By ann sunmers
Reality-TV rather than Realism … Nikolai Volkoff is known for teaming with The Iron Sheik, with whom he won the WWF Tag Team Championship at the inaugural WrestleMania event, and also with Boris Zukhov as The Bolsheviks.
In the discipline of international relations there are contending general theories or theoretical perspectives. Realism, also known as political realism, is a view of international politics that stresses its competitive and conflictual side. It is usually contrasted with idealism or liberalism, which tends to emphasize cooperation. Realists consider the principal actors in the international arena to be states, which are concerned with their own security, act in pursuit of their own national interests, and struggle for power. plato.stanford.edu/…
Most fascinating are PEOTUS’s attempts to divert attention around the inaugural from other potential scandals and to suggest his Reagan-ness by referring to the Reagan-Gorbachev summit in Iceland in the 1980s.
In 2017’s version with TrUmp-Putin, the Russians get a marvelous parting gift of anywhere around 100 Billion dollars from lifting sanctions. And then to have the moment get disclaimed (more fake news?) even as it may be Trump-Team incompetence because the new diplomacy as a strategy of tension is founded on reality-TV narratives.
“If we are to maintain our position as a first-rate Power we must … be Prepared for attacks and wars, somewhere or other, CONTINUALLY.”
We know that reality TV thrives on the dramatic potential of massive, dirty, wickedly personal fights. If you’re not in at least one horrible knockdown drag-out with a fellow cast member every three episodes or so, you are not long for TV. The distinctly Trump element of this is the second part—like any good reality TV-villain, he’s defined largely in opposition to others. …
His character, his brand, is a hazy, amorphous cloud of connotation and suggestion until the moment it comes into conflict with someone. And then Trump—his brand—can easily shift into becoming whatever that person is not. It’s a trope from competition and lifestyle reality shows alike. Personal clashes are never about the fight itself, but about defining who you are.
Constant relitigation of ancient injuries.
The inevitable narrative corollary of characters built through interpersonal battles is that the battles keep coming back…
It even happens more and more on competition shows like The Bachelor, which has moved to a model of recycling already established personalities through its franchises for exactly this narrative purpose. It’s a good shortcut if there’s no current battle worth fighting, but it’s even more useful as distraction from a current battle you’re losing.
So in moments of stress—in that early GOP debate when he struggled with an answer on women, in the aftermath of the Access Hollywood tape, now that the transition situation has gotten rocky—Trump leans heavily on this reality trope. Bring up Rosie O’Donnell, dredge up ancient Clinton scandals, and perpetually refight an election that’s already finished. Every political candidate relies on some distraction technique to try to shift a news cycle away from their own flaws, but Trump delights in calling back to long-ago personal drama with all the relish of a housewife who claims to have forgiven but has never forgotten…
This is a vital part of reality-TV storytelling, and one that Trump has been careful to hew to as much as possible in the last year. In a traditional political-scandal situation, the pattern is usually that a scandal will break, everything will get very silly for a news cycle or two, and then a politician will be careful to stay on the straight and narrow for as long as possible. This is fundamentally unlike how reality-TV storytelling works.
In the aftermath of scandal, good reality personalities (and just as importantly, good reality-show producers and editors) have to be already building toward the new fight. It doesn’t matter why you’re onscreen as long as you are onscreen, and reality-TV survival hinges on your ability to provide sufficiently entertaining material to the editors at regular, easily narrativized intervals…
It’s still surprising in the context of the White House and the world stage, but if you put him on a white sofa next to Andy Cohen and a tasteful vase of tulips, Trump’s word-salad pronouncements and his inexplicable obsession with picking fights makes sense.
Trump is not Reagan and Putin no Gorbachev, but like the imagination needed to use bad props at a press conference, Steve “Bonzo” Bannon and the mini-moguls want to relive the 1980s.
Their brand of creative destruction has run out of plots and trying to frame Trump as Reagan may still wind up as Nixonian conflicts if Trump gets impeached.
Trump now resorts to retreading a bad genre and this game show will only benefit Russia, because something, something … “pressure”.
And just as quickly the meme has gotten disinformed to become a meeting between Tillerson and Lavrov, with all the usual denials meant to ease Cold Warriors’ and neo-cons’ fears.
Such inverted scripting is like adapting a TV sitcom for the cinema except in reverse. And this rerun project will have the same kind of spy-thriller except Trump gets played by Putin because as sanctions, it’s not his money. And there’s the distraction from the tainted election because … Fake News!
Perhaps this kind of diplomacy works better in rerun except this time Russia will get its sanctions lifted to the tune of over $100 billion. Trump will then claim much like his other promotions, that it was some tweetable superlative as the 1% profits will trickle down to offshore money accounts. And inequality will wither away like so much economic prosperity.
But, But …Fake News …
The Reykjavík Summit was a summit meeting between U.S. President Ronald Reagan and General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union Mikhail Gorbachev, held in Hofdi in Reykjavík, on 11–12 October 1986. The talks collapsed at the last minute, but the progress that had been achieved eventually resulted in the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty between the United States and the Soviet Union.
In 1986, Gorbachev had proposed banning all ballistic missiles, but Reagan wanted to continue research on the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI), which involved the militarization of outer space. Yet Soviet suspicion of SDI continued, and U.S.-Soviet relations — already strained by the failure of the Geneva Summit the previous year — were further strained by the Daniloff–Zakharov espionage affair.
Comey’s demurrals notwithstanding, it’s now known that the Justice Department before the election repeatedly sought secret FISA warrants to investigate two Russian banks and a series of Trump associates.
We now know they got the warrant to investigate the Russian banks in October.
As a result, there’s suddenly quite justifiable outrage that Comey decided to reveal details of his Clinton email investigation and not news of this other inquiry right before the election.
But the more immediate problem is, why is Comey still holding back now? What is he waiting for?
Meanwhile, Ynet in Israel is reporting that Israeli intelligence officials are deciding not to share intelligence with the incoming Trump administration.
The report indicates they came to this conclusion after a recent meeting with American intelligence officials, who told them the Russians have “leverages of pressure” to use against Trump.
This is an extraordinary story. If our intelligence community really believes this, then playtime is over.
No more Clapper-style hedging or waffling. If Israel gets to hear why they think Trump is compromised, how is the American public not also so entitled?
But if all they have are unverifiable rumors, they can’t do this, not even to Donald Trump.
The only solution is an immediate unveiling of all the facts and an urgent public investigation.