Grim fu­ture with loose cannon Trump at the helm

Dubbo Photo News - - Opinion & Analysis. - Greg Smart

IT’S fair to say Don­ald Trump is the ul­ti­mate def­i­ni­tion of a “loose cannon”. The gung-ho bil­lion­aire US pres­i­den­tial can­di­date con­tin­ues to spray pop­ulist blus­ter on the cam­paign trail, var­i­ously in­sult­ing women’s looks, weight and men­strual cy­cles, the parent­age of his op­po­nents, Amer­i­can for­eign pol­icy, Mus­lim and Latino im­mi­grants, and the Wash­ing­ton es­tab­lish­ment.

He is un­apolo­getic and stanchly non­po­lit­i­cally cor­rect; yet seems not only gaffe-proof, but im­per­vi­ous to at­tacks from his op­po­nents.

Th­ese traits are a ral­ly­ing call to his in­creas­ingly large band of fol­low­ers – they see his rhetoric as “re­fresh­ing can­dour” and “straight talk”. Don­ald Trump has la­belled his cam­paign as any­thing but – it is a “move­ment” to “Make Amer­ica Great Again” as his of­fi­cial slo­gan de­clares.

His sup­port­ers have la­belled them­selves the “Silent Ma­jor­ity” – a sec­tion of less ed­u­cated white Amer­ica; peo­ple who have de­clared them­selves with­out a voice fol­low­ing glob­al­i­sa­tion, with­out rep­re­sen­ta­tion in the ma­jor par­ties, and for­got­ten by Wash­ing­ton.

Main­stream white cit­i­zenry may pro­claim they are a dis­en­fran­chised ma­jor­ity but this is a cred­i­bil­ity stretch of the high­est or­der, and speaks vol­umes of the in­su­lar mind­set of Middle Amer­ica. Th­ese are the peo­ple who are driv­ing Trump to achieve 40.6 per cent sup­port of Repub­li­can vot­ers na­tion­ally.

His anti-es­tab­lish­ment per­sona and em­bod­i­ment of the Amer­i­can Dream res­onates with this for­got­ten sec­tion of Amer­i­can so­ci­ety – con­ve­niently for­get­ting his mas­sive in­her­i­tance and sev­eral com­pany bank­rupt­cies. Many are not true con­ser­va­tive vot­ers, as they ad­mit to be­ing “sick and tired of things as they are” and be­lieve Trump can re­store Amer­ica to great­ness.

What the Trump ver­sion of Amer­i­can great­ness en­tails is as yet un­clear. Mind­ful of the at­ten­tion span of his au­di­ences, his speeches have been long on mean­ing­less moth­er­hood state­ments (“our coun­try is a mess”) and short on pol­icy de­tails (“il­le­gal im­mi­gra­tion is a big, big thing”). When asked what the first things on his agenda would be if he came to of­fice, Trump de­clared he would re­peal Obama’s health care pack­age, and “build up the mil­i­tary so no­body messes with us”.

“No­body mess­ing with us” shows a dis­turb­ing lack of nu­anced for­eign pol­icy knowl­edge.

Keep­ing with that theme of blunt in­stru­ment diplo­macy, for­mer Repub­li­can Vice Pres­i­dent nom­i­nee and in­co­her­ent ban­shee Sarah Palin has sur­faced to en­dorse Trump’s can­di­dacy for Pres­i­dent.

A ram­bling Palin an­nounced there would be “no more-pussy foot­ing around” when Trump be­comes Pres­i­dent. “The coun­try needs a Com­man­der-in-chief that will let our war­riors do their job and kick ISIS’ ass”.

This is the same Palin who when asked what in­sight she has into Rus­sian mil­i­tary ac­tions an­swered she could see Rus­sia from Alaska. And where does Rus­sia fig­ure in Trump’s “no­body messes with us” mind­set?

Rus­sian Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin is also on a mis­sion to re-es­tab­lish Rus­sian great­ness, be­com­ing in­creas­ing iso­lated from the West. In re­cent years, Rus­sia has in­ter­vened mil­i­tar­ily in Syria and Ukraine with Rus­sian war­planes been warned off by both Amer­i­can and

By his own ad­mis­sion, Greg Smart was born 40 years old and is in train­ing to be a cranky old man. He spends his time avoid­ing com­mer­cial tele­vi­sion and bad coffee.

Cana­dian war­planes for ap­proach­ing their re­spec­tive airspace, and Rus­sian sub­marines re­port­edly be­ing spot­ted in Swedish wa­ters. Putin has also been im­pli­cated in the vi­o­lent deaths of known dis­si­dents and crit­i­cal jour­nal­ists.

How would Com­man­der-in-chief Trump han­dle Putin’s de­sire to re­turn to the glory days of Mother Rus­sia? Would he assent to his ego and Amer­i­can Im­pe­ri­al­ism in the be­lief that Amer­i­can hege­mony is to be main­tained at all costs?

How would a sabre rat­tling Putin re­act to a “no more pussy foot­ing around” Trump be­fore th­ese two ego­ma­ni­acs would have the world back to a Cold War sit­u­a­tion?

Where do we Aus­tralians fig­ure in this?

The Aus­tralian, New Zealand, United States Se­cu­rity Treaty (ANZUS) obliges Aus­tralia to co-op­er­ate mil­i­tar­ily with the other treaty part­ners.

Putting aside the glib op­por­tunism and comic value of Trump, the se­ri­ous ques­tion we Aus­tralians need to con­sider is: How do we feel about the fu­ture over­seas de­ploy­ment of our mil­i­tary de­ter­mined by Com­man­der-in-chief Trump?

I con­tend that Aus­tralia would need to se­ri­ously con­sider with­draw­ing from ANZUS if Trump be­came Pres­i­dent. The prospect of loose cannon Trump lead­ing a coali­tion of the will­ing on a mil­i­tary cru­sade to ful­fil his ego is not in Aus­tralia’s best in­ter­ests.

Trump may not even get the Repub­li­can Party nom­i­na­tion, or win the elec­tion if he does. Let’s hope so. Un­for­tu­nately, he is idolised by ig­no­rant peo­ple, such as the sup­porter at the Trump rally in the lead up to the Iowa Cau­cus who ad­mired Trump’s plan to have Mex­ico pay for a wall at the US bor­der. “Like the Ber­lin wall,” she ex­claimed.

I’m not sure which quote is more ap­pro­pri­ate at this point: “Never un­der­es­ti­mate the power of stupid peo­ple in large groups” or “Those who can­not re­mem­ber the past are con­demned to re­peat it.”

How would a sabre rat­tling Putin re­act to a “no more pussy foot­ing around” Trump be­fore th­ese two ego­ma­ni­acs would have the world back to a Cold War sit­u­a­tion?

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