What do you see in place of something real? “He loved life, and he wanted to experience all of it.”
Public support depends on trust and openness. Citizens do not trust leaders who operate in secret, or who lie about what they have done.
The U. S. renounced its leadership of NATO seventeen years ago. After Trump’s extraordinary, two-year tirade against the alliance and its members, Macron wonders why we hang around.
Yet the big lie of 9/11, and the war in Iraq that followed, have a more immediate bearing: one not directly connected to generational conflicts, or left-right conflicts as we currently prosecute them. Big lies propagated to justify futile wars bring alienation – resentments far more unbridgeable, and grievances far more irreconcilable. Ultimately, these public deceptions will bring our republic to the ground.
You will not find Trump’s decoder ring, nor will you find evidence of a deep, traitorous plot. You can only look back with this president, not ahead. The view out the rear window may not be pleasant, but neither is it inconsistent. Trump likes and admires Putin.
Strong powers, secure in their leadership, do not have to fight wars. Rising powers pick their fights and win. Declining powers pick their fights, too, but victory escapes them.
The same contagion affects North Africa and the Middle East now. Journalists looked at the spreading fire seven years ago, and optimistically called it the Arab Spring. You don’t hear that term, or any other hopeful description now.
Wartime dishonesty and deception, however, carry potential for harm beyond any other kind of lie a political leader might tell. Fifteen years after President Bush led the United States to smash Saddam Hussein and his state, we ought to remember where he brought us.
That’s what America First means now. It means America Last. We not only relinquish our leadership, we now aspire to descend into our own shithole of ignominy, incivility, thoughtlessness, and weakness. Thank you, Donald Trump, for your service. You say you want to make America great again. Just like you are.
Play the position on the board. Find the best move. If you lose the current game, you can set up the pieces and play again. Many players have won when they thought they might lose, if they just find the best move at each turn.
The language and spirit are Snowden’s, so I’ll pretend Snowden wrote it, even though the presentation came from Canada’s Communications Security Establishment.
If you have read Revolution in the Air, or a couple of related posts on Gene Sharp’s From Dictatorship to Democracy, you know that I agree with Sharp’s ideas about how to resist dictatorships in order to replace them with democratic forms of governance.