A prognostication on US political events & the international consequences, by Bob Dey:
Tomgram contributor Andrew Bacevich captured my views splendidly in a column on the US debacles leading to the global financial crisis and into the election of Donald Trump as president.
In the first instance, pre-2008, politicians & regulators were afraid to show a small decline from which their economy could have recovered stronger, which meant opting for a crash.
In the second instance, there was clearly a large body of distrust of both candidates in the 2016 US presidential election, and the outsider won.
Mr Bacevich sees little of use emanating from the impeachment battle – it might even help catapult Mr Trump into his second presidential term.
And here the real battle resumes. The insiders, the Deep State, the chosen – call them what you will – will be intent on restoring lost power. As Mr Bacevich put it: “No, the object of the exercise is to return power to those who created the conditions that enabled Trump to win the White House in the first place.”
On the way to that conclusion, he wrote, “As this [impeachment] process unspools, what politicians like to call ‘the people’s business’ will go essentially unattended.”
That leaves us outsiders to wonder what, beyond the maelstrom in a teacup, the impacts might be for us.
One certainty is that Mr Trump will stamp his authority on the impeachment process. He will own it, unless the Democrats can produce a voice of calm & authoritative clarity. They’ve frittered away months of ascension by quibbling over small points in an overpopulated contest for their candidate, and the septuagenarians most likely to win candidacy will have too little time to put Mr Trump back in his box.
Over the next year, Mr Trump can orchestrate a slight decline followed by a bigger growth spurt – the kind of thing Labour’s opponents in New Zealand, oddly, are clamouring for Finance Minister Grant Robertson to do with a surplus.
Mr Trump has his foreign scraps available too. He can embark on an agreement with China, or criticise his major adversary, or do both at once, as he’s already demonstrated. He can bring Kim Jong-un back on stage, he can escalate or dampen a war footing with a couple of fingerprints on a keyboard.
Meanwhile, any nod toward conservative accounting will be brushed aside. The US national debt passed $US22 trillion in February and has now shot past $US22.8 trillion. Anybody who tries to stop it climbing to the moon will lose votes. On this year’s trajectory, it will pass $US23 trillion on 13 December.
That economy, and thereby others, can be propped up. International trade skirmishes can erupt, but it will be inconvenient for them to boil over – not just yet, anyway. People who fear recession don’t hang on tenterhooks forever either, because they can see they’re missing out.
Now back to the role of the impeachment exercise. While the voices rise, the time-consuming exercise is likely to settle the US economy, and thereby ease concerns internationally.
Oh, but keep in mind that when the recession does hit, it will be much bigger.
Tomgram, 8 October 2019: Andrew Bacevich, High crimes & misdemeanours of the fading American century
Attribution: Tomgram, Bob Dey.