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Trump Is So Hugely Ignorant, Especially About Global Politics


Donald Trump, equal parts Slobodan Milosevic and Simon Cowell, has run his half-assed campaign on the slogan, “Make America Great Again.” You don’t have to read too far between the lines to realize this actually means “Make America White Again.” It’s about turning back the clock to a time when there was even more privilege for some in the country. Many other pronouncements haven’t been so subtle; they’ve been more dog bites than dog whistles.

The time-machine promises extend beyond our borders, with Trump claiming he can magically get the whole world to do America’s bidding, one area where he’s completely in sync with nation-building neocons, who dream of winning hearts and minds. That’s not happening. That reality has changed, as other countries have become richer and more competitive, and the U.S. isn’t the center of the world. That’s good for the most part, as tens of millions have been lifted from poverty in China and Brazil and other patches on the globe, which makes for a stabler planet, even if the news headlines don’t always reflect that. America has a prime seat at the table, but we don’t hold all the cards. Slogans and slurs won’t change that.

From a Quora Q&A with Rice Psychology Professor David Schneider, an exchange that reflects the new world order:


If Donald Trump won the election, could he destroy civilization?

David Schneider:

Not in the normal course of things. Depends on what you mean by civilization, but the best part of it would be destroyed in an all out nuclear war. Possible? It’s always possible, and it could happen in a number of ways. One possibility would be an attack on Israel by say any number of countries unless the new POTUS works very hard to keep such weapons limited to the present few states. If Israel is attacked then it would retaliate, and there are lots of scenarios that get the US, then Russia involved. India and Pakistan? At the end of the day most Western countries really don’t care enough to risk getting involved. China? Not likely given their emphasis on economic growth and their need for Western countries to buy their goods. North Korea? They are just crazy enough to launch a nuclear device but they would be obliterated and no one would really care (except their people of course).

The most likely is a war between Russia and the U.S (maybe backed by Europe). Putin and Trump are both bullies and having them go toe to toe would be bad, bad, bad. I don’t think that Trump has the discipline or the skill to do the kind of negotiations required. Business negotiations are not the same as international ones for a lot of reasons. Putin has made it clear that he regards most of the former Soviet Union as his possessions and that his chief aim is to restore Russia to its formal power. Bullies with inferiority complexes are dangerous opponents.  I’m quite sure that he’s smart enough to realize that an atomic war would mean that there is no Russian left to restore itself to former glory. Still when people get angry or feel they are backed into a corner, they sometimes become irrational. It’s highly unlikely that any country would set out to wage such a war, but people are not always rational and escalation remains a constant danger. Some people seem to think that we ought to stand up to Russia whatever that means. But we have very little leverage and Putin is exactly the kind of leader you don’t want to bully.

Likely? No. Easy to imagine a scenario? Yes. Trump is so hugely ignorant (well, about most things) but especially about global politics. The days are over when the US, by itself, could dictate what other countries do. Conservatives, especially the neo-cons need to get over it. There are lots of reasons to think Trump would be a disaster as President, but the most important is that  he doesn’t have the right temperament not knowledge to conduct a reasonable foreign policy.•

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