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TM, ®, Copyright © 2019 Piero Scaruffi All rights reserved.


Articles on the USA published after 2019
You can't prove Trump guilty anymore
The Fascist Coup in the USA
Armed and Dangerous
Trump's Foreign Policy in a Nutshell
Why I am Opposed to Impeaching Trump
The Great Trump Recession
What is Wrong with White Christian Men?
Should California Declare Independence?
How to Tax Gullible US Taxpayers
The Anti-Trump Party is not a Liberal Party
How a Madman with a Low I.Q. Engineered Yet Another Nuclear Crisis
China and USA: The Decoupling
My Reaction to the Summary of the Mueller Report
The USA Exits the Middle East; Enters Iran
The Decline of US Influence or How to Outsmart the USA and Make it Weak Again
The Trump Scandals
Where we stand with the Trump-Russia investigation
What's in "Vladimir" Trump's tax returns?
Articles on the USA published before 2019


  • (november 2019)

    The Fascist Coup in the USA.
    When i wrote the various anti-Trump pamphlets ( Where we stand with the Trump-Russia investigation, The Trump Scandals, and What's in "Vladimir" Trump's tax returns?), i was focused on the phenomenon of a crook and scumbag (and probably traitor) who managed to become president, despite the hostility within his own party. However, we are witnessing daily the spectacle of the Republican Party defending him no matter what the accusation is and how strong the evidence is, willing to accept unlimited corruption and collusion. Obviously he is a crook, a scumbag, a sexist, a racist, an idiot, mentally unstable, and obviously he cheated on his wives, on his employees, on his customers, on his business partners and, last but not least, on his country. Nevertheless, the Republican Party is more united than ever in defending him. The Republicans of Richard Nixon's impeachment were appalled by Nixon's unethical actions. Today's Republicans don't try to hide that Trump's behavior is unethical: they just don't care. This made me realize that Trump is a symptom, not the disease.

    The disease started during the Bush II presidency when the Republican Party, under the leadership of its Mitch McConnell, began tampering with the rules of the US democracy. Over the 165 years of its history, many members of the Republican Party have enjoyed reminding voters that the USA is a republic, not a democracy; but never had this motto become a pretext for systematically overthrowing the will of the majority as it became from the mid 2000s until now. Mitch McConnell's Republican Party has become a constant threat to the US democracy. The Republican Party has lost every single election (presidential or parliamentary) except in 2004 but, surprise, it has controlled the USA to a much greater extent than the party that won most of the votes: Bush II lost the 2000 election but he became president, Trump lost the 2016 election but he became president, the Republicans lost all the parliamentary elections since 2000 but they still rule the Senate and only recently have they lost control of the House of Representatives. Last but not least, by twisting the rules of the Senate, McConnell managed to make sure that most of the judges of the Supreme Court are right-wing fanatics in a country that increasingly leans to the left. Gerrymandering has reached a comical level. McConnell is doing openly what the neo-cons of the Bush II presidency did subtly. The neo-cons didn't believe that democracy is good for the country, that people know what they want. The neo-cons believed in an old principle that only the elite knows what is best for the country, and the elite is entitled to lie to the people. Back then, this was said and done in secret. McConnell started from that principle and went on, deciding that the rules about transparency, legislative process and conflict of interest only apply to the other party: the Republican Party is exempt from any accountability because it is the "right" party for the nation.

    To be fair, McConnell's Republican Party simply used the flaws in the US constitution. A failed democratic system almost guarantees that the US government will keep NOT representing the will of the people: two senators per state, regardless of whether the state has 40 million people or less than 1 million, gerrymandered districts to make sure that parties decide who gets elected, a Supreme Court decision that allows big money to influence elections, and an electoral college that ignores who actually won the election. And widespread corruption that makes banana republics look like role models.

    Precisely because democracy is a threat to its rule, the Republican Party will use all the power it holds to block any legislation that will make the process more democratic.

    As Ezra Klein, cofounder of Vox, wrote: "It is not difficult to envision an America where Republicans consistently win the presidency despite rarely winning the popular vote, where they typically control both the House and the Senate despite rarely winning more votes than the Democrats, where their dominance of the Supreme Court is unquestioned and where all this power is used to buttress a system of partisan gerrymandering, pro-corporate campaign finance laws, strict voter identification requirements and anti-union legislation that further weakens Democrats' electoral performance."

    If this was already obvious ten years ago, now that Trump is president the Republican Party has pushed its over antidemocratic spirit towards quasi-criminal territory. It is rapidly becoming a criminal organization, with behavior that remind Italians of the darkest days of the Sicilian mafia. Republicans are constantly looking for ways to stay in power whether they lose or win elections.

    Republicans know that the demographic trend plays against them. Trump supporters tend to be old, grumpy old white men. That demographic group is fading. Millions of 2016 Trump voters will be dead by 2020, while millions of young people who didn't vote in 2016 will be voting in 2020. The only way that Republicans can hold on to power is by hijacking the democratic process, make sure that votes do not count.

    They have shown that they are willing to take money and any kind of help from just about anybody, notably from foreign countries (Russia, Israel, Saudi Arabia...).

    The Republican Party has nurtured a propaganda apparatus (Rush Limbaugh's radio show, Fox News, conspiracy theorists on the Web) that rivals in efficiency that of the old Soviet Union. Those who criticize the Chinese Communist Party for its chronic distortion of the facts have never watched Fox News, the mouthpiece of the Republican Party. When it comes to brainwashing people, the former has learned from the latter. This propaganda apparatus has turned on its head the old conspiracy theories of the Left. The Left is guilty of creating distrust since the 1960s in the "deep state" with all its conspiracy theories against the CIA, FBI, etc. The radical right-wing news media of the Republican Party have adopted those conspiracy theories but with a much more powerful technological apparatus (not black-and-white pamphlets but cable TV and social media). A YouGov poll showed that the vast majority of Trump supporters believed that the "deep state" is trying to overthrow his presidency, something that no Leftist could have dreamed of in the 1960s.

    The Republican Party counts among its supporters both racists (the so-called "white fundamentalists") and bigots (radical Christian fundamentalists, who are no less dangerous than radical Islamic fundamentalists). The Republican Party used to be the party of the military heroes, of morality, of patriotism. Now it cares less and less about the national interest, virtually nothing about moral values. Trump's main claim to fame are gambling casinos and Miss Universe pageants - legitimate businesses but usually surrounded by the kind of sordid stories that conservative white people are supposed to despise. Trump was a regular guest on the radio show of Howard Stern and featured on the cover of Playboy magazine in March 1990 (next to a sexy model in miniskirt offering him her ass). Bill Clinton looks like a saint compared with Donald Trump and his gang of amoral thugs.

    Katherine Stewart and Caroline Fredrickson have written in the New York Times of 29 December 2019: "America's conservative movement, having morphed into a religious nationalist movement, is on a collision course with the American constitutional system... the movement that now controls the Republican Party is committed to a suite of ideas that are fundamentally incompatible with the Constitution and the Republic that the founders created under its auspices.

    The next logical step will be to become a fascist militia and take over government through intimidation like similar fascist movements did in many other places, starting with Mussolini in 1922. Trump told Breitbart: "I have the support of the police, the support of the military, the support of the Bikers for Trump - I have the tough people, but they don't play it tough until they go to a certain point, and then it would be very bad, very bad" (12 March 2019). There is a starking difference between the "liberal" majority and the conservative minority: the former is unarmed because it doesn't believe in the (indiscriminate) right to bear arms, the latter is armed to their teeth. This constitutes a veritable Trump Gestapo. At the end of 2018, white Christian terrorist Cesar Sayoc, a fanatic Donald Trump supporter and fan of radical right-wing Fox News television, mailed bombs to notorious Trump opponents (Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden, senators Kamala Harris and Cory Booker, billionaire George Soros, actor Robert de Niro, etc). Hours later, white suprematist Robert Bowers (another eager Fox News viewer and Trump follower) killed 11 Jews at a Pittsburgh synagogue, the deadliest attack on Jews in the history of the USA (see how the killer's language mirrored Fox News' fake news and Trump's rhetoric). A few days earlier, another radical white Christian, Gregory Bush had killed two African-Americans at random after failing to attack a black church: he too was a devout Trump supporter and Fox News viewer. One wonders if these people are just the vanguard of Trump's Gestapo. This is what Fox News has been training its viewers to do. Trump's movement is forming armed militias and indoctrinating them with all sorts of messianic conspiracy theories. So you may have a civil war between Trump fanatics who are armed with semiautomic weapons and Trump opponents who are armed with... signs. It is not a coincidence that, despite multiple mass shootings, Trump has sabotaged any effort to curb guns and ammunitions. Secondly, you can view the deportation camps that Trump created for illegal immigrants are a test-run: if you can imprison a minority and the majority doesn't protest, you can then slowly enlarge the number of minorities, starting with journalists and scientists, the two groups that most fiercely oppose Trump.

    Trump and Fox News are clearly setting the stage for rejecting the results of the next election. Trump has no intention of leaving the White House in 2020. First, Trump will try to delegitimize his opponents, just like he did first with Ted Cruze during the campaign for the Republican primary and then with Hillary Clinton during the campaign for the presidential elections. He, who has committed all sorts of crimes, accused her of being "guilty of a very, very serious crime". This will start a debate about whether his rival should be allowed to run at all (don't forget he wanted to put Hillary Clinton in prison). Whatever the results will be, Trump is prepared to claim that there was widespread voter fraud, and McConnell's Republican Party is prepared to back him up. It is interesting how Trump already convinced his base that it is the liberals who are trying to "take away" the vote of the people when in fact the liberal candidate (Hillary Clinton) won three million more votes than him. He tweeted: "I am coming to the conclusion that what is taking place is not an impeachment, it is a COUP, intended to take away the Power of the People, their VOTE". In fact, he is the one who took away the vote of the people: the people voted against him, and, still, he became president and proceeded to implement an agenda that goes counter the will of the majority.

