Having read Andrew J. Bacevich’s ‘Washington Rules: America’s Path to Permanent War’ , it is very likely that his ‘America’s War for the Greater Middle East: A Military History’ will be perused in the not too distant future, even if, as is invariably the case with follow-up books like this, it might be expected that the author’s theses will be repeated.
It is a theses that is both pertinent and admirable and in ‘Washington Rules’ Bacevich goes a long way in showing how American foreign policy has been accompanied by illegal coups, illegal wars, murders and mass murders. That, however, is why it is difficult to see the exact point he is making when commenting elsewhere on the advent of Donald Trump. Indeed, a healthy scepticism is required when describing the coming of this particular buffoon as anything more than a farce.
Anyway, in his article ‘How We Got Here’ Mr Bacevich appears to lament that with Trump becoming President “there is no vision to which Americans collectively adhere”, although, when we consider the extent of Washington’s criminal activity, a criminal activity which allowed Americans the luxury of that vision, and which Bacevich himself, as mentioned above, documents admirably, it really might be worth asking, has anything, apart from it all being so out in the open with Trump, really changed?
The answer might be no along with the conclusion that those liberal values, which Americans did, and do share and which are at the basis of that shared vision, in turn prepared a contributing role in the United States’ imposing the Washington Consensus. With Bacevich admirably exposing that for the crime it indeed was, his not linking the two is a slight disappointment.
Trump, however, does represent a change of sorts and that is not because of the spectacle of a man who is about to be the President of the United States responding to an actress’s criticism with a very personal and public attack, or the fact that he appoints his son-in-law as senior advisor. No, beyond the farce, Trump and the conflict between capitalist factions represent a danger for all of us, and not only for the downtrodden of this planet, which means that in a conflict which will engulf all of us. there will be very little room for those shared and to a large extent myopic values Americans held and hold.
Yes, Trump is an overgrown child and he is liable to throw public tantrums, but without Obama’s guile, or Hillary’s sanctimonious hypocritical hyperbole, he just might be easier to deal with. In dealing with him there should be a new shared vision and that vision should be one that sees not only emperor with no clothes, but also reveals the naked crimes of an economic and political system which can no longer hide behind its wall of lies.