Saturday, February 11, 2017

The New Regime's Zero for Two

I've been more than a little grouchy this week.  I think it has to do with the regime that is currently infesting the U.S. Government (on account of which I have been avoiding reading the news, lest I read something that might make my grouchiness worse).  But today I read something that put a long-absent smile on my face.  What I read also confirmed certain hunches that I've been harboring concerning the short-term future of the relationship of the United States to the rest of the world.

The first thing I read is that Trump seems for now to have lost his bid to ban refugees from seven Muslim countries from entering the United States.  It's more than a little amusing to see him belch forth his frustration over that loss.  (May he choke on it.)  In covering this story, several journalists have also shed light on the incoherent character of Trump's administration to date.  (I mean incoherent as in, a bunch of psychotic people who forgot to take their meds.)  I think it's safe to say that what normal people would correctly regard as a teaching moment will be utterly lost on Trump and the regime he represents.

Which leads me to the second thing I read, namely, that on at least two key foreign policy issues, Trump has been forced back into compliance with treaties and diplomatic approaches adopted by earlier U.S. presidents - namely, the treaty between the United States and Iran negotiated under President Barack Obama, and the "one-China policy" negotiated between the United States and China under President Richard Nixon.  This happened after Trump's bombastic promises to bully China and Iran by American military force.  I think what has happened is that Mr. Trump has been forced to realize the following:
  1. America is in no position to carry through on its threats to bully China or Iran - militarily or otherwise.
  2. Should Trump actually try to follow through on his threats, he will find that Iran and China can inflict catastrophic losses on any American forces that attack them.  Even Iran is in fact unconquerable.
  3. Threats against China may well cause that nation to administer a righteous thrashing to the U.S., a thrashing that need not require the firing of even a single physical weapon.  For China is one of the world's three biggest creditor nations, and the United States is China's biggest debtor.  Although Japan holds more U.S. debt than China, a trade war (or any other kind of war) with China could still yield disastrous consequences for the U.S.  Can anyone say "currency crash"?
I think the future of American domestic and foreign policy therefore lies in another direction.  Trump has been set up as a convenient point person to lead his regime in that direction, as well as being set up as a convenient scapegoat to be blamed when that direction turns out to lead to disaster.  So it is important to recognize that the current deranged direction of the United States is not the fault of Trump alone, but rather, in the words of Professor Dennis Etler (cited in the link in the third paragraph of this post), "It should be clear to one and all that Trump is not a free agent. He is, in reality, a front man for a faction within the US deep state and ruling elite that wants to impose an extreme right-wing agenda domestically and a balance of power regime geopolitically. This is seen by his handlers as the only way to maintain US imperialist rule both at home and abroad..."  (One note on the quote from Etler: In addition to the so-called American "deep state," we must not ignore the role played by the global far right and especially by Russian President Vladimir Putin in helping to install Trump in power.)

Therefore, having threatened both China and Iran, and having been told unequivocally by both of these nations to quit that mess, he and the regime he represents will search for easier prey to terrorize.  This is why I think that despite his recent legal loss regarding his travel ban, he will most definitely try again to impose such a ban.  It is also why I think he is serious about renegotiating NAFTA - because he thinks that by doing so, he can terrorize Mexico.  However, what he has succeeded in doing is to motivate Mexico and China to forge deeper trade ties, while threatening revenues of American farmers.  (By the way, his abortive travel ban cost U.S. airlines $185 million while it lasted.)

In other words, the actions of the current regime in charge of the U.S. are causing nations far and near to begin in earnest the process of "going No Contact" with the U.S.  You see, No Contact can be done even when it is employed against a national government.  And it imposes costs.  Those who supported Trump as some sort of "anti-globalist" were disingenuous in not discussing those costs, as they were also dishonest in their reasons for hating globalism.  What they would have liked is the sort of situation which British Prime Minister Theresa May is trying to negotiate in the aftermath of the Brexit - namely, a situation in which a nation that has exhausted its own resource base, and therefore its ability to earn things by manufacturing, is able by gunboat diplomacy or by providing "financial services" to continue receiving something for nothing from other nations while excluding the citizens of other nations from entering its borders.  What such people will find is that they cannot create such a situation - either in Britain or in the United States.

As for those of us who live in the U.S. and who are potential or actual targets of oppression due to skin color, language, religion or national origin, we too can go No Contact with an oppressive regime.  In fact, going No Contact is the necessary first step in a campaign of nonviolent resistance whose purpose is to impose the kinds of costs that bring down a dictatorship.  In future posts I will have more to say on this process, as well as the factors which led to economic globalism as it now exists.

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