    You also have to realize that for all Fox News viewers the capital of France is not necessarily Paris: the capital of France is whatever Fox News says it is. Therefore, for all Fox News viewers, the results of the presidential election will be not be the real results but whatever Fox News says the results are. Fox News creates the reality for its viewers. Already, Trump's future depends entirely on the ability of Fox News to create an "alternative reality" in which Trump is innocent of all wrongdoing, all the scandals are false, he is the victim of a "witch hunt", and so on. Should Fox News start telling the truth to its viewers, Trump would be finished well before the 2020 elections. In the worst-case scenario, for the 2020 elections Fox News will fabricate evidence that millions of votes were stolen, and Trump will never concede, knowing that he may spend the rest of his life in jail if he is ever prosecuted properly for all the crimes that he committed.

    Most analysts are so busy thinking what will happen when Trump loses the 2020 elections. But we should be even more worried about what he does if he gets reelected. Despite all the polls showing that he has the lowest rating of any president ever, Trump could easily win again: it's the electoral college that matters, not the number of votes. He may lose the next elections by an even larger margin of votes, maybe as many as ten million votes, but most votes don't count in the system of the electoral college: if he wins approximately the same votes in the same small states, it doesn't really matter what happens in the bigger states. This is in fact the likely scenario: he wins approximately the same votes in the "swing" states although he loses by bigger margins in the states where he already lost in 2020. The result is that he still wins the electoral college, while he loses the popular vote by an even bigger margin than in 2016. Far from admitting that he has no mandate in such a scenario, Trump will probably interpret it as a mandate (from his minority) to implement a radical right-wing agenda. And here is the scariest scenario: exhausted after four years of pointless resistance, the media and the whole democratic society may give up and cave in. All media will become like Fox News or shut down. All politicians will become like Jim Jordan or retire. All newspapers will become similar to the Pravda, the old Soviet newspaper. After eight years of Trump the USA will be a completely different country. In fact, Trump may even change the rules and run for a third term, just like his boss Putin did, just like countless authoritarian leaders did in the Americas (Castro in Cuba, Chavez in Venezuela, Ortega in Nicaragua, etc). If he cannot re-run indefinitely due to old age, he may appoint his successor, like Chavez did in Venezuela, most likely be a member of his own family. The first female president of the USA may well be Ivanka Trump. Once it is accepted that the will of the majority does NOT matter, all other arguments are irrelevant: the one who has the power keeps it.

    In between, it is likely that states like California will be very tempted to declare independence. The states that are most opposed to Trump are precisely the ones that produce the vast majority of the science and technology that make the USA "great", i.e. that make Trump the most powerful man in the world. There is obviously something amiss here: Trump is the most powerful man in the world thanks to the innovation produced by the people who strongly oppose Trump. There must be a boiling point at which these people will start wondering if they are states or colonies. California is obviously more like a colony than a state: its votes don't count, as the winner of the presidential elections is always announced before California votes are counted. And, still, the power of that president largely depends on the GPD of California (the fifth largest in the world) and on the innovation that comes from California (Stanford, Berkeley, Silicon Valley). See Should California Declare Independence? Ditto for the other powerhouse of innovation: Boston (MIT, Harvard). Ditto for the other hubs of innovation that seem to be all located in states that voted overwhelmingly against Trump: Seattle (Microsoft, Amazon, Boeing), Chicago, New York, ... If Trump remains president, these states may decide to leave the union. The last time some states tried to leave the union, 628,000 people were killed out of a population of 34 million. (The winners of that civil war may feel sorry that they fought it at all: without the southern states, the northern states would not have to endure the Trump nightmare). A mentally unstable man like Trump may even be tempted to use nuclear weapons on rebellious states.

    I spoke out against Islam for more than 30 years and got three death threats. I spoke out against Trump for only 3 years and already got three death threats. You have to wonder how many US journalists have already been silenced by death threats. After the first one gets killed, the numbers will skyrocket, just like it happened in Putin's Russia, where one can hardly read any article that even remotely criticizes Putin.

    In fact, i wonder whether the intimidation already worked on Robert Mueller. Those who hoped that Mueller would deliver the country from this aspiring Mussolini had their hopes shattered by a watered down investigation, particularly its conclusions: despite all the indictments, despite all the contacts between Trump and Putin's agents, despite all the lying and obstructing, Mueller found Trump not guilty of all charges. Mueller's report confirmed Russian interference on "Vladimir" Trump's behalf, and confirmed all the contacts between Trump's associates and Putin's agents (which Trump never reported to the authorities and initially denied as fantasies). It confirmed that, one after the other, Trump associates lied to hide their contacts. But, miracolously, Mueller's conclusion is that Trump is innocent. Not even his corrupt children are worth an indictment. In fact, Mueller never even interviewed the scumbag... sorry, i meant Trump. The whole affair represents a terrifying victory against the rule of law, handing a certified crook and vindictive megalomaniac almost complete leeway to thwart any effort by the authorities to scrutinize his evil deeds.

    Friends who live outside the USA have asked me "Why should we care if the USA becomes a fascist dictatorship? The rest of the world can go on with their business just like it did when Mussolini took over Italy". Should the world care if the USA falls into a civil war or turns into a banana republic? This little Mussolini, mentally unstable and with a very low I.Q., has 3,000 nuclear weapons to play with. The world spent 70 years under the threat of a nuclear holocaust but knowing that half of the bombs were controlled by the "good guys". Not anymore.

    When Osama bin Laden's Al Qaeda attacked the USA in September 2001, many US citizens wept as they realized how vulnerable the whole US civilization was. They didn't realize that it was indeed vulnerable, but not so much to some deranged religious extremists as to its own people. As Pogo, famously said: "We have met the enemy and he is us." (See The New New New World Order).

    See also For an Anthropological Study of Trump and FoxNews

    TM, ®, Copyright © 2019 Piero Scaruffi All rights reserved.
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  • (november 2019)

    Armed and Dangerous.

    Trump lost the presidential election of 2016 by a huge margin, but this fact doesn't erase the more important fact that millions voted for him. And, despite two years of endless scandals, Trump's moral conduct still resonates with so many US citizens.

    Trumpism is too similar to Fascism and Nazism to ignore the similarities. Trumpism is a fanatical cult of a tiny minority that is very vocal (not on the streets but on social media) and receives support from a religious populace that is tired of "progressive" ideas (such as gay marriage), eager for a return to a more traditional lifestyle, and some support from the middle class that was hurt by the economic crisis of 2007 (just like Germans were hurting in the 1920s of hyper-inflation). Trump, like Hitler before him, preys upon the innocent victims of unrestrained capitalism, while, like Hitler before him, at the same time stirring nostalgic sentiments ("make American great again", a slogan actually invented by Mussolini, which also implies a return to the white-dominated society of the 1950s when immigrants were a small minority and blacks were segregated). Trump, like Hitler before him, blames the stranger among us (in his case, the immigrants, rather than the Jews) and promises an ethnic cleansing that will restore the privilege of the pure race. Just like in the cases of Mussolini and Hitler, the armed vocal minority could overthrow democracy with the silent approval of these classes.

    Mind: i am not saying that the grievances of this populace are irrelevant. The breakdown of families, children out of wedlock, drug addiction, crippling health-related debts, the increasing gap between rural and urban regions, the economic inequality among genders and ethnicities, the class warfare against the middle class, and so on, are serious concerns, just like hyper-inflation was in Hitler's time and malaria was in Mussolini's time. And there is certainly an issue with mass illegal immigration, especially with low-skill immigration, not so much the financial burden as the destabilyzing effect on communities (a Pew poll found that 55% of whites they are the ones who are discriminated against). I hope i have never written that the other party (the one that wins most elections) has the solutions to these problems. What i am saying is that one party wins the elections and therefore represents the will of the people, and the other party looks for way to overthrow the will of the people.

    Trump is a symptom, not the disease. The disease is much more serious, and has been spreading for decades. Each of his enthusiastic supporters knows that Trump is a congenital liar, a womanizer and cheater, a sexist, a racist, a fraud, a con man, and so on; that he lost the election by three million votes and therefore has no mandate whatsoever from the people; that he sleeps with prostitutes and porn stars; that he hangs out with criminals; that he admires brutal dictators; and that he surrounded himself with Russian operatives (see the timeline of the Trump-Russia collusion). The problem is that millions of white males did follow Howard Stern and did read Playboy. Millions of white males also watched the television show of a Jerry Springer, that was pure filth. Millions of white people watched ridiculous perverted "reality shows" that promoted immoral behavior and "alternative realities" (including Trump's own "The Apprentice", possibly the most immoral of all). Millions watched (fake) wrestling, porn movies, and so on. Of course, on sunday they attend a Christian church and their neighbor's barbeque. Their morality is just the facade. Behind the facade, millions of white Christian males hide a personality that gladly indulges in all the sins that their church condemns. Their own pastors, after all, do the same (as Jimmy Swaggart and Jim Bakker amply proved). These are families that watch Pat Robertson's evangelical TV show. Faust pales in comparison with these white males: they are ready to make bargains with the devil for just about anything. Then came Fox News with its tabloid-style "news" and its nazi-style commentary full of hatred that turned the sordid passtimes of these white Christians into a political agenda.

