After just three months, the Trump administration appears to be over. The agenda which got President Trump elected is being tossed over the side, replaced with the usual Republican establishment policies that don’t work. It looks as if we are in for more immigration, more free trade that wipes out middle class jobs, more political correctness, and more avoidable foreign wars where we have no real interests at stake. As for Donald Trump himself, he is rapidly being relegated to the role of the crazy uncle who lives in the attic.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson seems to know less about grand strategy than he does about Maya glyphs. He has set us back on an anti-Russian foreign policy course where the U.S. is to promote Jacobin concepts of “human rights” while bombing anyone and everyone around the world. Both actions work to the advantage of our Fourth Generation, non-state enemies. Coupled with a failure to reform our Second Generation armed forces, we are on the same road to over-extension and collapse that every other Power seeking world dominion has followed. Donald Trump ran against all of this, and won. But what the public wants counts for nothing to the Republican establishment.
The drumbeat of bad news for those who voted for Trump because they wanted reform grows louder daily. The New York Times can hardly contain its glee. On April 13 it reported that Steve Bannon, the highest-placed anti-establishment figure in the Trump administration, may be on his way out. Coming in, according to the Times, is Kevin Hassett, who will serve as head of Trump’s Council of Economic Advisors and who is rabidly pro-immigration. He has denounced the Republican Party for becoming the “Party of White.” Wall Street, which wants cheap labor, will be delighted.
Just the next day, April 14, the Times reported that President Trump reversed himself on NATO. While hosting NATO’s Secretary General, President Trump said, “I said it was obsolete. It’s no longer obsolete.” NATO has not changed one iota since the election, and it has been obsolete and counter-productive since the dissolution of the Soviet Union.
What does this massive bait-and-switch operation mean for the country’s future? In the short term, it means the Republican Party will take a huge political bath as those who have been betrayed cease voting Republican (and probably just cease voting). Both 2018 and 2020 are looking good for the Democrats, unless they nominate a black lesbian Moslem in the latter, which is always possible.
But the effects of the sell-out will only start there. The message to anti-establishment voters is that there is no hope of change through the existing political system. Anti-establishment Democrats got the same message when the party machine blocked Senator Bernie Sanders and gave the nomination to Hillary. The Sanders voters were prevented from winning. Trump’s voters won, and are now watching helplessly as their victory is stolen from them by the Republican establishment. In both cases, the message is the same: the current system has lost its legitimacy.
That system’s political strength, its closed nature, is also a fatal substantive weakness. As John Boyd, America’s greatest military theorist, often warned, all closed systems collapse. A mindless continuation of establishment policies guarantees a cascading series of foreign policy, military, economic (i.e., a debt crisis), and political crises, which will all wrap up into one general collapse. In a Fourth Generation world, the big question is whether that multi-sided collapse will take the state itself with it.
The anti-establishment voters who elected Donald Trump, along with at least some of Sanders’ supporters, now face the strategic question of where do we go from here? How do we begin to prepare strategically for the collapse of the current closed system? Our goal–and again I include some Sanders voters–should be to preserve the state while reforming it. This election has shown that reform through the ballot box is impossible. It can only happen on a bottom-up basis, where grass roots reform movements become so powerful that they replace the current establishment, both its Democratic and its Republican wings. I think there is a way to do that, and I will discuss it in a future column.