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Will John Bolton Bring on Armageddon—Or Stave It Off?

One thing liberals and neoconservatives share, Bolton suggested, is an irrational, “theological” attachment to principles—the principle that treaties and alliances are good (in the case of internationalist liberals) or that democracy must be spread at the expense of all else (in the case of neoconservatives). By contrast, he thought treaties and alliances needed unsentimental evaluation. One of the Russians on Putin’s team told him, “You strike me as a pragmatic diplomat.” “I said, ‘That’s the nicest thing anyone’s said about me for a long time.’ ” Bolton recalled, “Even in the Bush 43 administration, when we were most accused of unilateralism, I didn’t get up every morning thinking, What act of unilateralism can I accomplish today? I got up thinking, What interest of the United States are we going to advance today?”

It’s difficult to exaggerate how hard it is to earn a reputation as a dick in Washington. It’s like being known as a real nerd by fellow scientists at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, or as the resident prude by sisters at a nunnery. In Washington, boorishness can be a virtue, if the boor in question is on your side and gets things done. (Witness the admiration for Lyndon B. Johnson, who would sit on the toilet and summon aides to talk policy while smelling his fumes, and the contempt for the pious Jimmy Carter.) But Bolton is almost universally known for being off-putting and ill-tempered. “One of the world’s cheapest people,” says an ex-colleague. “An extremely unpleasant person,” says another.

At the UN, he exuded contempt. In his memoir he says the General Assembly hall’s architecture is “vaguely fascist.” He scoffs at the tendency to treat Kofi Annan, the secretary general, as “a secular pope,” and he calls General Assembly President Jan Eliasson “President of the World.” Neither title is meant as a compliment. Nor is the nickname “EUroids,” which he uses to describe Europeans he considers pains in the ass.

“Bolton is a sovereigntist,” John Yoo told me. “He thinks the U.S. should not be bound by international organizations, and we should not be ceding our authority to the United Nations or NAFTA.” After the Cold War, “the U.S. tied itself down with multilateral institutions, primarily run by Europeans, to constrain our freedom of action—to tie down Gulliver.” Every time the United States joins an alliance, or consents to arbitration on equal terms with, say, Latvia or Guinea, one more rope is lashed over Gulliver’s limbs.

Bolton may have mind-melded with Trump better than McMaster did, but inevitably the president and his national security adviser will disagree, both on style and on substance. One is an unreconstructed Cold Warrior; the other is an isolationist. One says nothing without precise calculation; the other speaks seemingly without consulting his own prefrontal cortex. As the differences between their personalities multiply, savvy enemies will simply cease to believe that Bolton carries Trump’s authority. Trump, flattered, will agree.
interview  portrait  trump  administration 
march 2019 by aries1988
Twitter
川普搭乘的空军一号飞往伊拉克经过欧洲空域,居住在英国谢菲尔德的业余摄影师Alan Meloy偶尔在他的厨房看到天空中出现一架特别的飞机,由于他是飞机爱好者,知道这不是普通民航机,于是用佳能EOS 7D拍了下来上传到Flickr,并…
photo  plane  trump  fun 
december 2018 by aries1988
What Happens When a Bad-Tempered, Distractible Doofus Runs an Empire? | The New Yorker

About a decade ago, I published “George, Nicholas and Wilhelm: Three Royal Cousins and the Road to World War I,” a book that was, in part, about Kaiser Wilhelm, who is probably best known for being Queen Victoria’s first grandchild and for leading Germany into the First World War. Ever since Donald Trump started campaigning for President, the Kaiser has once again been on my mind—his personal failings, and the global fallout they led to.

Wilhelm’s touchiness, his unpredictability, his need to be acknowledged: these things struck a chord with elements in Germany, which was in a kind of adolescent spasm—quick to perceive slights, excited by the idea of flexing its muscles, filled with a sense of entitlement.
deutschland  history  ww1  leader  personality  disaster  war  book  trump 
november 2018 by aries1988
Waking Up with Sam Harris: #133 — Globalism on the Brink
Legitimate grievances with immigration https://overcast.fm/+Ic2iBh0LA/32:11
Impact of automation https://overcast.fm/+Ic2iBh0LA/39:34
Universal basic income, solution? https://overcast.fm/+Ic2iBh0LA/39:42

It's one thing for the Chinese to steal our intellectual property, it's another for them to steal our strategy."
civic  nationalism  technology  crisis  transformation  society  politics  trump  2018  globalism  explained  cosmopolitanism  podcast 
october 2018 by aries1988
Decorum is an unfashionable word but it has a radical core | Aeon Ideas
Cicero gives us the best sense of decorum’s richness. He did more than anyone in ancient Rome to develop the concept, and it sits at the heart of his ethical and rhetorical theory. Cicero defined decorum not as an inflexible code of conduct, but as the fit between an action and a moment, or between words and a rhetorical situation. To speak decorously is to say precisely what the moment demands.

Asking whether words have decorum is another way of asking what this circumstance and this audience call for.

