Thursday, 31 March 2016

President Trump - Can He Really Win?

I watched Matt Frei's report on the Trump campaign on British television last night. It seems the Republican Party's own backlash has backfired, predictably since Trump has created a coalition of the disillusioned and angry who hate the establishment. The violence at Trump rallies and the incitement of violence is disturbing, even allowing for selective editing; media editors are in an incredibly powerful position to distort if they so desire. Nonetheless Trump is condemned out of his own mouth and you can't film violence that is not happening.

One of the conclusions of the show was that having obtained a following of the angry and the extreme, the bigots, racists and gay bashers a move to the centre AFTER gaining the republican nomination would disillusion those people and make it impossible for Trump to win. I'm not sure he can credibly back track and that if he did so, that normal, well balanced, right thinking people would be mollified and come over to him. I'm not sure either, if he did so, that a whole load of the current mob would abandon him, but hopefully he can't win with just the loonies.

As an aside, his main republican rival is also a carpet bombing, gay bashing extremist of an at least equally dangerous character. The democrats, imperfect as Hilary is, the closest thing America currently has to offer, that's close to sane sensible governance. I'm assuming Bernie has no chance here.

It really is my hope that neither of the front running republicans can win. I see America as a well educated and generally good place. There's much about America that I love from the NFL to American cars and motorcycles, movies and most of all my American friends. I'd hate to see America go the way of Germany in the 1930s. Hitler too started out as a joke, Hitler too blamed other races for the nation's ills, Hitler too was a bigot and a racist.

What should we do if America were to elect such a leader? Britain has long claimed a 'Special Relationship' with the USA. Personally I think it's a bit of a myth. America does what America wants to do. Tony Blair blindly followed George W. Bush and between them they created the chaos we see in Iraq and Afghanistan, which led to the so called 'Arab Spring', to the civil war in Syria and the migrant crisis. The problem with hindsight is you know what happened after the decision you made, but you cannot be a hundred percent sure what would have happened had you gone another way.

That said, I still feel strongly that there's no point in having a friendship if you cannot be candid. As a friend one should be able to say 'I think you're wrong there buddy'. Not 'we'll support you regardless because you're big and strong'. It's school playground stuff. It's as daft as 'my country right or wrong', wrong is wrong and no one should support it. Remember the Nuremberg trials anyone? Your country is not the same as your political leadership either. We wouldn't have allied ourselves to Hitler under any circumstances, so if one of our allies takes its leadership from a Hitleresque character should we not remove ourselves from NATO and encourage our European neighbours to do likewise?

I'm not talking about a break in diplomatic relationships or trade, but a degree of separation might be healthy. America once lurched towards isolationism, if they want to do so now let them learn from the error of their ways and build  their walls. I would like to know what intelligent educated people think in Canada, Australia, New Zealand, France, Germany, Italy and all the developed nations. For I feel it's not just Mexico, Central and Southern America that Trump risks alienating. I believe he would destroy America's standing in the wider world and that none of us should ally ourselves to such a 'leader'. I hope we have the moral fortitude not to although I have some doubts on that score too!

A word about Matt Frei whose report prompted this particular post. Matt is a regular on Channel Four News, a better, more in depth and more human newscast by far than the short, selective BBC stiff upper lip equivalent. On a recent Channel Four News they reported on the plight of Yazidi women who had been kidnapped raped and abused by Islamic State, who are now rescued, yet still effectively homeless and stateless. Channel Four interviewed a campaigner asking that Britain take these people in. A position I support unequivocally. Although Matt Frei was not the interviewer, at the end he leaned across and wished the lady well with her campaign. Thank goodness for a display of humanity in the media.

A little Trump humour!

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