By Kumar David –
Boris To Donald As Sancho Panza To Don Quixote; Fruit-Cake Trump And Odd-Ball Johnson Make For An Eccentric Love-Fest
In recent months I have hedged my bets about Trump winning a second term in the 2020; my fudge formula has been “fifty-fifty”. The odds shifted in his favour in June and July and dipped again in early August. The acid test: Will a recession strike within the next 15 months, remains open; it will be the decider. The recent shift towards Trump is due to two initiatives: (a) hardening foreign policy (scuttling the Iran nuclear pact, trade-war with China, intimidating Canada and Mexico into abject capitulation and showing up Western Europe’s leaders as puppies with tails tucked deep between their legs); (b) throwing the gates of racism wide open in the US. Now he has been served a third relish; Boris Johnson (BJ) as British PM; this is precursor to a mad-hatter’s trans-Atlantic romp. Unwisely, many take these omens lightly. I don’t; it is my topic for the day.
Advocacy of complacency comes in three flavours. Trump is only passing wind in his racist splurge, it will blow away with no lasting reek; Europe will stiffen its backbone thanks to Emmanuel Macron and glucosamine-sulphate; Boris unlike Trump is not an intrinsic racist and, in any case, he will be gone in months. I have differences with the first two. Trump is intrinsically racist (there is not a non-racist organ in his body but one). Whipping up race-hate is an election ploy and for this reason it will be sustained till November 2020 by when the chanting mobs would have gained a momentum of their own. Sorcerers lose control of apprentices: SWRD, a retinue of African dictators and recently Modi. The “Send her Home” chant targets brown skins. Blacks have been in America for centuries, so his vituperation against Baltimore District (“rat infested”) leaves me speechless. American whites are not in the main racist, but borderline liberals won’t mind less stress in university admission-attainment for their offspring and less competition in small businesses, professions and moving up the ladder. If they leave America “voluntarily”, what the heck, it doesn’t do any harm, does it, eh? You see I am less sanguine than most, or more alarmist, or chillingly, more far-seeing.
There are other reasons for alarm when Trump and his Base whip up race-hate. A fortnight ago (21 July), quoting extensively from US political analysts I reflected their fear that Trump pines to be a dictator, a President-for-Life, abrogator of the two-term limit, and founder of a family dynasty via Ivanka. He has openly speculated on all counts. You can bet your and your children’s last dollar and dime that Republicans will not say ‘boo to this goose’. The GOP is no less a lickspittle stooge of Trump than Lanka’s MPs were of Rajapaksa. Trump has set out on a perilous journey; he will be stopped not by cowering Republicans or pussyfooting Asian immigrants but by the anger of radical and militant citizens at large. The fight to defeat racism in America is far from lost, actually it has yet to seriously joined; but let’s have no illusions, the outcome belongs to the future.
What if by fair means or foul Trump wins a second term? That’s alarming! He and his Base are hell-bent on rescinding term-limits as a president out of office is liable to criminal indictment. The Mueller Report and Congressional hearings were egg on the face of Democrats, but the point about indictment was clarified. Amending the constitution to remove term-limits requires 2/3 in both Houses of Congress and endorsed by 3/4 of the States. This calls for gigantic mobilisation. The only battle-cry that can deliver on this scale in the 21-st Century is lurid racism. Do not dismiss this as alarmism beyond reason and rationality. We live in a strange century my friend! Forget not Erdogan, Sisi, Duterte and African tinpot dictators who have or are planning to trash constitutions.
Let me meander along to foreign policy and Europe’s appeasement of Trump’s stark excesses. He violated (not withdrew) from the Iran nuclear pact, and to add injury to stark insult he is illegally inflicting misery on Iran’s people. All of Europe wails, wrings its hands and follows suit. Then the leaders take instructions from Washington, dare not defy the almighty dollar and fear America’s naval armada. Akin to Stalin’s complicity in the Ribbentrop-Molotov Pact, Putin and Xie will not lift a finger to ease the misery of the people of Iran or help market Iran’s oil. Hitler-history is repeating itself on a global not a European scale. EU leaders pontificate about “containing Iran” when the challenge is to contain the American ogre. There is no sign they will dare cross the ogre’s path, so forget it. Iran will be hung out to dry.
