President-elect Donald Trump is at the cusp of assuming command of the greatest empire in human history, uncomfortable as that might sound for Americans whether it is the “Trump” or “empire” component – or both. Regardless, like a world champion team in sports the USA as # 1 will forever be a target by allies and enemies alike with respect to influence and envy in general.
The media often portrays that Trump has kindred political ‘friends’ such as Russia’s Putin, other ultra-conservative leaders, autocrats and those waiting in the wings specifically the upcoming national elections in France and Germany. The illusion is that it’s a clubby cabal of co-conspiratorial right-wingers whose personal and political commonalities are strongly intertwined.
The global realpolitik is that the world stage is, and always has been, a verifiable merciless and ruthless jungle with short, fragile alliances for the purpose of achieving self-serving, short-term objectives. The open dirty secret is that no one really wants a lasting and enduring agreement because then they’re politically “locked in” so they need an exit strategy which goes by the name “loopholes”. It’s the de rigueur face-saving diplomatic linguistic mechanism to legally disengage gracefully.
Maintaining power always supersedes maintaining peace and prosperity. Stability is boring and more importantly unprofitable which is why volatility is – for lack of a better word – good for business. If the level of volatility remains within manageable margins it is controllable to the extent that a leader can resolve the crisis and be considered a savior. The media sometimes is an accomplice by overstating a crisis which makes the recovery even more spectacular in favor of those in power.
Trump’s “bromance” with Putin will be short-lived because they are ultra strong-willed individuals with fragile egos, each still desperately seeking respect and approval. It matches the concept in the movie “The Matrix Reloaded” (2003) when Neo asked the Oracle, “What does the Merovingian want?” to which she responded, “Like all men with power. More power.”
Additionally the US and Russia are historically, politically and culturally vastly different entities and for this reason are incompatible for enduring medium or long-term agreements outside of Europe and Cuba.
And because of Trump’s unpredictable and contradictory personality, Putin will find dealing with him maddening and secretly wish that Hillary Clinton won the election. Though she’s despised, she would have been a level-headed professional and more predictable leader with whom he could have dealt more successfully.
Trump will learn the price of “leveling up” in a political arena which is alien to him where competing world interests threaten America’s core interests. We shall see to the extent whether ultra-conservative leaders with huge egos can be flexible enough not to provoke a crisis that no one can control.