We, the whole world, I suppose, remain endlessly fascinated with US President Donald J Trump. In a column in the National Post, Andrew Coyne takes another look at him, based on the recent Helsinki fiasco. President Trump, he says “has survived other such episodes, and will probably survive this one. The Republican Senators lining up to denounce Trump’s whitewashing of Putin’s crimes and Blame America First approach to U.S.-Russia relations have been mostly careful to avoid criticizing him personally, and where they have been critical have been studiously shy of proposing any consequences. Again: turning points only happen in the movies … [but, he adds] … “that does not mean no damage has been done. This week’s rolling, three-day disaster differs in important ways from its predecessors, especially in its likely impact on his famously loyal base. For the most part, the things he has done in the past, the things that make perfumed bien-pensants like me cringe, aren’t things his followers care about. “So he’s rude. At least he fights!” Or: “So he lies. All politicians lie.” Or: “So he antagonizes allies, tears up trade agreements, tosses aside decades-old foreign policy doctrines and military commitments. America First!” Or: “So he attacks minorities, obstructs justice, violates every civilized or democratic norm. LOL! Love to see liberals freak out!” … [but, he goes on to say that] … the pictures they saw this week were not of Trump the imperious strongman, breaking all the rules in his zeal to defend America, but of Trump the credulous dupe, meekly surrendering first to Putin, then to his domestic critics.“
My Coyne offers three explanations for President Trump’s behaviour:
- First: “Trump is just endlessly manipulable, effortlessly rolled, a matter of flattering his insecurities and feeding his resentments — as Putin did at Helsinki, as Kim Jong Un did at Singapore. This is the Trump we often see, the conspiracy theorist and whataboutery enthusiast, whose vast ignorance makes him easy prey to Kremlin talking points;” or
- Second: “The darker possibility — what once was only whispered, but now is openly speculated — is that Putin “has something” on him, whether the “kompromat” is sexual, financial, or merely Trump’s knowledge of/participation in Putin’s efforts to fix the election on his behalf. That Trump might be a Russian “asset” would ordinarily be too fantastic to imagine, the stuff of spy novels: surely Agent Trump, if such he were, would seek to advance Russian interests in secret, behind closed doors, not brazenly and in plain sight. But then a lot about Trump would be hard to imagine;” or
- Third: “that he simply likes and admires dictators — their alpha-male swagger, their Bond-villain self-assurance — and naturally identifies with their aspirations.“
“Possibly it is some mix of the three,” Andrew Coyne say and I guess I agree event hough I am getting tired of thinking about Donal Trump.
But think about him we must because “Robert Mueller’s position has been greatly strengthened. Whether or not people swallowed Trump’s campy “witch hunt” refrain, the special counsel’s investigation was vulnerable to the more seductive complaint of “how long is this inquiry going to go on,” so long as it was just the odd indictment here or there. But it has grown clearer, with each additional round of indictments, that Mueller is connecting some fairly significant dots. I suspect the picture they eventually form will not be pretty.” The United States might soon be embroiled in a major political nightmare that will bring back memories of the Watergate scandal that led to President Richard Nixon’s resignation. In fact we, the whole of the West that stretches from New Zealand through the Philippines, Japan, Singapore, India, Israel and Jordan, Europe and on to North America, must fervently hope that as Mr Mueller’s grip tightens around those closer and closer to President Trump that he will react as Nixon did rather than as a cornered rat usually does.
If he survives Robert Mueller’s investigation, too, as he very well might then his chances of being re-elected in 2020 will be that much higher and the West will be deprived of leadership for even longer. Both Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping must be hoping for that.