by Shelton Bumgarner
The news out of Europe today is that German Chancellor Angela Merkel says Europe can no longer rely upon the United States and that it must go it alone from now on.
This is pretty earth shattering stuff in the context of the last 70 years or so. Of all the possible outcomes of Trumplandia, this is got to be up there with worse case. So not only is Donald Trump trying to establish something of an autocracy domestically, internationally he’s managing to fuck things up pretty well, too.
I always thought that things would go down like this: Trump would meet with Russian President Putin at some point and Trump would lift sanctions on Russia while giving Putin the go-ahead to make a major landgrab in Ukraine, if not elsewhere.
While that’s still a possible outcome, it looks as though there was another possibility that I did not imagine: our allies themselves would get fed up with Trump and decide that they could no longer trust the US to back them up on a strategic level.
This may be looked back upon as the moment when Trumplandia force some serious shifts in public policy in ways that none of us could have expect. There is now the very real possibility that there will be no need for Putin to meet Trump face-to-face. Putin could challenge NATO in a major way — first in Ukraine, then elsewhere — knowing Trump will be so busy talking about crowd sizes and leaks that he won’t have the time, nor the inclination, to do anything about it.
Not to get too bombastic, but the entire liberal post-WWII order is beginning to have a few bolts pop off. This is the first real demonstrative sign that the world is now a lot less safe in the age of Trumpandia. It is possible that Putin will feel so embolden by all this that NATO states in the Baltics may be gobbled up without the United States blinking an eye.
I really don’t what to make of all this. This is one of those events that is so heady and potentially significant that we can’t fully comprehend what it all means right now. We’re going to need some time to digest all of this, see how it plays out.
And, remember, we still haven’t had a major international crisis during the age of Trumplandia. It will interesting to see what Trump does — or doesn’t do — when he actually has to be the leader of the free world. My fear is he will totally not be up to the task and what could otherwise be managed with some proactive diplomacy will devolve into something significantly more serious.
Right now, Ukraine and North Korea are the places I am most concerned about. Ukraine, in particular, is a place where the conditions are now ripe for a major land grab by Russian forces. Maybe I’m being too alarmist about that, but history would suggest otherwise.