Just because the Swamp is “Normal” doesn’t mean it is OK

Saagar Enjeti blasts Biden’s potential administration after reports from The American Prospect detail how strategic consultants will define Biden’s cabinet.

Cited Piece

The American Prospect: How Biden’s Foreign-Policy Team Got Rich

00:00
all right Sagar what’s on your radar
00:01
well the RealClearPolitics average has
00:03
Joe Biden up 8.7% Achon average over the
00:07
last three weeks nationally and in every
00:09
single battleground state and yesterday
00:11
we featured this map on the show it
00:13
shows that the upper bound of what is
00:16
electoral possibility in November is a
00:18
massive electoral landslide none of this
00:21
is a guarantee as we learned in 2016 but
00:24
what does it mean is that we have to
00:26
start taking very seriously what it
00:29
actually means for Joe Biden to become
00:31
President of the United States and
00:33
commander-in-chief this is especially
00:35
relevant after the most recent deep
00:37
state plot to derail Afghan peace
00:39
negotiations and the bipartisan push to
00:41
keep thousands of troops in Afghanistan
00:43
for no reason our friends over at the
00:45
American Prospect gave us a distressing
00:47
look into what exactly we’re dealing
00:49
with here on the national security front
00:51
if Biden ever ascends to the Oval Office
00:54
and just how deep the swamp will extend
00:57
inside the prospect details how to close
01:00
Biden associates Anthony blinken and
01:02
Michele Flournoy decided to start a
01:04
boutique consulting firm for defense
01:06
contractors and fortune 100 companies
01:09
after they unexpectedly found themselves
01:11
without a job in here with Hillary
01:13
Clinton’s administration blinken and
01:15
flora Noyes practice entails helping
01:17
tech companies try to get Pentagon
01:19
contracts helping defense contractors
01:21
get more contracts and basically
01:23
advertising itself as a one-stop
01:25
consulting shop for any massive
01:27
corporation that wants help influencing
01:29
the national security or diplomatic
01:31
swamp now in a particularly galling
01:33
section of their website the pair
01:35
literally advertise that they can help
01:37
major companies quote develop a strategy
01:39
for expanding market access in China
01:42
blinken and Flournoy are not going to be
01:45
low-level aides in a Biden
01:46
administration floor annoy was well
01:49
known in Washington to be the next
01:51
Secretary of Defense in waiting under
01:53
hillary clinton administration i
01:54
personally attended an event with her
01:57
and biden in 2016 in which biden
02:00
jokingly called her Madame secretary and
02:02
which she jokingly referred to Biden as
02:04
mr. president blinken on the other hand
02:06
was deputy national security adviser
02:08
under Obama and a Deputy Secretary of
02:11
State
02:12
recent Biden campaign event he was
02:15
introduced as quote senior foreign
02:17
policy advisor and the rest of Biden’s
02:19
foreign policy team is exactly the same
02:21
as the prospect lists including Nicholas
02:23
burns of the Coen Group Kurt Campbell of
02:26
the Asia group Tom Donilon of Blackrock
02:29
Investment Institute Wendy Sherman of
02:32
the Albright Stonebridge group and
02:34
former Hillary adviser Jake Sherman of
02:36
macro advisory partners you beginning to
02:39
sense a theme here former very high
02:41
ranking national security officials now
02:43
working as outright consultants for
02:45
finance Sears and Chinese companies and
02:47
defense contract or companies who take
02:49
those people on as clients does any of
02:52
this bother Joe Biden
02:53
well when the prospect asked his
02:55
campaign for comment this is what they
02:57
had to say quote there’s a difference
03:00
between consulting and lobbying and that
03:03
here’s a pretty strong line there so
03:05
presumably we don’t have to have a ban
03:07
on people who were consultants at one
03:09
time on another since I am one myself it
03:12
is just too good to be true
03:14
what’s disgusting about this is the pure
03:17
nakedness of it all Michele Flournoy as
03:20
they point out literally serves on the
03:21
presidential intelligence advisory on
03:23
the CIA directors external advisory
03:26
board on the Pentagon’s defense policy
03:28
board she has access to very classified
03:30
and important information who knows what
03:32
she is and isn’t using to influence her
03:35
advice to the most powerful corporations
03:37
in the world under Biden they will this
03:40
is only going to ramp up a member of the
03:42
firm that floor annoyin blinken found it
03:44
even admitted to the prospect that Biden
03:46
would be great for business saying quote
03:48
think about it if Biden were to win we
03:50
do think that companies will start
03:52
coming to West exec for hey what is the
03:55
Commerce Secretary thinking the clear
03:57
picture we’re getting here Biden and his
03:59
team is that they’re not rigidly
04:01
ideological if they were outright
04:03
neo-cons
04:04
in a way I would respect it more but
04:06
worse they are transactional neo
