Saturday, May 27, 2017

Donald Trump, Steve Bannon, Jared Kushner and their still-born: Transactional Nationalism

The tweet storm, below, arrived with news of the passing of President Carter's National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski. Although obits highlight his role in the Iran hostage drama, Brzezinski's enduring achievement was as the most forceful, erudite advocate for evidence-based multilateralism to counter Soviet expansionism. As a college student, I studied his work. I wish that Steve Bannon and Donald Trump had done the same.

The point is very much to the topic of #TrumpRussia. Read the Welch Tweet storm then return to EOM.

I agree with much of the POV described in Welch's tweet. Donald Trump's "America First" -- really, Steve Bannon's gut-level view of the world -- overlaps with Putin's nationalism: every nation should be allowed to dive within its own corners and determine their own course. But the playing field is only level if one adds the secret sauce: commercial and financial transactions.

Trump is a transactional nationalist; that is to say, he ardently believes that business deals create better and more durable bonds between nations than political ideology (or the rule of law which no one believes anyway: Trump).

This logic ends at a strange place where oligarchs create a new world order based on multilateralism. It means wealth concentration that would make right-wing critics and conspiracy theorists of the "Trilateral Commission" cringe because they will have ended up putting in place exactly the politicians who could make that happen.

Transactional nationalism also explains the easy bond between Trump and the Saudis whose kingdom and royals, incorporating vast wealth, pretty much describes how the United States would evolve as a transactional nationalistic economy. Just look at the Trump cabinet.

Kushner went to the Russians before the inauguration bto suggest a secure line of communication, using Russian facilities, out of hubris, naiveté, and a deep misunderstanding of history. We now can clearly see -- thanks to leaks -- the outlines of what deeply worried the intelligence community. Not just in the United States, but among allies whose world view and national security depend on multilateralism.

That said, Russia's relative silence on Trump's harsh criticism of Iran -- a strong ally of Russia in its alignment against the Mideast order -- gives credence to the idea that Trump/Bannon/Kushner really do intend to "reset" the button with Russia, based on transactional nationalism.

The idea is further supported by the known, long-standing commercial relationships between Trump, Kushner, and Russians; if only by the mortgage deeds to Russian buyers of hundreds of millions of dollars in Trump-branded South Florida real estate.

The Trumps have admitted that a lot of money changed hands. Critics have pushed back by saying this is more than enough reason to require the release of Donald Trump's tax returns and business documents detailing the degree and extent of his involvement with Russians close to Putin and possibly indebtedness to Russian banks.

One last note: it also now becomes clear why Bannon/Trump have such a difficult time walking back their opposition to the Paris Climate Agreement. Climate change, which the U.S. military considers an existential threat to our national security, can only be addressed and mitigated through vigorous and effective multilateralism.

The only way that Trump's transactional nationalism can frame climate change is as survival of the fittest. It is a weird, dystopian future that radiates from Washington, DC, these days and all the more reason for Americans to wake up to the real threat at our doorstep: an unhinged Republican party that continues to protect a president who may be the most incompetent and chaotic in history, in part, because his administration simply cannot attract depth of talent and professional advice beyond Steve Bannon a few of his acolytes supervising squadrons of industry lobbyists in the West Wing. Sad!


Geniusofdespair said...

You said: Trump is a transactional nationalist; that is to say, he ardently believes that business deals create better and more durable bonds between nations than political ideology (or the rule of law which no one believes anyway: Trump).

I don't think he ardently believes any ideology. He is just too stupid. He might just be pegged into an ideology with Bannon's hammer. But I believe he doesn't have a thought beyond what his next meal will be, i.e. The perfect candidate to be a Puppet. Strategy: all about screwing people not much else. If the banks here stopped funding Trumps business endeavors because he screwed them and the Russian 'businessmen' swooped in to rescue Trump's illusion of an empire he would be indepted to them out of necessity-- it keeps his fantasy lifestyle intact. I don't think his mind can comprehend more. Am I looking at his motives naively

Anonymous said...

Meanwhile back on Earth: