Now that we are living in the age of Trump, I have a few random thoughts and questions and I hope some of you will answer with comments (here or on social media).
A. It seems to me that Trump (and his truly trusted advisers, Bannon, Coulter etc) were not just cynically using the “coming war with Islam”, they really truly believe that the United States (the most powerful nation on earth) is in a fight to the death with “Islamdom” (the weakest and least coherent “civilization” on the planet; well, maybe stronger than Hindu Rashtra, but not by much) and that Putin is their great ally in this world war, which otherwise teeters on the edge of being lost. This is the most economical explanation for their obsession with Putin and their hatred of fellow NATO allies (well, as long as you discount the golden shower tape as being a fantasy; otherwise that too is a pretty economical explanation).
This whole notion is a joke to the intelligence establishment, the great capitalist corporations, the Western European powers and yes, also to China and Russia; though some of them (Putin, maybe even China) have good reasons to encourage Bannonists on this path. Long before conquering Islamdom, Putin has more important things to do in the Baltics, Ukraine, Belarus, even Poland…
I would add as an aside that there are probably Hindus and Middle Eastern Christians who DO face a real battle with Islamists and who may regard him (and/or Bannon) as potential saviors. I think they are wrong (not because they face no threat from Islamists, but because their faith in Trump will prove to be a mistake) but that is an argument for another day. For now we are talking about the United States and the threats it realistically faces (or does not face). Also, some commentators below have pointed out that Western Civ does face very serious problems and the Democrats (or mainstream Republicans for that matter) seem to want to paper over the problems and continue with business as usual and so on. True. But again, that you have problem X, does not mean Y is the solution. An incompetent conman is not the answer
Anyway, here is the thing, IF the Western elites all shared the Bannonist view (even if it was wrong), the US would remain their leader, but given how little this view is shared in the world, it can only be carried forward by undermining existing elites and alliances. Bannon is probably ready for whatever that leads to, but even Trump may not be up for it. The rest of the Western elite is even less likely to join in. Yet, here we are. So my questions:
1. Can Trump and company establish control over the existing resources of the Western powers AND then use them to prosecute this war to the finish (whatever that means in their minds) OR
2. Can the old elites (the so-called deep state, though I dont think that is a good term for this loosely organized elite and their even looser ideological meme-cluster) manage to get rid of Trump without too much damage being done? OR
3. Will the infighting, incompetence and confusion proceed apace and where will that lead to in four years?
Anticipating some objections, I would add that:
1. I think Islamist insurgencies are real and reflect widespread desire for an “Islamic civilization” that is a coherent and powerful presence on the planet. But I dont think they have much of a chance of getting anywhere. See my article here for some background.
2. I think Muslim migrants in Europe are and will remain a headache for the host populations, but not an unmanageable one. The high point of airy-fairy European multiculturalism has long passed. Without electing any Wilders or Le Pens, the European states will still reduce Muslim immigration and will force (with varying success) increasing degrees of assimilation. They will be troubled, but they will not be over-run. They may overshoot in the other direction, but they will not be over-run.
3. The Islamicate world will see much anti-American sentiment and some anti-American actions but more important will be wars on the borders. Some of the borders (Nigeria? Sudan? India??) may even see non-Muslim populations being overrun. And non-Muslim populations within Islamic states will continue to face major threats and maybe extinction in some cases. None of that will be enough to conquer Europe or invade America. And in the midst of all this, all major Islamic countries will remain dependent on outside powers (USA, China, Russia) or will face internal and border problems (Turkey) that will overwhelm any dream of leading the new caliphate. Bannonism and Coulterism are still a joke.
B. Those of you who supported Trump in the election on some single-issue, do you still hope he will achieve X or are you losing hope? and why (in either case)?
The thought here is that several smart people I know supported Trump because they expected him to be great for one or two causes near and dear to their heart. For example, Zionists who thought he would be great for Israel; or small business people who thought whatever small business people think, and so on. For the Zionists, I guess the answer may well be yes, though I would lean towards the thought that Israel’s rosy outlook is due to the weakness of Israel’s adversaries, not due to any new strength provided by DJT. But anyway, for those who voted because they wanted X domestic policy, now that he is in power:
1. Will his mainstream Republican agenda (cutting taxes, cutting regulations, giving more to rich people, less to poor people, “unleashing business”, etc) still get enacted in spite of his personal incompetence? OR
2. Do you actually need a smart president to get things done? (those who think he IS a smart president can call in to infowars for some free airtime).
3. And even if it gets enacted, does this just set up for a bigger Democratic victory next time around? or are the Dems too far gone into La-la land (SJWs, etc) to be able to make a comeback?
Inquiring minds want to know..
PS: Trumpists may be very incompetent, but in a fight, its who is MORE incompetent. Exhibit A: