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Donald Trump: Alas, babble on

By Harvey Dzodin | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2015-12-15 08:35

US Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks at a campaign stop in Spencer, Iowa December 5, 2015. [Photo/Agencies]

Donald Trump and the Republican Party share much of the blame for the political circus currently being performed across the United States. Trump's chances of winning are actually slim-to-none, the damage he is wreaking will have long term consequences.

I am reminded of the 1959 post-apocalyptic novel "Alas Babylon" by Pat Frank. First, the title conjures up the babbling nonsense and hatred spewing forth from Trump and those on the Right. More importantly, the work was set at the height of the Cold War when ironically; the world was haunted by a different terror, the threat of Mutually Assured nuclear extinction. At the time, the US and USSR were the two military giants, but it was clear that the US was clearly the world leader. We were proud to be Americans, and willing to answer President John F. Kennedy's"ask not what your country can do for you but ask what you can do for your country". It was a time when we were clearly on top of the world, and anything seemed possible.

The braying by Trump and most of his fellow-Republicans reminds us that although we are still number one, there is a fast rising power, China. Also, there are other nations around the world who don't move in lockstep with the US anymore. These facts sadden some Americans and sicken others. Americans primarily base their philosophy's from legendary football coach Vince Lombardi who said, "winning isn't everything, it's the only thing."

This is closely related to Harvard professor Graham Allison's concept of the Thucydides trap. Since ancient Greece, the fight TO BE THE TOP power usually ends with war. So when Trump highlights the threats to the US, and their conclusion that the US under President Obama is impotent, they are really decrying the fact that the US is no longer the number one in the world. Their fondest dream is to return to the heady days of yesteryear.

Trump uses tried and true methods of scapegoating employed by a rogue's gallery of past and present notorious demagogues: raising or greatly amplifying threats to provoke mass hysteria. Recently it's the Muslims, with the implication that they are all potential terrorists. Next, it could easily be the Chinese, who Trump has trashed in earlier comments, and to whom he can easily return. In fact the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 appears to be the very model on which Trump based his exclusion of all Muslims. China is the US's largest creditor, and our economies are inextricably linked.

It should come as no surprise that a survey earlier this month showed Americans are more fearful of an imminent attack on the homeland at anytime since just after 9/11. Eight out of ten respondents believe that a terrorist attack on US soil is very or somewhat likely in the next few months.

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