Fear God and dreadnought
In his first week of office president Trump rejected the TPP trade agreement, issued orders to build a border wall with Mexico and limit refugee intake from 'terror prone' countries. He revived the oil pipeline projects opposed by president Obama and drafted an executive order drastically reducing funding to the United Nations.
"Donald Trump is doing exactly what he said he would do," writes Gregory Krieg of CNN. The pace of it however has been breathtaking. Many Washington insiders who initially refused to believe it when "Trump promised to smash the Washington power structure" are in shock. He's "showed he would defy all norms, social and political" said Krieg. EU officials warned that Trump was heading for disaster.
Europe’s trade commissioner took aim at President Trump on Tuesday, arguing that his proposed restrictions on international trade and immigration are “doomed to fail.”
“Those who, in the 21st century, think that we can become great again by rebuilding borders, re-imposing trade barriers, restricting people's freedom to move, are doomed to fail,” Cecilia Malmstrom said at a conference in Brussels, according to prepared remarks.
But Europe's deepest fear must be that he would succeed rather than fail. By bolting the post-War coalition structure and working frankly to maximize American national advantage, Trump leaves the other coalition partners facing an excruciating dilemma. Should they follow suit and maximize their own interests? Or should they try to sustain the PC multilateral world with their own resources?
With America's closure to mass uncontrolled immigration the pressure inevitably be on Europe to accept the Middle Eastern millions. Can Europe stand by and watch as Trump strikes separate deals? Which country wants to be the last to maintain open borders AND welfare in a world where America is in frank pursuit of energy dominance, security and trade? Cecilia Malmstrom appears to be volunteering Europe. Can it do it?
By moving first and quickly Trump may have initiated the political equivalent of a 21st century Dreadnought race. The HMS Dreadnought, readers will recall, was a warship whose building forced a paradigm shift in Naval Affairs by rendering all previous naval vessels obsolete. It changed the game for everyone.
Her entry into service in 1906 represented such a paradigm shift in naval technology that her name came to be associated with an entire generation of battleships, the "dreadnoughts", as well as the class of ships named after her. The generation of ships she made obsolete became known as "pre-dreadnoughts".
The Trumpian revolution could have the same effect. The choice before Europeans is whether to make the shift and build policy "dreadnoughts" of their own or to plod along building PC-era pre-dreadnoughts. The suddenness of developments has caught the media by surprise though it shouldn't have. As Dennis Prager pointed out the sustainability of the old paradigm has been been in question for a long time. "It is time for our society to acknowledge a sad truth," Prager said, "America is currently fighting its second Civil War." The Left had long been saying this as had conservatives, but the party of Washington plodded serenely on.