By Martin Love

U.S. policy errors mount with Trump’s banalities and delusions

November 25, 2018

NORTH CAROLINA - It is aggravating to see Donald Trump and minions squirm and contort themselves about the misdeeds of Muhammad bin Salman, otherwise known as MBS. Might I suggest the real meaning of “MBS”, and apply it to Trump and minions, too? Is not M-ighty B-ull S-hitter better? Yes, I think it is much better.

It has been nearly two months since Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi was suffocated and chopped and sawed in to pieces and then possibly dissolved in acid in or near the Saudi consulate building in Istanbul. Nobody or parts of one have so far been discovered. All along the way, the Saudis came up with one story, then another, then another. Finally, the Saudis admitted to the murder and MBS shrugged it off as the action of a rogue group of actors comprising a “hit” team close to him or whatever you want to call the current Saudi government. (The entire enterprise called “Saudi Arabia” looks rogue to me, a monster with far too much in the way of oil and gas, sold for the wrong things and the wrong reasons and making the wrong people wealthy.) But almost as bad has been Trump’s response so far.

Trump and gang have paid the usual knee-jerk lip service to the crime itself. Yes, it was “horrific or ugly or stupid” or whatever negative adjective that comes to mind, even to the puny mind of Donald Trump. But it’s all okay, Trump and gang seem to be saying, too, there’s no DIRECT proof tying the murder to MBS (even though it’s a virtual certainty to anyone with a gram of brains that MBS gave the order to kill Khashoggi and was even informed when it was underway.) So Trump is apparently of the belief that given a few more weeks, Khashoggi and the murder will have been forgotten because, well, the Middle East is a “difficult” region anyway you cut it (forgive the pun), and any disruption of Saudi-U.S. relations is a no-no, and underneath festers billions of dollars and potential profits that would be at risk if, say, the Saudis and MBS were “sanctioned” or diplomatic relations were diminished to any degree.

The whitewash and MBS (and Trump himself) stink like rats. The thing is, if you do smell a rat, there’s one close by. In fact, it’s likely you will find an entire pack of them and they are called “Neocons” and “Zionists”. The abrogation of the JCPOA and the re-imposition of draconian sanctions on Iran is precisely what rats do if readers can forgive vitriol here. And as an American, my olfactory senses are also shared by many others inside the U.S. There are a couple dimension to all this mess that must be noted:

First, there is definitely something quite sociopathic about many who are in positions of “leadership” in the U.S., and in Israel, too, which has more or less dictated U.S. Mideast policies for decades. The great American Catholic monk and writer Thomas Merton, who died during the Vietnam War on a trip round Asia, once said about the Nazi war criminal Adolf Eichmann who was captured in South America and brought to trial and execution in Israel for his role in the so-called “Holocaust” after the war, that psychiatrists who examined Eichmann pronounced him perfectly sane. In many respects he was because if Eichmann had also been a psychotic as well as a sociopath, his cruelty might have been easier to understand.

Merton wrote that the alleged banality and sanity of Eichmann was “disturbing” because normal people equate sanity “with a sense of justice, with humaneness, with prudence, with the capacity to understand and love other people. We rely on the sane people of the world to preserve it from barbarism, madness, destruction. And now it begins to dawn on us that it is precisely the sane ones who are the most dangerous…. The whole concept of sanity in a society where spiritual values have lost their meaning is itself meaningless.”

Secondly, one can readily posit that ANY country that puts itself and profits and power and the enhancements of a narrow leadership at the top of its priorities is, in fact, a “meaningless” society and one that has already descended into chaos to one degree or another. The random shootings and murders by disaffected people of innocents in the U.S., which seems to occur almost weekly now, is just one example of social and political decline. The longstanding inattention to the health, education system and even the U.S infrastructure is obvious, while trillions are poured into the military and into senseless wars. There is now a thinness and desperation in U.S. society and America is NOT or no longer in fact the “richest” country in the world.

The real wealth, actually the social wealth of any society, is measured by the quality of its commonly lived environment. There is a reason why the U.S, for all its supposed “wealth”, now looks and feels brittle. And even abject poverty, individual and social, which exists inside the U.S. today, is not an accident. It’s all about the allocation, or misallocation, of resources. And that’s exactly what the U.S. is dealing with now, and it’s not a pretty sight as the country careens towards market dislocations and a possible economic recession of such proportions that it may well be a game changer.

Mention of such facts and ideas may seem to many extreme, even wrongheaded, but actually such mentions comprise warnings of a sort to any country or society where power, as in the U.S. currently, is exalted and where narrow-minded “leaders” like Trump and many others in Washington cling selfishly to their privileges to the detriment of the majority of citizens. The true “wealth” of any country, including Iran’s, is not found in its natural resources, for example, but in the wisdom of its governance to serve others, even in hard times, no matter what.

One must fear for any country or society that has drifted, like the U.S., towards what is dangerously meaningless, to cite Thomas Merton. This is something that has completely eluded Trump, who has been claiming the U.S. has never been better off and that he has been the best of all possible Presidents in recent decades. His lies are enormous, his postures ridiculous, and ought to stand as a general warning to governments anywhere, including Islamic governments, to continue expressing and stressing spiritual values above all others.

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