04:08
liberals who will tell you with a
04:10
straight face that they believe in
04:12
making the country a better place while
04:13
enriching themselves off perpetuating
04:16
the status quo that can’t afford to get
04:18
out of Afghanistan because it would hurt
04:20
their clients they can’t afford to pull
04:23
back from Europe because it would hurt
04:24
their a bit
04:25
consult companies who want to do
04:27
business with NATO the grifting list is
04:30
on and on and on and the wholesale
04:33
ownership of Biden’s foreign policy team
04:34
by this system and his inability to push
04:37
back against it is a signature of some
04:40
very troubled times to come in the next
04:42
four years if he ever ascends to the
04:45
presidency and crystal I mean I don’t
04:47
know if you read this piece but it is
04:48
stunning because it’s not just blinking
04:50
and floran wise he points out every
04:52
single person works for some consultancy
04:55
group and then not even that it’s just
04:57
it’s the naked lack of reporting why
04:59
does this have to come from a
05:01
progressive left outlet you should in
05:03
the new york times be investigating this
05:05
is manna ford stone level stuff right
05:07
yeah they don’t care because it’s just
05:09
normal it’s like a normal grift of
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washout yet that everybody is just like
05:13
oh yeah you know she made a couple
05:14
million bucks here a couple million
05:16
bucks they’re gonna be the next defense
05:17
secretary who knows how many contracts
05:19
gonna steer their way to somebody’s
05:21
friend oh good just normal now they’re
05:23
like the fish swimmin in the ocean they
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can’t see the water this is just like
05:26
the way things are done indeed I mean it
05:29
reminds me a lot of you know when we
05:31
were talking about hunter Biden
05:35
congressman Ted Louise like people serve
05:37
on boards right make money the fact that
05:41
is normal doesn’t mean it’s okay that
05:43
actually makes it so much worse and I
05:46
really encourage people to go read this
05:48
piece it’s it’s such an important look
05:50
inside the way that policy is actually
05:53
made and the human beings who are at the
05:56
table and the interest sometimes that
05:58
are secret by the way they’re not
06:00
upfront about life they don’t have I’m
06:03
also you know I’m also working with
06:04
Northrop Grumman just so you know so
06:06
when I’m advocating for like this
06:07
missile system that they have to make
06:09
you might want to know that piece of
06:11
information I mean that is literally
06:12
laid out in this piece and it is
06:15
completely common operating procedure in
06:17
this town so on the one hand it’s just
06:19
like it’s so normal that they don’t even
06:21
think to report on it and look into who
06:24
the individuals are who they represent
06:26
how that might influence their policy
06:28
and on the other hand the other piece of
06:30
this is like so much of our political
06:32
coverage I touched on this yesterday
06:34
when we were talking about Susan Rice’s
06:35
potential VP
06:37
or any of the other potential VP picks
06:39
it’s all just treated as horserace yes
06:42
and personality driven and like
06:44
demographic driven like what boxes do
06:46
they check rather than actually digging
06:49
into the substance and the policy and
06:51
what that might mean for an
06:52
administration especially when you do
06:54
have someone like Joe Biden that’s the
06:55
other piece that’s interesting here is
06:57
they talk about the way that he’s a
06:58
perch for the policy it sounds actually
07:00
a lot like Trump yeah it’s very
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personality driven he has this like
07:03
glad-hand approach he he believes in
07:06
these personal relationships many of
07:08
which have gotten him into a lot of
07:09
trouble in terms of his decision-making
07:11
trusting people and leaders that he
07:13
really has arrested one of the best
07:15
parts of the piece yeah about I forgot
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actually this because this is my
07:18
background he was the guy who backed
07:21
Nuri al-maliki right Iran who is the
07:24
person who started a sectarian civil war
07:26
gave rise to Isis Andrew into the
07:29
country after he was like his but yeah
07:33
and it was like fighting walked into
07:34
Iraq thinking he was dealing with to
07:36
Delaware political bosses is like yeah
07:38
it turns out the sunni-shia conflict is
07:40
a lot more complicated right and then
07:42
maybe we should apply a little bit more
07:43
intellectual rigor there that is
07:45
actually the piece that worries the most
07:47
because you can see it right now on
07:48
Afghanistan because Biden and his team
07:51
are like Oh Trump wants to get out of
07:52
Afghanistan they’re gonna abandon Biden
07:55
has a record of pushing restraint in
07:57
Afghanistan his entire record was saying
07:59
hey don’t do this let’s do the
08:00
counterterrorism thing even in 2006-2007
08:03
