Our narcissist nationalist President-elect is being hailed by his supporters as a soon to be non-conventional President. While this may be entertaining in certain domestic policy areas, it is right down dangerous in the international stage.
It is one thing to rant about SNL or a Broadway show. It is another to break with decades of diplomatic protocol (i.e.: calling the President of Taiwan) or Tweeting up a storm against China and threatening them with tariffs. “Oh, it is just how he is”, they squirm. “Woohoo!” they say… “Ain’t it great? He’ll show them!” Yeah, right. Sure.
Well, it is one thing to play President. It is another to be President.
While we all must wait till he is actually in Office to see what actions he will take, his antics and impromptu machismo and chest-pumping does not bode well for the fragile world in which we live.
He can shout all he wants about American Exceptionalism, Manifest Destiny, and American Pride. I am sure his supporters will eat it up.
But, to many throughout the world – including some right here at home – America remains a nation-state created through genocide of the Native America people, enslavement of Africans, and exploitation of Mexicans. There’s nothing ‘exceptional’ about that history. The only manifest destiny that using 95% of the world’s resources with only 5 % of the world’s population will get us is a scorched earth. And a perverse pride based on demeaning others is not a sign of strength, but a sign of immaturity and insecurity.
We may not like what others think about us. We may have a ‘perfect argument’ for them. We may vehemently believe differently. But to dismiss others perspectives as ‘they are wrong and we are right’ is a dangerous proposition for international relations.
The universe does not revolve around us. We are still very much an imperfect Union. And yes, we have lots to learn from others throughout the world. To be self-righteous, self-indulging and selfish might feel good; but it is not good international posturing.
The President-elect can talk tough, be a ‘strong man’, and humiliate others and other nations all he wants. His self-righteousness and self-centered ego-inflating remarks might work internally in the domestic politics arena. However, it is simply the wrong approach in the complex, dangerous world of international politics.
He may think that since he is duly elected he can assert his punch. But, he runs the real danger of being a legend in his own mind. This may play well with his supporters. But, the fact that 75% of American over 18 years old chose to either not vote or vote for someone else indicates where the vast of America really is – not with him! (He should never ever forget that. Most President before him never did. Most recognized that they needed to be President for all Americans, not just the minority that voted for them.)
Might might make right; but might that leads to fight can be plain wrong.
If this President-elect has nothing to learn from mediation, conflict resolution, consensus building, and diplomacy – and a dash of humility – and instead insists on ‘winning’ internationally only through intimidation, insults, and demeaning the ‘enemies’ – if all this President-elect knows is how to make war rather than create peace, we are in for some dangerous times ahead. (I pray I am proved wrong!)