Watching events unfold from far away sometimes offers a fresh or detached perspective. At other times it is confusing because salient facts obvious to those close to ground zero are hard to make out.
Then there are events that are so simple and obvious that it’s hard to mistake them, even if doubts are raised about the culpability of many who refuse to draw the obvious conclusions.
The obvious conclusion drawn all over the world, and by large swathes of the American population, is that President Trump must be deposed for the good of the country. Why is there still hesitation?
There are many answers all leading back to the mercenary but spineless character of the loose reactionary collective known as the Republican Party, whose members are individually and collectively as guilty as the President of all his failures for not stepping in to stop the haemorrhage.
Can they really not see how disastrous Trump is turning out to be to the interests of rich and poor citizens for his simple-mindedness, quantum attention span, towering ego, and ignorant stupidity? I’m not trying to be insulting or glib here; there are prettier words for doing that. The evidence offered by insiders is that Trump is ill educated and not very experienced outside a narrow range of hucksterism (ignorance). His own actions, particularly by creating bad publicity with tweets, demonstrate that he seems incapable of learning from his own mistakes (stupidity). Statements by advisers and others indicate that he seems unable to concentrate on anything longer or more complex than soundbites, and even his own speech patterns indicate that he loses his own thread repeatedly in perpetually incomplete and incoherent sentences (attention span). In the gaps not filled by stupid statements and actions, he finds time to persist in singing his own praises in such transparent fashion that narcissism and ego are words that seem too gentle to describe his pathology (ego).
Although Trump is only nominally a Republican, he has been able to count on the party’s support despite exercising a ‘zugzwang’ – a continuous pattern of wrong-footing the party and forcing it into surrendering strategic advantage while suffering damaging public backlash.
In foreign policy, which is said to be the President’s preserve, he has single-handedly achieved in 100 days what the entire Soviet empire failed to accomplish in 40 years: he has alienated all of the USA’s key strategic allies and insulted all the merely symbolic ones that are nevertheless necessary for winning UN votes. At the same time he has teetered at the edge of talking a trade war with China, which would be a an unarguable disaster not just for the USA, but the entire world, and he has talked himself into a corner with North Korea that has brought forward the threat of a nuclear war.
Domestically policy is supposedly the preserve of the Congress, but Trump tied himself personally to policy that may have gained him some popularity among nationalists, but which is irrational by any yardstick, and arguably even unconstitutional: a wall on the Mexico border; travel sanctions against arrivals from a random selection of countries posing no historical or likely future threat; deportations causing chaos in industries relying on undocumented migrant workers; and rhetoric that encourages misogynistic and racist violence.
In between these acts of political vandalism, he has also found time to increase rather than defuse suspicions about his direct involvement with Russian gangsters, businesspeople, and politicians suspected of being involved in rigging the presidential elections.
Nepotism and pandering to Wall Street have also made a lie of his campaign promises about ‘draining the swamp’, though this seems to be the most minor of his indiscretions.
Trump’s actions in creating this trail of destruction have extended to direct interference to undermine the independence of the judicial system and its law enforcement institutions.
It would be difficult to imagine a more damaging campaign of subversion being orchestrated against the USA by dedicated enemy teams of specialists in propaganda, psychological warfare, and political destabilisation.
It is even more difficult to imagine any mature adult not afflicted by cretinism who is unable to reach the same conclusions, regardless of party affiliations or loyalty.
And yet the USA’s public servants do nothing, and its citizens have found no way to demand that their servants act. Is this a case of escalation of commitment? Mass self-deception? Or just a symptom of a deeply held desire to disassemble the nation?
Are they waiting for a call to act from hidden masters? Do they need to be told openly to act through media tycoon channels? Would that not be an admission they never were public servants, but always in the pay of other masters? Even the tycoons, however, must surely realise by now that Trump is an uncontrollable, unstable disaster-in-waiting.
There is no realistic prospect of Trump changing his ways, or the debacles of his own making just disappearing. But there is a growing certainty that the longer the American people and their elected representatives hesitate before removing the cause of such disasters, the more radical, unpalatable and ruinous the eventual resolution will be.
Perhaps a clue to this perplexing paralysis lies in the irrational desire by Congressional Republicans to remove affordable healthcare for the vast majority of citizens. It is a powerful metaphor for the deranged belief that the nation can survive life-threatening illness by not treating it.