To say the world economy is intertwined by financial connexions, currency dependencies and global supply chains is to repeat the obvious. What is more to the point is how it is unravelling at the close of the second decade of the 21-st Century. The three big US economic glitches in order of significance are mounting and irreversible national debt prompted by rising fiscal deficit, an overdue recession, and a trade deficit which fruit-cake Trump is compounding by lashing out in trade wars. This piece cannot address all this except mention that US national debt now stands at a staggering $22 trillion (65% domestic, 35% foreign). I am working on a summary discussionwhich hopefully will see light in September about 21C capitalism under the hegemony by finance-capital. What my title obliges me to comment on here is how realities will push the Boris-Brexit-Trump-Trade storyline.
The so-called Special Relationship is wool over the eyes; there is nothing special; Americans are senior partners, Brits the serfs are the Sancho Panzas of the North Atlantic. One more concubine in the harem reclining beside France, Germany and Canada. It has been so from when Churchill had to submit to Eisenhower’s WW2 line, the Brits and French had to eat humble pie in 1956 after their Suez insanity, Blair bummed Bush in the invasion of Iraq, and now May and Boris carry the chamber-pot for Trump to deposit his Iran nuclear-deal crap.
The point of this moan is to say that Boris’ hope for grand economic support, compliments of Trump, if he is turfed out in a no-deal Brexit is illusory. He can’t back out of his 31 October promise of Brexit deal or no-deal, and the EU has given a firm no to reopening negotiations. Sorcerer Boris, and with him Britain will be dancing the gig come Halloween. Brexit is madness, no-deal Brexit is pluperfect madness. My hope is that a Tory defeat at Westminster will trigger fresh elections or a second referendum where Leave will be vanquished.
Apart from the economic blows Brexit will deliver to the UK, there is BJ’s sordid reputation which will dog his life as PM. Jeffrey Sachs, a professor at Columbia University and well-known author says “Johnson’s personal behaviour is similarly (to Trump’s) incontinent and he is a chronic liar. He has repeatedly been forced out of jobs for lying and other disreputable acts. He led the Brexit campaign in 2016 on claims that have been proven false. As Foreign Secretary he twice leaked secret intelligence. Like Trump he has high disapproval ratings among all age groups and his approval rating rises with voter age”. The Crisis of Anglo-American Democracy – Project Syndicate; Jul 25, 2019.
In the Washington Post of July 26 Maya Goodfellow (“Boris Johnson and his regressive Cabinet mean disaster for Britain”) has this to say: “An Eton-educated man whose career is a showreel of ineptitude and orchestrated blunder. This is how you might describe Boris Johnson. The people around him aren’t much better. Celebrated for being ‘diverse’, his picks for the country’s ‘Great Offices of State’ are united by their regressive views. Together, they represent the major problems in this country: an outdated class system, entrenched privilege and fixation on diversity over racial equality. They are the opposite of what Britain needs”.
BJ has been rebutted by an intransigent EU firm that the Irish Backstop is non-negotiable. The backstop is an arrangement by which a hard border between the EU and Northern Ireland (physically between Northern and Southern Ireland) is avoided. But it entails the rest of the UK being tied to a customs union with the EU. This neuters Brexit. BJ has vowed to ditch Backstop. But all the parties in N Ireland have said ‘in that case go to hell; we will bring down your government’. Scotland is equally adamant that it will leave the Union (UK). There is nothing the Americans can offer, Brexit means the end of the Union, no-deal Brexit will trigger a recession immediately. Unless I am blind to something BJ is finished. He knows this, so his government has taken its eye of Brussels and initiated an ambitious roadshow promising to spend hundreds of pounds that his government does not have on health, education, housing and all manner of goodies in Scotland and Northern Ireland. The electorate will fall for this bogus. It seems to me that the DJT-BJ love-fest has to end with each of them in their own small corner doing their own thing.
Last week (28 July) I sketched the road ahead for Hong Kong. I stand by every word. Though ominous, that analysis is proving by the day more prophetic than reems of Western scholarly crap and politically motivated and biased Western media splurge. Sorry that today is also a bit depressing.