    Trump fans know very well that Trump is a crook, and an increasing number also candidly admit that yes, he was helped by Russia; but Trump has become a sort of prophet for them, and his radical right-wing ideology a sort of fanatical religion. Whatever you tell them about Trump they will justify it, the same way that Christians and Jews justify the genocidal god of the Old Testament, the same way that Muslims justify the violent life of their so-called "prophet". If you believe fanatically in a superstition, there is no rational discussion that will talk you out of it: you can always find an excuse for your superstition's evil. They swallow any lie from Trump the same way in which religious people accept ridiculous claims like that Jesus was the son of a virgin and of a god, or that the Quran was dictated by Allah. Ridiculous conspiracy theories like the "deep state" (which is actually an old conspiracy theory of the Left now recycled by the Right) are precisely what Trump fans need. There is no winning against superstitions: nothing will change their minds. Those willing to admit that Putin telecommands Trump claim that this is still better than having Hillary Clinton as president. Those willing to admit that Cesar Sayoc mailed bombs claim that he was provoked by the Left. Those willing to admit that Fox News and Trump in person incited violence claim that it is what the Left deserves. (The Left is anyone who opposes Trump and his master Putin).

    Those who are not alarmed because they see the Trump movement as a small fringe phenomenon obviously don't read the news. At the end of August 2018 a Gallup poll showed that 89% of Republicans approved of Trump's job. That week the two best-selling books on the New York Times best-seller list were pro-Trump books by two Fox News "analysts" (which are really just Trump cheerleaders), Gregg Jarrett and Jeanine Pirro. That week Google, Facebook and Apple removed fake news posted by the radical right-wing organization Infowars: a few days later the Infowars app for smartphones had become one of the most downloaded nation-wide. Note that Trump's approval rating may look low at 41% but the approval rating of Congress is much lower, below 20%, and the approval rating of the media (which mostly bash Trump) is lower than Trump's at about 36%. Most telling is the audience of cable television: Fox News has an average of 2.4 million prime-time viewers, up from 1.7 million five years ago, compared with one million who watch CNN and 1.6 million who watch MSNBC. You may think that Trump's various immoral actions and criminal activities are self-evident, but the Fox News audience never heard of them and in fact is told that any accusation against him is a "witch hunt".

    (The Left only has itself to blame for this situation: it angered the silent majority by defending black thugs just because they were black, by opposing immigration reform when the Right wanted it, see Of heroes and thugs: African-Americans and cops, and by making a big deal of gay marriage, drug liberalization and even transgender bathrooms. Last but not least, the Left invented the conspiracy theories that now the Right uses to defend Trump. See Who invented fake news).

    However, the millions who voted for Trump include many people who are not brainwashed by Fox News, nor by the churches. They simply vote with their self-interest in mind. To some extent, we need to stop blaming Trump and his propaganda machine and start blaming the people who voted (and will vote) for him while fully aware of his shortcomings as a human being. Again, Trump is the symptom, not the disease. The problem is not Trump but the coal miners who only care about their paycheck. The problem is not Trump but the hypocritical evangelicals who would vote for the devil in person. The problem is not Trump but the gun lovers who want their right to shoot people at will.

    Condescending left-wing writers have been repeating that Trump is the wrong answer to the right question. I am not sure what the "right" question is. I think his base asks for a more racist nation, a more bigot nation, a more isolated nation, a more polluting nation, a more violent nation, a more backwards nation, and so on. To me, this is not the "right" question. The USA didn't become the greatest country in the world thanks to a pure race, the bigots, the uneducated, and opposition to progress. It became the greatest country in the world thanks to immigrants, free speech, education, and science. The right question, to me, is how can the ideals of the USA survive in the face of these "wrong" questions.

    TM, ®, Copyright © 2019 Piero Scaruffi All rights reserved.
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  • (november 2019)

    You can't prove Trump guilty anymore.

    The impeachment proceeding, as well the Russia-Trump collusion investigation before it, have often been compared with the Watergate scandal that took down Richard Nixon but there is one significant difference. The Republican base stuck with Nixon only insofar as the story was of one man's word against another's word, but, when the evidence surfaced (the tapes), the Republican base abandoned the liar. Now the Republican base sticks with the liar no matter how many times he is proven to have lied. Lying used to be a vice, but now many Republicans see it as perfectly legitimate behavior. The USA is paying a price for an endless series of conspiracy theories: from lunatics who believe in UFOs to pseudo-historians who revisit Kennedy's assassination, from leftists and Muslims who believe that George W Bush blew up the World Trade Center to the anti-American propaganda that Neil Armstrong never set foot on the Moon, from holocaust deniers to the various comings of the end of the world. This deluge of conspiracy theories has turned many ordinary people into permanent skeptics. No matter how much evidence you present, there is always at least one pundit who offers a conspiracy theory to explain why the evidence could be fabricated. This conspiracy theory spreads on social media faster than any accurate report of the true facts. The result is that today, in the age of "information at your fingertips", many people simply doubt that the evidence is evidence at all. In fact, many more than one, and many in the Congress itself. The agencies that are in charge of discovering the truth (the FBI, CIA and NSA) become the prime targets of this attack on the truth: their findings are called "fake" or "biased", the lead investigators are fired, the whole investigation is labeled a "witch hunt". The more you insist on finding out the truth, the more you appear to be part of a conspiracy (or witch hunt) to the side that doesn't like that particular truth.

    Trump often says that the media are the "enemy of the people". Well, he certainly is the enemy of the media, and he has found a wonderful way to make the media's job much more difficult than it should be: an endless profusion of misdeeds. If you are writing articles about Trump's actions, you don't have time to finish writing an article about something he did that you already have to start writing a new article on something else he did that is even worse. I have all these unfinished articles about his misdeeds. His base doesn't care for documenting and fact-checking statements. Unfortunately mine does! It takes him five minutes to say or do something egregious that his base will believe religiously. It takes me days to research and compile material for an article about that egregious behavior (and my base will dispute every single sentence that i write). He doesn't have to word his tweets in proper English. I have to.

    Facebook and Twitter are largely responsible for the greater power of conspiracy theories (for the appeal of "post-truth"). But one also has to congratulate media such as Fox News and various right-wing websites that have devised ways to brainwash the public with the most shamelessly anti-truth "news", a skill that evolved from the rudimentary propaganda of the Pravda in the Soviet Union via the biased and irresponsible reporting of Al Jazeera in the Islamic world all the way to the fake, biased and sometimes plain false coverage of events by Fox News. There was a progression from insinuating, hiding and twisting the facts (the Pravda) to exaggerating some facts and downplaing others (Al Jazeera) to simply lying all the time (Trump and his cheerleaders in the media). The skills that have been refined are the exact same ones used by the Pravda to neutralize any scandal: deny the fact, accuse the accuser, excuse the fact, distract with fictitious scandals about others. For example what the Pravda did in the Cuban crises of the 1960s: we have no missiles in Cuba, the USA is a congenital liar, we have them but it's right that we do so, the USA is oppressing the world. For example what Al Jazeera did after the terrorist attacks of 2001: there were no Arabs on the planes that hit the World Trade Center, the USA is a congenital liar that hates Muslims, the terrorists were heroes, the USA is killing millions of Muslims.

    One would have expected the opposite in the 21st century. After all, illiteracy has been defeated. After all, the percentage of college graduates is steadily increasing. After all, knowledge has never been so readily available. After all, there has never been so much freedom to report the truth. I believe that the latter is the key factor for the rise of the exact opposite trend: the freedom to report the truth turned out into the freedom to report whatever is useful for one's goals. The goals are frequently monetary (e.g., TV ratings) and political. We are painfully learning that the goal of being truthful is not the goal that gets rewarded the most in human society. And therefore it is not the one that emerges naturally in an increasingly freer world. Nixon was alone in defending his criminal actions. Trump doesn't even need to defend his criminal actions to his base: the number-one cable news channel and the number-one radio program do it for him. Even when the truth is accepted as undeniable, the same people who doubted it simply find a reason to justify what happened. Al Jazeera viewers went from believing that Israel had bombed the World Trade Center, and the terrorists were not Arabs, to believing that the terrorists were Arabs but were not real Muslims, and finally to believing that Osama bin Laden was a good man, in fact a hero, who had done the right thing against the evil USA. The same is happening now with the mounting evidence against Trump. Polls initially showed that most Trump supporters did not believe in Russian election interference. Then they showed that most Trump supporters believed the Russian interference had no effect on the result of the election. Eventually the polls will end up showing that many Trump supporters think that Putin was a hero to interfere and save the USA from Hillary Clinton. In fact, that's precisely what a Trump supporter tweeted: "I want to thank the Russians for interfering with our election to stop Hillary Clinton from becoming president." This woman (presumably a Fox News viewer) is now convinced that Vladimir Putin is less evil than Hillary Clinton, just like many Al Jazeera viewers convinced themselves that Osama bin Laden was less evil than George W Bush.

    After all, the USA interferes in the elections of other countries, under the presumption that the USA knows better than their voters and is therefore helping them make the right choice for their own interests. Interfering in elections is therefore not bad per se. It just depends on whom you are helping. If you are helping the "good" candidate, then interference is a noble and heroic act.

    TM, ®, Copyright © 2019 Piero Scaruffi All rights reserved.
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  • (november 2019) Trump's Foreign Policy in a Nutshell.
    Mexico has not paid a single dollar for the "wall" that Trump wants to build along the border (a refrain that has become a joke around the world). After Putin's Russia sent a few hundred soldiers to Venezuela, Trump has stopped demanding that Maduro resigns and tacitly accepted that he will remain in power. Trump unilaterally canceled the joint US-South Korea military exercises as demanded by North Korea in return for absolutely nothing. North Korea's dictator has secured recognition of his rogue state as a world power and, with unlimited nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles, has de facto a free hand to establish a sphere of influence over the former US sphere of influence in the Far East. Japan, South Korea and Taiwan have lost any trust and hope in the USA. Japan has signed a free-trade deal with Europe. They are working out their own individual strategies and will probably end up making regional deals with China. The USA withdrew from the Iranian nuclear deal while treating North Korea as a peer, and the message has not been lost on all nations of the world, and in particular on Iran: the hard-liners who were opposed to the nuclear deal are the main beneficiaries while the moderate prime minister (who negotiated the deal) is the main loser; i.e. Trump handed a victory to the enemies of the USA within the Iranian regime. But we all know the real reason why Trump hit Iran so hard: the money of US taxpayers is used to do whatever Israel asks for. Therefore Trump has also recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, a fact that has not made the USA more popular in the Islamic world, where the USA is mainly known as the country that killed and is still killing scores of Muslim civilians and has lost three wars: in Iraq, in Afghanistan and now also in Syria. Trump has sided with Saudi Arabia against Iran, supporting Saudi Arabia's massacre of civilians in Yemen and ignoring Saudi Arabia's grisly murder of a Washington Post journalist, not to mention the detention and torture of thousands of political dissidents. Thanks to a tacit Trump approval, Russia can do what it likes in Ukraine, Syria and Venezuela (in three continents). Trump has betrayed the Kurdish militias that fought ISIS in Syria on behalf of the USA, let Turkey attack them and let Russia occupy most of their territory. Syria is now de facto a Russian colony. The USA has quarreled with Europe and Canada (its closest allies) over silly issues, creating a hostile atmosphere. In March 2018 he declared that "trade wars are good, and easy to win"; and since then he has declared trade wars against just about everybody, except Russia. In each and every case the trade war was concluded with a deal that makes no difference to either party, just a few changes in the wording, and then business goes on as usual. The big exception, as of November 2019, is China, the one that is proud enough not to accept the charade. Trump withdrew the USA from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), which would have created the largest trading block and political alliance in the history of the world, while China has been signing trade deals with multiple countries, extending its influence from Italy to Ecuador. Virtually no ally of the USA pays attention to what the USA says anymore. Trump has been particularly hostile towards Germany's chancellor, who, coincidentally, happens to also be Putin's most hated politician. Trump has declared NATO "obsolete" and the European Union a bad idea. Coincidentally, those are the two main targets of Russia's foreign policy. The USA withdrew from the Paris agreement on climate change, ceding the high moral ground to China, which is now the world's leader in electric cars and batteries. While the USA was undermining one trade pact after the other, China has expanded its One Belt One Road trade initiative that now links South America to Africa and south Asia to the Mediterranean, and Russia has expanded its military sphere of influence over three continents. It is not clear if the USA was indeed declining before Trump took office (see China is a colony of the USA), but it certainly is now. The question is whether Trump's suicidal foreign policy represents the desperation of a declining empire (as some analysts, especially in Britain, see it) or if he is the one causing its decline in order to please his master Putin.

    P.S.

    Trump will eventually fade away, but the Trump era will leave an undeletable mark on the reputation of the USA. The USA is both an unreliable friend and even an unreliable enemy. Trump simply made an existing problem more visible: the USA is totally unreliable due to the way it elects (or appoints) presidents and to the general incompetence of such presidents. Whether you like one party or the other, they both tend to nominate amateurs compared with the Merkels and Xis of the world. Every country (including Western Europe and Japan) has a motivation to come up with a survival strategy that does not involve the USA. Now the whole world, not just its rivals, regards the USA as dangerous and unpredictable (dangerous precisely because it is unpredictable).

    TM, ®, Copyright © 2019 Piero Scaruffi All rights reserved.
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  • (october 2019) Why I am Opposed to Impeaching Trump.
    There is no question that Trump deserves to be tried in a court of law, and that most of us would be in jail (or at least ruined) if we had done just a fraction of what he has done. But impeaching him for a relatively minor offense would be a way to condone everything else that he has done. It would be like saying that treason, lying, fraud, etc are ok. Impeaching Trump for an offense that pales compared with worse things that he has done would be a strategic and moral mistake because it would implicitly absolve Trump's long list of abuses of power.
    • Trump has refused to release his tax returns, a clear sign that he is hiding criminal or at least unethical activities.
    • Corruption has reached an unprecedented level under Trump.
    • Trump has turned the USA into one of the most amoral countries in the world, more and more similar to Putin's Russia.
    • Trump lies about virtually everything: about the economy, voter fraud, the weather in Alabama, Obama's birthplace, even his own father's birthplace...
    • Trump spends most of his time playing golf and watching television, neglecting to perform the basic functions of a president's job.
    • Trump has repeatedly insulted US war heroes, including a deceased US senator
    • Trump is a congenital racist and sexist.
    • Trump has been accused of sexual assault or misconduct by multiple women, and enthusiastically campaigned for a Senate candidate who was accused of molesting teenage girls.
    • Trump's university and Trump's foundation were scams.
    • Trump has obeyed every single order from Russia's president Putin.
    • Trump helped his North Korean friend and dictator develop nukes and missiles that can strike the USA.
    • Trump is the only president ever whose approval rating never reached 50%.
    • Trump discouraged immigration, the fundamental advantage that the USA has always had over its rivals, whether Nazi Germany, the Soviet Union or China
    • Trump has caused an international oil crisis on behalf of Israel, Saudi Arabia and Russia. Gas prices are at record high.
    • Trump has insulted all the US allies but rarely its enemies. The result is that the USA has lost all of its friends in the world.
    • Trump supports dictators all over the world.
    • Trump surrendered to Russia in Ukraine, Syria and Venezuela. He excused Russia for annexing a piece of Ukraine and blowing up an airplane full of Dutch tourists. He was in favor of regime change in Venezuela until Putin sent Russian troops to Venezuela. He betrayed the Kurds of Syria who fought ISIS on behalf of the USA, and handed them over to Turkey, which had just purchased weapons from Russia, and forced them to surrender to Assad, the Syrian dictator supported by Russian troops. Just about everywhere, he has helped Russia expand and strengthen its positions at the expense of the USA.
    • Trump has undermined US agencies such as the CIA, the FBI, the Congressional Budget Office, his science advisors, and even the National Weather Service.
    • Iran's foreign minister Javad Zarif said: "Trump cannot expect to be unpredictable and expect others to be predictable". He was an optimist. Alas, the problem is that everybody (Kim Jongun, Xi, Putin, etc) does the predictable thing: takes advantage of Trump's unpredictable stupidity.
    • Trump proposed to incarcerate his political rival (Hillay Clinton), just what Putin routinely does in Russia.
    • Trump has repeatedly threatened the media that refuse to spread his fake news and that question his behavior.
    • Trump has encouraged the formation of fascist militias that are armed and dangerous.
    • Trump has repeatedly obstructed justice, going beyond witness intimidation (quote: "I want to know who's the person who gave the whistle-blower the information because that's close to a spy. You know what we used to do in the old days when we were smart with spies and treason, right?"
    • Trump's trade wars against just about everybody have caused economic anxiety and may cause a worldwide recession.
    • Trump violated federal law by directing his lawyer to pay hush money to cover up his extramarital affairs.
    • Trump got rich through financial fraud and thanks to loans from Deutsche Bank, a bank that was busy laundering organized-crime money.
    • Trump cheated on his wives, on his business partners, on his workers and on his country.
    • Two UC Berkeley economists, Emmanuel Saez and Gabriel Zucman, calculated the total taxes paid by citizens in their book "The Triumph of Injustice". They included all taxes paid to the federal, state and local governments. Not only the income tax, but also state taxes, sales taxes, corporate income taxes, business licenses, property taxes, etc. Their conclusion is that, after Trump's 2017 tax reform, the working class is paying higher tax rates than the richest. Meanwhile, Trump has dramatically reduced spending programs for the poor.
    • Trump increased the national debt by one trillion dollars in just 3 years to hand out money to the richest people and corporations.
    • 300 former US national security officials signed a letter describing Trump's actions as a "national security concern", accusing him to have committed "an unconscionable abuse of power", and supporting his impeachment.

    If Congress impeaches him for a phone call to the Ukrainian president, it will basically absolve him for all of these.

    Furthermore, impeaching a democratically elected president Trump, whom voters knew was a scumbag and a liar, would not solve the fundamentally problem of the US (non)democracy in which the majority is ruled by a minority.

    The right way to deal with Trump is not to impeach him for any one of his many ethical and legal violations but to a) remove the electoral college so the candidate who loses by three million votes does not become president, b) remove the senate, a wildly undemocratic institution that gives too much power to small states, and c) change the constitution to make sure that lawless presidents can be removed more easily. The constitution does not contemplate the case of a president who is a criminal, traitor and congenital liar because, quite simply, the people who wrote the constitution assumed that no criminal, traitor and congenital liar would be elected president.

    Another way to deal with Trump is that, quite simply, the majority that voted against him simply secedes from the USA. See Should California Declare Independence?

    Finally, there's another reason why i am opposed to impeaching Trump: the citizens don't deserve the favor. It is puzzling to watch the "yellow vests" riot in France, the people of Hong Kong in the streets every weekend, the Sudanese riot against their regime until it falls, and so forth while US people are not demonstrating (let alone rioting) at all despite all the Trump scandals and the glaring distortion of the popular will by the electoral laws (an electoral college that appoints the president regardless of who won the most votes, gerrymandering that guarantees the victory of a candidate, a senate that disproportionally represents the small states over the big ones, a Supreme Court of inept and biased judges). The US public opinion watches passively as Trump's foreign policy and environmental policy destroy the reputation of the USA and causes untold suffering to many regions of the world. If the people of the USA, especially the young people, do not feel enough outrage for this president's policies and behavior, maybe this is precisely the president that they deserve.

    (See also The Anti-Trump Party is not a Liberal Party)

    TM, ®, Copyright © 2019 Piero Scaruffi All rights reserved.
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  • (august 2019) The Great Trump Recession
    In 2001 i easily predicted that George W Bush's tax cut would lead to a great recession, even before he started overspending in wars (see How Bush started the longest world-wide economic crisis of modern times). When in 2017 Trump enacted similar tax cuts for the rich, thereby increasing government debt by more than one trillion dollars, i was tempted to make the same prediction, but i refrained from doing so because one fundamental factor was different in 2017 from 2001: the world's investors had virtually no alternative to investing in (and therefore saving) the USA. Europe was and is struggling with chronic slow growth, waves of poor immigrants from the Middle East and Africa, and Brexit. Russia is run by gangsters. China, whose economy was going to slow down anyway, is going backwards to a Maoist system (or forward to an Maoist-Orwellian one) while upsetting most of its neighbors with territorial ambitions (Japan, Vietnam, and of course Taiwan) and creating tensions in so many of its own provinces (the Turkic far west, Tibet, Hong Kong) and while sponsoring corrupt politicians from Latin America to Africa. So the world was willing to fund the gargantuan government debt created by Trump because it has no other place to go, and this to me seemed the fundamental difference with 2001.

    But Trump managed to throw into the sea the one lifesaver that the USA had. His first act was the most fateful of all: he killed the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), potentially the greatest economic association ever envisioned and certainly the most carefully architected by the USA. That would have created a new colossal economic region and boosted the US economy in ways that we can't even begin to imagine. It would have also created a strong political alliance to rival the Western alliance with Europe and Canada. Instead, Trump's actions encouraged each country to think for itself, to scramble to get the most for a suddenly anarchic situation. Trump's second terrorist action was to kill the nuclear deal with Iran, signed not only by the USA but also by the European Union, Russia and China. (See How a Madman with a Low I.Q. Engineered Yet Another Nuclear Crisis). So far the consequences on the oil economy have been minimal (mainly because so many countries still conduct regular business with Iran), but it certainly didn't create peace and stability in the region. Trump's third terrorist act was to offer full support to the brutal, totalitarian regime of Saudi Arabia, despite the fact that Saudi Arabia's regime assassinated a Washington Post journalist and then dismembered and dissolved its corpse. Saudi Arabia has been the main sposor of all Sunni terrorist groups, from Al Qaeda to ISIS, and has been conducting genocide in nearby Yemen. Trump surrendered to Russia in Ukraine, Syria and Venezuela; in three continents. Trump also surrendered to North Korea, which now has nuclear weapons and the missiles to deliver them to US territories. Trump has boasted that Islamic terrorism has been defeated but that only happened in his insane delusional mind: the USA is surrendering Afghanistan to the Taliban, after fighting them for 18 years, and Islamic terrorists are expanding in African countries, from Lybia to Nigeria. The only places where they have indeed been defeated are Syria and Iraq: in Syria they were defeated by Russia and Iran, and in Iraq by Iran.

    Worse: several democratic regimes of the world learned from Trump's arrogance and recklessness (even when they are fully aware that Trump's attitude largely stems from ignorance, corruption and mental insanity). Thus the world now has emboldened nationalists in Britain, several European countries (Italy, Hungary, Poland, ...), Turkey, India, Philippines, Brazil, Mexico, and so on. These nationalist movements have created tensions in crucial parts of the world. India decided to rescind the treaty that entitles it to Kashmir: the Kashmiri people were never allowed to vote in a referendum but at least their old ruler had signed a piece of paper in which Kashmir was guaranteed a degree of self-determination in return for joining India. That piece of paper is now worth as much as toilet paper. India surrounded Kashmir with its army and de facto incarcerated the entire population of the region (which is no longer a state). It is telling that so many Indian commentators justify this act by saying that China has done the same thing to Tibet and Xinjiang, Israel to the Palestinian territories, Morocco to Western Sahara, and so on: India joins the list of nations that annexed regions against their will and occupy them with force. This has created tension in the Indian subcontinent at a time when there was already enough tension in the world. Coincidence or not, this happened after a meeting between Trump and Modi, during which probably Trump encouraged Modi's nationalist tendencies.

    Then came the final masterpiece: Trump unleashed a trade war with China. Trade wars are easy to win, he said. He quickly settled the trade wars with the European Union, Canada, Mexico, Japan and other smaller countries, in each case winning absolutely nothing. The new trade deals look exactly like the old ones. But apparently he needed a big win, or his government needed a new tax not called "tax" (see How to Tax Gullible US Taxpayers), or he simply obeyed orders from Russia, which is the main beneficiary of any tension between China and the USA (see China and USA: The Decoupling).

    The bottom outcome of Trump's foreign policy is a world spiraling towards chaos. The USA used to be the stabilizing force of the world: now it has become the exact opposite, the one that pours fuel on each and every fire. Once chaos is unleashed into a complex system, it is terribly difficult to restore order. The European Union, the Asian tigers, China and the USA (the countries that got rich and powerful thanks to world trade) are all going to suffer from chaos. The only countries that will benefit from chaos will be the ones that simply sell natural resources, notably Russia. During this chaos, Russia is still selling its gas and oil while at the same time waiting to see how many more pieces of the old collapsing US empire it can pick up.

    We're the flowers
    In the dustbin
    We're the poison
    In your human machine
    We're the future
    Your future...
    No future for you
    (The Sex Pistols, 1977)

    TM, ®, Copyright © 2019 Piero Scaruffi All rights reserved.
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  • (july 2019) How to Tax Gullible US Taxpayers.

    Donald Trump and Mitch McConnell have found a genial way to dramatically increase taxes without calling them "taxes". Call them "taxes" and people will start a revolution. Call them "tariffs" and people will not complain: in fact, many taxpayers (even those who dislike Trump) will see them as patriotic acts against evil foreign powers. But in reality they amount to a tax on citizens by the US government to raise desperately needed revenues. Who pays the tariffs? The US consumer. Who cashes them? Washington. It's a tax in all but name.

    Trump tried tariffs with Europe, Canada and Japan but those would mostly hurt the rich who buy expensive French cheese, BMWs and ultra-thin TV sets. Tariffs on Chinese goods, instead, are mostly paid by the middle class that buys textiles, houseware and consumer electronics. Worse: in order to help the farmers (strong Trump supporters) who are damaged by China's retaliation tariffs, Trump's government signed off on a $16 billion "relief package", i.e. money gifted to farmers to keep them in business even if they are not profitable: this action (socialist all but in name) is also paid with your tax money.
    These tariffs do little to punish China or any other country that engages in "unfair" trade. When there is a "trade war", the weaker currency falls. That is precisely what has happened with the Chinese currency, which has fallen almost 10% to the dollar between mid 2018 and mid 2019. That means that ALL Chinese goods are 10% cheaper. Worse: all the Asian currencies tend to follow the Chinese currency, because countries like Bangladesh and Indonesia can't afford to have a currency that is stronger than China's. Therefore the "tariffs" have caused ALL goods coming from ALL Asian countries to become cheaper in US dollars. This has made ALL Asian goods more competitive against US-made goods. The trade deficit hit an all-time record two years into the Trump era. It hit another record well into the trade war: at $891 billion in March 2019. So far the U.S. trade deficit has increased by 28% since Trump took office.
    Trump is actually doing China a favor. The Chinese Communist Party needs to slow down the economy, but without losing face. It can now blame the slowdown on the evil USA, when in fact the slowdown has mostly to do with China's own internal problems (See my recent articles on China:
    Sinophobia: China viewed from the USA and... the USA viewed from China
    The Effects of the Trump Trade War on China: Waking up the Giant.
    China's Anniversaries and how the Tiannamen Square massacre shaped today's China
    China's Struggles)
    Gary Cohn, former president of Goldman Sachs, who was also Trump's former chief economic adviser (one of the many experts who resigned when faced with Trump's utter incompetence, low IQ and grotesque corruption), said the same thing on the BBC's "Today" program. The Chinese economy is mainly driven by its government's willingness to fund it, not so much by external factors (quote: "The Chinese economy is driven by credit and credit availability. Credit and credit availability is determined by the central government").
    In a sense, they are both happy: the US Republican Party, which keeps creating record government debts, found a way to tax gullible citizens; and the Chinese Communist Party found a way to blame someone else for a slowing economy.

    P.S.: For those who don't study economics, Gwayne Gautreaux has written a good

  • five-minute summary of why Trump's tariffs are pointless and counterproductive.

    P.P.S. As usual with Trump's actions, the only country that truly benefits from these trade wars is the one that is not fully integrated in the world economy: Russia. See for example "Trump's Trade War With China Makes Russia Great Again" written by Benn Steil and Benjamin Della Rocca for the Council on Foreign Relations (not exactly a left-wing publication) and Tom O'Connor's analysis of how Trump's trade war is bringing Russia and China together in Newsweek.

