The Unz Review - Mobile
A Collection of Interesting, Important, and Controversial Perspectives Largely Excluded from the American Mainstream Media
 Tom Engelhardt ArchiveBlogview
Michael Klare: A "China First" and "Russia Second" Foreign Policy?
Email This Page to Someone

 Remember My Information

Search Text Case Sensitive  Exact Words  Include Comments

In April 2016, with Donald Trump showing remarkable staying power in the presidential campaign, I started thinking about the slogan adorning his product line, the one that he had tried to trademark as early as November 2012 (only days after Mitt Romney lost the presidency), the one that became a crucial punch line at his rallies (along with, of course, the Wall and who would pay for it), and that now is at the heart of his presidency: “Make America Great Again.” I wrote then: “With that ‘again,’ Donald Trump crossed a line in American politics that… represented a kind of psychological taboo for politicians of any stripe, of either party, including presidents and potential candidates for that position.” Until Trump, in this tarnished, already aging “new” century of ours, politicians all had to swear fealty to this country as the greatest, most exceptional, most indispensable nation ever and to its fighting forces as the “finest” in history. If there were mantras for the post-9/11 years, those were them, until Donald Trump chucked them all out the nearest window, making himself (though few noted it) the first declinist candidate in — why not stick with hyperbole since it’s The Donald! — our history.

Now, let me quote myself one more time. In October 2016, as the election campaign ground toward its end, I wrote that “a significant part of the white working class,” feeling backed against some wall, seemed ready to send a “literal loose cannon” into the White House. I suspected that they were willing “to take a chance on the roof collapsing, even if it collapses on them.” And I concluded: “The Donald represents, as a friend of mine likes to say, the suicide bomber in us all. And voting for him, among other things, will be an act of nihilism, a mood that fits well with imperial decline.”

Of course, the candidate who pounded the declinist key all those months has occupied the Oval Office and, three and a half weeks in, it’s already clear enough that the situation has “this can’t end well” written all over it. Of course, as with all great imperial powers, this, too, must end. In a sense, you could even say that the U.S. has been on the decline since it emerged from World War II wealthy beyond compare and untouched in a world largely in rubble. Or you could say that, of the two great superpowers of the Cold War, the Soviet Union imploded in 1991 in what seemed like seconds, while the United States, so much wealthier and more powerful, began edging toward the exit ramp wreathed in a sense of triumphalism and proudly proclaiming itself the “sole superpower” of planet Earth.


Now, it looks like a man has been elevated to the White House who truly is a suicide bomber. The question isn’t whether he’ll explode; it’s just who, what, or how much he’ll take down with him in the process. So call this officially the American age of decline and check out TomDispatch regular Michael Klare, who has been watching the initial moments of the Trump era closely, and offers his own unique perspective on what an “America First” president actually has to offer, geopolitically speaking.

(Republished from TomDispatch by permission of author or representative)
• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: Donald Trump, TomDispatch Archives 
  1. stfu MK – nothing you say or ponder has anything to do with present or future realities.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Astuteobservor II
    FYI, unz is a very open place. we don't tell others to stfu.
    These buttons register your public Agreement, Disagreement, Troll, or LOL with the selected comment. They are ONLY available to recent, frequent commenters who have saved their Name+Email using the 'Remember My Information' checkbox, and may also ONLY be used once per hour.
    Sharing Comment via Twitter
    More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  2. @there you go again
    stfu MK - nothing you say or ponder has anything to do with present or future realities.

    FYI, unz is a very open place. we don’t tell others to stfu.

    Read More
    • Replies: @aninymous
    Sure we do. That's part of the openness. No one listens, though.
  3. aninymous says:
    @Astuteobservor II
    FYI, unz is a very open place. we don't tell others to stfu.

    Sure we do. That’s part of the openness. No one listens, though.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Astuteobservor II
    if you need your safe space, I don't think this is it :)
  4. @aninymous
    Sure we do. That's part of the openness. No one listens, though.

    if you need your safe space, I don’t think this is it :)

    Read More
  5. Vendetta says:

    Amusing rant from the neoliberal hack. I thought TomDispatch usually published “truth to power” leftist populist stuff. But I suppose anything anti-Trump gets airtime now, no matter how antithetical it is to the values you yourself uphold.

    “Trump is an imperialist! Bad!”

    “Trump is not imperialist enough! Bad!”

    Blatant concern trolling from Michael Klare anyways. “Make America Great Again” was about bringing prosperity back to the American people and turning America into a nation that produces things again, not about lording it over the Ukraine and Indochina to spite Russia and China in their own backyards.

    We knew exactly what we wanted from him and amazingly enough, Trump seems to be trying to deliver on it.

    Read More
Current Commenter says:

Leave a Reply - Comments on articles more than two weeks old will be judged much more strictly on quality and tone

 Remember My InformationWhy?
 Email Replies to my Comment
Submitted comments become the property of The Unz Review and may be republished elsewhere at the sole discretion of the latter
Subscribe to This Comment Thread via RSS Subscribe to All Tom Engelhardt Comments via RSS
Personal Classics
Eight Exceptional(ly Dumb) American Achievements of the Twenty-First Century
How the Security State’s Mania for Secrecy Will Create You
Delusional Thinking in the Age of the Single Superpower