President Trump considers Hollywood’s version of the United States’ self-image to be reality. But even John Wayne knows better.
This week, through several statements, president Trump of the United States took friend and foe (again) by surprise. Led by his ‘gut feeling’ and a rather limited perspective on international politics and human relations, Trump issued a number of far-stretching warnings to North-Korea, and Venezuela, related to North-Korea’s provocations and Venezuela’s internal political struggles.
Trump wants a fight (to distract from the Trump-Russia investigation?) and he will get one; it is just a matter of time. However, he will not get the fight he is hoping for; things will get out of control.
It is also obvious that the United States lacks a strategy: A vision of attainable goals, a clear path – courses of action – to achieve these goals, a realistic assessment of capabilities that are required, and of risks that are involved in the implementation of the strategy, simply do not exist. Trump just shoots from the hip.
‘America first’ – a selfish and unrealistic idea in a connected and highly interdependent world, where America’s well-being is closely related to the well-being of other states – goes together with a ‘go-it-alone’ approach; Trump also takes (international) law into America’s – Trump’s – own hands. Trump’s ideas are inspired by Hollywood movies.
Even the United States’ overwhelming military capabilities have their limitations: The US now risks (military) escalation on – what would become – several ‘fronts’: In the Far-East (North-Korea, East- and South-China seas, Taiwan), The Middle East (including Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Syria, Turkey), Europe (the Baltic States, Ukraine, Crimea), and in South America (Venezuela). Issues become increasingly connected, and the United States will become increasingly (and unnecessarily) over-exposed.
Presently, the current international order (1945-….) is in its end-phase: tensions and issues accumulate in the System and cannot be released and resolved; instead they reinforce each other until the System reaches a critical point. When the critical point is reached – calculations based on the properties of the four preceding war cycles (1495-1945) suggest around 2020 – all issues in the System have become connected and the tension level has reached a critical threshold. At that point (that is the critical point), even a relatively small incident will trigger a systemic response: the tensions (which can be considered energy) are then released at a global scale and used (‘put to work’) to design and implement (by means of a systemic war) an upgraded international order that again allows for a lower tension level in the System and for period of relative stability.
This context should be taken into consideration when defining a strategy, when risks are assessed, and when political and military courses of action are contemplated.
America’s irresponsible behaviour and the choices it now makes, not only shape political issues, but also alliances that will be indispensable in case of further escalation; which is – I explained – just a matter of time.
America’s self-destructive actions offer Russia the ideal ‘playing field’ to advance its own interests, and extend its sphere of influence. Trump’s divisive behaviour, also ensures that America’s (internal) dysfunctional politics will endure; Trump’s latest’s contribution speaks for itself: ‘Trump thanks Putin for expelling U.S. diplomats, infuriating State Department’.
Europe – as far as it exists and as far as it still constitutes a more or less coherent political entity that shares fundamental values and interests – and NATO, should not automatically comply with America’s demands, and should instead define its own vision of a next – upgraded – international order.
The crisis America causes, not only involve serious risks for Europe, but also opportunities, to finally define a full-fledged identity, that allows Europe to be fully independent of the United States and Russia, so it can (finally) play a constructive role at a global level.
Dirty Donald has its own version of justice.