Trump should run the EU?

The Sun (Malaysia) - - SPEAK UP - BY ERIC S. MAR­GO­LIS

MOST Euro­peans are qui­etly hor­ri­fied watch­ing Don­ald Trump torn to pieces by po­lit­i­cal pi­ran­has while Wall Street’s can­di­date, Hil­lary Clin­ton, ap­pears to be push­ing for a war with Rus­sia. She blames ev­ery­thing on that wicked Vlad Putin. How long be­fore she will claim Mon­ica Lewin­sky was one of Putin’s famed KGB se­duc­tress agents (I’ve met a few) known as “swal­lows”?

Euro­peans, whose male po­lit­i­cal lead­ers all seem to have mistresses, would laugh off Trump’s awk­ward gropes and the out­rage they caused as ado­les­cent. Bet­ter gropes than a pos­si­ble war with Rus­sia over Syria. But Trump looks like a mastodon stuck in a primeval tar pit, am­bushed by Demo­cratic hunters.

Does any­one re­mem­ber the Demo­crat’s young god, Jack Kennedy, who used to drag women into the White House linen closet, smoke a joint, and give them a pres­i­den­tial quickie? Lyndon John­son’s Texas roughrid­ing, or Nel­son Rock­e­feller’s too young girl­friends that did him in?

Bad as things are in the US, they are not much bet­ter in Europe. The fool­ish flight of racist Bri­tain from the Euro­pean Union (EU) has de­flated its out­ra­geously in­flated pound ster­ling and spread panic among fat cat bankers and prop­erty de­vel­op­ers. The last rags of Bri­tain’s im­pe­rial pre­ten­sions have been ripped away.

Things are so bad right now that the odi­ous Tony Blair, who se­duced the wife of his pa­tron, Ru­pert Mur­doch, is try­ing to slither back into po­lit­i­cal life.

In Ger­many, Europe’s bul­wark, the po­lit­i­cal ground is shak­ing. Chan­cel­lor An­gela Merkel has been a cau­tious, ca­pa­ble leader. Her coura­geous ad­mis­sion of 1.1 mil­lion Mid­dle East and Afghan refugees was the right thing to do morally but a po­lit­i­cal disas­ter for her cen­tre-right party.

In fact, Merkel’s long ten­ure in of­fice may be near­ing its end. Younger Ger­mans are tired of bland “Mama Merkel” and their na­tion’s kow­tow­ing to Wash­ing­ton. Ger­many re­mains in some ways the de­feated, oc­cu­pied na­tion of 1945.

Many Ger­mans call for stronger govern­ment ac­tion over the founder­ing Deutsche Bank. Lo­cated here in Frank­furt, this dummkopf bank has lost huge amounts of money and run onto the rocks due to un­con­strained greed and man­age­rial in­ep­ti­tude. Deutsche’s real prob­lem is that it tried to be like a ra­pa­cious Amer­i­can bank rather than like a con­ven­tional, con­ser­va­tive Ger­man bank. How could Ger­mans be so stupid?

The Ber­lin govern­ment will prob­a­bly have to res­cue Deutsche Bank some­time soon, or at least en­gi­neer a takeover. It does not help that the US may fine Deutsche up to US$14 bil­lion for ped­dling rot­ten real es­tate bonds in the US be­fore 2008. Or that the bank may be in hock for a stag­ger­ing US$46 bil­lion in mys­te­ri­ous de­riv­a­tives few un­der­stand. All this is pure casino cap­i­tal­ism. Maybe they should re­name the bank, Die Bank Trump!

Deutsche Bank’s col­lapse could bring a Lehmann Broth­ers-type panic to Europe’s al­ready deeply stressed fi­nan­cial sys­tem.

Ital­ian banks are in ter­ri­ble shape, up to their tortellini in bad debts. Their de­pos­i­tors are likely to be hard hit in any bail-out or bail-in. How­ever, the rule re­mains: save the banks first, then women and chil­dren.

Mean­while, across the Rhine, France’s po­lit­i­cal land­scape is shak­ing. The wretched Pres­i­dent Hol­land, who has the charisma of a wet crois­sant, is now the most un­pop­u­lar leader since Robe­spierre – maybe even more so.

Like the US Re­pub­li­can rats aban­don­ing their sink­ing elec­toral ship, France’s cen­treleft wants to ditch al­ba­tross Hol­land but can’t find any can­di­date pop­u­lar enough to re­place him.

Pres­i­den­tial elec­tions are due in April and May, 2017. The op­po­si­tion Repub­li­cans have a so-so can­di­date in Ni­cholas Sarkozy and a good one in Alain Juppé. Sarkozy is still un­der in­ves­ti­ga­tion for tak­ing cam­paign cash from Libya’s late Muam­mar Gaddafi – who was bumped off in what looks like a Frenchengi­neered mur­der.

Be­hind them looms the spec­tre of Na­tional Front Leader Marine le Pen. Her ef­fort to ditch the EU and Nato, kick out the Arabs, and adopt eco­nomic na­tion­al­ism makes her a French ver­sion of Trump. But she is a far more adept politi­cian and a gifted speaker.

Like Amer­ica’s Re­pub­li­can oli­garchy fac­ing Trump, France’s po­lit­i­cal elite trem­bles be­fore Le Pen. So does the rest of Europe as her rad­i­cal think­ing en­flames rightwing par­ties across the con­ti­nent. The Front Na­tional could re­place France’s ven­er­a­ble So­cial­ists as the na­tion’s sec­ond party and main op­po­si­tion.

Spain is in po­lit­i­cal paral­y­sis, un­able to elect a govern­ment. In Brus­sels, the EU is try­ing to re­shape its role af­ter Brexit and find a new “rai­son d’etre”. At least it will no longer put up with Bri­tish sab­o­tage. It’s what Trump would call “a disas­ter”.

Eric S. Mar­go­lis is an award-win­ning, in­ter­na­tion­ally syn­di­cated colum­nist, writ­ing mainly about the Mid­dle East and South Asia. Com­ments: letters@the­sundaily.com

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