Focus on America

Security personnel walk on the roof of then White House near Pennsylvania Avenue before Inauguration Day for U.S. President-elect Donald Trump in Washington, U.S., January 20, 2017. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

Security personnel walk on the roof of then White House near Pennsylvania Avenue before Inauguration Day for U.S. President-elect Donald Trump in Washington, U.S., January 20, 2017. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

Notebook:

Donald Trump was today sworn in as the 45th president of the United States. By dint of brashness as much as leadership of a world superpower —  albeit a fading superpower, with more bluster than luster — President Trump’s global impact will be outsized.

And of the many questions and mounting controversies around his election and new administration, one stands out for me:  Will the United States now finally, completely, wash its hands of the grotesque mess it made of the Middle East?

It’s early days. But Trump, like the United Kingdom’s current government bent on washing its hands of a troubled Europe, has shown mostly impatience and anger at the mess. It’s the same mess  arguably responsible for creating the Islamic State. And it’s the same mess that most of the the world — rightly — blames on the the U.S. and the U.K., for their astoundingly foolish 2003 invasion of Iraq.

Will America’s 45th President feed or dampen the raging fires set by that invasion, as they continue to spread far beyond the Middle East, and now threaten to topple the European Project?

For now, below is F&O’s roster of reports and analyses on the new world of a new kind of America.

Deborah Jones

 

U.S. President Donald Trump (L) takes the oath of office from U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts (R) with his wife Melania, and children Barron, Donald, Ivanka and Tiffany at his side during inauguration ceremonies at the Capitol in Washington, U.S.,  January 20, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Barria

U.S. President Donald Trump (L) takes the oath of office from U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts (R) with his wife Melania, and children Barron, Donald, Ivanka and Tiffany at his side during inauguration ceremonies at the Capitol in Washington, U.S., January 20, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Barria

Donald Trump Sworn in as 45th U.S. President, by Steve Holland  Report

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Donald Trump was sworn in as the 45th president of the United States on Friday, succeeding Barack Obama and taking control of a divided country in a transition of power that he has declared will lead to “America First” policies at home and abroad.

Pins are out for the Trump balloon, by Jonathan Manthorpe  Column

Even as the inaugural party hangovers still throb in Washington, leaders in other capitals are dreaming up ways to discover what kind of blow-hard Donald Trump is. He has given them plenty to work with.

The Trumping of Rationality, by Tom Regan   Column

For many years, economists, philosophers and pundits thought that people would always act rationally:  people would look at options and the information available to make rational choices. But in the mid-70s, two Israeli psychologists – Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky – turned that idea on its head.

Trump Hits Populist Note in Inaugural Address, by Richard Tofel, ProPublica

Donald Trump’s speech largely lacked lofty language, but contained a full-throated populist vision, delivered with confidence, and signaled this from the start in one of its most memorable lines: “Today we are not merely transferring power from one administration to another or from one party to another, but we are transferring power from Washington, D.C., and giving it back to you, the people.” This might be heard to echo Ronald Reagan’s 1981 statement that “government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem,” but that would actually miss Trump’s point: The speech did not oppose government — it opposed the governors.

In our recent archives:

America: Andrew Johnson Rides Again, by Jim McNiven  Column

Mark Twain liked to say that ‘History doesn’t repeat itself, but it often does rhyme’. Every hundred and fifty years, I suppose, history has to start to rhyme in the United States. In 1865, a popular President was succeeded by a President who had no clear mandate, who was blustery and not a part of the then Establishment.

Trump’s Hot Air Far From Greatest Climate Threat, by Andrew Revkin, ProPublica  Report

The real risk for climate change in a Donald Trump presidency, according to close to a dozen experts interviewed for this story, lies less in impacts on specific policies like Obama’s Clean Power Plan and more in the realm of shifts in America’s position in international affairs.

The US election as Medieval Carnival, by  Anastasia Denisova  Report

The consumption of fast food media advances fast politics, the swift, screaming and scandalous sort of politics that is so tempting to share and receive “likes” for. So the real winner of this election, in fact, is the viral state of mind.

US Election: Revenge of the Forgotten Class, by Alec MacGillis, ProPublica   Report

Donald Trump’s stunning win Tuesday, defying all the prognosticators, suggested there were many people so disconnected from the political system that they were literally unaccounted for in the pollsters’ modeling, which relies on past voting behavior.

America’s Dark Hour, by Tom Regan  Column

We were wrong. So very wrong.  We thought there was no way that Americans would elect a man so totally unfit to be president.

Changes in Attitudes: The Best, and Worst of Times, by Jim McNiven  Column

To be Dickensian, it is the best of times and it is the worst of times. There is a lot of speculation that maybe America’s new President won’t really do what he said he would do. I wouldn’t bet on that.

Noteworthy elsewhere:

The Trump Administration: ProPublica’s ongoing coverage of the 45th president and his administration.

America’s ProPublica, an independent, nonprofit newsroom that produces investigative journalism in the public interest, is a comprehensive, authoritative resource for followers of American politics.  Go to ProPublica’s coverage of the Trump Administration

To Obama With Love, and Hate, and Desperation, by BY JEANNE MARIE LASKASJAN, New York Times Magazine

 Over eight years, through millions of letters, the staff of the White House mailroom read the unfiltered story of a nation … read more

With President Trump, American democracy faces its greatest test, by  Marilynne Robinson, The Guardian

We have a chance to find out how real and deep American democracy is. We have to live out the ethos of free speech, press and assembly, of equal opportunity and equality before the law. The ethos that has been articulated in the best of American history has to be realized in what we say and do….. read more

Former U.S. President Barack Obama’s final press conference on Jan. 18, 2017:

Last but not least:

Office of the Director of National Intelligence Statement on Declassified Intelligence Community Assessment of Russian Activities and Intentions in Recent U.S. Elections

From the news release: “On December 9, 2016, President Barack Obama directed the Intelligence Community to conduct a full review and produce a comprehensive intelligence report assessing Russian activities and intentions in recent U.S. elections. We have completed this report and briefed President Obama as well as President-elect Trump and Congressional leadership. We declassified a version of this report for the public, consistent with our commitment to transparency while still protecting classified sources and methods.”  Read the entire declassified document here: https://www.dni.gov/files/documents/ICA_2017_01.pdf

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This entry was posted in Current Affairs, Gyroscope.

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