Known for aggressive controversial rhetoric, Donald Trump, feeling sure of not just republican nomination but also becoming the next president of US super power to control the world, has made a major policy statement as he vowed to improve relations with Russia, China if elected US president. This is important as it is the only positive rhetoric he has made during his entire campaign for presidency.
After the bogus terror wars launched following the Sept -11 hoax to destabilize Arab nations and Afghanistan, by republican Bush Sr. and Jr. and accelerated by democratic Barack Obama, targeting Muslim nations, resources therein, Muslims and Islam, now Americans are clearly heading towards another tragedy – the rise of a monstrous Republican presidential aspirant Trump who has declared he would cause more calamities to the humanity if elected to White House.
Donald Trump, who courted global controversy with remarks on “temporarily” banning Muslims from entering the US, today appeared to be slightly softening his hardline stance saying the proposal was “just a suggestion” until the issue is worked out. Trump said he would grant exemption to the Pakistani- origin mayor to come to the US under his presidency though he was critical of Khan who won the Mayoral poll of London u in UK, by defeating the opponents who spread Islamophobia to make the voters hate Khan and Islam. Trump had called for “a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the USA. While he says there is Islamic ‘radical terrorism’ all over the world right now, he does not admit the cause of terrorism and who is using the misguided so-called ‘Muslims’ for terror exercises.
Trump had called for “a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States An interview to CNN, Khan joined the issue with him saying: “My message to Donald Trump and his team is that your views of Islam are ignorant. It is possible to be a Muslim and live in the West. It is possible to be a Muslim and love America”.
Trump’s anti-Muslim rhetoric seems to have worked miracle among the republican voters who see him as a powerful trump card against Islam to save Bush-Obama co from any possible punishments for their cumulative crimes against humanity in Mideast. His persistent calls to bar Muslims from entering the United States are welcome by every fanatic American with anti-Islam mindset. And, the trend clearly shows he is almost at the White House a s per the hidden agenda of imperialist policymakers in Washington wanting the next president also to dutifully continue to advance US global interests by showcasing advanced militarism to advance imperialist-capitalist objectives globally.
Trump seems to be sure of presidential chances as he is in control of poll campaign to emerge as Republican candidate and he is trying to make amendments to his arrogant polemics. . In a major shift in rhetoric, a strong New York billionaire and Republican front-runner Donald Trump vowed to seek better relations with Russia and China if elected president in November and said he would make US allies bear more of the financial burden for their defense. In a major speech, Trump delivered a withering critique of Barack Obama’s foreign policy, saying the Democratic president has let China take advantage of the United States and has failed to defeat Islamic State militants. He pledged to “shake the rust off America’s foreign policy.”
Earlier Donald Trump annoyed all NATO members in Europe with his ‘America first’ slogan. Trump’s first major foreign policy address alarmed American allies, who view the Republican front runner’s repeated invocation of an “America first” agenda as a threat to retreat from the world, leaving Europe to its own fate. While most governments were careful not to comment publicly on a speech by a US presidential candidate, Germany’s foreign minister veered from that protocol to express concern at Trump’s wording. “I can only hope that the election campaign in the USA does not lack the perception of reality,” Frank-Walter Steinmeier said. “The world’s security architecture has changed and it is no longer based on two pillars alone. It cannot be conducted unilaterally,” he said of foreign policy in a post-Cold War world. “No American president can get round this change in the international security architecture…. ‘America first’ is actually no answer to that.”
Carl Bildt, a former Swedish prime minister and foreign minister who served as UN envoy to the Balkans in the aftermath of the Yugoslav wars of the 1990s, said he heard Trump’s speech as “abandoning both democratic allies and even democratic values”. “Trump had not a word against Russian aggression in Ukraine, but plenty against past US support for democracy in Egypt,” Bildt said, referring to lines from Trump’s speech that criticized the Barack Obama administration for withdrawing support for autocrat Hosni Mubarak during a 2011 uprising.
Trump’s speech, uncharacteristically read out from a teleprompter, seemed aimed at showing a more serious side of a politician who has said he intends to act more “presidential” after months of speaking mainly off the cuff. He promised “a disciplined, deliberate and consistent foreign policy” in contrast to the “reckless, rudderless and aimless” policies of Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Trump’s likely Democratic opponent if he secures the Republican nomination. The speech included no dramatic new policy proposals that might generate headlines, such as his past calls to bar Muslims from entering the United States or to build a wall on the frontier with Mexico.
