Geopolitical Notes From India
M D Nalapat
AS predicted in these columns, what may be termed a “Coffee Club” has been formed after the November 8,2016 victory over Hillary Clinton of Donald John Trump, the 45th President of the United States. Although the opposite in outlook and ideology, the (largely Democratic Party) Coffee Club models itself on the Republican Party’s “Tea Party”, which was formed after Barack Obama took over as US Head of State eight years previous to Trump. Because of pressure from the Tea Party, which had the single point agenda of opposing anything suggested by President Obama, the Republican Party became “No to Obama” party.
Exactly the same way, Coffee Party activists are demanding that the Democratic Party oppose every initiative of President Trump, warning that those lawmakers who fail to do so will be punished in the next election. Their ire is focussed on Senator Chuck Shumer and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, both of whom are traditional Washington Beltway politicians, prone to make compromises, especially with those interests who contribute generously to Democratic Party coffers. Together with members of this establishment in the Republican Party, they planned to ring fence the 45th President with subordinates who had an entirely different policy agenda to his, and who were therefore expected to continue the post-Franklin Delano Roosevelt policy of loyalty to the Wall Street-Atalanticist alliance, that for reasons of ethnic brotherhood put the interests of Europe above those of the US by pretending that support for Europe was in effect support for US interests.
By the close of the 20th century, it was evident that such a linkage was no longer present, and since then, hewing to a Wall Street-Atlanticist policy has resulted in an unbearable financial and geopolitical cost to the US to the benefit of both Wall Street as well as the EU. The failures in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Syria are directly traceable to the outdated policies followed by Washington, policies that Trump has openly challenged. The fear within the traditional US-EU alliance is not that President Trump’s new policies will fail but that they will succeed, and hence reveal the fact that the policy paths that have been followed by pre-Trump establishment run counter to US interests.
Hence, they have to ensure that every innovative policy of President Trump’s fails, and this they are seeking to ensure through (a) agitations on the streets (b) creating a media frenzy against the 45th US President (c) internal sabotage from within governmental agencies and (d) use of the courts and the legislature to block each of Trump’s innovative ( ie contra- establishment) moves. For example, while they are willing to facilitate the nomination of those members of the incoming administration who are known to follow the Wall Street-Atlanticist line, they seek to block nominees who instead are loyal to President Trump’s efforts at fashioning and operationalising policies relevant to 21st century needs rather than to an ethno-based anchoring of policies within the Wall Street-Atalanticist basket.
In a manner designed to deliberately mislead, it is Trump’s approach that is getting roasted by establishment media across both sides of the Atlantic as “racist”, when in fact such an odious epithet applies to those who persist in seeing Europe as the sole genuine global partner of the US rather than the continent that has over the past six years outpaced Europe in geopolitical relevance, Asia. And because the Cold War-based retention of Moscow as Enemy Number One is needed to ensure a continuation of the fusion and subordination of US interests to the EU, the Wall Street-Atlanticist alliance is opposing Donald Trump’s move to establish better ties with Moscow. While previous Presidents also occasionally called for such a reboot, they did so from the premise that Russia would remain a subordinate power, increasingly reliant on the Wall Street-Atlantic Alliance and not regain its former importance and autonomy in the global arena.
However, just as the Republican ea Party is in many respects outside the politics and policies of the Beltway, and hence forced the Senate and House of Representatives to oppose even those initiatives of Obama that assisted Wall Street and the Atlantic Alliance, the Coffee Party makes zero distinction between those of Trump’s policies or personnel picks who are loyal to the Wall Street-Altanticist consensus and those who are loyal to Donald Trump’s innovative 21st century ideas. as a consequence, they have been pressurizing Senator Schumer and Representative Pelosi to oppose all the Trump picks, seeking to; paralyse the government by denuding it of individuals who would run the various departments that together comprise the US Administration. In other words,” No Trump”. Of course, two individuals who have been confirmed (with Democratic Party backing) are Defence Secretary Mattis and Homeland Security chief Kelly.
While General Mattis is (together with White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus) a part of the Wall Street-Atlanticist stable, General Kelly (while not as yet a subscriber to the Trump post-Cold War doctrine) has an independent bent of mind. Both are known to be excellent officers, and it remains to be seen whether General Mattis will be able to free himself of 1945-era attitudes and implement the innovative concepts sketched out by President Trump in speeches.
During the coming weeks,an all-out effort will be made to paralyse the US President so as to ensure that the administration functions only nominally under his command, but actually within the control of those members of the US Administration who are committed to pre-Trump policies. Through measures such as a staged revolt of officials and by a flood of negative media attention (using networks that have been built between those in the government and the media for decades), the Wall Street-Atlanticist establishment seeks to convert Trump into a Head of State on the UK or India model, lacking effective executive authority.
However, the widening of the war against Trump by the Coffee Club is likely to result in such disorder that President Trump may find sufficient public support to clamp down on all naysayers, thereby rescuing his policies from the wastepaper basket that those whose interests mandate the continuation of the disastrous Cold War policies of past Presidents seek to fling them into. The months ahead will show if Donald Trump can emerge victorious as a change agent, or whether his detractors succeed in neutralizing the business tycoon who has emerged as a global titan.
—The writer is Vice-Chair, Manipal Advanced Research Group, UNESCO Peace Chair & Professor of Geopolitics, Manipal University, Haryana State, India.