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Saturday, November 12, 2016

The End of the World (As We Know It)

From this week's issue of Germany's Der Spiegel, an excerpt:
But what kind of a president will Donald Trump really be? In the past, he has also voiced approval of more liberal abortion laws and he once demanded health insurance for all Americans himself. Over the years, he has held all manner of contradictory opinions on many different political issues, sometimes at the same time.

Those who think they know what Donald Trump will do as president are likely overestimating their own intelligence. Trump will be the most unpredictable president that America has ever had. That holds true of his thin-skinned personality just as it does for his political positions. Anything, really anything, is possible. And that is the most disturbing thing.

It is possible that Trump will turn out to be the US version of the late Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez -- that he will appease and divert Americans while at the same time dramatically eroding the country's institutions and politicizing the judiciary, the CIA and the FBI. And that he, as he indicated he would, will allow for the return of torture. And that he will build the promised wall on the border to Mexico, impede people from Muslim countries from coming to the US, turn up the volume on bigotry and use the presidency to personally enrich himself. It could mean the end of NATO -- but it could also be that his bromance with Putin will cool and turn hostile.

It is equally possible, though, that Trump will turn over the governing of the country to experienced Republican politicians and will preside over proceedings as a kind of CEO. It is possible that he will build his wall as a sop to his supporters but will quickly realize that his announced intention to deport 11 million illegal immigrants makes no economic sense. It is possible that he will service the yearnings for a resurgent white identity primarily with rhetoric, that he will seek to stimulate the economy with billions in investments and that his foreign policy will simply be a continuation of the American withdrawal that began under Obama.

We simply don't know. The only thing we know -- from his statements, his campaign and his personality -- is that he will be a president unlike any that has come before.


Frank said...

A rather mild assessment.

Russ Manley said...

Well, like a menacing asteroid he is the Unknown Quantity, isn't he, whose impact is as yet immeasurable. What is certain, however, is that we can't assume anything rational, decent, or humane about him, and that's the terrifying part. We cannot take for granted that he will honor the law, the Constitution, or public opinion.

Like an unrestrained toddler, he just might do, grab, or break anything at any given moment. But who's to stop him?

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