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Alienating Europe was a tragic error because Europe will drift closer to Russia and China. America needs world class Diplomacy for any new Pax Americana. Tillerson looks sane by comparison to others but he’s an oil CEO. We have a crisis of missing experienced hands at the diplomatic side. The State Department could use a lot more support and funding. North Korea is easily pacified with the double freeze plan. Mr. Trump can channel his patriotic energies in not sinking the damn ship.

In Washington’s first test in Diplomacy in war between England and France he chose neutrality which was the best decision. Imagine being in the time and the compulsion to choose sides in a war between the powers of the day. Neutrality was the right choice. The right choice is always neutrality for a grander perspective. I don’t think anything has changed. George Washington was the greatest American President. I wish every American President could rise to his level. At this moment in America’s history and world position, America needs to have 3x increase in Diplomatic Power rather than military power. The State Department is the most important cabinet position for this rather than Defense Department. With $700 billion investment in Diplomacy America would literally be able to compel the world towards peace and prosperity. Maybe where America went wrong is not rebalancing the budget towards diplomacy after the Second World War. Diplomacy is a far more potent organ of America than military force. Ruling the world by force is not possible for long. Being the leader for a free and prosperous world requires more sophisticated Diplomatic tools.

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Addressing President Donald Trump’s America First Speech to the UN General Assembly, Economist writes:

In fact the post-war American strategy was a bet on promoting closer integration in war-ravaged Europe. That war was seen as a tragic defeat for humanity, as well as a victory for the allies. Mr Trump did not quote a section of Truman’s special message to Congress on the Marshall Plan, delivered in December 1947, explicitly defending American aid as buttressing the decision by 16 European countries to “break away from the self-defeating actions of narrow nationalism.”

This misreading of history matters. For to be clear, even the more constructive Mr Trump on show at the General Assembly marks a break with decades of post-war American policy. Perhaps he sincerely believes that the lesson of 1945 is that nationalism is a force for peace, because it is the only form of social compact that makes citizens feel heeded and protected by their rulers. Perhaps he does not really care very much about history, and is mostly interested in the domestic political forces that propelled him to improbable victory in 2016. America First populism spoke to unhappy voters and won Mr Trump the White House. And because that election victory is Mr Trump’s proudest achievement, he may be inclined to believe that the world would be a generally better place if other leaders follow his lead.

Alas, even that is ascribing too much coherence to the worldview outlined by Mr Trump at the UN. Where it suited him, he sounded like a traditional Republican president, as when he scolded the Iranians for locking up political opponents or censoring the internet. At one point Mr Trump rebuked the leftist regime in Venezuela, calling it an example of the misery and failure that socialism always brings, and promising “further action” if the government there headed further down the path to authoritarian rule. There was scattered applause, possibly because those in the room had heard his warm words for Saudi Arabia, and had heard no criticisms at all for the strongmen that Mr Trump admires in such countries as Russia, Egypt or the Philippines.

One of the oddest passages in Mr Trump’s speech attempted to synthesise nationalism with respect for universal values. As he moved from a call to slap sanctions on Venezuela to a reminder that his government distrusts multilateral trade pacts, he offered the following credo. “America stands with every person living under a brutal regime,” he declared, ringingly. “Our respect for sovereignty is also a call for action. All people deserve a government that cares for their safety, their interests and their wellbeing, including their prosperity.” How does that resolve tensions between sovereignty and universal values? Who, under Mr Trump’s doctrine, gets to decide whether governments are brutal, or giving their people the lives that they deserve? His speech left that unclear. In essence Mr Trump described a world order in which the good battle the bad out of patriotic self-interest, with all other details left blank. That works better as the plot of an action film than as a national security strategy.

 

I agree with the above analysis but will add that the relation between universal values and American greatness are intertwined in the following contradictory manner.  Narrow nationalism is anathema to America’s greatness which lies with the universal values of man yearning for Liberty and Justice. When reduced to narrow nationalism without the universality it degenerates into tribal ritual. Athens becomes Sparta. Republic becomes Empire. Bad things happen. Pomp and ostentation cloaks rot. The great is in recognizing that the plight of man and mystery of imprisonment is universal. The idea of making America great again by narrow self-interested nationalism is pure oxymoron.