As he is gaining in self confidence, Trump has begun talking some sense for the first time the campaign. He questions the exploitative tactics of attacking the NATO members and also supportive Russia and China- the first time an American leader has done it.
Trump, a real estate magnate, spoke about new relations with Russia and China the day after victories in five Northeastern states that moved him closer to capturing the Republican Party presidential nomination for the Nov. 8 election. With USA-Russia relations strained over numerous issues including Moscow’s support for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, Trump said an easing of tensions with Russia from a position of strength is possible.
Interestingly, Trump said he would use US economic leverage to persuade China to rein in North Korea’s nuclear program. He says China respects strength and by letting them take advantage of us economically we have lost all their respect and he would call separate summits of NATO and Asian allies to discuss a rebalancing of the US financial commitment to their defense.
Trump also turned against the NATO allies for exploiting their leader USA to their advantage. He was stern in charging that American allies have benefited from a US defense umbrella to protect from any possible Russian aggression but have not paid their fair share. “The countries we defend must pay for the cost of this defense. If not, the USA must be prepared to let these countries defend themselves. We have no choice, we can’t go on feeding them” Trump said.
Trump, also a reality TV star, has never held elected office and has built support – particularly among white working class voters – with a no-nonsense style and populist pledges to “make America great again.” He set aside his rancorous campaign rhetoric for his address on foreign policy. Trump usually speaks in an off-the-cuff manner, but he delivered FP speech with the aid of a teleprompter as he sought to make himself appealing to more Republican voters.
Where he was specific, like rejecting the terms of last year’s nuclear deal with Iran, calling for more investment in missile defense in Europe and accusing the Obama administration of tepid support for Israel, he was firmly within the Republican mainstream.
A major theme — that more NATO allies should spend at least 2 percent of their economic output on defense — is one that has also been taken up by the Obama administration itself, including repeatedly during the president’s visit to Europe last week. Nevertheless, Trump’s rhetoric raised alarm in allied countries that still rely on the superpower for defense, particularly the phrase “America first”, used in the 1930s by isolationists that sought to keep the United States out of World War Two.
Former South Korean Vice Foreign Minister Kim Sung-han, who now teaches at the Korea University in Seoul, said Trump would be “the first isolationist to be US presidential candidate, while in the post-war era all the US presidents have been to varying degrees internationalists.” “Saying the USA will no longer engage in anything that is a burden in terms of its relationships with allies, it would be almost like abandoning those alliances,” he said. “It will inevitably give rise to anti-American sentiment worldwide and the speech suggests Trump would make America’s allies less secure rather than more. He talked about allies being confident but all of his rhetoric suggested that America should be unpredictable and that America’s allies needed to stand up for themselves.
America’s allies are now less secure rather than more. Trump talked about allies being confident but all of his rhetoric suggested that America should be unpredictable and that America’s allies needed to stand up for themselves.
Linking foreign policy with economy
Donald Trump wants to take care of US economy and protect it from being misused for the protection of other countries. In his run for the White House, Trump has threatened to slap tariffs on imports from China, in almost-certain violation of international rules. He has threatened to confiscate money that immigrants from Mexico wire home to their families, in order to force the Mexican government to pay for a border wall. This week, he suggested that, in an economic crisis, the government might repay only some of the money it owes to certain holders of its debt. Those threats reflect an economic philosophy that is at odds with the traditional economic belief that markets cannot function well outside the rule of law. America has built 200 years of prosperity on a foundation of people agreeing to rules in business transactions, and then sticking to them. Trump appears willing to break those rules in the name of cutting better “deals” for American workers.
Trump’s pledge to take extraordinary steps to help left-behind American workers has powered his campaign and made him the presumptive Republican nominee. But he has worried many economists, on the right and the left, who warn that breaking laws and commitments could undermine America’s credibility with trading partners, raise its borrowing costs and potentially spark global financial panic.
The debt issue, which Trump raised repeatedly, but hazily, this week, especially troubles economists. Trump suggested in interviews Thursday that he would be open to a form of renegotiating the bonds issued by the government to fund deficit spending. Bondholders expect to be paid the value promised by the bond they purchased; Trump seemed to indicate that he might attempt to compel bondholders to accept a lower value. The mere suggestion that holders of U.S. Treasury might not be paid in full — a practice sometimes referred to as “haircutting” for bondholders — would be “insane” for Trump to make as president. It would lead to a financial crisis larger than 2008 if they went and haircutted US Treasury, which is supposed to be the safest asset in the world. If one person agrees to buy a pizza from a second person at a set price, the buyer needs assurances that the pizza will arrive. If it doesn’t, and the seller takes her money anyway, the buyer needs to be able to do something to get her money back. The legal system provides those assurances.
Several economists said Trump sees markets differently, more in line with his career in commercial real estate. In that view, transactions are “deals,” typically with a winner on one side and a loser on the other. Trump’s own real estate career suggests the rules that govern those deals are often negotiable; lending terms can be renegotiated when a borrower is close to default, for example.
Nations, though, are not real estate moguls. Countries that default or come close to defaulting on their debt, such as Greece, are punished by lenders with much higher borrowing costs for future loans. Countries that agree to the World Trade Organization’s rules for trade, and then break them, can be penalized harshly. Such would very likely be the case if the United States levies the sort of tariffs Trump has threatened.
Perhaps most importantly, at a time when companies are increasingly able to spread their cash around the world, the rule of law is one of America’s great remaining advantages over rivals such as China and Russia. The consensus of modern growth economics is that property rights, rule of law, good institutions are more important than you might even think to keep growth going. The difference between the United States and a lot of much poorer countries comes down to things like; can you do a zoning change without bribing the guy? Legal limitations give companies faith that they can invest and create jobs in America.
Holtz-Eakin said that, after the fall of communism in Europe a quarter-century ago, the countries that installed credible laws and government institutions were the ones that attracted the most investment and growth. He worried that Trump’s threats could destroy such credibility — and backfire on Trump’s presidency.
Like Trump getting ready to become republican candidate, in the Democratic race, Hillary Clinton, 68, won most of the contests, building a virtually insurmountable lead over rival Bernie Sanders, a 74-year-old US senator from Vermont, who vowed to keep fighting until the July convention.
Trump and Clinton are set to face each other to begin the race for the White house and who will reach the target first would not be known until the elections are held. The highly powerful power brokers will play pivotal role in determining the best choice for the US capitalism, Zionism and imperialism.
It is, however, makes no difference who win the presidential poll because as irrespective of who wins the presidency, the new incumbent at White House would advance only Americo-Israeli joint interest globally that includes shielding the Zionist crimes against humanity as part of defending the crimes committed against humanity jointly by the leaders of USA and Europe, Australia, etc.
If one thinks as a woman with a charming daughter Mrs. Clinton would be kind to humanity and wind down all terror wars and withdraw all forces from foreign soil, they are mistaken. She has already declared USA would stand solid behind fascist Israel and shield all its crimes against humanity.
What Trump has said thus far cannot be taken seriously as he has been only trying get fanatic Americans to support the Republican Party. As real president Trump would different as he will have to follow the ‘traditions’ of US presidency.
The Meaning of a Multi-Polar World
Right now, we live in a mono-polar world. Here is how U.S. President Barack Obama proudly, even imperially, described it when delivering the Commencement address to America’s future generals, at West Point Military Academy, on 28 May 2014:
The United States is and remains the one indispensable nation. [Every other nation is therefore ‘dispensable’; we therefore now have “Amerika, Amerika über alles, über alles in der Welt”.] That has been true for the century passed and it will be true for the century to come. … America must always lead on the world stage. If we don’t, no one else will. … Russia’s aggression toward former Soviet states unnerves capitals in Europe, while China’s economic rise and military reach worries its neighbors. From Brazil to India, rising middle classes compete with us. [He was here telling these future U.S. military leaders that they are to fight for the U.S. aristocracy, to help them defeat any nation that resists.] … In Ukraine, Russia’s recent actions recall the days when Soviet tanks rolled into Eastern Europe. But this isn’t the Cold War. Our ability to shape world opinion helped isolate Russia right away. [He was proud of the U.S. Government’s effectiveness at propaganda, just as Hitler was proud of the German Government’s propaganda-effectiveness under Joseph Goebbels.] Because of American leadership, the world immediately condemned Russian actions; Europe and the G7 joined us to impose sanctions; NATO reinforced our commitment to Eastern European allies; the IMF is helping to stabilize Ukraine’s economy; OSCE monitors brought the eyes of the world to unstable parts of Ukraine.