he was writing op-eds against the surge
08:05
which is a long history of being anti
08:08
intervention whenever that was the
08:09
politically convenient kind of
08:11
contrarian thing to do right but this
08:12
goes to show with Susan Rice doing the
08:15
Afghanistan thing and I played his
08:17
comments here over last week we talked
08:18
about dereliction of duty for Trump and
08:20
all of that about how we have to stand
08:22
up to the Russians I just that’s when
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you really knew this is a truly
08:25
transactional non-ideological figure who
08:28
will go wherever the winds blow that is
08:30
a disaster that is how you got Libya
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Libya was the politically convenient
08:35
thing to do how did it work out for
08:37
everybody right maybe it would’ve been
08:38
better to have somebody hot saying yeah
08:40
nobody talks about that one well and
08:42
here’s something too exactly like what
08:44
you’re saying when you
08:45
have someone who doesn’t have like a
08:47
fixed ideology that they’re committed to
08:50
or an agenda overseas that they’re
08:52
committed to then the people that you’re
08:54
talking about here blink it in Flournoy
08:55
and all the rest they’re the ones that
08:57
fill in the gaps they’re the ones that
08:59
actually drive the policy then once it’s
09:00
set the range of options that are
09:02
available so just like we’ve seen with
09:04
Trump where he’s like I want to get out
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of out get it like that’s just not even
09:07
an option that’s put in on the table
09:09
they’re like your options are you can
09:10
increase by five thousand ten thousand
09:12
or seventy-five thousand right it’s like
09:13
but I want to get out I don’t understand
09:15
that’s how they get you that’s what they
09:17
do every single time it’s and it’s not
09:19
just and some of these people are
09:21
ideological and then some of them just
09:23
have you know personal professional and
09:25
monetary direct monetary interests in
09:28
serving this particular role because
09:30
yeah why that well look if they go in
09:32
the administration they’ll cut all the
09:33
ties specifically those industries
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they’ve got all those connections still
09:37
they know where their breads gonna be
09:38
buttered after they exit the
09:40
administration so don’t think that just
09:42
because they technically cut ties at
09:44
that point means that they have really
09:46
like the independence of thought doesn’t
09:48
even matter they admit it they’re on off
09:50
basically on background to this prospect
09:52
reporter being like yeah you know if
09:54
Biden being the president that’d be
09:55
great for us great for people we’ll call
09:57
for us and be like what is the former
09:58
West deck partner who’s now the Commerce
10:01
Secretary think about X that is worth
10:03
billions to companies right if they’re
10:05
like hey we need to know which way the
10:07
administration is probably going to
10:08
swing on the new Chinese tariffs that is
10:10
literally worth hundreds of billions of
10:12
dollars same on the defense secretary if
10:14
they’re gonna on Yemen that was the
10:15
example that was given there whenever
10:17
she was talking about how Michele
10:18
Flournoy was advocating I think of more
10:21
Patriot missiles for for Saudi Arabia
10:23
she failed to disclose we’re not
10:25
disclosed nobody knows she won’t even
10:27
admit which defense contractor she works
10:29
for and wouldn’t deny that Raytheon who
10:32
manufactures these Patriot missiles was
10:34
one of her company the only thing they
10:36
would say is quote one of the defense
10:38
primes which is one of the five largest
10:40
defense codes and they said like it’s
10:41
one of their contracts it’s in the
10:43
ballpark
10:43
know if you really want to understand
10:45
why we have the foreign policy that we
10:48
have why we keep getting into these
10:49
conflicts overseas that we can that’s
10:51
what once we get in that you can never
10:53
ever get yourself out of this piece
10:55
really lays
10:57
like the nitty-gritty of how that works
10:59
and look it is the norm basically almost
11:02
without exception with a few outlier
11:05
exceptions almost anyone who ended up in
11:07
the presidency these the type of people
11:09
who would come in and it’s by partisan I
11:12
mean the same ideology the same monetary
11:15
interest pervades both parties we saw it
11:17
with the Afghanistan peace that we
11:19
covered yesterday the amount of support
11:21
in Congress bipartisan support to
11:24
prevent the president from drawing down
11:26
troops in Afghanistan a place that we
11:28
have been for years and years and years
11:30
and where American lives are still being
11:32
put at risk for what for what this piece
11:37
really lays out like the internal
11:39
details of how exactly that girl highly
11:41
recommend everybody read it and I’m
11:43
looking forward to your raid our next
11:44
crystal