UNIVERSAL VALUES determine America’s greatness which is subtle business because the moment American patriotism attempt to reduce the universal values at the core of America’s greatness to narrow nationalism, the reduction immediately devalues it. To be a great American is to continuously adapt to the universal values to the condition of the world. There is something tremendously wrong with a narrow nationalist great America. The last great hope of man of Reagan are contained in the foundational universal values of ‘we the people’ of American independence which had within its declaration the echo of the entire human race. The specific implementation had its undulations but the immigration and generations of assimilation could only happen because of the universality at the core of America’s foundations. Trump’s various attempts to contain these and attribute America’s greatness to specific groups of preferred ‘real Americans’ is a mockery of America’s greatness.

 

 

Zulf Ahmed The US dollar will remain the global reserve for a long time still to come. American economy is still the dominant economy with $18.5 trillion and China does not want the burden of the global reserve currency. The euro is a fallback. The BRICS forseSee More

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Michael J. Petro
Michael J. Petro Bureaucracy will trope towards the dominant currency. It follows, it does not lead.

As Iraq and Libya demonstrate, it is only the U.S. military and its allies that prop the dollar, and “allies” is becoming a relative term. The populations are more awake to the look-over-there excuses for war – increasingly the root motivations are available for timely scrutiny.

Hate money.

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Zulf Ahmed
Zulf Ahmed Money is nothing more or less than abstraction of trade value in goods. It becomes a problem when the world is run by merchant slavers and everyone is a slave whose value is not many dollars where money is God and merchants are Emperors. Then you have severe uprisings of people against this in the wrong direction of return to tribalism but this is a dead end too. Now the new fad is nationalism and that is a dead end too. It’s a maze of the mind from which there is some escape but that escape is difficult to determine with 100% confidence. This is the beacon of Liberty and Justice and the answer to the mystery of imprisonment but it is covered in layers of mud which ironically included nationalism in my view.

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Joel Fojas Mariano
Joel Fojas Mariano War with the Chinese would mean nuclear annihilation if the US wants to win–but to think nuclear war is winnable…, is another level of greed-based stupidity.

There are more male soldiers than all the men, women, and children of the US. So they areSee More

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Zulf Ahmed
Zulf Ahmed War with Iran-Russia is being contemplated, not China. China will not get involved. The right thing for American interests — real American interests — would be to force an Israel-Iran peace deal and wash hands off the regional conflicts and form a consortium of Muslim countries to negotiate Sunni-Shia strife instead of pushing for destroying Iran but I don’t think that can happen so long as America is seduced by the Zionist right in foreign policy. War with China is a possibility if America destroys North Korea but then Europe is guaranteed to abandon the US. The idea might be to strengthen Japan and South Korea against China. It is unclear to me whether this can go anywhere. America’s traditional allies did not get a warm fuzzy feeling about American steady hand for obvious reasons such as a crazy new economic nationalist policy popping out of the nineteenth century disrupting the Atlantic treaty and efforts to kill the nuclear deal with Iran which the world thinks was a good deal.

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Michael J. Petro
Michael J. Petro Zulf Ahmed – Can’t disagree with much that you said there, but it seems a bit of a non-sequitur as regards to the subject of currency.

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Zulf Ahmed
Zulf Ahmed Currency is determined by global power. The two are completely tied. If China is the global power, we will be buying bread in yuan.

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Joel Fojas Mariano
Joel Fojas Mariano Yeah, I think the sable-rattling with North Korea is just an excuse to beef up South Korea with more missiles aimed at China.

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Michael J. Petro
Michael J. Petro Alright, I’ll give you that – you segued quite nicely out of the non-sequitur accusation. Cheers.
Michael J. Petro
Michael J. Petro Joel Fojas Mariano – You think Trump’s saber-rattling has some sort of strategic motivation? Um, no. He’s just doing his reptile-brain thing. He thinks he’s going to get DPRK voted off of the island, or… something.
Joel Fojas Mariano
Joel Fojas Mariano People are so fooled by a bunch of easily sunburned Zionist descendants of Russian and European converts to Judaism.

They are mostly not of the dark skinned Semite Hebrews genetically the same tribe as the Palestinians.

To think that light-skinned Zionists are the same Biblical Hebrews is serious brainwash of the Christians. The people who are descended from desert dwellers of the Levant are the Natives there.

