Understanding Trump's state 'craft'

The president’s irascibility can be leveraged for more war
Empowering Weak & Oppressed

Tahir Mahmoud

Sha'ban 04, 1438 2017-05-01

News & Analysis

by Tahir Mahmoud (News & Analysis, Crescent International Vol. 46, No. 3, Sha'ban, 1438)

The president’s irascibility can be leveraged for more war.

Donald Trump, if you are reading this, you have achieved in less than six months in office what others have been trying to do for decades. You have unmasked the US’ governing system and overthrown neo-liberalism’s soft power. Please continue.

Immediately after Donald Trump’s regime launched a missile attack against Syria on April 6, many politicians and media outlets were surprised by this development. Trump had run his presidential campaign on a platform of not intervening in Syria against the government of President Bashar al-Asad. Additionally, on March 30, at a news conference in Ankara, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson had stated, “I think the… longer term status of President Asad will be decided by the Syrian people,” clearly signaling a U-turn in Washington’s long-held policy on overthrowing the Syrian president.

Even more confusing was the behavior of US officials right after the aggression against Syria occurred. A few hours after the attack, US ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley told the Security Council, “We are prepared to do more, but we hope that will not be necessary.” On April 9, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told ABC News, “It is through that political process that we believe the Syrian people will ultimately be able to decide the fate of Bashar Asad.”

Successive US regimes have been notorious for saying one thing and doing the exact opposite. They speak of human rights but openly back the most brutal regimes in various corners of the world. Yet, lack of consistency and any strategic policy framework of the Trump regime, from day one, has confused everyone, including the US ruling elite as well as members of Trump’s own team. This is due to the fact that most political institutions, organizations, statesmen, and media outlets view Trump as a politician and a statesman.

This assumption is flawed. Trump’s clownish behavior and his complete ignorance of most if not all political and economic matters are a clear sign that attempting to predict his policies within any classical political framework would not lead anywhere.

Immediately after Trump became president, a popular US liberal political website, Politico, published a lengthy interview with several of his biographers. The interview titled “He Was Surprised as Anyone” offers useful insights into the Trump regime. Trump worships his ego and is a certified narcissist. Thus when his biographers decided to compile his life story, to present himself in as much positive light as possible, Trump granted them a lot of access. The many insights his biographers provide are very useful.

There are two parts of the interview cited above that will catch the attention of everyone reading it. First, when asked about what Trump thought after he won the presidential election, one of the biographers stated that “I think he stumbled onto this national stage without a lot of long-term plans about what he was going to do when he began running. I think he was surprised as anyone else that he got as much pull with the voters as he did. And I think even if you look at some of the photos of him as the vote tallies came in… he looks a little surprised and stunned himself that all of this is suddenly upon him. It’s like Robert Redford at the end of The Candidate, ‘Now what do we do?’”

The second statement that policy makers must pay close attention to is, when one of the biographers describing Trump says, “Well, you know, there’s too much day-to-day work for that. He doesn’t have the attention span for that… His management skills are extremely limited.”

The above excerpts from the interview lead to one conclusion about the current president of the US: the only certainty about the Trump regime is its uncertainty.

In any case, Trump’s ego and unpredictable behavior must be cultivated. Why and how? It creates disarray and confusion within the US ruling establishment. Trump’s unpredictability must be nurtured and he must be dealt with as a person, not as head of a state whose interests he supposedly represents. This will drive the Washington elite crazy and further deepen divisions within the US ruling caste. The more divided they are, the less likely they will be to go to war and create global mayhem.

The worst thing that could happen during the reign of the Trump regime is non-involvement of Trump at a personal level in policy-making. This will simply mean that ideological evil “geniuses” will go about systematically implementing the imperialist agenda. “Better to have a stupid enemy, than a smart one…” should be the approach when dealing with Trump. Since he is obsessed with personal criticism and ratings, every socio-political activity against US militarism must first hold Trump personally responsible.

Nevertheless, there is a negative side to his unpredictability. This concerns the use of Trump’s unpredictability by the neocon officials as leverage. Seasoned officials within the Trump regime will use his unruly and megalomaniac personality as a global blackmailing tool. This type of poker trick can be overcome by constantly reinforcing the notion that Trump’s advisors and people in his government do not have his personal interests at heart and care only about their own careers.

This strategy can be easily pursued as Trump’s regime is dominated by a cabal of strange people who only accidentally ended up in their top jobs and on the same team. Mr. Trump, if you don’t trust your team, you are absolutely right; they don’t view you presidential enough and would gladly lure you to commit an impeachable offence.

In less than six months in office, Trump has unmasked the US governing apparatus and significantly degraded imperialism’s soft power.

Mr. Trump, if you are reading this, it is a great achievement. You have outdone many of your local and international competitors. You are the man of the people, who when voting for you, assumed that you will bring down the system. So far you have not disappointed them completely, but please do try harder as we heard your business partners in Riyadh and Dubai don’t take you seriously and think you are not up to the task, as they continue to be America’s free riders, they are taking you for a fool.

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