Draining the swamp won’t be easy for Trump
After reading my Asia Times column yesterday, World community sizes up a diminished Trump, a well-meaning warm-hearted friend, an American from New York, wrote to me to explain gently that what we are witnessing in the United States is a mere “tantrum” by a clutch of spooks whose jobs are under threat and their hangers-on in the intelligence services, along with the liberal press having a “parallel tantrum” who cannot believe that they lost the election to Donald Trump. I was in two minds after reading the mail. Should I have called it a “civil war”, after all?
That is, until this morning when I read the transcript of the extraordinary 75-minute press conference in the White House late Thursday night. The press conference was originally called by Trump to announce his new pick for Labour Secretary, but in no time degenerated into a verbal brawl between the President of the United States of America and the White House press corps with former NSA Michael Flynn and Russia ties at the epicenter. It was all so surreal, to say the least.
Not even in the darkest hour of the Vietnam War or in the shameful hours of the Watergate cover-up or the sly escapades of Bill Clinton in the Oval Office would the White House have witnessed anything like this. Perhaps, this becomes an unprecedented event in American political history – the US president openly trading insults with the journalists who cover his presidency in real time.
The good thing for us who are non-Americans, in this extraordinary free-for-all with tooth and claw is that we learn so much about the American political system, how it works, what dissimulation and falsehood it spreads abroad while staking claim to the hogwash of “values”.
Trump tore into the so-called “Deep State” in America and the unscrupulous media, which is serving as its stand-in. He denounced loudly and repeatedly the “illegal leaks” by sources within the military-intelligence apparatus within the establishment to defame his presidency. Funnily, when Trump denounced the media as the mouthpieces of the intelligence agencies – even nailing the flag carriers such as New York Times and Wall Street Journal – there was no dissenting voice, no protest. In fact, the journalists seemed to accept it as a statement of fact. They didn’t show the spunk to refute the accusation even for purposes of record. So much for the Fourth Estate in America and the freedom of the press!
In the process, Trump also blurted out certain remarks on issues of war and peace, which make highly combustible stuff and will make many world chancelleries sit up and worry. They are indeed extremely worrisome.
Referring to a Russian warship apparently on a surveillance mission off the US west coast – something which the US and NATO routinely and incessantly do to Russia – Trump says, “The greatest thing I could do is shoot that ship that’s 30 miles off shore right out of the water. Everyone in this country’s going to say ‘oh, it’s so great’… If I was just brutal on Russia right now, just brutal, people would say, you would say, ‘Oh, isn’t that wonderful’.”
Then, Trump went on to explain the implications: “We’re a very powerful nuclear country and so are they. I have been briefed. And I can tell you one thing about a briefing that we’re allowed to say because anybody that ever read the most basic book can say it, a nuclear holocaust would be like no other.”
One shudders at the very thought of it – that a potential nuclear war between the US Russia has been the stuff of a briefing taken by Trump.
Like puss oozing out of a tumor that is fast becoming terminal, the US political system is throwing into the open the cumulative eddies of decades of its interventionist policies – with the military-industrial complex and the intelligence agencies that fattened up on the countless wars and horrific destruction in foreign lands refusing to give up their privileges and make way for an upstart president who walked in from nowhere who, they think, has no business to be running the White House, and on top of it, has the impudence to say that he intends to “drain the swamp”. (A columnist wrote a couple of days ago, Yes, Trump can drain the swamp but he must do THIS first or get eaten by the alligators.)
Look at the extent to which the military-industrial complex and the intelligence establishment in Washington goes to thwart any attempt by Trump to improve US-Russia relations. It’s a sickening scenario that without wars and bloodshed America cannot have a future — that the prospect of detente, peace and co-existence becomes so abhorrent a proposition for the Deep State as to stage an insurrection against the elected head of state.
No, this is more than about swamps. What we see here is nothing else than metastatic cancer. The cancer cells in America’s body polity have broken away to enter the bloodstream and the lymph system. Doctors call it “stage 4” cancer.
The full transcript of Trump’s press conference is here.
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