[yt_dropcap type=”square” font=”” size=”14″ color=”#000″ background=”#fff” ] H [/yt_dropcap]ow many books have been authored by Donald Trump? The answer: a steady stream totaling a whopping 17 — more than enough to keep a full-time writer fully occupied without all of Mr. Trump’s other activities. The word ‘writer’ of course is key, for Mr. Trump has not actually written any of them. He hires a ghost writer and simply pens his name to the finished product.
It’s the same with all ‘his’ hotels around the world. He has simply sold his name to local owners.
This week he announced that an armada headed by the carrier USS Carl Vinson was headed towards North Korea to show he meant business. Problem: It was off the coast of Indonesia sailing in the opposite direction for joint exercises with the Australians.
‘Lying is second nature to him’, says Tony Schwartz who wrote ‘The Art of the Deal’, the first and most famous of the Trump books. Concerned enough about a Trump presidency, no matter how remote the possibility as seemed at the time, he sat down with the New Yorker’s Jane Mayer to discuss his fears (July 2015 issue). Schwartz’s final takeaway is of a pathological liar and sociopath.
Too bad Trump voters don’t read ‘The New Yorker’ — Trump of course doesn’t read at all; in fact the old joke applies: he has written more books than he has read. Those voters and the rest of the world are now rediscovering this smooth-talking nutcase representing a sort of apogee of our celebrity culture. With him on one side and North Korea’s Kim Jong-un on the other, there is serious cause for alarm.
As far as the options for dealing with North Korea, they have not changed: Try to cut a deal; impose sanctions, actually ratchet them up as the country is already under sanctions to no effect; lastly, use military force. None of them survive closer scrutiny.
Deal? What deal when the North Koreans have witnessed what happened to Libya that voluntarily gave up its quest for nuclear weapons.
Sanctions? They have withstood them comfortably. China, their lifeline is never going to let a North Korea be mangled, dismantled, or absorbed by the South with the U.S. military on its doorstep.
Military force? Take a look at the map. Seoul is in range of North Korean guns. Even without nuclear weapons an analysis during the Clinton era estimated one million South Korean casualties. South Korea will be the first to object.
Other than bluff and bluster with ships traveling in the opposite direction, Trump has no realistic choice. There is a very good reason, Mr. President, why so many of your predecessors have chosen to kick the can down the road, relying on China to be a moderating influence — something it appears to be less and less able to do with the mercurial Kim Jong-un. The only deal he will accept will keep him nuclear-armed.
If the president’s behavior appears abnormal, it has been noted also by psychiatrists. At a conference at the Yale School of Medicine this week, a panel found Mr. Trump to be “paranoid, delusional and grandiose thinking”. Meanwhile an open letter asking for Trump to be removed from office because his mental state “makes him incapable of serving safely as president” has been signed by over 41,000 mental health professionals.
When Plutarch called the demos an ignorant rabble not to be trusted two millennia ago, he was not far off. What has happened also questions the current U.S. primary system for selecting presidential candidates as opposed to the ‘smoke-filled rooms’ of the past, with party bigwigs negotiating and trading votes they could muster for their choices. They could have picked a crooked Hillary but never a delusional paranoid.