by Paul Schmutz Schaller for The Saker Blog
Some weeks ago, I was convinced that Trump would be quietly re-elected in 2020. His position was very confortable. His political program “Make America great again” has made its way. He has finally taken the reins in his government. And in the relations of the USA with the other countries, he has established the style “as long as you dance to my tune and give me enough money, you can do and think what you want”. Hence, he has created a quite clear, new image of the USA, which is easily to sell in an election campaign. (Be aware, please, that all this is a description, not a judgement of quality.)
On the other side, the political leaders of the opposition are weak. They keep their program of a “moral” imperialism. The world should not only accept the USA as the unique leader, but also think like the USA. Consequently, they more strongly back open interference in other countries; China/Hong Kong is a typical example. Their message to the population in the USA seems to be restricted to “give us the power, we then know what to do”.
So, the stage for the elections in 2020 seemed to be set. Regarding from outside, Trump had just to continue as before and calmly attend the elections. However, apparently, he has not this capacity. I understand now that he never will be satisfied with his achievements. This is an unhealthy attitude.
Trump has no measure. May-be, many knew this since quite some time, but for me, it became evident in the last weeks. Here are some examples. On 22 July, Trump declared that, in order to win the war in Afghanistan, he could kill 10 millions Afghans (but he does not intend to do so). Later, he repeated his claim, “specifying” that this can be done without nuclear arms. On 27 July began some tweets on Baltimore, describing this city as a rat hole in which, as Trump wrote, “no human being would want to live”. On 31 July, sanctions against the Iranian foreign minister Zarif were announced by the US-government; one immediately asked for the logic of this action, given the fact that Trump repeatedly demanded negotiations with Iran. Later on, it was revealed that Zarif was probably “punished” since he – in accordance with Tehran – did not accept to meet Trump in the White House. (By the way, the expression “maximal” pressure against Iran also illustrates the lack of measure.) On 15 August, Trump’s wish to buy Greenland from Denmark became public; he even cancelled a state visit to Denmark – scheduled for September – with the justification that Denmark was not ready to consider selling Greenland. Of course, Greenland has a big strategic value in the Arctic so Trump’s idea is not silly, abstractly speaking. But it was completely silly to think that a country in Western Europe, even a small one, would consider selling some part of its territory; politically speaking, the latter is just unthinkable. Finally, and this happened on 23 August, Trump tweeted that “American companies are hereby ordered to immediately start looking for an alternative to China”. The crucial word here is of course the word “ordered”. In a subsequent tweet, Trump insisted that he, as the president, has the right to order such kind of things.
Each of these acts, looked at separately, may follow a logical plan. But on the whole, Trump’s behaviour is excessive and looks far too extreme; the result is certainly counterproductive (judged from his point of view).
Having no measure is a grave weakness for a leader. He or she lacks sovereignty and makes a driven impression. In the Christian tradition, having no measure is considered as a severe sin, very near to the so-called deadly sins.
One should distinguish the lack of measure on the one hand and being unconventional on the other hand. During the campaign for the election in 2016, Trump made an unconventional impression and frequently attacked the political establishment. This made him quite popular. After his election, he continued in this manner from time to time. However, no one of the examples mentioned above is of this type. Also, Trump regularly used the tactics to bluff first and withdraw later. Again, no one of the examples mentioned above is of this category. Nor can they be interpreted as a manifestation of a sound self-confidence.
It is of course useful for the world to figure out the weaknesses of the US president. This supports the fight against his aggressive politics. It will be the same for the successor of Trump; it will be better to quickly grasp his or her weak points.
I now feel that the outcome of the 2020 elections in the USA is far from clear. Trump has this capital defect of having no measure. Moreover, actually, the international situation is changing fast. Major events are expected to occur in the next months. Quite probably, they will have a substantial influence on these elections.
PS: I do not at all intend to say that Trump is (mentally) sick. In politics, labeling a person as sick is just a simple – indeed rather primitive – method in order to disqualify this person. It does not help to understand whatsoever.
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I, Paul, am a retired, trained mathematician from Switzerland. Since nearly 50 years, I am an active anticolonialist. More recently, I came to the conclusion that Western societies have lost the capacity to positively contribute to the development in the world. Generally speaking, I support China, Russia, Iran, Syria, Hezbollah, and similar forces. My values are autonomy, humility, perseverance, and positivity.