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Andrew Bacevich: "There Will be Hell to Pay"
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In an age of billionaires, whether the voters who elected him thought that he was the one who could do what was needed in the nation’s capital or were just giving the finger to Washington, the effect was, as Donald Trump might say, of “historic significance.” His golf courses, hotels, properties of every sort are thriving and the money from them pouring into his family’s coffers. His Mar-a-Lago club doubled its membership fee after he was elected; the new Trump hotel in Washington has become a notorious hotspot for foreign diplomats eager to curry favor with the administration; and so it goes in the new America. Already three lawsuits have been filed — by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (a watchdog outfit), the attorneys general of Maryland and Washington D.C., and 200 Democratic congressional representatives — challenging the president for breaching the emoluments clause of the Constitution. Investigations of presidential obstruction of justice and possibly even abuse of power are evidently underway (to the accompaniment of voluminous tweets by you know who), and the president has been lawyering up bigly, as has Vice President Pence and just about everyone else in sight, including the president’s personal lawyer who now has a lawyer of his own. President Trump has, in fact, been filling in his roster of personal lawyers far more effectively than he’s been able to fill basic posts in his government.

And speaking of historic significance, around him is the richest crew ever to serve in a cabinet, the sort of plutocratic A-team that gives government of, by, and for the 1% genuine meaning. Now tell me, if this isn’t a classic only-in-America story, what is? Okay, maybe it’s not classic classic, not unless you go back to the Gilded Age of the nineteenth century. It’s certainly not the version of American promise that was in the high-school history books of my youth, but if it isn’t the twenty-first-century version of the American story, then what is? In a land that’s released so much plutocratic money into politics that it’s buried Washington in Koch brothers dollars, in a country where inequality has in recent years hit historic highs, Donald Trump seems to have been our own El Dorado (or perhaps El Mar-a-Lago). He’s the destination toward which this country has evidently been traveling since, in 1991, the Soviet Union imploded and the United States, in all its triumphalist glory, became the “sole superpower” on planet Earth.

ORDER IT NOW

If anything, Trump’s ascendancy should have been the equivalent of a klieg light illuminating our recent American journey. His rise to… well, whatever it is… has lit up the highway that brought us here in a new way and, in the spirit of his coming infrastructure program for America, it turns out to have been a private toll road that wound through a landscape of Potemkin villages en route to the Oval Office. One thing’s for sure: wherever we’ve landed, it certainly isn’t where the “end of history” crowd of the last years of the previous century thought we’d be when the historians finally stopped typing and “liberal Democracy” reigned supreme. With that in mind, join Andrew Bacevich, TomDispatch regular and author of America’s War for the Greater Middle East, in considering just how, at this moment, historians should start reimagining our American age amid the rubble of our previous versions of history.

(Republished from TomDispatch by permission of author or representative)
 
• Category: Ideology • Tags: Donald Trump, TomDispatch Archives 
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  1. Sean says:

    The investigation is into corrupt motives, not obstruction, which everyone including Comey acknowledges Trump cannot commit by simple exercise of his constitutional authority to tell the FBI who to investigate or not. Trump did not commit any crime by that, and unless he did something illegal we don’t know about, there is no case against him.

    The author seems to be well acquainted with the just question the motives and evidence of a crime isn’t needed ploy. In this piece Trump’s motives are presumed corrupt simply because he is a successful businessman (and perhaps because he is a Republican). As far as i can see it, no argument is being brought forward in this piece, beyond adducing Trumps wealth.

    Apparently coming as a shock to the author (and he assumes–the rest of us) American promise meliorism is wrong, and this crazy old world of venal politicians will go on much as before. Good thing too. Some of us don’t want to be closing on the end of history, because it will be the end of humanity, literally.

    Read More
    • Replies: @El Dato
    Well, the "end of history" was a fever dream of neocon Francis Fukyama, In the linked-to Wikipedia page, we read:

    Fukuyama is best known as the author of The End of History and the Last Man, in which he argued that the progression of human history as a struggle between ideologies is largely at an end, with the world settling on liberal democracy after the end of the Cold War and the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989. Fukuyama predicted the eventual global triumph of political and economic liberalism... Authors like Ralf Dahrendorf argued in 1990 that the essay gave Fukuyama his 15 minutes of fame, which will be followed by a slide into obscurity.
     
    You need to continue reading the linked-to-article by Andrew Bacevich, "Kissing the Specious Present Goodbye" which concludes thusly:

    Still, history itself works in mysterious ways known only to God or to Providence. Only after the fact do its purposes become evident. It may yet surprise us.

    Owing his election in large part to my fellow WHAMs, Donald Trump is now expected to repay that support by putting things right. Yet as events make it apparent that Trump is no more able to run a government than Bill O’Reilly is able to write history, they may well decide that he is not their friend after all. With that, their patience is likely to run short. It is hardly implausible that Trump’s assigned role in history will be once and for all to ring down the curtain on our specious present, demonstrating definitively just how bankrupt all the triumphalist hokum of the past quarter-century — the history that served “for the time being” — has become.

    When that happens, when promises of American greatness restored prove empty, there will be hell to pay. Joe Doakes, John Q. Public, and the man in the street will be even more pissed. Should that moment arrive, historians would do well to listen seriously to what Everyman has to say.
     
