• The World Needs Reassurance

    Donald Trump seems intent on continuing to offer the easiest of targets to his many critics.  It is perhaps understandable, though regrettable, that some of those whose opinions are officially those of the countries they represent (such as our own Prime Minister) should feel some reluctance about courting the displeasure of the new US President – but that makes it all the more important that those suffering no such inhibitions should make their views clear.

    President Trump’s executive order forbidding entry to those hailing from seven (primarily Muslim) countries and refusing asylum to refugees from Syria and elsewhere has been roundly condemned across the globe – and it is indeed a lamentable instance of bigotry, mean-mindedness and short-sightedness.

    But it is not just the substance of the decision that will ring alarm bells.  The really worrying aspect of the decision is the manner in which it was made, and what it tells us about how the Trump White House is likely to function, not just on this issue but on every issue that henceforth crosses the President’s desk.

    The relish with which he took the step, the television cameras in attendance as he signed the order, his evident self-satisfaction, the twittered defence of his action and the rebuttal of criticism, all speak to the same conclusion.  Any hope that we might see a different Trump in office from the one we saw on the campaign trail can be set aside.

    This was a Donald Trump who had clearly decided that the stances and attitudes that had won him popular support through the campaign would do just as good a job for him in the Oval office.

    Indeed, it was a deliberate attempt to link the two situations.  The immediate ban on Muslim migrants and visitors, and the authorisation of the wall along the thousands of miles of the border with Mexico, were intended to say, in effect, that here was a President who would act, and not just talk, and that he would brook no interference with the immediate making good of his election promises.  Here indeed was “action man!”

    There will be many among his supporters who will applaud what they will see as his decisiveness.  But the rest of us should recognise real cause for concern.

    The US now has a President whose first priority is his own image.  So keen was he on striking the right pose in the short term that all else was cast aside.  His total focus was on promoting himself.  Nothing else mattered.

    Where was the time taken for proper reflection and discussion?  Where was consultation with his own experts, with even his own staff and cabinet, with his allies overseas, with religious figures and with Muslim leaders in his own country?  Where was any consideration for the suffering, disruption and anxiety it would cause in individual lives, and the practical problems its implementation would bring about, let alone for the damage it would do to America’s standing abroad and its unity, peace and integrity at home, or for the propaganda victory it would hand to those he sought to disable?  None of this could be allowed to deprive him of his moment of supposed glory, and all was swept aside in pursuit of building the preferred image.

    That a decision of this magnitude should be taken on the basis of such a narrow spectrum of short-term considerations by the supposed “leader of the free world” – the man who has his finger on the nuclear trigger – is a cause for great alarm.  The new President seems to have no understanding that there is more at stake when decisions of this kind are taken than his own personal popularity.

    Our fate as a civilisation, as a species, has never before been entrusted to someone afflicted by this degree of egotism – not to say narcissism – and we have no reason to expect that future actions and decisions, of perhaps even greater magnitude, will not be taken on the same basis.

    Leaks from his own White House staff record that this is a man “who would be king”.  A bombastic blowhard may have amused –even fascinated – those brought up on comic books and “reality” television, but these are serious matters.  A man with a significant personality defect and apparently living in a fantasy world cannot be trusted to exercise potentially destructive power on a global scale.  We are all on notice that not only the US, but the world, is on the threshold of a very dangerous phase.

    This is not a matter of liking Trump and his policies or not. It is a question of fitness for office.  We all have a stake in this.  We must all hope, and urge, that the American political system can find, if not a solution, at least some form of protection and insurance.  The world needs some reassurance.

    Bryan Gould

    2 February 2017.

     

     

     

4 Comments

  1. Edith says: February 1, 2017 at 8:52 pmReply

    Brilliant exposit

    • Bryan Gould says: February 2, 2017 at 12:55 amReply

      Thanks Edith. Happy New Year!

  2. Maggie Hillock says: February 1, 2017 at 9:53 pmReply

    Unfortunately it’s not just Trump we have to worry about – it’s those advisors like Steve Bannon he’s brought into the White House. Unelected, unanswerable to the electorate …. with extreme agendas. Trump’s volatility makes him weak and easily manipulated. If you push the right buttons of his vanity and insecurity, he will react in predictable ways. He lacks critical thinking and like a toddler, reacts from impulse not from consideration of the consequences.