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Asunto: Oscar Ugarteche and Armando Negrete: A "satrap" as the U.S. President
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A "satrap" as the U.S. President
Oscar Ugarteche and Armando Negrete
October 10, 2017
According to the Academy of the Spanish Language, the term "satrap," (sátrapa), means "a person who governs despotically and arbitrarily and who enjoys showing off his power". There exists no more exact term for the current President of the United States. This type of ruler was more common in fragile countries with subservient bourgeoisies during the time of the doctrine of security and development (1950 to 1980). That was the epoch when the United States fomented coups d'etat and preferred the military men allied to them --times of the Communist threat -- over reformist democrats. Some examples are Cuba's Fulgencio Batista, (1940 to 1959), Rafael Leonidas and Hector Trujillo of the Dominican Republic, (1930 to 1960) and the Somozas, father and sons, from Nicaragua (1934 to 1979), all of whom appeared to be taken from the same text book.
An exercise of understanding will consider how: 1) a person such as the current U.S. President, more like Eugene Burdick and William Lederer'sThe Ugly American, than a U.S. President, serving freedom and democracy, someone capable of antagonizing friends and foes alike, became the Northamerican President, and 2) what type of government that person could install. A possible explanation for the first question relates to the bulk of voting Northamericans, ignorant, xenophobic, racist, homophobic and class-conscious. The others appear not to have voted. The problem on the margins of arbitrariness, for the second question, is that as the Head of State of the most influential country of the world, he must be tolerated by the political leaders of the world, assimilated by the internal administrative structure of the U.S., and occasionally, even restrained.
Trump is a "satrap" holding the Office of President, without the stature of a Head of State, or any understanding of the interests of the State. He has shown that lacks even the least idea of the implications of what he, as the President of the United States, says about something or another, nor does it interest him. His declarations come after a golf game at one of his clubs, usually in the company of his wife and daughter.
Another feature of the "satrap" is his opinion of the press: that the opposition press generates false communications, ("fake news"), while the well placed loyal press generates good news, ("actual news"). In his simplistic, polarized world view of the forces of good and evil, he is the force of good, all the rest are the forces of evil. Nevertheless, his boasting and diplomatic blunders, his historic ignorance, his search for impunity (he has never released his tax returns and the investigations of his business and political relationships with Russia are numerous), and his disregard for public opinion, have never been normalized. For his part, he becomes ever more violent.
To govern, a "satrap" empties out the State, and installs his family in positions of power; the "satrap" governs by his family, with his family, and for his family. The emptying out of the state is seen in the numerous and growing vacancies in the Executive branch. Nonetheless, he has been unable to carry out his campaign promises, nor has he filled all the positions in the Executive branch. The Council of Economic Advisors of the White House, the Council of Representatives of Commerce, the Strategic Counsel of Commerce of the Department of Commerce, the Environmental Protection Agency, high positions in the Department of State, and diverse positions of representatives and of the corps of advisors of the apparatus of State: they are either vacant, or have not been confirmed.
Under these conditions, political decisions about the economic, military and social problems cannot be democratic. In attempting to renegotiate NAFTA, with Mexico and Canada, (holding the future of 26.5% of the global GNP!), the United States does not have a Council of Economic Advisors, and neither the Director of the Office of Science and Technology nor the Director of the National Office of the Policies of Drug Control has been confirmed. In the weeks before the start of the negotiations rounds, Trump disbanded the Council of Advisors of Manufacture and the Forum of Politics and Strategy, whose members are Directors of Transnational Firms such as Boeing, General Electric, IBM, Tesla, JPMorgan, Intel, Ford, Dell, and Walmart, among others.
Just as the renegotiation of the Free Trade Agreement has implications for the rest of the global commercial and productive structure, the appearance of a "satrap" as the United States Chief Executive has begun to have consequences for the rest of the world. The radical right finds moral support in Trump, as was seen in the march of Charleston, Virginia. The growth of the radical right has also been observed globally, with Brexit in Great Britain; the neo-Nazi party Alternative for Germany in the German Parliament; and the growing support to Marine Le Pen in France. Even though he is a "satrap," this man nevertheless has the military and executive command of the United States.
Donald Trump, the satrap, has displayed his desire to replace foreign policy with military policy. This is risky for Latin America and the world. The regional response of the Latin-American governments to his commercial arbitrariness, military interventions, his so-called humanitarian aid, and his "democratic" incursions, will be vital.
Oscar Ugarteche & Armando Negrete
- Oscar Ugarteche, Titular Researcher, IIEc-UNAM / SNI. Coordinator of Proyecto OBELA
- Armando Negrete, member of Proyecto OBELA
This article URL: https://www.alainet.org/es/articulo/188516
Free translation from the Spanish by
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