Gathering: Reflections on Trump
By Fred Reed
- I bow (in case you were wondering) to no one in my
loathing for the Clintons, the Establishment, the
Beltway Insulates, political correctness, BLM, radical
feminists, the controlled media, Obama, Wall Street,
neocons, Social-Justice Look-at-Mes, and the New York
Oligarchs. After the election, I figured, having no
choice anyway, to see what Trump actually did. I have
seen. America elected a dangerous curiosity.
Listen to Trump’s
Secretary of State Tillerson,
his representative, addressing Congress and ordering
China around like a misbehaving twelve-year-old: “We’re
going to have to send China a clear signal that, first,
the island-building stops and, second, your access to
those islands also is not going to be allowed.”
This amounts to
“Do what I say, or else.” It is an ultimatum, a thing to
be used gingerly among big powers. The only “else” is
war. Yes, he was speaking unofficially, but his
interventions are clear.
dangerous. They are insulting. They leave no room for
preservation of dignity by compromise, by finding a way
to give in without seeming to. They are a way to look
for a fight. A Secretary of State who casually issues
ultimata to huge and nuclear powers is a symptom of an
executive branch utterly out of control.
combativeness is not a fluke. Vice President Bannon in
The Independent “We’re going to war in the South
China Sea in five to 10 years, aren’t we?” Mr Bannon
said on his radio show in March 2016. “There’s no doubt
It also shows the
danger of a President with no restrictions on his power
to make war. In this respect, current Presidents are as
autonomous as Roman emperors, having established that
they can wage war at will. Whether the country wants to
go to war makes no difference.
FoxNews The US
is officially putting Iran “on notice” after its
truculence. The same sense of entitlement. Another war
coming up. We would find out about it the day after it
apparently lost on the President is that we do not live
in 1955. Then, it was a bully’s world. The carriers
could easily have prevented sampans from going to
islands and China had no hope of attacking the US navy
or engaging in nuclear war. Today it can do both. While
the US would “win” a conventional war, assuming that it
remained conventional, the consequences would be
unpredictable and the economic effects catastrophic.
Trump is extremely
combative, erratic, apparently a bully, and responds to
resistance by doubling down. To many of us, including
me, this was immensely satisfying when he told the
press to bugger off, defied the Clinton-Wall
Street-Beltway elites, and talked of putting the
interests of America before those of big business. The
campaign was fine entertainment. Because so many were
sick of the elites, he is President. Fun as a candidate,
but in a President?
psychology of the gas-station lout appears in his
approach to Mexico, where I live. In particular his
insistence that Mexico pay for his wall is insulting,
and deliberately so. He very evidently does not like
screwed in a business deal in Mexico and has been
hostile to the country ever since. Time
published a list of Trump’s tweets on Mexico, a
remarkable number of which expressed personal anger. For
example, here he conflates foreign policy and his
a lawsuit in Mexico’s corrupt court system that I won
but so far can’t collect. Don’t do business with Mexico!
Mexican legal system is corrupt, as is much of Mexico.
Pay me the money that is owed me now – and stop sending
criminals over our border.”
Note the order
of the demands.
This sounds like
the pique–I won’t say “hissyfit”–of a man who does not
respond well to not getting his way. And his relentless
hostility to Mexico looks a lot like a quest for
The desire to
humiliate and punish Mexico plays well with Americans
angry at immigration and themselves hostile to Latinos.
Personal vendettas do not seem a desirable basis for
More of his
hostility seems to spring from failed developments in
Trump Ocean Resort Baja California, in which
purchasers of expensive apartments lost large down
payments when the developments were not built.
“All told, two
years of aggressive marketing yielded $32.5 million in
buyer deposits, every bit of it spent by the time Trump
and his partners abandoned the project in early 2009 as
the global economy was reeling. Most of the buyers sued
them for fraud.”
reason for the failure was incompetence or a deliberate
scam depends on who you talk to.
There was also
Punta Arrecifes Resort that he wanted to build in
Cozumel. It was to be a very high-dollar, exclusive
place with airport, golf couture, and the like and,
among other things, would have devastated an
ecologically protected zone. Protests erupted, the mayor
wanted an excessive bribe, and he didn’t get his way.
los trámites, el alcalde panista les pidió un “moche” de
20 millones de dólares. Directo, sin rodeos, el alcalde
panista les indicó que ese era el precio para lograr el
cambio de uso de suelo, pese a las protestas de los
“To speed up”
the paperwork, the Panista mayor tasked them for a bribe
of $20 million. Directly, without beating around the
bush, the mayor indicated that this was the price for
changing the use of the land despite the protests of
environmentalists.” My translation.
The bribe was
more than Trump was willing to play. He took his
football and went home. He is not above fraud or
corruption, but didn’t like the price.
Wall Street Journal: “Trump
settles fraud case against Trump University for $25M”
these failures on Mexican corruption doesn’t hold water.
The corruption exists, yet countless American firms
successfully do business in Mexico.
self-interested, and childish. Much of what he says is
adolescent. Over and over he speaks of Mexico sending
criminals to America. How precisely does Mexico
criminals? By “Mexico” he presumably means the Mexican
government, as who else might he mean? Does Presidente
Peña Nieto go to a penitentiary and say, “You, Pepe, and
Kike and, yeah, you, Luis, take these bus tickets, you
go to the United States and wreak havoc”? Is there a
cabinet-level body to send criminals?
El Departamento de
Empaquetamiento de Cabrones?
Perhaps “Mexico” puts stamps on criminals and drops them
off at the post office.
repeated assertion that Mexico is cheating the US,
exploiting it, being unfair, (Oh! Poor widdle Colossus
of the North) is either garishly ignorant, personally
vindictive or, more likely, both. Mexico is
governmentally weak, corrupt, and utterly under the
thumb of the United States. Is NAFTA a Mexican plot
against the US? Actually it forced Mexican farmers into
competition with hopelessly superior American
agriculture and drove them into the cities, where there
are no jobs. Along the border American
pay poor Mexicans miserably low wages. Mexico crawls
with DEA agents forced on it from the north and loses
countless lives fighting Americal’ls drug war. On and
We seem to have
as President an unpredictable warlike draft dodger with
a history of fraud suits who cannot distinguish between
his personal grudges and foreign policy. Is this going
Fred can be
reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Put the letters
“pdq” somewhere in the subject line to avoid
expressed in this article are solely those of the author
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