Michael J. Petro
Michael J. Petro I don’t grok the relevance of all this genealogy shit, except as it affects those who are obsessed with genealogy shit. I have a different reference point from which I begin considering situations.
Joel Fojas Mariano
Joel Fojas Mariano Michael J. Petro, Trump is just a reality show buffoon–probably akin to JP Morgan as a mere lieutenant of the Banksters who probably bailed him out the f his numerous bankruptcies.
Michael J. Petro
Michael J. Petro Joel Fojas Mariano Heh – more likely cut off his credit line. Hence, the Russians. 😀
Zulf Ahmed
Zulf Ahmed The geneology does not matter at all but national interests do. I hold the controversial view that Israeli national interests are the fundamental reasons for the Middle East wars by America and that in fact Israel actively engineered 9/11 to make this America’s foreign policy after the fall of Soviet Union gave an opening for a new policy. America was the global hegemon. If you take out all engagement in the region, the obvious actual rival was China all along and the ME detour took the winds out of America to prepare for hegemonic competition in a thousand ways. Now this will be actually tougher for many reasons not least totally unnecessary quagmire that emptied blood and treasure. China is an old empire and have expanded in Africa and Asia by infrastructure development and other less bellicose manner. Russia has decided to come back to seek an oil monopoly and have an easy time in Tel Aviv, Riyad, Tehran, etc. while America got stuck in an endless resource-draining Crusades.

Here is Trump’s first UN General Assembly speech.
America will not remain the pre-eminent MILITARY power in the world in my estimate for more than 20 more years. This is because China-Russia military technology is already on par with American (and European) and can exceed capacity of American military at a cheaper cost. The threat to destroy North Korea and Iran by military action is fundamentally shortsighted and will not improve security conditions. The right long-term reaction has to be to put aside ideological hard lines and fund higher education for all Americans regardless of job-specific skills and prepare a higher quality work force that can compete and strengthen America as a world power beyond 20 years. Western European countries have no difficulty with ideological lines against socialism and capitalism and have prospered in much more uniform increase in standard of livings while America has had an imbalance toward military and is falling behind. Doubling down on military world domination and destroying countries is not a solution to maintaining economic hegemony. Trump’s speech at the UN was ultimately an invitation to the breakdown of the world order and turning the entire world against America’s interests because besides a lot of ideological platitudes the targeting of Iran, Venezuela, Syria and North Korea were understood as the main concrete issues. Peace and prosperity are just words if the explicit plan are destruction of Iran and North Korea and destabilization of Venezuela. Anyone who speaks about ‘total destruction of North Korea’ in a speech peppered with peace and prosperity cannot be looked upon as a serious world leader. American foreign policy is erratic at best and menacing for the world order. It’s shameful for American President representing the country that formed the United Nations to protect peace and stability in the postwar order to talk about ‘totally destroying’ any country in his first public speech. Trump’s speech shows explicitly not only that American world power is in decline but that American leadership is unable, incapable, unwilling, incompetent to see the path to a stable world order where America can expand its global influence and power while benefitting the world. Trump is not speaking in a vacuum. The West-East power balance is tilting toward the East for a long time. Aggressive military assertion is not the best way to ensure American hegemony and the well being of American people. It’s a suicidal path. Ultra-nationalist tendencies coloured by right wing Zionism is what led America to costly disastrous wars and created the radical Islamist tendencies that cause problems in the first place. Aggressive militarism at the expense of taking care of American people’s ability to reach higher levels of achievement in technology, science, higher skill intellectual work which requires commitment from the government and emphasizing nationalist uprisings seems opposite of what America needs. America is the most powerful economy and military in the world. Nativism does not suit its best interests. Trump’s fundamental base have an education level that does not cross university. Trump should be ashamed of pushing them toward nationalist ra-ra-ing rather than helping them advance in education and higher skilled jobs.

The greatest thinker in my pantheon on character and morals is Emerson.  It is not difficult to show that in comparison to the ideal character, say the character of George Washington, that of Donald Trump is deficient in a thousand ways.  It is not so interesting to tabulate and analyse them but the question of whether he represents the American Character by being elected fairly by the electorate is interesting nonetheless because there is a democratic dogma, a school of thought, that would suggest that the democratically elected representative of the nation should embody the character of the nation.  This is doubly the case when it is a collective sense of national pride that brought the man to the White House.  He is an unrepentant misogynist, racist bully which in my experience had not been the Character of America — my experience from living in this country since 1987 — in New York, San Francisco, Boston and so on.  My own thoughts about Character I learned from Ralph Waldo Emerson, and I have become American in my own pace and my own manner.  I like to be puzzled by things that seem naive, and this is an occasion for such a naive question.  The superficial answer is of course don’t be silly he does not represent the American character.  Yet the passion that he evinced in the elections last November gives me pause because I know personally relatively few Americans in comparison to 320 million souls of this nation and it is quite possible therefore that Mr. Trump represents the character of America as he certainly believes that he does.

