Trump’s Fulfillment of the Marshall Plan, and on America’s Demise

I’m on a long 15-hour flight to Taipei and I’m glancing over at the video monitor of another passenger, who is watching one of the Star Wars sequels. Without sound, one gets a different perspective on any film. But there are multiple scenes of different aliens banding together to fight Darth Vader and the Death Star, whose crew seems comprised of males, mostly white. Darth Vader tramps, or “trumps,” around the movie with his usual swagger as his evil empire uses brute force and aggression to take over the universe. (I seem to remember one US President once called another place the “Evil Empire,” the same empire it seems we’re fighting now in the US.)

Have we, the United States, gone to the “dark side?”

Starting on a trip to Asia, I always start to reorient — pardon the pun — to the non-American cultures I’m entering. I think of yin and yang, and how these are forces forever in opposition, but how neither side overwhelms the other. Otherwise, the universe would be unbalanced and inevitably destroyed.

To be in opposition does not mean a violent manifestation. Also, the traditional symbol of this yin and yang doesn’t show the sides (or shapes) polarized and far apart, thus achieving a perfect balance. Like two kids on a seesaw, they are interacting on middle ground. The loss of balance and equilibrium is more than just a philosophical concept. It has critical consequences in our daily lives.

I believe America is on the precipice of destruction. How do we restore balance and bring us back from the “Eve of Destruction”?

With the early release of James Comey’s opening statement, Trump tweeted that he felt vindicated because released remarks confirmed that Comey confirmed Trump was not personally under investigation. Even though today we know that Trump is under investigation, this is frustrating; these were Comey’s comments with supporting information that he knew at the time the comments were made. This doesn’t mean Comey has all of the information about the investigation as a private citizen. Had he remained FBI Director, it is possible that new information — whether public or private — may have been made available to him.

Second, Trump seems to point out emphatically that while he personally was not implicated in an investigation, he has no concern for the persons within his administration that could have fallen afoul. On both aspects, this is troubling.

A good leader is gravely concerned about the organization and his subordinates. Any action by subordinates reflect directly on the leader and his or her ability, responsibility and wherewithal to lead. This leads to the next point.

It has proven rare that a criminal gang leader — or any organized crime boss — ever personally did the dirty deed. Rather, a subordinate carries out the deed based on directives from the leader. That does not absolve the leader from his role and involvement, merely because there isn’t any “blood on his hands.”

Watching Angela Merkel’s post-G7 comments about how Europe could no longer fully rely on the United States recalled to me another Nixonian action that had major world implications — the opening of relations with China in 1972. While we remember this action had enormous impact that reverberates still today, my analogy deals with the other country in that “ triangle” — Taiwan.

Until Nixon’s 1972 trip to China, Taiwan always relied on the United States to protect it on every front. Like a child who was always protected from harm, Taiwan consequently never had to learn to stand up for itself.

Post World War II, quickly followed by the Cold War and with Western Europe still struggling to get back on it’s feet, the United States protected Taiwan until stability and growth could be restored. But, there was always a “big brother, little brother” relationship. Now with the United States government’s rejection of the Paris Accord, coupled with facts and uncertainties about the Trump-Russian relationship, Western Europe has been “Taiwan-ed” and feels that it must stand up and move forward alone.

As we all know, during Taiwan’s experience in 1972, the country “grew up” to become a world economic and technological player. Had Nixon not “thrown Taiwan under the bus,” Taiwan would have certainly remained less than it is today. In a parallel move, Western Europe finds itself with “tire tracks on its back.” It may be an opportunity to bring closure to the goals of The Marshall Plan.

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