Wednesday, November 9, 2016

it can happen here

It just did. American voters gave the enormous powers of the presidency to a dangerously inexperienced and unfit man. He will likely be supported, rather than restrained, by a Republican-controlled Congress. Some commentators see this as "an Andrew Jackson moment," a watershed event when nativist populism triumphed over a self-satisfied elite. Does that mean we are now on a path toward economic collapse, as happened as a result of Jackson's crazy economic policies, and the forced removal of unwanted people along a trail of tears? At least Jackson had successfully commanded men in battle and had served in both the House and Senate. He was no neophyte to governance.

The winning candidate actually sounded presidential in his victory speech. He spoke of bringing people together; he asked his opponents for guidance and help to bring national unity. The American people have a long record of accepting the outcomes of divisive campaigns, provided that the winners lived up to their healing promises.

I fear that, in foreign policy terms, America will never be as great again. Many of our closest partners are themselves threatened with extremism; our alliances are unraveling even without a skeptical president. The winner promises a trade war, which he can conduct without any actions by Congress, and is likely to spur the proliferation of nuclear weapons. I have never felt more worried about the future of my country.

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