Let us turn to Emerson’s Essay Character on some of the special qualities of moral sentiment:

Not by adding, then, does the moral sentiment help us; no, but in quite another manner. It puts us in place. It centres, it concentrates us. It puts us at the heart of Nature, where we belong, in the cabinet of science and of causes, there where all the wires terminate which hold the world in magnetic unity, and so converts us into universal beings.   9
  This wonderful sentiment, which endears itself as it is obeyed, seems to be the fountain of intellect; for no talent gives the impression of sanity, if wanting this; nay, it absorbs everything into itself. Truth, Power, Goodness, Beauty, are its varied names,—faces of one substance, the heart of all. Before it, what are persons, prophets, or seraphim but its passing agents, momentary rays of its light? 4   10
  The moral sentiment is alone omnipotent. There is no labor or sacrifice to which it will not bring a man, and which it will not make easy. Thus there is no man who will bargain to sell his life, say at the end of a year, for a million or ten millions of gold dollars in hand, or for any temporary pleasures, or for any rank, as of peer or prince; but many a man who does not hesitate to lay down his life for the sake of a truth, or in the cause of his country, or to save his son or his friend. And under the action of this sentiment of the Right, his heart and mind expand above himself, and above Nature.
Morals implies freedom and will. The will constitutes the man. He has his life in Nature, like a beast: but choice is born in him; here is he that chooses; here is the Declaration of Independence, the July Fourth of zoölogy and astronomy. He chooses,—as the rest of the creation does not. But will, pure and perceiving, is not wilfulness. When a man, through stubbornness, insists to do this or that, something absurd or whimsical, only because he will, he is weak; he blows with his lips against the tempest, he dams the incoming ocean with his cane. It were an unspeakable calamity if any one should think he had the right to impose a private will on others. That is the part of a striker, an assassin. All violence, all that is dreary and repels, is not power but the absence of power.   3
  Morals is the direction of the will on universal ends. He is immoral who is acting to any private end. He is moral,—we say it with Marcus Aurelius and with Kant,—whose aim or motive may become a universal rule, binding on all intelligent beings; and with Vauvenargues, “the mercenary sacrifice of the public good to a private interest is the eternal stamp of vice.”

Mr. Trump is unreliable with his truth at an unusual level which damages his relation to character, but he protects his self-esteem when challenged by derogatory retaliation and so on.  I do not think anyone would want to subscribe to the connection between American Character and that of Mr. Trump directly.  At the same time, before the curious case of Mr. Trump’s Presidency perhaps there has not been the question of the quality of character necessary to be representative of the American people.  In politics there is always some mudslinging and defamation involved but this issue of the perfect American Character is not necessary to re-invent for this is precisely what Emerson had tried to elucidate in his work.  One could consider nationalism seriously not only in terms of formal organization of government but in terms of the ideals of character.  Mr. Trump has taken these urges of the American people and given himself as the alpha prototype of the true American and this is what had gotten him elected is a possibility; if this is the case, there is a deep decay in America’s ideal character, it is fatally wounded and there needs to be a spiritual regeneration of the ideal true American character.

Is it possible that Donald Trump’s Economic policies are actually designed to harm the US economy so that there can be a formal Economic Nationalist movement in America? Fascism historically has taken power during BAD economies. Obama era policies have led to a strong recovery. Its possible that the plan is to wreck the economy for patriotic fervour behind an Economic Nationalist Party and hard repression against Mexicans, Muslims, immigrants and other undesirables.

People are gravely underestimating the revival of the new KKK whitewashed as the Economic Nationalist Party replacing the Republican Party. America is a facing a new dark period in its history.

Low unemployment did not increase inflation.  There is no clear understanding of the determinants of inflation yet.  I agree with Economist that Trump should re-appoint Janet Yellen as Fed chair.  The Fed should focus on understanding the determinants of inflation in a more solid manner and begin analyzing the effects of the sorts of economic nationalist programs that Trump is espousing especially with globalized trade agreement such as TPP without America, BRICS and others that affect the American economy.  Inflation-targeting alone is not enough when there is a hegemonic rival to America in trade. The Fed must serve not only as the interest rate setter but a reliable institution of research that is able to provide quantitative research on the determinants of inflation that go beyond the old theories of inflation-unemployment relationship.

Why Janet Yellen again?  I agree with Economist that the competitors backed by Republicans: Gary Cohn has no experience in central banking and Kevin Warsh co-authored a paper championing Trump’s economic policies and would not be sufficiently independent as Fed chair.  And she’s done a great job and deserves a second term as her predecessors.  The economy had positive momentum that began in Obama’s term and it is bad policy to replace a good Fed chair.  If it ain’t broke, don’t try to fix it.