Trump’s Racism Is Feudal

The president wants African Americans to kiss his ring.

Many Ways of Knowing: Jesus and the Bible (Richard Rohr)

Unknown to many post-Reformation Christians, early centuries of Christianity—through authoritative teachers like Origen, Cyril of Alexandria, Augustine, and Gregory the Great—encouraged as many as seven “senses” of Scripture. The

  1. literal,
  2. historical,
  3. allegorical,
  4. moral,
  5. symbolic,
  6. eschatological (the trajectory of history and growth), and
  7. “primordial” or archetypal (commonly agreed-upon symbolism)

levels of a text were often given serious weight among scholars. These levels were gradually picked up by the ordinary Christian through Sunday preaching (as is still true today) and presumed to be normative by those who heard them.

These different senses of Scripture were sometimes compared to our human senses of hearing, seeing, tasting, smelling, and touching, which are five distinct ways of knowing the same thing, but in very different “languages.” After both the Reformation and the Enlightenment, Western Europeans reduced our ways of knowing to one for all practical purposes—the supposedly rational/literal/historical. We have largely compacted and limited the Bible to this single sense for several centuries now, in both its Catholic and Protestant forms. Our bandwidth of spiritual access to the Bible was consequently severely narrowed, it seems to me—and as many would say—to the least spiritually helpful level. That something supposedly literally happened in one exact way, in one moment of time, does not, of itself, transfer the experience to nowme, or us. I believe that such transference is the transformative function of any spiritual text.

The narrow, rational/literal/historical approach largely creates an antiquarian society that prefers to look backward instead of forward. In my experience, it creates transactional religion much more than transformational spirituality. It idealizes individual conformity and group belonging over love, service, or actual change of heart.

Literalism was discredited from the beginning of the New Testament through the inclusion of four Gospel accounts of the same Jesus event, which differ in many ways. Which is the “inerrant” one?

The earlier centuries of Christianity were much closer to the trans-rational world of Jesus and his storytelling style of teaching (which does not lend itself to dogmatic or systematic theology). The Gospel says, “He would never speak to them except in parables” (Matthew 13:34). The indirect, metaphorical, symbolic language of a story or parable seems to be Jesus’ preferred way of teaching spiritual realities.

Almost all of Jesus’ parables begin with the same phrase: “The Reign of God is like. . . .” Jesus fully knows he is speaking in metaphor, simile, story, and symbol. But in recent centuries, many Christians have not granted him that freedom, and thus we miss or avoid many of his major messages. We are much the poorer for it.

So, I Asked People in Saudi Arabia About Their Mad, Murderous Crown Prince

The U.S. has leverage over Riyadh. Let’s use it.

In fact, I’ve felt reasonably safe in Saudi Arabia. Officials were respectful and courteous even when I was painfully frank. But people also seemed more afraid to speak to a journalist than before, and mingled with the oppressiveness, there was an aggrieved nationalism in the air.

.. Senior Saudis privately accept that M.B.S. ordered Khashoggi’s death but insist that the Saudi-U.S. relationship is more important than one man’s life. For the sake of stability in the region, they say, America should stand by Saudi Arabia.

To which my answer is: The problem is not only that M.B.S. is a murderer, but also that he has destabilized the region, starved Yemeni children and undermined the interests of Saudi Arabia and the United States alike. Everything he touches, he breaks.

President Trump and Jared Kushner have placed their bets on the prince, and in a narrow sense they may be right. King Faisal managed to oust his incompetent predecessor, King Saud, in 1964, but I saw no sign that M.B.S. is in jeopardy of losing power.

My most interesting interaction was with a group of young professionals who believe that I am getting it all wrong.

“I don’t know why the media focuses on the bad side,” protested Tariq Buhilaigah, a consultant in Riyadh. Sure there have been missteps, he said, but the most important things going on are the modernization of the country and the diversification of the economy away from oil.

