Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Trumpty Dumpty Burns Paris

Dietrich von Choltitz (German Federal Archives)

The scorched earth policy is a tactic of retreating armies. Paris would famously have been turned to rubble if it weren’t for Lieutenant General Dietrich von Choltitz disobeying the Fuhrer’s orders to destroy the city. Who will be the von Choltitz of the current White House? Apparently not Steve Mnuchin who is reducing emergency lending powers at a particularly vulnerable moment for the economy. Who will be the hero who will sabotage Trump’s last ditch effort to leave America in such tatters that the incoming Biden regime’s efforts will be doomed to failure. Paris may not be burning, but everything it stands for will be on the chopping block. Even though the Ascertainment Letter has been signed, Trump will in likelihood never concede and his rancor will be demonstrated in his attempt to burn diplomatic bridges behind him. The childlike lack of decorum characteristic of dictators is evidenced in the intransigent Trump persona. Whether he succeeds in bringing about some piece of military adventurism that will permanently damage any attempts at détente, in places like Iran where the U.S. has conflicted relationships, remains to be seen. Surely in a short period of time, he can do a good deal of damage. He's bringing troops home from Afghanistan and Iraq opening up the possibility of resurgence of both the Taliban and Isis. Biden can simply rejoin the Paris climate accord, but there are certain things can’t be rectified or restored with an executive order (on the environmental front, theTrump already moved to start selling oil leases in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska). "Motiveless malignity," is how Coleridge described Iago's actions. Will Trump's wholesale, unremitting and meritless accusations of a rigged election do lasting damage to the democratic process?

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