    TM, ®, Copyright © 2019 Piero Scaruffi All rights reserved.
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  • (june 2019) The Anti-Trump Party is not a Liberal Party.
    It is sad that so many people, driven by the radical right-wing media like Fox News, label any Trump critic as a "liberal". That's a general smearing campaign against anyone who dares criticize Trump. There is nothing wrong with the term "liberal" but it becomes an implicit insult when the person labeled "liberal" is not a "liberal". Many of these "liberals" were never liberal before, and didn't intend to be: they are simply disgusted by Trump, or disagree with his policies, or think that someone who colluded so blatantly with Russia should be in jail, not in the White House. They simply react to the facts. For example, i wasn't a fan of Hillary Clinton, but, when the choice is between her and Trump, i have no hesitation: Hillary Clinton is a competent politician whose main problem is being a woman. She was grotesquely demonized by the radical right-wing media in an age in which it is relatively easy to demonize people (they can do it also to you, whoever you are who is reading this article, no matter how innocent you are). But in reality she is infinitely more honest than Trump, infinitely more competent, and infinitely smarter. Of course, you cannot tell this to many old white men who still cannot accept that a woman can be smarter than one of their own. Nonetheless, she is probably more honest and competent than half of the presidents that the USA has had since Kennedy, including her own husband (another statement that will sound like anathema to many old white men). Those who voted for Hillary Clinton are not necessarily "liberals": many of them were not liberals but were anti-Trump. The same is true today: being against Trump does not mean being left-wing (or right-wing), just like being against any dishonest person does not mean being left-wing. A video went viral on YouTube titled "a liberal trying to steal an electric Trump sign". It shows a man trying to steal a Trump sign, but there is no evidence that this is a liberal. It could as well be a very patriotic church-going right-wing conservative who wants to save the USA from a Russian operative. The anti-Trump movement is in fact the majority: most voters have a negative opinion of Trump. Does this mean that the majority of the USA is "liberal"? If that's what the radical right-wing media think, how can they still support a Republican president, a Republican senate and a conservative Supreme Court that all clearly conflict with a "liberal" majority? What kind of democracy is this? But that is not the case. Being anti-Trump does not reveal any other ideological position or policy preference. It doesn't tell you if the anti-Trump person is in favor of free trade or of abortion or of electric cars. It only tells you that most likely that person is tired of the endless Trump scandals, or thinks that Trump is incapable, mentally unstable and generally unsuited to be president, or has reached my conclusions about the Trump-Russia investigation (that Trump is very capable of betraying his country the same way he has betrayed wives, workers and creditors). Because the Republican Party is so united to defend Trump the anti-Trump crowd (the majority of the country) has no choice but to support the Democratic Party. That doesn't make us Democratic more than rooting for Barcelona makes us Barcelona fans if the final is only between Barcelona and Real Madrid and we don't like Real Madrid. Maybe we are fans of Manchester United or Juventus, but the game is between Barcelona and Real Madrid. The Republican Party is "forcing" us to root for the Democratic Party, for Nancy Pelosi, Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, and so on. These are becoming heroes not because we like their ideas or like them personally, but because they represent the "resistance" during a national emergency.
    The Republican Party is indirectly creating a new party: the anti-Trump party, the party that wants dignity, honesty, accountability and competence in the White House, regardless of ideology. This party could grow very rapidly as people get tired and annoyed to discuss each and every specific issue: is immigration good or bad? do we need high-speed trains or not? is climate change a real problem or not? After all, that's what governments are for: they have to make the decisions, and we elect them trusting them to make the right decision. It is a recent phenomenon that the voters want to know upfront in detail what the decisions will be. Voters may soon come to realize that having a competent and honest president is much more important than having a president who commits upfront to making certain decisions.
    The anti-Trump movement risks becoming a movement that is "anti" other Republican leaders. Think of the man who is probably the most corrupt and evil senator in recent times, Mitch McConnell, a man who has done more than anybody else to turn the USA into an undemocratic country. The anti-Trump movement is slowly becoming also an anti-McConnell party because the same crowd realizes that McConnell is the main force behind Trump's survival and power. And so on. The political party that consistently supports and defends a dishonest and incompetent president may create a new political scenario, in which allegiance to a party is no longer based on ideology and values but simply on how much the will of the people should matter. In fact, little of what Trump and McConnell have done since 2017 is aligned with the traditional ideology and values of the Republican Party (free-trade, pro-NATO, wary of Russia, opposed to government interference in business, pro-immigration, etc). The Republican Party is acquiring a new identity: the Republican Party is becoming, quite simply, the party of the people who want to protect Trump at all costs (and possibly the neo-fascist party of the USA). It will naturally spawn an anti-Republican party, and, because currently the USA has a two-party system, initially this party will be identified with the rival party, the Democratic Party, but incorrectly so because being anti-Trump doesn't necessarily mean being aligned with any values of the Democratic Party other than... being anti-Trump.
    TM, ®, Copyright © 2019 Piero Scaruffi All rights reserved.
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  • (may 2019) China and USA: The Decoupling.
    In 2006 Niall Ferguson and Moritz Schularick coined the term "Chimerica" to describe the integrated economic system of the USA and China. They noted that the symbiosis between the USA and China had enabled growth in both countries: the USA was buying cheap goods from China that was accumulating dollar reserves that it invested in buying US debt that allowed the USA to keep interest rates low that fueled economic growth in the USA that generated demand for Chinese goods that fueled economic growth in China. As Ferguson put it: "one half did the saving, the other half the spending". It was a "partnership between the big saver and the big spender". This was not an infinite loop because, as we all know, it imploded when the debt of US households became unbearable and this led to a colossal financial crisis. China, a state-driven economy, remained largely immune from the financial crisis. So much so that in 2009 (in the middle of the financial crisis) Ferguson wrote an essay in the January/February 2009 issue of the American Interest journal in which he warned that China could "decouple" from the USA and go its own way: the financial crisis proved that a sneeze by the USA didn't cause a pneumonia in Asia anymore. "Chimerica" was in danger because China could say goodbye to the USA and join "other spheres of global influence, from the Shanghai Cooperation Organization... to its own informal nascent empire in commodity-rich Africa." (This was written before China unveiled the "One Belt One Road" initiative).

    Ironically, the decoupling seems to be happening, and Chimerica seems to be coming to an end, but not because China wants it: because the USA wants it. Or, better, an unelected immoral tycoon, engulfed in endless scandals, who became president on a technicality (and with a little help from Russia), has started a "trade war" with China which risks having long-term consequences, regardless of how it will end. The Republican party has tacitly approved. Suddenly the Republican party, that for decades warned about the deadly dangers of protectionism, has become the party of protectionism.

    While i am not a fan of large and persistent imbalances, whether the trade surplus that the USA enjoyed in the 1950s or today's trade deficit, Trump's trade war is being sold to the public on a number of premises, many of them grotesquely inaccurate, as usual with Trump.

