The Emperor Got What He Craved, But Will End Up With Nothing. As For America . . .
There is a tendency abroad in the land to long for the “good old days” when ruminating over the manifold abominations that Emperor Donald has visited on the realm known as the United States of America.
My advice to you, offered free of charge but for a limited time only, is that you need to wake the freak up. Washington and the labyrinthine system of politics from which policy and power flows has been broken since forever, and even if you do find yourself feeling strangely nostalgic for Dubya, all that Trump and his merry band of traitors have done is take the breakage and assemble a carrion crow out of a bald eagle.
And while Trump’s decision to withdraw from the 195-nation climate accord was a big fat gift to Beijing as it rushes to fill the global leadership vacuum he has singlehandedly created, the so-called Western Order has been in little better shape than Washington.
Yes, that American-European partnership vanquished the Soviet Union (which was on the verge of collapse anyway) and did a lot of really good stuff. You are entitled to get all warm and fuzzy over NATO, the EU and EEC and love the heck out of our British, French and German compatriots even if they do misbehave once in a while.
But the last time I checked, there were nasty conflicts in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Democratic Republic of Congo, Turkey, Yemen and a few other places that have spawned an unparalleled humanitarian catastrophe that we and our allies have done bupkis about.
There is no question that Emperor Donald will be devoured by his own greed and avarice. The Russia scandal conflagration notwithstanding, it may just take a little longer than we’d like.
Historian Rebecca Solnit, in noting that Trump’s grasp far exceeds his understanding, marvelously recalls Pushkin’s telling of the old fairytale of The Fisherman and the Golden Fish. The fit between the protagonist of the fairytale and the protagonist in the Oval Office is not seamless, but the larger point is that while Trump has finally gotten what he wished for, it is a Dorian Gray-like illusion and he eventually will devour himself:
After being caught in the old fisherman’s net, the golden fish speaks up and offers wishes in return for being thrown back in the sea. The fisherman asks him for nothing, though he later tells his wife of his chance encounter with the magical creature. The fisherman’s wife sends him back to ask for a new washtub for her, and then a second time to ask for a cottage to replace her hovel, and the wishes are granted, and then as she grows prouder and greedier, she sends him to ask that she become a wealthy person in a mansion with servants she abuses, and then sends her husband back.
. . . Finally, she wishes to be supreme over the seas and over the fish itself, endlessly uttering wishes, and the old man goes back to the sea to tell the fish — to complain to the fish — of this latest round of wishes. The fish this time doesn’t even speak, just flashes its tale, and the old man turns around to see on the shore the wife with her broken washtub at their old hovel.
The contemporary moral of the fairytale is that overreach is perilous. Enough is enough. And too much is nothing, even for an emperor.
One key to the duration of the emperor’s reign may well be Ivanka Trump, daughter and adviser, Chinese copyright hoglet and push-up bra entrepreneur extraordinaire.
With hubby Jared Kushner on the firing line for his culpability cum stupidity in the Russia scandal, Ivanka is learning to her chagrin that the tinkle of champagne glasses back in Manhattan is preferable to the tinkle of leaks in the tawdry outpost of Washington. And that a ringside seat in a cushy designer-decorated West Wing office where she can watch her emperor-father poison America and the world has drawbacks.
Trump, who is so concerned about the crises engulfing his presidency and the latest London terrorist attack that he made his 23rd trip to a golf course last weekend in the 19 weeks since his inauguration, would of course throw over his own family to save his fat ass. Meanwhile, master Kushner is merely following in the footsteps of his father Charles, who did federal prison time for witness tampering, among other charges, and once hired a prostitute to lure his own brother to a motel room where they were videotaped in a bizarre revenge scheme.
I believe that Ivanka may say “enough is enough” about the time investigators begin squeezing the wee testicles of her beloved Jared, and tails tucked, back to New York they will go. That would be a crushing blow to the emperor.
Another key to the duration of the emperor’s reign may well depend upon what former FBI Director James Comey says when he treks up to Capitol Hill on Thursday.
We know the backstory to Trump’s summary firing of Comey, which had the unintended but welcomely perverse effect of unleashing on him the one man in the realm who is perhaps capable of single-handedly taking him down. That would be Robert S. Mueller III. We know the backstory because the ever preening Trump couldn’t keep his pie hole shut, as always, and was candid about why Comey had to go, after the obligatory multiple story changes, as always, and with Comey gone so went any chance of him invoking emperor privilege to block Comey’s testimony.
As the emperor told those nice Russian fellas on their intelligence-gathering visit to his throne room last month, the FBI’s scandal investigation was getting a little too close for comfort and was impeding his relations with the Kremlin, with whom his cooperation in its successful election meddling scheme becomes more apparent with every new tinkle . . . er, leak. The emperor then made things even worse for himself by telling his subjects in one of his nocturnal tweet storms that he could blackmail Comey if the former G-Man gets blab happy because of secret tapes he apparently had of their conversations.
But getting blabby is exactly what Comey will do when he sits down before the Senate Intelligence Committee and describes, in consulting the unimpeachable (pun intended) field notes he has kept, how the emperor took him down as he is taking all of us down.
The emperor has the realm known as the United States of America in retreat and its citizenry living in fear because of his craziness, but he believes to the depths of his narcissistic soul that he’s doing us a big favor by thumbing his nose at treaties, conventions, sovereignties and traditions in making more of a mockery of his America First motto with every passing day. And O.J. is still looking for the real killer.
The question then is not whether this retreat will continue, because it surely will. The question is when the golden fish will turn the emperor into the wife with the washtub back at her old hovel. It is only then that we will begin to be emancipated from our nightmare.