Arguing over Trump’s decorum, or lack thereof, is about asking who counts – who is included in, and excluded from, ‘the sense of the community’ to which decorum appeals.
speech  politics  today  trump  audience  communication  latin  roman 
september 2018 by aries1988
Will the Benalla Affair Sink Emmanuel Macron?
Alexandra Schwartz on the Benalla Affair, which is ostensibly about Emmanuel Macron’s onetime bodyguard, but in fact reflects on the French President himself.
france  2018  macro  trump 
august 2018 by aries1988
这是今年最犀利的演讲:国家命运与个人命运
我认为,马克思在一百多年前的一些关于资本主义发展的具体结论有些时空的局限性,但马克思主义的基本原理是正确的,那就是生产力决定生产关系、经济基础决定上层建筑。美国经济结构的变化决定社会结构变化,也一定决定着美国政治利益、国家核心利益的变化。

从这个意义上讲,即便特朗普两年或者六年后下台,美国也不会因为更换总统而在战略上改变对中国的基本立场。这是我的一个基本看法。

经济全球化时代国家间竞争的本质是什么?二十几年前我就提出是制度竞争,即看谁的制度安排更有利于经济增长和发展。因此,改革那些阻碍创新的制度安排,创建更加包容、可以自主经营、自主选择和自主流动的现代市场经济体系是至关重要的。

欧洲人出口的是古老的贵族文明积淀下来的审美,几乎所有的奢侈品都来自欧洲。审美是一种历史积淀,前提是一个国家历史、文化的连续性。

这个话题其实是很沉重的,在此我只想谈谈自己的体会。对个人而言,审美是一种品质和修养。一个审美能力低下的民族不仅素养、品格不高,道德水准也会有问题。

一个人做好自己每一个人生阶段中应该做好的事情,把自己喜欢做的事情尽可能地做到极致甚至像清教徒那样对待自己喜欢的职业并愿意为此努力一生,你就是一个具有使命感的人。所谓工匠精神,本质上与这种对职业的敬畏和使命感的理解与坚守密不可分。
talk  china  usa  economy  today  opinion  youth  self  patriotism  advice  2018  trump 
july 2018 by aries1988
Twitter
RT : 川总三十年不变的理念MAGA
trump  talkshow  history  today 
april 2018 by aries1988
Joan C Williams on Trump, elitism and the white working class
Progressives often confuse them with the poor — an entirely separate class. Williams defines the working class as households that earn more than the country’s bottom third but less than the top 20 per cent, plus some slightly better-off families that include no college graduate. This group is “the middle 53 per cent of American families”, whose family incomes in 2015 ranged from $41,005 to $131,962.

Many stereotypes about WWC men came together in the hapless cartoon character Homer Simpson. American progressives showed respect to ethnic and sexual minorities, not to the WWC. But then the WWC made Trump president.

“I think Trump just needs to keep on being Trump. That’s the sobering fact. The irony is that Trump is the most hysterical, emotional president in living memory, he’s like a caricature of a woman out of control, but following his gut connects him to the white working class. His continuing gestures of disrespect to cultural elites, through Twitter and other means, are just inestimably delicious.”

So far she’s unimpressed. “Just read the frigging New York Times, listen to NPR [National Public Radio], key outlets of the progressive elite: story after story of an outpouring of compassion for immigrants.

“Do I feel sorry for immigrants? Yes. But that’s not the point. An outpouring of compassion for immigrants, in the absence of offering dignity to the white working class, will hurt immigrants because it’s just another expression that elites have ‘feeling rules’ — who you should feel sorry for.” Elite “feeling rules” ordain compassion for ethnic and sexual minorities and “perhaps women”, she says, “but the white working class are just ‘fat, stupid and ignorant’. So the elites are saying, ‘Oh, my God, we just heard this cri de coeur from the white working class, let’s express sympathy for immigrants!’ Talk about a recipe for Trump’s second term.

Generally, says Williams, progressives need to tone down the PC talk. They can still fight (albeit more quietly) for women and minorities, but they will achieve nothing unless they can build the black-and-white working-class
politics  working-class  usa  society  inequality  immigration  thinking  2017  trump 
may 2017 by aries1988
Trump’s Radical Anti-Americanism
Yet what perhaps no one could have entirely predicted was the special cocktail of oafish incompetence and radical anti-Americanism that President Trump’s Administration has brought. This combination has produced a new note in our public life: chaotic cruelty. The immigration crisis may abate, but it has already shown the power of government to act arbitrarily overnight—sundering families, upending long-set expectations, until all those born as outsiders must imagine themselves here only on sufferance of a senior White House counsellor.

Autocratic regimes with a demagogic bent are nearly always inefficient, because they cannot create and extend the network of delegated trust that is essential to making any organization work smoothly. The chaos is characteristic. Whether by instinct or by intention, it benefits the regime, whose goal is to create an overwhelming feeling of shared helplessness in the population at large: we will detain you and take away your green card—or, no, now we won’t take away your green card, but we will hold you here, and we may let you go, or we may not.
trump  usa  critic  government  destiny  liberalism 
february 2017 by aries1988
Les élites démocrates en pleine dépression

Au lendemain de l’élection, sa femme et lui ont tout de même décidé de faire bonne figure devant leurs deux jeunes enfants. « Depuis des mois on leur disait que Trump était un bad guy. Du coup, le mercredi, quand on leur a annoncé qu’Hillary avait perdu, on leur a assuré que Trump avait fait un beau discours de remerciements et que tout allait être OK… »

au-delà du désarroi et de la peur, la honte, l’embarras et une forme de culpabilité se sont emparés de ces milieux éduqués, ultra-informés, hyperconnectés, qui ont dû admettre leur aveuglement.