Felwa AlBazie, who is preparing to get her driver’s license, said she doesn’t know why the women’s rights activists are detained but added, “The big picture I’m seeing is that every woman in life benefits from driving, and women and men benefit from social progress.”

.. But modernity isn’t just about cappuccinos and iPhone apps; it’s also about human dignity and the rule of law. While M.B.S. is bringing social progress, he’s also recklessoppressive and brutal, and I am skeptical of his economic competence. He hasn’t even been able to organize an initial public offering for Aramco.

Trump’s bizarre defense of the prince reflects what has been wrong with the U.S.-Saudi relationship. It has become all transactional. The Saudis have treated us like body guards, and we have treated them like gas station attendants.

I suspect the real reason Trump and Kushner embrace M.B.S., aside from the hope that he will back their Middle East peace plan, is business: the belief that Saudis will invest in their personal real estate projects for decades to come.

The truth is that as Saudi Arabia’s significance as an oil producer diminishes, we need Saudi Arabia less. In 25 years, if we’re freed from the tyranny of imported oil, we may not need it at all.

Some Saudis kept trying to suggest to me that if we block weapons sales to Riyadh, the kingdom will turn to Moscow. That’s absurd. It needs our spare parts and, more important, it buys our weapons because they come with an implicit guarantee that we will bail the Saudis out militarily if they get in trouble with Iran.

 

U.S. Officials ‘at a Fucking Loss’ Over Latest Russia Sellout

Current and former American diplomats are expressing disgust and horror over the White House’s willingness to entertain permitting Russian officials to question a prominent former U.S. ambassador.

.. “It’s beyond disgraceful. It’s fundamentally ignorant with regard to how we conduct diplomacy or what that means. It really puts in jeopardy the professional independence of diplomats anywhere in the world, if the consequence of their actions is going to be potentially being turned over to a foreign government,”

.. During President Trump’s press conference with Vladimir Putin in Helsinki, Putin pivoted a question about extraditing the 12 Russian intelligence officers whom Robert Mueller has indicted into a quid pro quo for going after longtime betes noire currently beyond his reach.

.. Putin singled out Bill Browder, whose exposure of widespread Russian tax fraud led to the passage of a U.S. human rights sanctions law Putin hates. Standing next to Trump, the Russian president accused Browder of masterminding an illegal campaign contribution to Hillary Clinton and alleging vaguely that he had “solid reason to believe that some intelligence officers guided these transactions.” Should Trump permit the Russians to question people around Browder, Putin hinted, he will let Mueller’s people be “present at questioning” of the intelligence officers.

.. On Wednesday, Russian prosecutors escalated the stakes. The prosecutor-general’s office said it wanted to interview Michael McFaul, the former U.S. ambassador to Russia, another Putin bete noire. McFaul—the Obama-era ambassador to Moscow—replied on Twitter that the Russians know well that he wasn’t even in Russia during the relevant time frame for any case against Browder.

.. Sarah Huckabee Sanders declined to rule out permitting the Russians to question McFaul. Sanders said that there had been “some conversation” in Helsinki about the issue, though Trump made no “commitment.”
.. Heather Nauert called the Russian request for McFaul “absolutely absurd”—which was closer in line with how former U.S. diplomats viewed Putin’s gambit.If the U.S. would make a former diplomat avail for questioning by a foreign government without evidence of wrongdoing, then that would be quite horrifying,” said Ron Neumann,

.. Susan Rice, the former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations and Barack Obama’s national security adviser, tweeted that the lack of commitment to protecting McFaul was “beyond outrageous.
.. If the White House cannot defend and protect our diplomats, like our service members, they are serving a hostile foreign power not the American people.”
.. “To even hint that there’s some element of credibility to Russian disruptions and distractions puts a bullseye on the back of any diplomat and invites authoritarian regimes to bully and threaten American public servants for the crime of doing their job
.. Ned Price, a former CIA analyst and spokesman for the Obama National Security Council, said Sanders’ comments made Trump look “even weaker” than during Trump’s Monday press conference with Putin. “Trump has always been all too eager to cave to Putin, but, as far as we know, it’d been largely in the abstract. He sells out our intelligence community, attacks NATO, shelves our commitment to human rights. But Putin now has specific demands in the form of human beings—one of them formerly our designated representative to Russia,” Price said.
.. “By failing to reject the idea out of hand – immediately and forcefully – Trump signaled that absolutely nothing is off limits when it comes to Putin. And just as shocking, he’s willing to play Putin’s brand of ball, in which the world is purely transactional and lives are expendable.”
.. The current U.S. diplomat said the openness to turning over McFaul capped off a shocking week for U.S. geopolitics.
.. The president has first and foremost his interests at the top of his mind, as opposed to the government’s. That’s very clear over the past week and a half, between shitting on our NATO allies and kissing Putin’s ass,” the diplomat said. “He cares more about himself than the nation and any of us who serve it.”The diplomat continued: “Either he’s compromised by Putin or he’s a pussy, in which case he should grab himself.”

