On Edward Luce’s ‘Moscow Diary’, a comment by Political Observer

In his Moscow Diary Mr. Luce produces more New Cold War hysterical propaganda with the aid of his Greek chorus of policy experts: ‘Bob Legvold, the veteran Columbia University Russianist’ who chants about : “a crisis of small thinking” and “global irresponsibility”Wolfgang Ischinger, head of the Munich Security Conference who adds: global governance had “catastrophically collapsed” and Mathew Burrows, a former senior CIA officer, who adds this wan note on the ‘defeat’ of Mrs. Clinton: ‘“I can’t imagine how depressed it would have been if Hillary Clinton had won.” Please note that at last count Mrs. Clinton led the popular vote by 2.5 million votes.

What Mr. Luce misses is that what Trump brings to his presidency is the character he portrayed on The Apprentice, that was the prelude to his run for office. That character’s raison d’etre was to keeps his apprentices in a state of apprehension, his seeming changeability, his unending demands kept those contestants in an exploitable state of not knowing, of disequilibrium, that was the key to controlling their behavior.The fear of losing in a game, in which the rewards were so great, in terms of money and prestige, was the pressure point.

In the case of Trump as politician, contemplate the facts of Nixon’s interference in the Vietnam War negotiations, and Reagan’s Iran Hostage negotiation interventions. Only in this case, as the clumsy exercise of Trump as political naif. Only Trump is not that naif, but a Caudillo, who seeks to exploit the state of ‘not knowing’ in the technocrats that Mr. Luce interviewed, as the central actors in his Moscow Diary. Call this The Panic of the Technocratic Elites, who face an opponent who practices One-upmanship with the sang-froid of a master, while seeming to be that blundering political naif.

Political Observer



About stephenkmacksd

Rootless cosmopolitan,down at heels intellectual;would be writer. 'Polemic is a discourse of conflict, whose effect depends on a delicate balance between the requirements of truth and the enticements of anger, the duty to argue and the zest to inflame. Its rhetoric allows, even enforces, a certain figurative licence. Like epitaphs in Johnson’s adage, it is not under oath.' https://www.lrb.co.uk/v15/n20/perry-anderson/diary
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