Or at the very least, an incipient monarchy: the only problem is that the monarch — while having plenty of clothes — has no head.
The most famous twentieth century American journalist, Bob Woodward, who together with his buddy Carl Bernstein broke the Watergate story that forced President Richard Nixon to resign, has written a book that reveals White House palace intrigues worthy of any European king — although it is the French President, Emanuel Macron, who calls himself Jupiter.
Under the ominous title Fear, Woodward quotes high-ranking members of the White House staff as well as the heads of crucial departments affirming that, for the good of the country, they work to prevent Trump from signing dangerous documents. And like the proverbial cherry on the cake, in finely tuned coordination, on the day the book was released to the press, the New York Times broke with tradition to publish an anonymous op-ed by one of those senior White House officials whose first sentence is “I am part of the Resistance”, a phrase Americans know from watching World War II movies featuring European partisans fighting Germans in the woods.
Last year, a group of psychiatrists issued a book-length report on Donald Trump’s mental health, and recently a participant in the former Trump TV show THE APPRENTICE, who eventually made it into the White House, released a memoir of her time there. Biased against the flamboyant woman who wrote it, the press failed to take Manigault Newman’s book Unhinged seriously, however Bernstein’s book presents strikingly similar testimonies. Unless the political class is totally feckless — and that is not to be excluded — these revelations should bring down the presidency, because it details actions taken by senior cabinet members, such as Pentagon Secretary Jim Mattis removing from Trump’s desk a document that could have dire consequences if he signed it, knowing he will forget about it…. The news hunt is on to discover who actually wrote the oped, while vast part of the world continue in turmoil, totally ignored by the hourly newscasts. In fact, nothing better illustrates the state of the US media than the fact that twenty-four hour news (literally!) is devoted to detailed analyses and opinions about the ‘state of the Union’, down to a analyses of state candidates in nation-wide elections, rather than information about the rest of the world
The United States has the dubious honor of throwing up more scandals than any other ‘democracy’, their accelerating pace suggesting that the end of the current presidency is near. In an ominous sign, these events are taking place at the same time as the president’s latest pick for the Supreme Court is being evaluated by a Congress aware of his backing for a unitary — or ‘imperial’ presidency — but seemingly powerless to deny him their approval.
The decline of the American ‘system of checks and balances’ has been under way for decades, and is now terminal, demonstrating if need be that when all is said and done, a democracy is only as good as its ethics. The election of a brazen liar and proven cheat to the ‘highest office of the land’ is laid at Russian President Vladimir Putin’s door. However, pundits do not accuse Putin of actually tipping the election to a feckless ‘idiot’, knowing this would be impossible to prove, but of ‘dividing’ Americans. As if Americans are not already traditionally divided among Democrats and Republicans, elections serving to determine whose desires will prevail (while those of the minority are ‘protected’…). No one has asked in what way ‘Russian interference’ further divided Americans.
In response to a growing wave of interest in Bernie Sanders’ socialist ideas, the Democratic Party dug its own grave by manipulating obscure rules in order to prevent him from becoming its candidate, thanks to the Clinton political ‘machine’ (the ominous synonym for a political party). These maneuvers, which would make front page headlines in any other democratic country, are business as usual in Washington, while the recently revealed $50,000 Russian ’contribution’ that bought four tickets to President Trump’s inauguration, is denounced as ‘interference’ — as if by the mere fact of being a spectator at the event a Russian could influence his presidency.
After two years, the election of Donald Trump has become a brilliant illustration of the limits of ‘ballot-box’ democracy: more often than by outside entities, it can be manipulated by unethical national actors, whether presidents, other elected officials, or private interests whose money has been determined by the Supreme Court to be ‘free speech’. The reluctance of both Democrats and Republicans in Congress to initiate impeachment proceedings — or even invoke Article 25 on presidential incapacity, is the final straw: give me a good King any day!
Deena Stryker is an international expert, author and journalist that has been at the forefront of international politics for over thirty years, exlusively for the online journal “New Eastern Outlook”.