in the past based in part on illusions that he is capable of carrying it off on an immensely grander scale. But that is no more possible than commanding the winds and waves to halt.

He likes to think he is brave and tough with an iron will and, yes, that he is indispensable. But he is not, and his even holding and keeping office has been under assault by the people who really run America, its power establishment, from the beginning.

Of course, virtually the opposite is true of his personal qualities. In his drive to be seen as a figure worthy of a place on Mount Rushmore, he has surrendered virtually everything of the precious little he once seemed to understand and embrace to America’s power establishment, featuring today, as it does, a major role for the Neocon cult.

He works strenuously for their interests now and does so, not necessarily out of any native conviction, but out of cowardice, a quality he has quietly displayed his whole life despite all the bombast and bluster. He wants to stay in office and is ready to do just about anything to be allowed.

And that’s what makes him an exceptionally dangerous figure. The power establishment already had been on its own new tear for a while, a tear to re-establish its once almost unquestioned authority in the world despite America’s relative economic decline for decades. Obama served them well with wars and threats and coups and defense and intelligence budgets, despite his public image of seeming progressive and peaceful.

The relative decline which preoccupies American elites concerned with their continued influence in the world is reflected for Trump’s base in the virtual disappearance of America’s almost-elite working class and the gradual melting away of real incomes for much of the lower middle class over decades as America’s unique postwar economic position gradually eroded away.

So, they cheer him on to “make America great again,” but he has become preoccupied, apart from the sheer impossibility of his original goal, with just hanging onto office and maybe having a bit of luck here or there so that he can say, “See, I did that!”

And, boy, have we all learned how he loves to be able to say those words when it comes to just about anything, “See, I did that!” It is pathetic and childish and dangerous.

And surely at some point he has realized that his general assumptions about making the world into 1950 again are hopeless, but there is a way still to affect “America’s greatness,” and that is through the program of the power establishment and its Neocon inner cult. He has signed on with full enthusiasm to show them what he can do.

Posted December 6, 2018 by JOHN CHUCKMAN in Uncategorized

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