Actually, his — Obama’s — regime, had conquered Ukraine in February 2014 by a very bloody coup, and installed a racist-fascist anti-Russian Government there next door to Russia, a stooge-regime to this day, which instituted a racial-cleansing campaign to eliminate enough pro-Russia voters so as to be able to hold onto power there. It has destroyed Ukraine and so alienated the regions of Ukraine that had voted more than 75% for the democratically elected Ukrainian President whom Obama overthrew, so that those pro-Russia regions quit Ukraine. What remains of Ukraine after the U.S. conquest is a nazi mess and a destroyed nation in hock to Western taxpayers and banks.
Furthermore, Obama insisted upon (to use Bush’s term about Saddam Hussein) “regime-change” in Syria. Twice in one day the Secretary General of the U.N. asserted that only the Syrian people have any right to do that, no outside nation has any right to impose it. Obama ignored him and kept on trying. Obama actually protected Al Qaeda’s Syrian affiliate against bombing by Syria’s Government and by Syria’s ally Russia, while the U.S. bombed Syria’s army, which was trying to prevent those jihadists from overthrowing the Government. Obama bombed Libya in order to “regime-change” Muammar Gaddafi, and he bombed Syria in order to “regime-change” Bashar al-Assad; and, so, while the “U.S. Drops Bombs; EU Gets Refugees & Blame. This Is Insane.” And Obama’s successor Trump continues Obama’s policies in this regard. And, of course, the U.S. and its ally UK invaded Iraq in 2003, likewise on the basis of lies to the effect that Iraq was the aggressor. (Even Germany called Poland the aggressor when invading Poland in 1939.)
No other nation regularly invades other nations that never had invaded it. This is international aggression. It is the international crime of “War of Aggression”; and the only nations which do it nowadays are America and its allies, such as the Sauds, Israel, France, and UK, which often join in America’s aggressions (or, in the case of the Sauds’ invasion of Yemen, the ally initiates an invasion, which the U.S. then joins). America’s generals are taught this aggression, and not only by Obama. Ever since at least George W. Bush, it has been solid U.S. policy. (Bush even kicked out the U.N.’s weapons-inspectors, so as to bomb Iraq in 2003.)
In other words: a mono-polar world is a world in which one nation stands above international law, and that nation’s participation in an invasion immunizes also each of its allies who join in the invasion, protecting it too from prosecution, so that a mono-polar world is one in which the United Nations can’t even possibly impose international law impartially, but can impose it only against nations that aren’t allied with the mono-polar power, which in this case is the United States. Furthermore, because the U.S. regime reigns supreme over the entire world, as it does, any nations — such as Russia, China, Syria, Iran, North Korea, Venezuela, Nicaragua, Cuba, and Ecuador — that the U.S. regime (which has itself been scientifically proven to be a dictatorship) chooses to treat as an enemy, is especially disadvantaged internationally. Russia and China, however, are among the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council and therefore possess a degree of international protection that America’s other chosen enemies do not. And the people who choose which nations to identify as America’s ‘enemies’ are America’s super-rich and not the entire American population, because the U.S. Government is controlled by the super-rich and not by the public.
So, that’s the existing mono-polar world: it is a world that’s controlled by one nation, and this one nation is, in turn, controlled by its aristocracy, its super-rich.
If one of the five permanent members of the Security Council would present at the U.N. a proposal to eliminate the immunity that the U.S. regime has, from investigation and prosecution for any future War of Aggression that it might perpetrate, then, of course, the U.S. and any of its allies on the Security Council would veto that, but if the proposing nation would then constantly call to the international public’s attention that the U.S. and its allies had blocked passage of such a crucially needed “procedure to amend the UN charter”, and that this fact means that the U.S. and its allies constitute fascist regimes as was understood and applied against Germany’s fascist regime, at the Nuremberg Tribunal in 1945, then possibly some members of the U.S.-led gang (of the NATO portion of it, at least) would quit that gang, and the U.S. global dictatorship might end, so that there would then become a multi-polar world, in which democracy could actually thrive.
Democracy can only shrivel in a mono-polar world, because all other nations then are simply vassal nations, which accept Obama’s often-repeated dictum that all other nations are “dispensable” and that only the U.S. is not. Even the UK would actually gain in freedom, and in democracy, by breaking away from the U.S., because it would no longer be under the U.S. thumb — the thumb of the global aggressor-nation.
