Before long the world will act typically numb when President Donald Trump announces a “hit” on a prominent public figure via his Twitter account. The American administrations of the past few decades have already made an art out of the mafia-like military and economic sanctions on people from Kiev to Kandahar, so it’s only a question of who’s going to get “whacked” next these days. My prediction will be China, here’s why.
Who’s Gonna Get Whacked Next?
A New York Times story the other day told the world the Trump administration had authorized a hit on China’s most successful communications conglomerate Huawei. Trump has already put the squeeze on the Canadians so that officials there could arrest the CFO and daughter of the company founder, Meng Wanzhou for extradition to the U.S. for undisclosed wrongdoings. Trump-China relations of late remind me of the mafia gangland 60s TV shows and the movie The Godfather; only American presidents play with live bullets and real bagmen. Look at the wording from the NYTs story with regard to Huawei competitor ZTE and Trump’s anti-China penchant:
“Eventually, the Trump administration decided to ease its punishment of ZTE, in an effort to cool tensions with China’s leader, Xi Jinping, ahead of a historic North Korea meeting.”
My point is hidden in plain sight in the media narrative, you see? Our newspapers and TV shows now reflect our common acceptance of a strange truth. Can’t you detect it in this passage? We elect presidents these days so that they can “punish” foreign companies that compete with us. We elect officials that punish and sanction people and nations that run contrary to their policies. And make no mistake, Trump’s policies have nothing whatsoever to do with the best interests of the people of the United States of America.
I am no fan of the Chinese leadership or any leadership driven by the businesspeople who stand behind wringing their bloody hands. But arresting foreign business persons based on whether or not their technology is being used to spy on us? Hell, Bill Gates and the rest of the American oligarchs had best stay home from now on. For those who’ve forgotten Snowden and the NSA revelations, I think you needn’t worry about your spanking new Huawei P20 Pro with the magical Leica cameras. It’s no more likely to be a listening ear than the iPhone or Samsung, and I can attest to the fantastic imagery from the cameras – WOW. Oh, but Apple is a U.S. company, my bad. I did not mean to be a traitor. I’d better shut up before I get whacked next.
Crime Bosses, Zealots, and Factions
Our own NSA develops a vast surveillance network underneath our own noses, they even create a catalog for ways to spy on us, and somehow we are supposed to shudder in fear if the Russians or Chinese know our bank details. Excuse me; I don’t get it. We cannot even seem to find one decent human being to vote for these days, and Russia in Russian speaking Crimea is something we should go to war over. I could list a thousand bits of strangeness here, but my point is well made. Who cares if my Huawei P20 Pro is a security risk? None of us is safe anyhow. We’re in protection racked, we’re running the numbers, and each and every one of us lives under a crime boss. You can be Russian, Italian, or from Sumatra – nothing you have is secure. Vladimir Putin may smear VX Gas gel on your doorknob. Barack Obama leftovers may order a drone strike on your SUV. Hillary Clinton’s Arkansas mob may snuff you out in your sleep. The world is just not safe.
But by God, you’d better let your bank details flow through that iPhone because America has to be great again. Here, read about the worst crimes of Apple from 2013 and be amazed Donald Trump has the unmitigated gall to arrest a Huawei exec. Remind yourself about Microsoft handing over your perceived personal security to the NSA.
Turning to Trump and the insinuation he’s a captain of the new organized crime web of this world, a Washington Post story from some time back paints this picture for me. Imagine a U.S. president tied to such names as Fat Tony Salerno and Carmine Galante! Donald Trump is connected, sure enough, through his political mentor and personal lawyer Roy Cohn, who was the consigliere for those mafiosos. And you thought I was just blowing off steam comparing Trump policy to gangland tactics. Hell, his construction firms bought expensive concrete from the Gambino crime family, for crying out loud. Read the WaPo piece, do the research, and understand the Australians would not let Trump build in Sydney because of his “mob connections.” This Vice story by Tom Robbins loosely aligns Donald Trump with some of the most notorious crime bosses in modern history. No wonder the Trump narrative and policy sounds so “punishing.”
Trump or the Triad?
Back in the day, I used to know these “made guys” put in place by a couple of labor unions I was close to. Heck, I even had a cousin who ran drugs for the mob back in the 70s. From those experiences I know this, business is all a racket and politicians are the paid pawns that help grease the wheels. You all know this, but society has conditioned us to lay off the conspiratorial talk. We Americans like our crime squeaky clean, you know? Admitting that each and every one of us has been in bed with the mob in one way or another, it’s just uncomfortable. I understand you. Factions, crime families, and our zealous clinging to the fantasy we want people to see as America – I am still amazed when my friends feign ignorance. Trump and all those fellows of his up in Washington, they’re dirty as hell. Let’s just be real with one another. Once you sit in a room and hear the deals being made, after your pal the city mayor confides his duplicity to you when your father the doctor or lawyer gives you the score – don’t you know the score from then on?
We’re going to punish those Russians and the Chinese. But who will punish us and how harshly? For my part, after decades of deliberation, I choose the Huawei P20 Pro even though it costs €1,000 euro. I chose it because it takes great selfies and the touch screen is flawless. I pick the Chinese manufacturer because I am less afraid of the Communists spying on me than I am of our own leadership. At least the Triads are not threatening to “punish” us for being Americans.
Phil Butler, is a policy investigator and analyst, a political scientist and expert on Eastern Europe, he’s an author of the recent bestseller “Putin’s Praetorians” and other books. He writes exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook.”