The Death of Postmodernism and Beyond (2006)

Core postmodern concepts like the hyperreal and simulacra are more relevant and true than they have ever been.
Furthermore, the article claims that postmodern is characterized by an ironic self awareness, and never has this idea been more prominent in culture. In recent years I have noticed that TV commercials have become more and more self-aware. Take for example a recent commercial by what I believe was Verizon. It says something like “More coverage, more data.” and then another actor comes into screen saying “and more people saying more.” If this isn’t ironic self awareness, I’m not sure what is.

Those are postmodern concepts about culture. But the postmodern metaphysical and epistemological nihilism are, as another commenter said, basically bedrock in terms of philosophy.

.. The core of postmodernism is that we have exhausted modernity — and indeed there are no trends that are “new under the sun anymore”, not just because everything has been done before (which is almost true), but because society doesn’t care about following this or that form en masse anymore and then proceeding to another (e.g. how baroque turned romantic, turned 12-tone, etc. or similarly in any other sphere).

Instead, everything is fragmented, and everybody (artist or not) can do whatever they please and have an audience/followers. There is no canon and no single “normative” culture the way it was 80 or 100 or 150 years ago.

Plus, nothing is able to baffle anyone anymore — in the way that each generation before could shock some part of the established culture (up to perhaps punk, but probably not even that, and not even 50s rock n’ roll — it only shocked the most conservative parts of society, and had no problem being marketed, sold, and dominating the airwaves in record time).

Postmodernism is also about having access to all the cultural production and modes of the past, and the internet and co made that even more so. Artists, politicians, marketeers, etc can borrow from any period, and repackage and resell everything, combine it, etc.

All of these things are what are described as the “postmodern condition” by the now dead French theorists of the postmodernism.

And none of those things is going away.

Even a total return to modernism or classicism across all artists for example, would still be postmodern — because before post-modernism art didn’t regress to previous periods, it invented new modes.

.. Nothing is fragmented, because everything has been reduced to transactionalism.
You can do whatever you like, as long as you’re trying to make money (or sometimes more abstract social credit) by selling it/you as hard as possible to your customers.

And there are only potential customers now – not audiences in the old scene-with-common-values sense.

Postmodernism, such as it is, is now a marketing gimmick, occasionally used to add some spicy irony to make sales efforts more successful.

The real horror is that this applies everywhere – not just in commerce, but in the arts, the sciences, academia, and especially in politics.

Why “America First” Means “Europe United”

despite the formation of an anti-establishment coalition government in Italy, and the rise of populist parties across Europe, opinion polls suggest that support for the EU is now higher than it has been in decades. According to a recent Eurobarometer survey, if a referendum on EU membership were held today, 83% of Europeans would vote to remain in the bloc; and a record-high 60% regard EU membership as a “good thing” for their country.

.. In other words, while populism can certainly sow political divisions within the EU, there is little evidence that Brexit itself has caused a domino effect.

The Brexit ringleader Nigel Farage might like to think that Italy’s new populist government represents a success for his brand of go-it-alone nationalism, but it turns out that Europe’s populists are of a different breed than those in the UK. Though financial markets have  at the prospect that Italy’s new leaders could drive their country out of the eurozone, polling conducted after the election in March showed that 60-72% of Italians would not support such a move.

.. Just 32% of citizens believe that “things are going in the right direction” for the EU

.. Trump’s tariffs have thus provided a perfect opportunity for Germany’s grand-coalition government to meet Macron halfway on his ambitious proposals to reform the EU and the eurozone.

.. Trump revels in the chaos he sows. He regards international relations as a zero-sum game of winners and losers, and, to the extent that his foreign and trade policies make any sense at all, they are transactional. By contrast, the EU’s modus operandi is one of collaboration and compromise. And now that these two worldviews are colliding, each is likely to be emboldened.