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Is Donald Trump Ushering In a New World War?

July 15, 2018 in Blogs

By Andrew O’Hehir, Salon

Those of us who imagine a more democratic and egalitarian future are at great moral risk.

Perhaps the most vivid description of President Trump’s histrionic performance at the NATO summit earlier this week in Brussels came from a foreign-policy analyst named Philipp Liesenhoff, who quoted a German folk saying to reporters for the Daily Beast: “A blind chicken finds corn once in a while.”

It’s a marvelous metaphor. But I’m afraid it’s deceptive. Here’s a word of advice to the Trump-loathing defenders of the liberal-democratic order, whether in Europe or Britain or at home in the United States: Beware the blind chicken. His other senses have become finely tuned. Mock him at your peril. If you believe for a second that he will be easy to capture or contain or defeat, then you have learned nothing from the last three years of political chaos across the Western world. In years to come, as a servile flunky on the lowest tiers of the Forever-Existing Blind Chicken Empire, you will have time to repent of your arrogance.

I have previously suggested that Donald Trump is an important figure in “World War IV,” that being the self-destructive struggle within the Western world that philosopher Jean Baudrillard identified as beginning with the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Baudrillard did not live to see the rise of Trump and Trumpism (which may have been merciful), but it certainly fits with his prediction of a system-wide “gigantic abreaction” to Islamic terrorism, a “moral and psychological downturn” in which the Western world’s “ideology of freedom,” which also represented its claim to moral authority, would corrupt itself into “a police-state globalization, a total control, a terror based on ‘law-and-order’ measures.”

With Donald Trump’s current trip to Europe — and his apparent effort to troll NATO into destroying itself, undermine an already unstable British government and form who knows what sort of alliance with Vladimir Putin — we have arrived, I believe, at a dangerous turning point in the largely invisible history of World War IV. Those of us who imagine a more democratic and egalitarian future are at great moral risk.

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