It is clear that Donald Trump’s presidency is not going well. He used up his honeymoon period without managing to get a single major law passed. He has deepened divisions within American society, opening old wounds which could become dangerous. He tries to use the negotiating tactics of the New York real estate world when it comes to foreign policy. But threatening someone you’re trying to reach a business deal with is not the same as making deep and unsubstantiated threats against North Korea. In the former you risk losing money. In the latter, you risk a war that could kill millions within an hour. Even with Russia, developments are not good. The US runs the risk of getting entangled in a confrontation with Moscow, which could escalate unchecked.
The American “deep state” is trying to bring things under control. With the appointment of General John F. Kelly to the position of chief of staff, it is showing that “the adults in the room” are trying to contain the chaos. It won’t be easy, however, due to Trump’s temperament, as he is a man who abhors strict direction and discipline.
In the meantime, the polarization of American society is accelerating dramatically. The other side continues to make the mistake of excessive political correctness. Their aim should be to get the lost members of the American middle and lower classes with them, not talk down to them.
Many experts say the US will soon enter an economic crisis because Wall Street will be hit by a major correction when it realizes the pro-business initiatives (such as tax reform, easing excessive regulations etc) touted by Trump will never come to fruition. The investigation into his ties to Russia will go on and the sense of crisis will deepen.
A way out of these situations is war, as we often see in movies. But with whom? Many of Trump’s advisers believe Iran to be a major enemy. But Iran is a difficult and dangerous opponent with the capacity to entangle the US in yet another military adventure worse than Iraq. There is no military solution with North Korea. There, China is the real strategic threat, as Graham Allison kindly explains in his book “Destined for War: Can America and China Escape Thucydides’ Trap?” That would truly be a third world war situation.
The coming months will be crucial. Major powers are going through periods of decline, but whether or not they are condemned to repeating the spectacular downfalls of past empires is in fact up to them. We will soon see whether the US has the wisdom and the strength to correct its course or if it will enter a black hole that will drag the rest of the world down with it.