Friday, June 2, 2017

Fear and Petulance

Josh Marshall looks at the bigger picture.

This isn’t about climate and it isn’t about Trump’s base. It’s about sticking it to the leaders of Europe. That’s what gave the Bannonites the edge. That and one other thing.

Trump is scared. He’s entering a a widening gyre of political crisis over Russia. He’s scared and he’s angry and he needs friends. So he’s more and more likely to hug his base – both the most aggressive advisors and the most committed supporters. He’s trying to bring back Corey Lewandowski, his wildest and most troubling-driving advisor who has the unshakable loyalty and lickspittledom Trump now requires. Indeed, we can take it as a given that as the Russia scandal crisis deepens Trump will become more aggressive and more extreme in his policies both to maintain his emotional equilibrium and reinforce his backing from a shrinking base of supporters. This is as certain as night follows day.

It’s worth noting, if it is not obvious, that the growing rupture in Trump’s relations with Europe is also driven by the Russia issue and Trump’s desire to hamstring or break apart the EU and NATO. Whether Trump’s affinity for Russia is legitimate or corrupt, the reality itself is indisputable. That drives his hostility to the EU and NATO.

In any case, this is about wanting to lash out at enemies, strike a blow in a context in which people can’t easily fight back and try to assert control over a situation that increasingly feels (and is) out of control. Rewrite the last four weeks, leave Trump less angry and threatened, I’m confident the US would still be in the Paris accord. That’s how he operates.

That’s also how spoiled children and dictators operate: they lash out with vengeance.  “I’ll show THEM who’s boss around here!”

In a way, though, this further revelation of his petulant and irrational behavior makes it clear to the world that he is fully capable of acting out in response to nothing more than hurt feelings — or covfefes — and must be dealt with swiftly.  There is no negotiating with someone backed into a corner.

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