    • Chimerica only benefited China? The USA benefited from low inflation, having a big customer for its debt, and many other things. Neither Reagan, nor Bush I, nor Clinton, nor Bush II, nor Obama tolerated the trade deficit as a gift to China. Low inflation and low interest rates were worth the deficit.
    • China does not buy US goods? China is the USA's 3rd largest export market, behind Canada and Mexico. The USA exports to China about twice the dollar amount it exports to Japan, which, in turn, is more than it exports to any European country. For the record, Israel ranks 24th: it buys almost nothing from the USA. The real issue is the imports of Chinese goods by the USA, i.e. China's exports to the USA. But China's exports to the USA are inflated because the trade deficit is calculated on finished goods: if a good is assembled in China using parts made all over the world the trade deficit assigns to China the entire value of the good. If, for example, a Chinese firm buys 90% of the parts from other countries to make a product that is then exported to the USA, the Chinese firm is credited with 100% of the value of that product (i.e., 100% of the supply chain, even if most of the supply chain is not Chinese). There are other ways that rebalance the flow of money but are not counted in the trade of goods. For example, Chinese citizens buy a lot of homes in California, whereas only a handful of US citizens buy homes in Beijing: this is a flow of money from China to the USA that is not counted as trade. For example, there are about 300,000 US citizens working in China, and, if each makes about $100,000/year, that's about $30 billion flowing from China to the USA which are not counted as "trade". Then there's the huge amount of money that China sends to the USA to purchase US debt: the national debt of the USA is $22 trillion (February 2019), foreign countries owe about $4 trillion, and China represents 28% of this figure, a little over $1 trillion. The trade deficit (even calculated the dumb Trump way) is half a trillion dollars, but the money that China sends to the US treasury is double that amount.
    • Is a trade deficit a direct transfer of wealth out of the USA? Trump's low IQ cannot grasp the fact that international trade is NOT a zero-sum game, and his economic team is made of corrupt crooks who act as lobbyists for both domestic and foreign special interests. In fact, in 2018 Trump slapped tariffs on $250 billion of imports from China and the result in 2019 was a record-high US trade deficit of $323 billion. As Daniel Ikenson, director of the Cato Institute's Herbert A. Stiefel Center for Trade Policy Studies, wrote: "There is an enormous economic advantage that the United States enjoys and one that is threatened by Trump's failure to appreciate it." Instead, tariffs are simply a tax on US consumers.
    • Is the trade deficit caused by evil foreign countries? The trade deficit is the result of a country spending more than it produces. Slapping tariffs on one trading partner does nothing to change that equation. If nothing else changes, US consumers will still overspend the same amount: they will spend it on goods made in some other country. The trade deficit will simply be redistributed among the other trading partners. The US has trade deficits with 102 nations, not just 1. Tariffs on Chinese goods simply benefit the other trading partners.
    • Stealing IP? What did the USA do one century ago to Britain, Germany, France, etc? Do you really think that the car or the dynamo were invented in the USA? Why was it ok to do it when it benefited the USA but it is not ok to do it now to the USA? And how much has China's IP theft truly helped it? There are few documented cases and they amount to very little (see Does China steal?). The important technologies, such as nuclear and railway, were SOLD to China by Western and Japanese firms, not stolen by China. On the other hand, just about every major US corporation has been sued at one point or another for IP theft, and in many cases they lost or settled. (Admittedly, they mostly stole from each other). If China's tech is only a copy of US tech, why so many countries around the world are buying high-tech products such as high-speed trains, power plants and 5G phone networks from China instead of the USA?
    • Espionage? This is beyond ridiculous. Virtually all smartphones in the world use Qualcomm or Intel chips, including the vast majority of smartphones in China. The radio-frequency chips are mostly made by Qorvo, Broadcom and Skyworks. These are all US-based firms. Every single smartphone in the world is potentially a spying tool for the USA. Chinese phones contain US chips that can use Chinese phones as spying tools for the USA; not viceversa.
    • Chinese cheap labor? China is rapidly becoming the most automated country in the world, with more robots than the USA. China is adding more robots every year (about 100,000) than the entire West combined. (See Hong Cheng's study "The Rise of Robots in China"). China graduates about six million students a year in science, tech, engineering and math (STEM). The view of Chinese labor as a vast mass of low-paid workers is outdated. Chinese labor is increasingly made of scientists and engineers. The threat to the US economy does not come from Chinese factory workers but from smart Chinese inventors and entrepreneurs. At the same time, Trump's "trade war" atmosphere is discouraging these Chinese scientists and engineers from moving to the USA, thus depriving the USA of what has been a major engine of innovation and growth.
    Much more reasonable would be the political reasons to slap sanctions (not tariffs) on China, but Trump's USA is hardly the country with the higher moral standing.
    • US citizens dare talk about human rights? The US is routinely assassinating people around the world using drones (no trial, no due process), and the US directly supports and arms the genocidal regime such as Saudi Arabia, and befriends/excuses the genocidal regimes of North Korea and Russia. Does health care count as a human right? Free college education?
    • Chinese dictatorship? California gets 2 senators even if its population equals the population of the 20 smallest states (that get 40 senators) and the current president lost the election by 3 million votes. Where's the US democracy? A real democracy in the USA would have wildly different leaders and policies. By the way, both presidents (Xi and Trump) have the power to slap sanctions as they wish: where's the difference? If we had an educated discussion about it, the outcome would be different. And let's not forget why China's Communist Party is so strong in China: democracy is producing chaos and incompetence, from Brexit to Trump, from the collapse of the Soviet Union to the Arab Spring. Very few Chinese would vote for US-style democracy after seeing the kind of undemocratic, incompetent and violent government that it produced.
    • Chinese censorship? What has William Barr just done? He has just covered up the biggest scandal in US politics, and threatened of punishment for those who dare continue to investigate Trump. Trump fired the FBI chief to stop the FBI from an investigation that he didn't like. Trump openly asked for imprisonment of his main opponent ("Lock her up!"). Barr's position is the nation's top prosecutor but his mission seems to be focused on carrying out Trump's private vendettas against those who dare investigate his dirty deeds. Chinese propaganda? How is Fox News any different from Chinese media?
    • Chinese disinformation? The USA is now demonizing China the same way that in the past we demonized Cuba, Vietnam, Iran, Libya, etc etc: the industrial-military complex needs an enemy to justify how it wastes your tax money. US citizens seem to have already forgotten that until a few months ago it was Islam that we were supposed to fight all over the world. Now it's China. I guess those Muslims kicked our ass so badly in Iraq and Afghanistan that we decided to turn on the Chinese, a less belligerent target. And Trump needs a distraction from his endless scandals.
    • Environment? Who just bailed out of the Paris accord on climate change? Which country has a president who doubts climate science? Which country subsidizes its oil and coal industry? And which country, instead, has become the #1 producer and adopter of zero-emission electric vehicles?
    Note that Trump never once mentioned the many human-rights issues in China (reeducation camps for Muslims in Xinjiang province, censorship of pretty much all Western media, Tibet, Taiwan and so on). Today's US government is as immoral as the Chinese government. I'm all in favor of China liberalizing their political and economic system, but the last country that can go and preach democracy and human-rights to them is the USA. Meanwhile, someone should come and preach democracy and human rights to the USA.

    Trump's actions are mainly "waking up the sleeping giant" as Napoleon famously warned. The 2017 sanctions against ZTE woke up China to the fact that it wasn't investing enough in basic research. I called it "the Sputnik moment" of China: China started investing in basic research realizing the threat coming from the USA. Trump's "trade war" of 2019 are waking up China to the fact that the USA is not a reliable business partner: Chinese officials are now openly arguing against a trade deal, insisting that China can go its own way without any need for US technology. This is not true yet, but it could become true in a short period of time now that the USA has forced China to think that way. China was perfectly happy with the old deal that the USA offsources manufacturing to China and China offsources research to the USA; no more so. Now there are powerful forces in China committed to decoupling from the USA (not from the whole world, just from the USA). After all, it is China that graduates six million STEM students a year (the USA graduates only 600,000). China has the technology, the capital, and the workforce to develop its own science. In fact, Trump is punishing its multinational Huawei precisely because it showed that a Chinese multinational can live without US technology (fearing precisely this kind of trade war, Huawei developed its own chips for smartphones, although it still uses US chips for its high-end phones).

    At best, this trade war is a distraction so that US citizens will forget that North Korea has developed and is still developing nuclear missiles that can strike the USA.

    At worst, Trump is simply serving Russia's interest: disintegrate the US empire, both militarily and economically. In Asia, the trade war with China is simply the second step after killing the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). As Michael McFaul (professor of Political Science at Stanford University, and an expert on Russia) said at a recent conference, this trade war is music to Putin's ears.

    For the record, China is now offsourcing manufacturing to Vietnam, Bangladesh, etc while developing its own semiconductor and software technologies. If you want to bring back manufacturing to the USA, you might get what you wish, that China becomes a wealthy high-tech country while the USA becomes its poor producer of cheap goods made in polluted industrial coal towns.

    See also:

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  • (march 2019) My Reaction to the Summary of the Mueller Report.
    (Note of May 2019: this article is made obsolete by the revelation of a letter sent by Mueller to Barr accusing Barr of distorting the facts; but also by simply reading the Mueller report. The more i read it, the more shocked i am by the extent to which Barr grossly distorted its contents and its ultimate meaning: there is overwhelming evidence of collusion and obstruction, and more than we could prove before. US citizens who still believe that their regime is any different from China and Russia should wake up and to realize that in reality their regime twists the facts as badly and effectively as the Chinese Community Party and Putin's Russia TV).
    I was NOT one of the people who feverishly anticipated the Mueller investigation. I mentioned it in my writings only to report its indictments (that mostly confirmed facts that we already knew) and in the context of Trump's smearing campaigns against anyone who investigates his vast network of Russian connections. Trump and the radical right-wing media are the ones that made a big deal of the Mueller investigation throughout its existence, mostly to demonize it and ask that it be stopped. You have to ask Trump why he was so scared of it.
    Anyway, Trump's attorney general (who, let me remind you, works for Trump and was recently appointed by Trump) has summarized the conclusions of the Mueller report. Since Mueller (or, better, Barr) found no "collusion" between Trump and Russia, many readers are now writing to me asking for my reaction (again, despite the fact that i was not among the ones who feverishly waited for it and depended on it). Here is my standard reply:
    • 1. If anything that i wrote at https://www.scaruffi.com/politics/trumptraitor.html is false, just let me know and i'll change it. As far as i know, everything there is still true. You can draw your own conclusions. Unfortunately i do have a brain and i studied mathematics, so i have drawn mine.
    • 2. If Trump is so innocent, i am sure that Mueller's full report will be made public. I will read it then. Now i don't know what it says, therefore i cannot comment.
    • 3. Mueller is a Republican, appointed by a Republican, who reports to a Republican. We actually only read what Barr wrote, not what Mueller wrote. Mueller is a Republican, appointed by a Republican president specifically to cover up on the collusion scandal. I suspect that the investigation of a Democratic president conducted by a Democratic lawyer appointed by a Democratic attorney general would not be considered very credible by Republicans. So i have never been not sure why everybody thought that we had to put so much trust in this investigation of a Republican president conducted by a Republican lawyer appointed by a Republican attorney general, while all the time the president in person was threatening all sorts of punishment against anyone investigating him (even firing the head of the FBI and the previous attorney general). I personally have no reason to believe that Mueller was not professional in his investigation, but obviously he wasn't working in the most encouraging of environments. It's like someone appointed to investigate the head of ISIS by an ISIS commander. Sure, you're in charge of investigating the head of ISIS, but you report to someone who can behead you and who in turn reports to that very head of ISIS who is actually ASKING for your head. Furthermore, i don't trust that the current laws give Mueller or anyone else the tools to find out what's in Trump's tax returns or why Deutsche Bank loaned him billions of dollars (a bank that is notorious for laundering dirty Russian money). The world (not only the USA) has erected a great wall of financial privacy to protect the flow of dirty money. I am disappointed that Mueller did not force Trump to sit down for a face-to-face interview under oath: Bill Clinton had to do it for an extramarital affair but Trump wasn't required to do it for suspected treason. It's a double standard to say the least. Then, again, the lawyer investigating the Democratic president Bill Clinton was a Republican (Ken Starr), not a fellow Democrat, whereas in this case the lawyer investigating the Republican president Donald Trump was a fellow Republican. Maybe a coincidence, or maybe a different kind of pressure to pursue ALL the truth.
    • 4. To be technically correct, my theory is not that "Trump colluded with Russia". My theory is that Putin used Trump as a lackey, which includes collusion but also much more. Quote from the beginning of my page https://www.scaruffi.com/politics/trumptraitor.html : "Trump is just a lackey, a small-time crook and bit-time liar whom Putin is using to attack the USA." That remains my central thesis. And my main concern remains Putin, a very smart global player, not a low-IQ scumbag who accidentally became US president. The point is whether: 1. Putin interfered in US elections to sabotage Hillary Clinton's campaign, 2. whether Trump knew about it, and 3. whether Trump actively collaborated. Again, we haven't seen the full report, but i suspect that the last doubts about 1. and 2. will be dispelled. Apparently, Mueller has found no proof of 3. I confess that i am disappointed. I am eager to hear interviews with Mueller in which he explains why, if there was no 3., Trump and his associates did all the things listed at https://www.scaruffi.com/politics/trumptraitor.html Something doesn't make sense.
    • 5. One thing we now know for sure about the Mueller report: it confirms that Russia did interfere on Trump's favor, something that Trump (and his cheerleaders in the radical right-wing media such as Fox News) has always refused to admit. Quote from the summary that has been published: "The report outlines the Russian effort to influence the election..." I would appreciate it if Trump supporters asked Trump whether he will now finally admit that Russia did interfere and just say it publicly. Once we all accept that fact, the next thing that the collusion skeptics should ask is "why would Russia do that?" And "how should the sitting president respond to that Russian action?" Then compare notes with my conclusions.
    • 6. If you read the summary of attorney general Barr at https://www.npr.org/2019/03/24/706351394/read-the-justice-departments-summary-of-the-mueller-report, it says exactly what i wrote. Start with the sentence "The Special Counsel's investigation determined that there were two main Russian efforts to influence the 2016 election" It confirms things that i started writing when nobody was even talking about Trump-Russia collusion. It is not Trump who has to feel vindicated but people like me who have been saying this from the beginning despite all the threats from the radical right-wing fanatics.
    • 7. If Trump is innocent of everything, one wonders why so many of his associates had to commit crimes for which they are now going to jail, and why Trump lied and stonewalled so many times about things related to the collusion investigation (most of which are now confirmed beyond any doubt).
    • 8. Wasn't the Mueller investigation a "witch hunt" launched by a "deep state"? Now it has suddenly become a sort of divine intervention that cleanses Trump of all his sins.
    • 9. It sounds like many people (both on the right and on the left) now think that the Mueller investigation was a waste of time and money. You don't think the USA should have investigated Russia's attempt to hijack the US elections? Should we release from jail all the criminals who have been found guilty of crimes?
    • 10. It is impressive and shocking how the right-wing media are dragging the whole nation into this discussion about the Mueller report as if we all depended on it. For me and many others, it was only one of the many things going on, and relevant only for confirming things that we already learned from others. It was the right-wing media (and Trump in person) who were sweating cold about it, calling it a "witch hunt" and talking of a "deep state". People like me never called Mueller a hero or regarded his investigation as the divine intervention that would save the nation. But now somehow we have to defend our past statements just because Mueller found no collusion (whatever his definition is) even though none of our facts have been proven false. The right-wing media are incredibly smart.
    • 11. Dear "Vladimir" Trump, there is an easy way to prove that there was no collusion: release your tax returns.
    I'll have more to say after i read the report, but, unfortunately, i'm a mathematician: things have to make sense for me to believe them. If there was no collusion, someone has to explain the logic of all the facts collected at https://www.scaruffi.com/politics/trumptraitor.html. The facts have been proven and are public. The conclusion drawn by attorney general Barr (again, we haven't read what Mueller actually found out) doesn't seem to be consistent with the facts: why did Trump try so hard to stop the investigation, why did he lie so often about so much, why all these crooks in his entourage, why he never once offended Putin (after having offended just about everybody including allies and war heroes), why does he always end up doing what Putin desires most, like weakening the NATO alliance? And so on and on.

    Am i disappointed by Mueller's conclusions (assuming that Barr's conclusions are indeed Mueller's conclusions and not just a cover-up)? Yes, of course. Was i expecting a lot more from it? Not me. I'm not the one who made such a big deal of it. It is just one of the many investigations of Trump's dirty deeds. Not the first one, not the last one.

    P.S. of April 2019:

    The Mueller report is published (although about 10% is omitted) and concludes that "The Russian government interfered in the 2016 presidential election in sweeping and systematic fashion." And, yet, Trump does not condemn Russia, does not say a single word against Putin, does not advocate any measure to punish Russia, and does not demand a plan to prevent that this happens again in the next elections. The Mueller report also documents a systematic pattern of lying by Trump, and of asking others to lie for him (not the behavior of someone who has nothing to hide). The Mueller report confirms all our suspicions ("conspiracy theories") about the activities of Trump's family and associates. The Mueller report also documents how Trump systematically weakened the US democracy (Russia's ultimate goal) and in particular all of the US law enforcement agencies, basically making it easier for Russia to continue its anti-American operations. No Russia spy could have done a better job for Putin.

    As for Barr's letter that "exonerated" Trump, it is attacked by every law expert in the country as a shameless cover-up that completely distorted the content of the Mueller report. Paul Rosenzweig, law professor at George Washington University, writes: "the excerpts of the report contained in Barr's original summary letter are at best a favorable spin on the report and at worst a rather transparent effort to mislead the public in advance of the report's release." Jed Handelsman Shugerman, law professor at Fordham, writes: "The key points are that the report should not be interpreted as disproving the core Russian allegations. The opposite appears true, even with the redactions: it shows illegal coordination and conspiracy by a preponderance of the evidence. And this evidence is relevant for further subpoenas, for an impeachment inquiry based on the Russian campaign and for proving obstruction with corrupt intent beyond a reasonable doubt." Etc etc.

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  • (february 2019) The Decline of US Influence or How to Outsmart the USA and Make it Weak Again.
    The USA withdrew from the Trans-Pacific Pact and the Paris Accord and China immediately took the USA's place in both international trade and climate change accords. While Trump signed minor alterations of NAFTA with Mexico and Canada, Japan and the European Union signed the world's biggest trade deal, covering almost a third of the world's GDP and involving 635 million people, and China signed up even Italy for its One Belt One Road initiative that now spreads from China to the Middle East to Africa and to Europe. Several of the countries that were ready to sign the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) with the USA decided to go ahead without the USA and signed the CPTPP (Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership) that unites 500 million people: Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, Vietnam, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Chile, Mexico, Peru, and Brunei. While Trump spoke proudly of his NAFTA-lite, China attended the summit in Chile of the China-Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) forum that includes every country in the Americas with the exception of Canada and the USA, and foreign minister Wang Yi proposed a "grand connectivity" by sea and land. Turkey, Iran and Russia are partitioning Syria without asking the USA. NATO countries are increasingly ignoring the USA. The Munich Security Conference of February 2019 may be remembered as a pivotal moment in the history of NATO, the moment when the European countries lost faith in the USA. The Anglosaxon world has largely abandoned continental Europe, which now more than ever has to rely on the German-French axis. South Korea started talking directly to North Korea, bypassing the USA and ignoring Trump's "big button" tweets; then Trump stepped in and North Korea gladly took advantage of his gullible senility; and now we're back to South Korea trying to patch up things. The USA withdrew from the nuclear treaty with Iran but the European Union, China and Russia said that they will stand by it, therefore turning the USA (not the USA) into the provocateur. Britain used to be the USA's most trusted ally, but the "embassy fiasco" (Trump had to cancel his trip to London) is making it difficult for the US president to even visit the queen. There is now momentum in Japan for revising the constitution to defend itself, without relying on the USA. Trump takes credit for everything, and his base might still believe his tweets, but the world is increasingly ignoring him like an old comedian who repeats the same old stale joke.

    Neither Russia nor China dreams of surpassing the US militarily. Both have a simpler, cheaper strategy: to fracture US alliances. The USA was a superpower not because of its nuclear weapons but because of its alliances that cover multiple continents. The USA has NATO in Europe and military treaties with Israel, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan. The combined economic and military forces of USA, Japan, Germany, Britain, France, Israel, etc are what truly makes the USA a superpower. The US status of a superpower was due to the simple fact that the second, fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh greatest economies were all close allies of the USA. Before Brexit, the largest economy in the world was actually the European Union, until 2016 a close ally of the USA. Before the USA pulled out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), the largest trade alliance of all times was going to be the one between the USA and its Asiatic and Oceanic allies. Russia and China had nothing of that sort. Russia's allies are few, unreliable and very poor. China has only one military alliance, with North Korea. Both Russia and China are surrounded by US military bases and/or US allies.

    Putin's investment in helping to break up the European Union and in helping elect his puppet Donald Trump in the USA have paid back: The British voted for "Brexit" and nationalist parties are winning elections throughout continental Europe. China, which is not run by gangsters (unlike Russia), goes one step further: it is also beginning to forge its own global alliances. China will soon be the largest economy in the world. It cannot challenge the USA's global military presence, but it can start challenging the USA in terms of global alliances, which initially will be purely economic in nature. Therefore China started creating its own new multilateral institutions such as the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank and has invested billions of dollars in the One Belt One Road initiative. The USA and its Western European allies (all of them colonial powers at the time) created the multilateral institutions that regulated politics and trade after World War II: the United Nations, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, and so forth. These are the institutions that regulate the world economy. China is slowly trying to create its own parallel institutions.

    Trump came as a blessing for both Russia and China, but one has to wonder whether the world was ready anyway to get rid of a superpower that disappointed so many times in the last 20 years.

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