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29/05/2024
International Affairs - US Politics

Democracy has not hung on such a fraying thread since the 1930s


In the year 2000, an episode of the Simpsons was broadcast entitled “Bart to the Future”, featuring Lisa Simpson becoming US president in 2016 and having to clean up the mess left by a Donald Trump presidency. In 2016, what was the stuff of comedic cartoon shows in 2000 came to pass; Donald Trump was elected to the White House but defeating Hilary Clinton rather than Lisa Simpson. Comedy then descended into grotesque reality.

Trump now regularly rants during his comeback rallies about Joe Biden being America’s worst ever president. Only the extraordinarily gullible and ignorant among American voters can have forgotten the reality of Trump’s period in office. Can they really have forgotten the constant sacking of his appointees – only explainable either by idiocy in making those appointments or random caprice in terminating them – or both?

Can they have forgotten his utter failures in foreign policy, including his abandoned confrontation with North Korea’s Kim Jong Un, which has left a legacy of intercontinental atomic ballistic missiles in construction to threaten the west coast of America? Can they forget the “beautiful letters” from Kim to Trump which formed part of that foreign relations debacle?

Can they forget the deal Trump negotiated at Doha with the Taliban which left Biden with no choice but to evacuate and cut adrift the Afghans’ somewhat democratic state?

Can they forget the appalling Trump misjudgements of Putin which clearly encouraged him to believe that the West would abandon Ukraine to Russian subjugation? Can they forget that Trump would betray the Ukrainians in the wink of an eye if doing so kept the US stock market’s Ponzi scheme boom moving upwards?  Can the people of Taiwan really trust him to preserve their democracy?

And yet, there is every reason to believe that voters in swing states may well deliver him the presidency against the wishes of a majority of all American voters.

I doubt whether a New York jury will unanimously convict him in the current proceedings. And even if they do convict, I doubt he will be serving a sentence by November, since he will exhaust every possible avenue of appeal, ending in his utterly compromised US Supreme Court. And even if he were jailed, his support base would probably try to vote him into the White House to get him out.

Trump tells gullible audiences that the world is laughing at the Biden presidency. And the audiences appear to believe that. I know of no democratic country in the world where it is suggested that a majority of its citizens favour a Trump presidency.

For the great majority of people in the world’s democratic states, Trump is an appalling combination of unfitness and dangerousness. In Ireland, for instance, he seems to have the quiet support of “sneaking regarders” based on their naive view that Trump is pro-life by personal conviction.

A recent documentary broadcast on BBC TV’s Storyville series entitled “Praying for Armageddon” should be re-broadcast in Ireland and made compulsory viewing for all those here who are ambivalent on re-election for Trump. It revealed that Trump either is - or pretends to be - in deep-seated alliance with biblical Christian evangelists who believe that the present crisis war in the Middle East are portents of an end of world conflagration that will very soon happen at Megiddo in Israel – the last battle in which Jesus will return to vanquish the forces of evil as predicted in the Book of the Apocalypse.

If Trump is re-elected, power in the world will be shared personally by Trump, China’s president Xi, and Russia’s Vladimir Putin. Trump and Putin are weaponizing hardline religion for their own political ends; Xi is decommissioning or neutering all religions to preserve the Chinese communist party’s dictatorship of the proletariat, as the Uyghurs, and other Muslims and Christians and other sects have found out to their extreme costs.

Democracy has never hung on such a fraying thread since the dark days of the 1930s when the tyrannies of Hitler, Stalin, Mussolini and Imperial Japan loomed over the entire world – an era when Franklin Roosevelt struggled to make America a fairer society and stronger bastion of democracy against accusations of communism redolent of Trump’s current rhetoric against Biden and Obama and against judicial reactionaries on the US Supreme Court.

Ireland belatedly found its collective tongue to speak out against the extremes of Islamism and Zionism in the utter barbarities of Gaza during the last nine months.

Standing up for, rather than speaking quietly about, the two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestine conflict does not connote any antisemitism at all on the part of the Irish state. It does not reward Hamas barbarity. Along with Spain and Norway, our recognition of a Palestinian statehood is an essential exercise in speaking truth to power – so badly needed as the world looks into a valley of darkness not known for eighty years.


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