Since the assumption of the presidency of the US by Donald Trump I have been describing that country’s politics as tragicomic. Comedy and tragedy play out at the same time and become each other.
But what is unfolding is taking a heavy toll on the rest of the world and is in danger of generating all sorts of global crises. The recent G7 meeting in France was true to form. It showed a president who continues to be abrasive, inconsistent, brazen faced and existing in his own terrestrial space. The other leaders cannot pretend that he does not exist for he is the leader of the most powerful country on earth. What they have had to do is to try and work around him, a sad affair given the expectation that the US will show leadership at these international conferences. No one can be sure where he stands on anything or where he is coming from. He admitted to a reporter that he always changes his mind.
His decision to buy Greenland was rebuffed by the Danish leader who called it absurd. Trump’s response was to cancel his visit to Denmark and to call its leader nasty. This after all is 2019, not 1917 when the USA bought the Danish West Indies and rechristened them the US Virgin Islands. The fact that the leader of Denmark is female might just be part of his angry outburst, for after all he has difficulty relating to women who are prepared to stand up to him as seen with his reaction to the American Congress women “of colour” referred to as the Squad. What is disturbing is that a significant number of Americans seem not to be embarrassed by his mad ravings and unpresidential behaviour. To most of the rest of the world he is a joke. They laugh at him and by extension at America for tolerating him.
What is really driving this man? From where is the streak of madness coming? He is urging American corporations not to trade with China but instead to bring their businesses home and to find other trading partners. Are these not the mouthings of a fascist dictator who is trying to control the Supreme Court and to dictate to all around him, including Congress? The Attorney General is meant to do his bidding, not the business of the US. There is not a trace of morality in his make-up. His treatment of immigrants and particularly of their children is quite painful and creates the picture of a monster at large. Is this the America that used to sell itself as “holier than thou”? For the sake of world peace if there is any country that needs intervention it is the US. It has become one of those ‘sh..hole countries’ that their leader is fond of describing. The US today best fits that image.
The American media seems to have fun analysing Trumps madness, but that is not their job. What is needed is psychiatric intervention. This has become manifestly clear to me. We are witnessing the maniacal rants of someone who has lost touch with reality. As has happened more often than can be imagined, his White House officials continue to make rounds on talk shows trying to convince the public that what the President said was either meant to be a joke or that it was not what he meant, or it was an answer to a question he did not hear. This man is a special breed with his limited vocabulary where everything becomes superlatives. Everything he touches is the best it has ever been. Of course, that is why he calls himself the “Chosen One”. What weirdness, especially for the so-called leader of the Free World!
Dr Adrian Fraser is a social commentator and historian