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  2. El Dato says:
    @Sean
    The investigation is into corrupt motives, not obstruction, which everyone including Comey acknowledges Trump cannot commit by simple exercise of his constitutional authority to tell the FBI who to investigate or not. Trump did not commit any crime by that, and unless he did something illegal we don't know about, there is no case against him.

    The author seems to be well acquainted with the just question the motives and evidence of a crime isn't needed ploy. In this piece Trump's motives are presumed corrupt simply because he is a successful businessman (and perhaps because he is a Republican). As far as i can see it, no argument is being brought forward in this piece, beyond adducing Trumps wealth.

    Apparently coming as a shock to the author (and he assumes--the rest of us) American promise meliorism is wrong, and this crazy old world of venal politicians will go on much as before. Good thing too. Some of us don't want to be closing on the end of history, because it will be the end of humanity, literally.

    Well, the “end of history” was a fever dream of neocon Francis Fukyama, In the linked-to Wikipedia page, we read:

    Fukuyama is best known as the author of The End of History and the Last Man, in which he argued that the progression of human history as a struggle between ideologies is largely at an end, with the world settling on liberal democracy after the end of the Cold War and the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989. Fukuyama predicted the eventual global triumph of political and economic liberalism… Authors like Ralf Dahrendorf argued in 1990 that the essay gave Fukuyama his 15 minutes of fame, which will be followed by a slide into obscurity.

    You need to continue reading the linked-to-article by Andrew Bacevich, “Kissing the Specious Present Goodbye” which concludes thusly:

    Still, history itself works in mysterious ways known only to God or to Providence. Only after the fact do its purposes become evident. It may yet surprise us.

    Owing his election in large part to my fellow WHAMs, Donald Trump is now expected to repay that support by putting things right. Yet as events make it apparent that Trump is no more able to run a government than Bill O’Reilly is able to write history, they may well decide that he is not their friend after all. With that, their patience is likely to run short. It is hardly implausible that Trump’s assigned role in history will be once and for all to ring down the curtain on our specious present, demonstrating definitively just how bankrupt all the triumphalist hokum of the past quarter-century — the history that served “for the time being” — has become.

    When that happens, when promises of American greatness restored prove empty, there will be hell to pay. Joe Doakes, John Q. Public, and the man in the street will be even more pissed. Should that moment arrive, historians would do well to listen seriously to what Everyman has to say.

    Agreement factor 85%.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Sean
    I think history shows the rule 0f everyman results in far more aggressive war than establishment rule. The establishment are satisfied and avoid risky courses of action. Bacevich thinks the establishment responsible for America's wars.

    John Q. Public will not accept the fate of America is to have him pauperised , to change that destiny military pressure will be required (always lead with your strong suite). China is going to have to be stopped; the coming everyman-democracy will demand it
  3. jim jones says:

    Scott Adams had a great strip about this very subject. You can all read it while I go back to watching my neighbour cutting down a very large tree:

    http://dilbert.com/strip/2017-06-21

    Read More
  4. Always amusing when someone who thinks he knows “stuff” says the USSR imploded. The USSR was dismantled from within by Mikhail Gorbachev, a member at the time of the Rockefeller-owned Tri-lateral commission, and Eduard Schevardnaze. The purpose of this dismantling was of course to make Russia and eastern Europe rife for plunder by western banks and oligarchs. And that’s exactly what happened.

    Read More
  5. Sean says:
    @El Dato
    Well, the "end of history" was a fever dream of neocon Francis Fukyama, In the linked-to Wikipedia page, we read:

    Fukuyama is best known as the author of The End of History and the Last Man, in which he argued that the progression of human history as a struggle between ideologies is largely at an end, with the world settling on liberal democracy after the end of the Cold War and the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989. Fukuyama predicted the eventual global triumph of political and economic liberalism... Authors like Ralf Dahrendorf argued in 1990 that the essay gave Fukuyama his 15 minutes of fame, which will be followed by a slide into obscurity.
     
    You need to continue reading the linked-to-article by Andrew Bacevich, "Kissing the Specious Present Goodbye" which concludes thusly:

    Still, history itself works in mysterious ways known only to God or to Providence. Only after the fact do its purposes become evident. It may yet surprise us.

    Owing his election in large part to my fellow WHAMs, Donald Trump is now expected to repay that support by putting things right. Yet as events make it apparent that Trump is no more able to run a government than Bill O’Reilly is able to write history, they may well decide that he is not their friend after all. With that, their patience is likely to run short. It is hardly implausible that Trump’s assigned role in history will be once and for all to ring down the curtain on our specious present, demonstrating definitively just how bankrupt all the triumphalist hokum of the past quarter-century — the history that served “for the time being” — has become.

    When that happens, when promises of American greatness restored prove empty, there will be hell to pay. Joe Doakes, John Q. Public, and the man in the street will be even more pissed. Should that moment arrive, historians would do well to listen seriously to what Everyman has to say.
     
    Agreement factor 85%.

    I think history shows the rule 0f everyman results in far more aggressive war than establishment rule. The establishment are satisfied and avoid risky courses of action. Bacevich thinks the establishment responsible for America’s wars.

    John Q. Public will not accept the fate of America is to have him pauperised , to change that destiny military pressure will be required (always lead with your strong suite). China is going to have to be stopped; the coming everyman-democracy will demand it

    Read More
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