Watching a train wreck

Gun Rights

Sometimes history moves like a derailed train, at a terrifying speed and without anyone being able to do anything to stop its fateful course. I guess there were many who felt this way on the eve of the First and Second World Wars. 

Those of us who grew up in the comfort of Western post-war hegemony forgot that we were experiencing a very rare historic period. We used to think that history moves like a regular train, with scheduled stops and certain destinations. Then came Donald Trump, Brexit, the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the new war in the Middle East, to prove to us that our certainties were ridiculous, naive.

We now see the American elite watching in horror the Trump “phenomenon” and waiting for his victory in next November’s elections. Those who read polls and know things from the inside are starting to take it almost for granted. Wall Street is investing in former South Carolina governor and United Nations ambassador Nikki Haley in an effort to outdo Trump in the Republican primary. The liberal press is pressuring, in its own way, President Joe Biden not to run for the presidency again. Time, however, flows relentlessly. Deadlines and opportunities are running out.

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Everyone knows that if Trump wins a second term he will be vindictive toward everyone, but also literally uncontrollable. In his first term, he chose former generals or experienced political figures for key positions. He considers that all of them betrayed him – first of all his vice president, Mike Pence. In a second term, he will choose servile servants and cronies, especially in the fields of foreign policy and security.

For us here in Europe, a re-election of Trump will be a huge shock. Possibly unprecedented. US policy in Ukraine and its attitude toward Putin will be up in the air. The future of NATO will be up in the air. European leaders will be faced with unknown and aggressive people in key positions and a leader who does not care about Europe at all. Some see this as an opportunity for Europe to wake up, wean itself off the US and gain real power – military and political. I do not know where they see the kind of European leadership which could shoulder this effort with vision and confidence.

For now, we are watching the great train wreck of the West, as it unfolds. It’s incredible how things now depend on whether “Biden trips on some stairs and is forced out of the race” and the like. When the fate of the US, and indeed the West, begins to depend on random events, it is time for us all to worry. 

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