Only one global poll has ever been taken of the question “Which country do you think is the greatest threat to peace in the world today?” and it found that, overwhelmingly, by a three-to-one ratio above the second-most-often named country, the United States was identified as being precisely that, the top threat to world-peace. But then, a few years later, another (though less-comprehensive) poll was taken on a similar question, and it produced similar results. Apparently, despite the effectiveness of America’s propagandists, people in other lands recognize quite well that today’s America is a more successful and longer-reigning version of Hitler’s Germany. Although modern America’s propaganda-operation is far more sophisticated than Nazi Germany’s was, it’s not entirely successful. America’s invasions are now too common, all based on lies, just like Hitler’s were.
On November 9th, Russian Television headlined “‘Very insulting’: Trump bashes Macron’s idea of European army for protection from Russia, China & US” and reported that “US President Donald Trump has unloaded on his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron, calling the French president’s idea of a ‘real European army,’ independent from Washington, an insult.” On the one hand, Trump constantly criticizes France and other European nations for allegedly not paying enough for America’s NATO military alliance, but he now is denigrating France for proposing to other NATO members a decreasing reliance upon NATO, and increasing reliance, instead, upon the Permanent Structured Cooperation (or PESCO) European military alliance, which was begun on 11 December 2017, and which currently has “25 EU Member States participating: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Croatia, Cyprus, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, Slovakia, Spain and Sweden.” Those are the European nations that are now on the path to eventually quitting NATO.
Once NATO is ended, the U.S. regime will find far more difficult any invasions such as of Iraq 2003, Libya 2011, Syria 2012-, Yemen 2016-, and maybe even such as America’s bloody coup that overthrew the democratically elected Government of Ukraine and installed a racist-fascist or nazi anti-Russian regime there in 2014. All of these U.S. invasions (and coup) brought to Europe millions of refugees and enormously increased burdens upon European taxpayers. Plus, America’s economic sanctions against both Russia and Iran have hurt European companies (and the U.S. does almost no business with either country, so is immune to that, also). Consequently, today’s America is clearly Europe’s actual main enemy. The continuation of NATO is actually toxic to the peoples of Europe. Communism and the Soviet Union and its NATO-mirroring Warsaw Pact military alliance, all ended peacefully in 1991, but the U.S. regime has secretly continued the Cold War, now against Russia, and is increasingly focusing its “regime-change” propaganda against Russia’s popular democratic leader, Vladimir Putin, even though this U.S. aggression against Russia could mean a world-annihilating nuclear war.
On November 11th, RT bannered “‘Good for multipolar world’: Putin positive on Macron’s ‘European army’ plan bashed by Trump (VIDEO)”, and opened: Europe’s desire to create its own army and stop relying on Washington for defense is not only understandable, but would be “positive” for the multipolar world, Vladimir Putin said days after Donald Trump ripped into it.
“Europe is … a powerful economic union and it is only natural that they want to be independent and … sovereign in the field of defense and security,” Putin told RT in Paris where world leader gathered to mark the centenary of the end of WWI.
He also described the potential creation of a European army “a positive process,” adding that it would “strengthen the multipolar world.” The Russian leader even expressed his support to French President Emmanuel Macron, who recently championed this idea by saying that Russia’s stance on the issue “is aligned with that of France” to some extent.
Macron recently revived the ambitious plans of creating a combined EU military force by saying that it is essential for the security of Europe. He also said that the EU must become independent from its key ally on the other side of the Atlantic, provoking an angry reaction from Washington.
Once NATO has shrunk to include only the pro-aggression and outright nazi European nations, such as Ukraine (after the U.S. gang accepts Ukraine into NATO, as it almost certainly then would do), the EU will have a degree of freedom and of democracy that it can only dream of today, and there will then be a multi-polar world, in which the leaders of the U.S. will no longer enjoy the type of immunity from investigation and possible prosecution, for their invasions, that they do today. The result of this will, however, be catastrophic for the top 100 U.S. ‘defense’ contractors, such as Lockheed Martin, General Dynamics, and Raytheon, because then all of those firms’ foreign sales except to the Sauds, Israel and a few other feudal and fascist regimes, will greatly decline. Donald Trump is doing everything he can to keep the Sauds to the agreements he reached with them back in 2017 to buy $404 billion of U.S. weaponry over the following 10 years. If, in addition, those firms lose some of their European sales, then the U.S. economic boom thus far in Trump’s Presidency will be seriously endangered. So, the U.S. regime, which is run by the owners of its ‘defense’-contractors, will do all it can to prevent this from happening.
