Nostalgia for a strongman

Nostalgia for a strongman
"Uncle Sam -- come back!"

It is difficult to say who will be elected by the American people, but the world (except sterile Western Europe) has made its choice. And this choice, in spite of formal logic, is the “racist,” “sexist,” “imperialist,” “Islamophobe” Donald Trump.

In New York, President of Egypt el-Sisi has met with Trump and characterized him as a “strong leader.” The presidents of the Czech Republic and Hungary, Milos Zeman and Viktor Orban, urged Americans to elect Trump. According to Orban, Trump would be a better leader than Obama, and Zeman compared him with Reagan. Russia, Israel and the Arab monarchies would also like to see Trump in the White house. In India, nationalists sing mantras devoted to Trump; in Serbia they call “Vote for Trump!”

It’s not surprising. During the eight years of Obama, Clinton and Kerry’s ruling America has become a pariah. It is in isolation, and this is not the “brilliant isolation” of Victorian England. It is a miserable and shameful isolation. You can hardly find a regime now that wouldn’t humiliate the leaders of the once-great country and all the people of America together.

In July 2012, protesters in Egypt, with the connivance of the authorities, threw tomatoes and shoes at Hillary Clinton’s motorcade, accompanying this action with shouts of “Monica, Monica”. The paradox arises from the fact that Clinton was going to meet with Mursi, whom she supported.

Kerry allowed the Egyptians to search him twice before the meetings with al-Sisi, as if he were a second-rate journalist – the first time in Cairo in July 2014 and second time in China in September 2016. This humiliation seemed fun to Kerry.

Erdogan blackmails the White House defiantly, threatening to break the strategic relationship with the US if they don’t extradite Fethullah Gülen. In response, Kerry and Biden bow to Erdogan.  Putin regularly humiliated his “American partners” making them wait for him. At the G20 summit in Mexico in 2012, he was 40 minutes late for the meeting with Obama. Obama and Clinton were given a slap in the face.

“He kept President Obama waiting 40 minutes before he showed up. … Putin could not have looked more bored…and never apologized for being late,” Clinton acknowledged.  However, this was a mere trifle compared to May 2013, when Kerry, who arrived to Moscow to discuss the conflict in Syria with Putin, had to wait for him…for three hours.  Kerry did not take offense.

In June 2014, Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski said that “the Polish-US alliance isn’t worth anything.”

“It is downright harmful, because it creates a false sense of security,” he said. It was the lowest rating of trust for the US.

In Saudi Arabia, Obama was met by the governor of Riyadh – a public slap to the president. The meeting wasn’t even broadcast on Saudi TV, as if he were an ambassador of Liechtenstein. The same happened in Cuba. Obama, who was so proud of his “historic breakthrough” in relations with Havana, was met not by Raul Castro, but by the Minister for Foreign Affairs.  However, Obama only smiled and spoke about “new horizons.”

Iranians “thanks” Obama for the lifting of sanctions by mocking the US: they arrange provocations in the Gulf regularly, demonstrate video footage with kneeling American sailors, and make the US pay for the release of hostages.

In China, Obama was the only world leader at G20 summit who got off the plane through the emergency exit and without the red carpet, as if he were the head of Somaliland. Obama appeared to make nothing of the incident.

The President of Philippines Rodrigo Duterte called the US president a “son of a whore” and promised “to curse him.”  In exchange, Obama described Duterte as a “bright guy” and discussed bilateral relations between the two countries afterwards.

This is the resume of modern history’s epic drama: the West in general, and its flagship – the US – have turned into a whipping boy, a punching bag, an object of ridicule, vilification, and abuse. And they seem to be quite happy with this situation.

Mankind has changed little in the last four thousand years.  And our politics are pretty much the same: the politics of leading countries in Eurasia – from Eastern Europe to China and from Russia to the Arab world – are based on time-honored traditions, such as historical memory, the feeling of uniqueness, ancient culture, and of course national dignity – the sacred category, the absence of which makes sensible geopolitics impossible.

A rejection of national dignity, from their point of view, defeats the purpose of the very existence of the nation; turns it into a mob, a herd, some amorphous mass. A state that abandons its national dignity is doomed.

For America and Western Europe, national dignity is mere rhetoric. For the people of Eurasia and their leaders, it is a root of life giving the vitality that fills them with faith and hope.

They consider Western leaders, with their naïveté, their mantras about peace, tolerance and “human rights,” their political correctness and self-flagellation, as a miserable parody of state leaders: a Pickwick Club, aliens, creatures from a laboratory incubator – pathetic, cowardly, mercenary, and pathologically ignorant. This encourages them, at best, to seek new allies. At worst, it invites aggression against the West. For heirs of ancient civilizations, the America of “Obama followers,” of Hilary and Kerry, is not even a “paper tiger.” It is a daffy tiger imagining itself a kitten that drinks milk, chasing its tail and falling on its back at the sight of the Iranian hyenas.

This odd “creature” causes mixed feelings. Gloat – because no one here has ever felt sympathy to the “Yankees” with their wealth and prosperity.  If any did, they’ve been disillusioned.

Increased salivation – because a dying hippopotamus is always an excellent dish for predators, and the ocean is no longer a strong defense against missiles, terrorism and cyber-attacks.

A sense of permissiveness – the “world policeman” has turned into a senile bumpkin with his super-modern weapons chasing Pokémon.

And … confusion. Because the sheriff’s resignation means chaos, anarchy, a war of all against all.

All restrictions have been removed, and the law defended by guns and batons doesn’t exist anymore. On The Island of Doctor Moreau, all are free and therefore doomed, since no one possesses a total supremacy, as the US does – but they do possess a deadly weapon.

That is why the world would like to see, ironic as it sounds, a strong America again. Some of them – such as Eastern Europe, Egypt, Israel, Saudi Arabia and the Persian Gulf monarchies – would like to return to the generous patronage of the US. Others – like the Turks and the Greeks, Indians and Pakistanis – need a strong referee to avoid slipping into the abyss of all-out war. More powerful countries – like Russia and China – want to divide their spheres of influence and deal with a reliable partner.

In any case, this ally – a partner or a referee – must be sane, strong and predictable.

The leader of the great power – which wasn’t able to send helicopters to save its ambassador from the barbarian’s gang in a foreign country – is miserable. This leader, who promises “reset” today, but invades your vital space tomorrow and moralizes about human rights, is unpredictable. A leader who releases predatory maniacs from prison can hardly be called sane. A leader who sends secret diplomatic correspondence from her insecure email raises concerns with regards to her mental abilities. Leaders who draw “red lines” and forget about them the next day; who refuse to deliver weapons to the friends fighting against terrorists in Sinai, Gaza and Yemen; leaders who cannot call Islamic terror “Islamic terror” – they cause nothing but rage and contempt.

The world feels nostalgia for a “sheriff,” and therefore prefers Trump, although they hardly like him. In any case, he is more reliable than Bronies.

The boss is back.  (Image: maverickmen via Tumblr, Slate)
The boss is back. (Image: maverickmen via Tumblr, Slate)
Alexander Maistrovoy

Alexander Maistrovoy

Alexander Maistrovoy is an Israeli journalist. He has written for Arutz Sheva, Gates of Vienna, and the New English Review, and is the author of “Agony of Hercules or a Farewell to Democracy (Notes of a Stranger).”


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