Some 50 years ago, Newsweek used to be a well-respected US news magazine. I haven’t read it for years. But somehow or other Newsweek seems to have got hold of my email address, and started dropping potted news items in my inbox. The latest arrival included:
NATO Prepares for War With Russia With Simulated Naval and Cyber Attacks
by Cristina Maza
As tensions ratchet up between Russia and the West, NATO members are increasingly preparing for the worst.
In other news proffered by Newweek:
Why Does Hair Turn Gray? Scientists May Have Found a New Answer
Scientists Completely Stop Diet-related Obesity in Mice
Do they know what they’re talking about when they write so breezily about ‘war with Russia’? You’d think that NATO was a football team, engaged in exercises in preparation for some big match with Spartak Moscow, and the ‘worst’ that could happen would be a 3-0 defeat.
Are these people insane? War with Russia will mean the incineration of Europe, and of Britain as well. In what sense is that in any way comparable to diet-related obesity in mice, or the puzzle of why hair turns grey?
Maybe Newsweek thinks that diet-related obesity in mice is actually more important than war with Russia? After all, in the list of articles offered by Newsweek, the one about diet-related obesity in mice comes before the one about war with Russia.
If I’d been a Newsweek editor, I’d have kicked out all the other articles, and left just the one about war with Russia. And I’d have surrounded the story with a thick black mourning border, and invited accompanying opinion pieces from clerics and philosophers and generals, asking if it was something unavoidable.
I can’t think of a single reason why there should be war with Russia. Not one.
But I can think of one reason why NATO might want one. And it is that, after the demise of the Soviet Union, NATO was deprived of the enemy that justified its existence. NATO has been facing the awful possibility that it might be disbanded, and there’d be no more jobs for all the soldiers and sailors and airmen and generals and majors and captains, and no more lucrative contracts for guns and tanks and planes and rockets. War with Russia – or the danger of war with Russia – would put an end to any talk of disbanding NATO. And the NATO gravy train could roll on.
Does Donald Trump want war with Russia? I don’t think so. What Trump wants is international trade that benefits all participants. Trump is a businessman and entrepreneur, not an ideologue or a soldier.
But does what Trump wants or does not want matter very much? He’s a seemingly powerless US president who lives almost besieged in the White House. Half the country hates him, and so does the entire US mainstream media (which would include Newsweek), and so does most of the political class in Washington, Democrat and Republican. And John Kerry and Barack Obama and the Clintons seem to be conducting US foreign policy completely independently of him, and telling the world that Trump is an aberration that will shortly be rectified, and it will soon be business as usual with the Deep State back in charge, and kickbacks for everybody.
Trump inherited an administration which is thoroughly permeated with Obama and Clinton appointees in every area of government, and he doesn’t seem to have managed to remove or replace any of them. Obama has even set up his own alternative White House in Washington, where presumably he issues orders to all of his many appointees. And so, in a very real sense, Obama and Clinton and all the rest of them are still running America, despite the current occupant of the real White House. And they’re telling the world that they are still running America.
This must create enormous problems for elected politicians in every country in the world. Who’s running America? Is it Trump? Or is it Obama and Clinton and the Deep State? They’re having to curry favour with Trump at one moment, and then curry favour with Obama and Clinton and Kerry the next. They have to keep both channels open. They can’t afford to back the wrong side.
Trump can’t seem to get rid of the Deep State, but the Deep State can’t seem to get rid of Trump. How long can this civil war in the USA go on? And lots of people are calling it exactly that: a civil war.
My own guess is that if Trump can’t Build The Wall like he said he would, and if he can’t Drain The Swamp like he said he would, and do all the other things he said he’d do, then his base will drift away from him, and the Democrats will recapture the House and Senate, and he’ll be a one-term president who tried and failed to break the mould of US politics. He’ll be a tragic figure. And he already seems to have lost a few of his formerly avid supporters: e.g. Ann Coulter:
“The president needs to understand, unless he drops his bizarre and totally uncharacteristic desire to bring in people to do your job, the voters might just bring in someone else to do his.”
So I think Trump has got to defeat the Deep State in the next 6 months, or he’ll be lost. There’ll have to be indictments and trials of hundred of crooked political appointees. There’ll have to be a purge of US politics akin to one of Stalin’s purges in the Soviet Union, complete with long prison sentences in an American gulag.
If he wins, global politics will be transformed, and transformed for the better. If he loses, it’ll be back to business as usual, and endemic corruption and stasis and drift. It’ll be back to futile wars in Iraq and Syria and Libya and Afghanistan, largely conducted to keep the arms maufacturers in business.
Who’s going to win? I have no idea. But it will be decided one way or the other in the next 6 months, before the US mid-term elections in November. All 435 seats in the United States House of Representatives and 35 of the 100 seats in the United States Senate will be contested.