Trump’s Many Shades of Contempt – Roger Cohen – NYT

“Trump does not buy into the American idea. He buys, if anything, into Vladimir Putin’s macho authoritarianism and spheres of influence for the great powers. This amounts to a dramatic break with American policy as superbly articulated last month by one of the departing diplomats, Daniel Fried, who joined the Foreign Service in 1977 and served with great distinction, particularly in Central and Eastern Europe.

Fried had this to say in his parting remarks: “Few believed that Poland’s Solidarity movement could win, that the Iron Curtain would come down, that the Baltic States could be free, that the second of the 20th century’s great evils — Communism — could be vanquished without war. But it happened, and the West’s great institutions — NATO and the E.U. — grew to embrace 100 million liberated Europeans. It was my honor to have done what I could to help. I learned never to underestimate the possibility of change, that values have power, and that time and patience can pay off, especially if you’re serious about your objectives. Nothing can be taken for granted, and this great achievement is now under assault by Russia, but what we did in my time is no less honorable. It is for the present generation to defend and, when the time comes again, extend freedom in Europe.”

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Australia’s Death by Numbers – by Roger Cohen – The New York Times

“……………..The next day, Faisal Ishak Ahmed was pronounced dead in Brisbane. Earlier this year Omid Masoumali, an Iranian held on Nauru, burned himself to death. Other deaths include Reza Barati, an Iranian Kurd, killed in the Manus detention center in 2014. Australia has blood on its hands. This is where numbering human beings ends.

But, Australia insists, it has “stopped the boats” and the nameless “boat people” in them.

I recently finished Viet Thanh Nguyen’s fine novel “The Sympathizer.” In its last pages, as his hero flees from Vietnam, Nguyen writes: “Now that we are to be counted among these boat people, their name disturbs us. It smacks of anthropological condescension, evoking some forgotten branch of the human family, some lost tribe of amphibians emerging from ocean mist, crowned with seaweed. But we are not primitives, and we are not to be pitied.””

 

The problem, is that there will possibly be in the next 100 years or less, a billion climate change refugees,assuming just a two meter rise in sea level.
What I think we need, is to offer care to refugees, preferably in their own counties, in exchange for vasectomization or monitored, one child per couple family planning, followed by vasectomization. As ugly as it sounds, the rest of the world will also need a one or two children per couple policy as well, essentially now, to get our numbers down to a sustainable level with regards to reducing CO2 emissions and species extinctions. Or not. As in history, we can let civil war, ethnic cleansing and plagues do the dirty work, we do not have the stomach for, but reduce our numbers, we will.

Here is a comment, most recommended, that I approve:
Al Ketchum December 30, 2016

“The real problem the nyts and mr Cohen have with Australia’s immigration policies is that they work. Australia,unlike many western countries, is going to control its borders and who comes in. The vast majority of the migrants are passing thru several safe nations to get to western countries because of social welfare and economic factors. Australia has rightly concluded that they do not want to be the pressure relief valve for the tidal wave of people who are looking for better economic situations. Africa alone, now produces a minimum net gain of at least 30 million extra people a year. The continent cannot support anywhere near its present population. Should the west be required to take all these people in? When will it end? When the rest of the world has sunk to a level of poverty, hopelessness and despair that typifies these incredibly over populated counties? We must help these people solve their problems at home. It’s starts with birth control, a rejection of tribalism and the ignorance of fundamental religion and realizing that the west will not, and cannot take all of them in. Anything else just dooms the west to the same conditions that have made the Home Countries of the migrants so unlivable.”

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The Man Who Would Not Be President – by Roger Cohen – The New York Times

“One is put in mind of H.L. Mencken: “As democracy is perfected, the office represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. We move toward a lofty ideal. On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart’s desire at last and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron.” ”

Source: The Man Who Would Not Be President – The New York Times

Magnificent piece by Roger Cohen.

Here is one of many good comments.

Gordon

Canada 1 day ago

“Those who has studied history will see the Trump “administration” for what it potentially is, a fascist translational administration.

Effectively the Trump administration opens the door for successive and incrementally more and more disintegration of democratic laws and civil liberties. The justification and rhetoric used by Trump is virtually identical to those of current and past fascist dictatorships.

We have travelled to the US frequently for many years, we have always felt safe and welcome. Recently however we have sensed a strong undercurrent of frustration and resentment in rural areas. In conversations people quote “facts” to justify their feeling that are quite honestly complete nonsense, and often ludicrous. Again this is wholly consistent with nations that have become fascist dictatorships.

If we see the Trump administration move to rewrite election laws, making it more difficult to vote, limit the secession of power, extend Presidential term limits, or curtail the civil liberties of minorities everyone should fear for their children’s future.

American democracy is strong and resilient enough to survive a single Trump term, but a price will still be paid, i.e. the rise of a white nationalist to the White House, the unprecedented influence of a Russian dictator.

Collectively there is sufficient justification to be fearful. How to counter and curtail the flow of false facts/blatant propaganda will be fundamental to returning to a balanced informed democracy.”

How Dictatorships Are Born – by Roger Cohen – The New York Times

PALO ALTO, Calif. — “Something is happening here but you don’t know what it is, do you, Mister Jones?”Of course Bob Dylan deserved the Nobel Prize for Literature. We’re all Mister Jones now. It’s the wildest political season in the history of the United States.Just to make his pedigree clear, Donald Trump is now suggesting that Hillary Clinton “meets in secret with international banks to plot the destruction of U.S. sovereignty, in order to enrich these global financial powers, her special interest friends, and her donors.”What was it the Nazis called the Jews? Oh, yes, “rootless parasites,” that’s it. For Stalin they were rootless cosmopolitans.Just saying.Societies slide into dictatorship more often than they lurch, one barrier falling at a time. “Just a buffoon,” people say, “and vulgar.” And then it’s too late.I’ve been reminded in recent weeks of the passage in Fred Uhlman’s remarkable novella, “Reunion,” in which a proud German Jewish physician, twice wounded in World War I, and convinced the Nazis are a “temporary illness,” lambasts a Zionist for trying to raise funds for a Jewish homeland:“Do you really believe the compatriots of Goethe and Schiller, Kant and Beethoven will fall for this rubbish? How dare you insult the memory of twelve thousand Jews who died for our country?”Germans fell for the rubbish. The Republican Party fell for the garbage.

Source: How Dictatorships Are Born – The New York Times