President Trump’s house of straw
As the theatrics and antics of the Trump administration continue to play out to a fatigued, incredulous and appalled global audience, after the initial shock and short lived comic value have worn off, the residuary sentiment is amazement that the circus has not left town. The Trump administration encapsulates the major plot and myriad sub-plots that not only make up a Greek tragedy, but also mirror the Machiavellian , byzantine and tyrannical shenanigans associated with controversial Roman Emperors. President Trump purportedly put a price tag on his country which if true, would mean that he sold the United States of America hook, line and sinker, down the river to their age old nemesis and recalcitrant adversary, Russia.
Whilst the matter of Russia’s intervention in the 2016 presidential election is still under investigation, the irrefutable evidence so far confirms multiple high levels, undisclosed meetings between emissaries of the Russian government and the high command of Trump’s Presidential campaign and transition teams. Even more damning, it has now come to light that there was a clear, cogent, credible and unequivocal offer by the Russian government, of which Vladimir Putin is the embodiment and overlord, to help Trump win the U.S. Presidency. This overture came at a time when his campaign was floundering and he was very much the underdog for good cause. Putin’s offer was not scoffed at or called into question, but was unreservedly accepted, sans caveat by Trump’s son and functionary, who by return e mail, typed the now infamous words on his computer keyboard “…I love it.”
The aforementioned incontrovertible and judicial inquiry worthy documentary evidence has no chain of custody issues which might undermine its probative value, nor are its contents based on hearsay. The said email has now put to bed all and any questions of Russia’s meddling in the 2016 U.S. Presidential election. The incessant hue and cry of elements of the free press in America, asserting the occurrence of such perfidy was robustly denied and ridiculed by Trump and his coterie. The stance of these brave and fearless truth seekers attracted the seething wrath of Trump, who openly and mercilessly lampooned members of the fourth estate, dangerously branding the professional body as public enemies.
Trump’s unrelenting efforts to thwart and stymie official investigations into possible collusion with Russia, went as far as arbitrary high level firings at the U.S. Department of Justice. More recently he ratcheted up his persecutory crusade by heedlessly venturing into the very murky waters of public harassment and humiliation of the U.S. Attorney General, hoping to frustrate him into tendering his resignation. Notwithstanding the foregoing, the probe of U.S. Special Counsel, Robert Mueller into Trump – Russia ties is on slow boil and may yet be his Waterloo. The world is living in its most perilous period in recent history as North Korea’s volatile and intransigent dictator Kim Jung-un, for whom Trump has expressed public admiration and who has scornfully and defiantly continued to test launch intercontinental ballistic missiles, with increasing success.
This alarming state of affairs seems to have reached its nadir and is such that the leader of the free world should be counted on to evince the necessary political skills, dexterity and sound judgment to spin on a dime, in order to diffuse escalating tensions. However, there is a universal absence of confidence in Trump’s ability or competence to effectively contain the situation. These developments which present existential issues could not come at a worse time, as Trump finds himself beset, beleaguered and cornered by Mueller and his investigatory, all-star team of individual and collective genius. He has demonstrably proved time and again that he sees the Presidency, the United States of America and indeed the whole world through a prism of himself. In effect, what is good for him should be good for everyone else and if things are going poorly for him, everyone should share his fate. This is in keeping with the domestic and world views of all dictators.
It is no secret that Trump wishes to be adorned and bedecked with dictatorial powers. His inordinate penchant for disparate, reprobate strong men who are world leaders is clearly indicative of this. Furthermore, his insatiable need to curry favour, admiration and fealty from honourable, beribboned and bemedalled U.S. military Generals, whom he publicly refers to as “my Generals,’’ is indicative of a deep seated covetousness and desire to bask in their reflected power , strength and glory, which he may ultimately side-step or usurp. Trump’s higgledy-piggledy Administration is mired in chaos and indiscipline and characterised by impotence, a fact his critics and apologists acknowledge. As his level of discomfort rises due to the Mueller investigation, the pivotal question is whether he will opt for a scorched earth policy, in which he recklessly seeks to unleash Armageddon on North Korea militarily, ostensibly to punish and rein in the errant, rogue nation.
This would undoubtedly cause his putative collusion problems to disappear, perhaps forever, not only for himself but for implicated close family members. He has failed to exercise a global leadership role by attempting to repair frayed relations with traditional U.S. allies, so as to jointly tackle the North Korean menace, using all the available tools of diplomacy, which most political analysts agree is the best way forward. The alternative would lead to oceans of blood. Thus far the White House has degenerated into a House of Straw. The positive aspect of the Trump Administration saga for all world democracies, is that we are witnessing in admiration the exercise of the constitutionally enshrined brilliant “checks and balances” of a functioning democracy , which are in place to guard against Executive Branch malfeasance or overreach and to ensure the “separation of powers” doctrine remains sacrosanct . Our only hope is that the purposes of these safeguards will be realised before all hell breaks loose. A further ray of light can be summed up in the words of the great Sir Winston Churchill, “Americans will always do the right thing, only after they have tried everything else.” A bust of the British statesman was unveiled ceremoniously on October 13, 2013 and is now located on the first floor of the U.S. capitol building. Let us hope that his confidence was not misplaced or is no longer deserved.
Fowler is a lawyer.