However, right now, Chris Hedges reports that Ecuador is in the process of killing Julian Assange, who is a major and well-known bane of America’s sellers to the U.S. ‘Defense’ Department. Hedges wants to keep his American aristocratic funder (the owner of Truthdig), and so he doesn’t say that — nor how — the U.S. regime itself is actually forcing Ecuador’s Government to do this. Hedges seems not even to care much about the ultimate perpetrator of this slow murder that he describes as being in process. Hedges instead focuses only against what Ecuador’s President, Lenín Moreno, is doing, that’s slowly murdering Assange. He also implicates Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, the U.K. government, and U.S. V.P. Mike Pence. But actually, the top decision-maker, who ordered this crime, this murder, is Donald Trump, who won the U.S. Presidency with Assange’s investigative-journalism help. That’s the kingpin, and all the others are merely soldiers in the U.S. President’s organized crime. They all represent the U.S. aristocracy, but only Trump is the commander here. The U.S. regime — first under Obama, and now under Trump — is 100% of what’s forcing Ecuador’s Government to kill Julian Assange inside its London Embassy. Ecuador is doing this job, for the U.S. regime, so excruciatingly that Assange will either soon be committing suicide, or else he will die more slowly, from the ever-increasing “torture” that Ecuador’s Government is applying, and which is also destroying Assange’s health. Or else, he will give himself up to the American ‘justice’ system (which Assange’s mother, Christine Ann Hawkins, explained on November 3rd would likely mean either to charge him with ‘espionage’, or else to apply indefinite detention at Guantanamo, without charge, trial or any access to the public). There will then be ‘news’-coverage by the American propaganda-media, to demonize him. Ecuador’s President wants to do his job for his U.S. masters (the U.S. aristocracy) but not to get blame for the inevitable result. All along the line, the aristocracy know how to preserve deniability, and advise their agents so as to shift blame downward, whenever they can’t succeed in shifting it to the victim that they’re destroying. However, the ultimate blame belongs truly to the owners of the U.S. regime. Even most ‘alternative news’ media might not (and they, in fact, do not) report this fact (because most of even the ‘alternative’ media are owned by aristocrats), but it’s clearly the case. And most of the public don’t care much about it, anyway, and continue to subscribe to those ‘news’ media, which the aristocrats are actually controlling, and to buy the products they advertise, producing yet more income for the aristocracy. The public thus helps the aristocracy to fund the aristocracy’s propaganda-vehicles, to control the public, to vote for the aristocrats’ candidates, and so control the government.
A multi-polar world could enable this to change. But it can’t change in a mono-polar world. Julian Assange has been trapped by, and in, this fascist mono-polar world. He is its enemy, and they are murdering him; but, above all, Donald Trump is murdering him.
But this is not a partisan operation on behalf of only a faction of the U.S. aristocracy. The Hedges article links through to an important June 29th news-report in the Washington Times, titled “Mike Pence raises Julian Assange case with Ecuadorean president, White House confirms”. It makes clear that Moreno is doing the bidding of the White House, and that the White House is “heeding calls from Democrats wary of Mr. Assange.” America, after all, is a two-party dictatorship: both parties represent the same aristocracy, and murdering Assange is in the agenda of both of its factions, not of just one of the two parties. The U.S. aristocracy are united on this matter. And that’s how this mono-polar world is being run.
Author’s note: This piece first posted at The Saker
Trust: Lessons from my Brazilian driver
Trust takes years to build, seconds to break, and forever to repair– Anonymous
Be safe. That’s what we’re always told when we travel. It could be a short drive to another city or a flight to another state. Just be safe.
It’s usually said with about the same emotion as, “good morning”. It’s almost obligatory and carries little meaning. A courtesy. It’s said with a little more sincerity when you’re traveling overseas. The unknown could be dangerous – pay attention, be aware…be safe.
I nod and smile, because what else do you say? What does it really mean to “be safe”? Of course, some things are obvious – don’t go running down the street naked waving a flaming Molotov cocktail in your hand. Check. Keeping your clothes on in public is probably always a good idea. You’re pretty much always safer with clothes.
Don’t hitchhike drunk. Check. Although I did do that once with a friend in Nanjing, China and the friendly (and confused) garbage truck driver picked us up and dropped us off at the foreign student dorms, per our request in broken Chinese. But still, in general, not a good idea.
