It is no secret, I am sure, that I have scant regard for US President Donald J Trump. I think he is a bully, a semi-literate buffoon, and a braggart whose limited successes in business have come, largely, at the hands of lenient bankruptcy courts. I think he is a symptom of a deep socio-political malaise in America which might be a sign, like the Victorian era was in Britain and like the Principate period was in ancient Roma, of imminent decline.
But that is not how many tens of millions of Americans see him. They tend towards political cartoonist Ben Garrison’s view …
… that President Trump is a much needed ‘new broom‘ who is sweeping out the trash built up over decades, even generations of recent history.
Many Americans, again in the tens of millions, think that this …
… is long overdue … and many Canadians feel the same about him.
I think that we, in what used to be the US led West, have to stand, unified, against the emerging Trump Doctrine, because we must understand, as former prime minister Stephen Harper has warned, that “Trump’s “America First” policy will outlast the president’s tenure and that the “rapid, unorthodox, populist political change” will be part of the American fabric after Trump leaves office.“ But there is no leader in the West ~ not Shinzō Abe, not Emmanuel Macron or Angela Merkel, not Theresa May, and certainly not Justin Trudeau who has the combination of political strength and personal gravitas to replace President Trump as the acknowledged leader of the West. The man who wants, and, to many, seems poised to displace President Trump at the ‘top of the heap,’ is Xi Jinping … who is intent of putting “China First!“
I worry that the decline of America is inevitable, as was the decline and fall of other great empires and powers … I do not believe America has any “special providence” or a “manifest destiny.” I also do not believe that, with the demise of the USSR, that we reached the “end of history” and that liberal democracy is destined to rule the day. I believe that liberal democracy, rooted in our Anglo-Saxon heritage and, until just now, promoted and defended by America, is a better political system than any other that is out there now … certainly superior in every possible respect to China’s “basic dictatorship” that Prime Minister Trudeau so foolishly admires and it is infinitely superior to the religious based, medieval system proposed by some Arabic and West Asian leaders and tolerated, if not actually embraced . by some immature leaders in the West. But democracy (conservative or liberal) cannot be easily transplanted into illiberal societies and those of us who are fortunate enough to live in real democracies must be on constant guard against illiberalism.
I believe that a coalition of democratic nations is needed to assume the mantle of leadership that, at this time, anyway, America seems to want to discard; I think that Canada could be a member of that coalition, along with e.g. Australia, Britain, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Ireland, Japan, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Singapore and Sweden and some others. I don’t think the G7 or the G20 or NATO are fit for leadership roles ~ I think a looser, less formal but larger coalition of the willing is needed. It needs to believe in the rules based international system that America and Britain created; it should not want to impose its rules on anyone but it should welcome anyone who wants to follow those rules.
This coalition should be, broadly: capitalist, free traders, peacekeepers ~ who are willing to use their power (soft and hard) for the common good, and, above all, democratic. The coalition should welcome America back into the fold when it rediscovers its liberal democratic roots.