I generally stifle a giggle at the well-meaning “be safe” when I’m traveling to Asia. For sure, there are incidents against foreigners in Asia; the Abu Sayyaf terrorist incident in the Philippines was shocking. But typically, Americans are much safer in Asia than many large American cities (I’m looking at you Detroit, Chicago and New Orleans). If you accidentally leave your wallet on the table, or your cell phone in the bathroom, most likely a “good samaritan” is not going to turn it into a manager. Being safe means being aware of your belongings, not your actual being.
The urgency to “be safe” was greatly intensified when I told my family, I’m going to Brazil. Be really safe. Like, this time, I mean it.
My dad is a test pilot. When he gets nervous on a plane, I freak: not safe, not safe my brain screams. My husband is in law enforcement, with quite a bit of international experience. Contrary to what you may think, he infrequently tells me to be safe. When he worries, I pay attention. Brazil worried him.
Despite a lifetime of traveling and living abroad, namely in Asia, this is my first time to Brazil. Brazil, more than anywhere I’ve been, including Europe, “looks” like America. Like America, Brazil is an immigrant country. A Multicultural Mecca.
In my attempt to “be safe” I hired a car and a bilingual driver to take me around São Paulo. I hit the jackpot. Before turning 10 years old, Ricardo picked up an English dictionary and taught himself the language. And he didn’t stop there. Given that his Protestant family didn’t believe in TVs he became a voracious reader and spent hours in the library reading political philosophers such as John Locke and Antonio Gramsci. And so it happens that my driver was also a political philosopher of sorts, with a view from the streets (literally) of the Brazilian socio-political landscape.
Everything I learned from my Brazilian driver shed light on the challenges not only in Brazil but also in America and around the world: we have a trust deficit.
There are many similarities between Brazil and the United States, especially in their multicultural heritage, but its geography and history put it on a completely different trajectory.
Brazil’s rugged terrain and lack of viable ports make economic development difficult. As a result, the development necessary to take advantage of Brazil’s agriculture and commodity opportunities needs massive capital expenditures. This higher cost of development meant only the wealthy were involved in setting up towns and plantations. Low-skilled labor was imperative for working plantations, and slavery was the norm.
When slavery was abolished (Brazil was the last country in the Western Hemisphere to abolish slavery in 1888), low-skilled immigration was encouraged and flourished. Brazil’s Gino Coefficient highlights the income inequality and stark division between the rich and poor that continues to define Brazilian demographics, even into the modern era. It is also visible in its high crime rate, giving Brazil the title of Murder Capital of the World. Brazil has the most cities (17) in the top 50 dangerous cities in the world.
Brazil’s geography shaped its economy and in turn, its politics. The wealth disparity and need to develop the interior were components that eventually led to the rise of a military regime in the 1960s. The regime kept order and was able to command the resources for development through force, if necessary. As the interior developed, there were more opportunities for smaller landholders and a rise in the middle-class – the classic underpinnings for political liberalization.
Under these circumstances, in 1985 the military handed over control to the people in an election. In 1988 a new constitution was written. Thirty years of democratically elected governments later, and many of Brazil’s problems remain. The oligarchs – the powerful and wealthy – prevail. Justice usually reflects who you know and is unevenly applied. A string of politicians, including the current President Temer and past Presidents Lula and Rousseff, among others, have recently been implicated in the huge “car wash” scandal.
People are fed up with the corruption. And now, many are looking for a political “outsider” to shake up the establishment.
In this fraught landscape emerged Jair Bolsonaro. Bolsonaro started his career in the military while the military still held power. He is neither a land-owner nor a peasant, and to many, is seen as a “vote for change”, outside of the elite power structure. Sound familiar?
He is the Brazilian Trump.
His fame is growing, and people show up en masse to hear him speak. His focus is a return to law and order in a country that seems out of control. Bolsonaro’s message resonates at a time when there are an increasing number of people nostalgic for the order under the former military government.
Rounding out the similarities, Bolsonaro, like Trump, has been called out for scandalous behavior, which hasn’t dampened his support. In 2014 he told a Congresswoman that he wouldn’t rape her because “she didn’t deserve it”. This is the little quip seen here in the anti-Bolsonaro propaganda picture. Note the cartoonish Hitler‘s tache too.
The allure of more right-wing traditionalists, nationalists and populists is a global trend in a world rapidly changing. Whether due to the growing individualism leading to the breakdown of social cohesion in the United States, the growing anti-immigrant sentiment and the resulting Brexit in England, or the ubiquitous corruption in Brazil, wistful notions of stability and order are endemic.
As these and other like forces continue to restructure the global order–politically, economically and socially – no one gets out unscathed. Perhaps the United States is best able to weather the storm, given its unique mix of geography, strong institutions and resources. The Brazilian economy, however, is largely dependent on high commodity prices and Chinese demand. As structural demand trends downward, and the Chinese face their own internal and external struggles, a variety of crises threaten multiple countries, like Brazil.
Further, a Brazilian characteristic – lack of trust – creates its own challenges. The lack of trust in American institutions is also at an all-time low, but as Ricardo reminds me, the American government was formed by the people to serve the people. In contrast, in the Brazilian system, the people are there to serve the state.
In the current climate, despite disparate trajectories, America and Brazil now share some of the same trust issues. As we explored this idea of trust and our distinct cultural experiences further, we came up with a rough theory. America’s free market capitalist economy generates trust. Although there are many currently disillusioned with capitalism and growing income inequalities, which in part is what is generating momentum in the more “right-wing” camps worldwide, consider the aspect of competition. When there is competition, the markets hold corporations accountable. If a company makes a poor product, it loses market share. In an economy like Brazil, based more on elite relationships than competition for gaining market share, this built-in accountability is lost. Trust never has a chance to develop.
By contrast, trust in America did develop, but to a certain degree, has been lost. However, there is a foundation for trust. The question is, can it be regained?
Despite many factors portending some rough patches ahead, Ricardo is hopeful. He doesn’t have any affection for Bolsonaro, but believes corrective measures are necessary to address inherent corruption – after all, the pendulum must swing in the opposite direction before slowing its cadence to a more sustainable groove in the middle.
The “Trump Trend” (and its European predecessors) is not an isolated event, but rather a reaction to global disorder, similarly affecting countries with diverse geopolitical histories; it is a symptom of our trust deficit and truth decay. Further, different political parties worldwide hold their own claims on the truth, making trust more elusive. Confusing the issue, in an internet era replete with fake news, truth and trust alike have become valuable commodities. Hold onto them.
Finally, levels of trust are generally inversely correlated to crime statistics, so… be safe!
The U.S. Election and its Aftermath
The midterm elections are over, the result … a split-decision. The Democrats will control the House, raising the possibility of an impeachment attempt. The Senate remains under Republican control with their majority increased by one seat. The president reminded us at a post-election press conference that while he could not help in the all too numerous House elections, he did campaign in some of the marginal Senate races with almost universal success. The prospect of a second Trump term now looms large, especially as a Democrat star failed to emerge.
Among the winners for House seats were a record number of women, including New York’s Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who at 29 is the youngest woman Representative ever elected. Also two Muslim women: Ilhan Omar, a Somali from Minnesota, who will be the first hijab-wearing woman to sit in the House, and Rashida Tlaib, a Palestinian, who does not cover her head. It should help clarify for people that hijabs are cultural not religious and often a personal choice. Ms. Tlaib a Detroit native has extended family on the West Bank, who were shown celebrating in some news reports.
For those who expect any serious change in social or foreign policy, a reminder. Ten years ago, Barack Obama was elected and handed a House and Senate also under his party’s control. Did we get a decent health care-for-all bill? Were the banks reined in after causing a world economic crisis by peddling baskets of high-risk mortgage-backed securities and gambling on derivatives? Did we have peace? The answer to all the questions is in effect a negative.
The Glass-Steagall Act repealed by Bill Clinton that led to the disaster, was never reintroduced. We got an anemic version. It had kept us safe for over six decades from the greed of bankers by separating investment banking activities from commercial banking, and therefore preventing banks from gambling with our money.
Instead of peace, Mr. Obama called Afghanistan the good war and sent another 100,000 troops there causing more loss of life and more Afghan refugees. That was not all. He attacked Libya and destroyed the country including a complex water system bringing water from the south to Tripoli.
Libya is in chaos and has recently abandoned any pretext of national government by canceling the December election supposed to have been agreed upon by major factions in the country. Once a magnet for migrant African labor, Libya’s major export has become refugees, its own and the Africans. Europe is inundated as refugees stream in from all of America’s wars: Libya, Somalia, Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan and others. It’s worth noting also that the Taliban now control most of the Afghan countryside.
What will the young and newly elected do in Congress? Not much as it takes years to have the seniority to accumulate power. In the meantime, there is the pressure of elections every two years for a House seat, donors and lobbyists chipping away at any idealism, while the relative impotence of a freshman in this new university of intricate rules and procedures becomes apparent.
There is only one way to survive …
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