Quant aux supporteurs de Trump, durant cette campagne, ils nous inspiraient une forme de mépris.

« Dans cette société du post-fact [où le discours politique fait appel à l’émotion, au détriment des faits], éduquer les jeunes est devenu primordial. Un citoyen bien informé est toujours en meilleure position pour faire des choix. Plus que jamais, je dis à mes étudiants : “la vérité compte, la perspective historique importe, les faits ont un sens” »

Pour tenter de relativiser « la catastrophe », beaucoup comparent la situation américaine aux poussées « nationalistes, populistes, conservatrices, xénophobes » qui traversent l’Europe. « C’est une marée mondiale, la preuve que l’exceptionnalisme américain n’existe pas », défend Rhea.
trump  reportage 
january 2017 by aries1988
Hillary Clinton: a fate worse than mere defeat
Historians will look back on 2016 as a textbook case of how not to run a campaign. Clinton’s demise owes more to the fact that she personified the establishment than to her gender. She will surely be haunted by her mis-steps for the rest of her life. She could have been America’s first female commander-in-chief — and one of the White House’s most experienced occupants in decades. Instead, she lost to an outsider whom all the experts had dismissed as a joke.
hilary  2016  election  trump 
december 2016 by aries1988
Why are so many first-generation Chinese immigrants supporting Donald Trump? - SupChina
The appeal of Trump to so many first-generation Chinese immigrants quickly became a topic I obsessed about. Fanfan and I had lunch the other day at the home of a lovely, retired Chinese-American woman (she asked that I not use her name) in Chapel Hill, and this disturbing development was almost all we could talk about. A native Beijinger and member of the Class of 1977 — the first crop of students to matriculate in universities after the Cultural Revolution — she shared our horror at Trump’s popularity among recently arrived immigrants, and confirmed that, as I had suspected, this rightward tilt was an entirely new phenomenon and was certainly not the case either four or eight years ago. The stridency among these Trump supporters, she said, reminded her of nothing so much as the Red Guards during the Cultural Revolution.

Whatever its causes — and they are too numerous to get into here — Chinese racism is well attested, and many Americans would be shocked were they privy to conversations about race taking place in Chinese when participants think no one else is listening.

All too often, there is this belief that it’s an American problem and that their only interest is to ensure the short-term safety of their own families.

The East Coast Crips-affiliated gang behind those robberies, police said, specifically targeted Asian-owned homes — discernible by the shoes left on the front porch — and was responsible for a reported 5,000 burglaries.
china  immigrant  usa  politics  trump  2016  opinion  explained  education 
december 2016 by aries1988
Donald Trump, the First President of Our Post-Literate Age

The easiest way to grasp the difference between the written world and the oral world is that in the latter, there’s no way to look up anything. Before the invention of writing, knowledge existed in the present tense between two or more people; when information was forgotten, it disappeared forever. That state of affairs created a special need for ideas that were easily memorized and repeatable (so, in a way, they could go viral). The immediacy of the oral world did not favor complicated, abstract ideas that need to be thought through. Instead, it elevated individuals who passed along memorable stories, wisdom and good news.

platforms are fostering an emerging linguistic economy that places a high premium on ideas that are pithy, clear, memorable and repeatable (that is to say, viral).
socialnetwork  writing  speak  politics  trump  communication 
december 2016 by aries1988
阿喵和小白的美国大选对话录(下篇)
这六个州连成一片,构成了美国的锈带(rust belt)。这片传统工业重镇在美国的崛起中扮演过重要角色,一度繁荣无比;但随着全球化的到来,制造业外迁,经济衰退,民生凋敝,和东三省的老工业区颇有几分相似。这里大量受教育程度低的白人产业工人传统上是民主党的支持者,但在种族、国家安全和移民等问题上比一般的民主党人更趋保守。在1980年的大选中,他们就曾经认为民主党过于关注少数族裔、妇女、失业人群和赤贫人群的利益,忽视了白人工人阶级的利益而倒戈共和党候选人里根,史称“里根民主党人”(Reagan Democrats)。今年的大选中,他们对全球化的反对、对自身经济状况的焦虑、对移民和反恐问题和恐惧,与种族主义的抬头交织在一起,使他们再次倒戈,成了“特朗普民主党人”。从出口民调来看,特朗普依靠的就是白人,赢得了58%的白人选票,在没有大学学历的白人中,支持率高达67%。最近一年经济情况好转的选民72%投给了希拉里,而经济情况变差的选民78%投给了特朗普。有超过20%的人表示他们最看重的是新总统能够带来改变,这些人几乎悉数投给了特朗普。这和上面的分析基本一致。

我觉得存在许多不同的心态。比如有些人不了解美国政治,只是看到特朗普是个成功的地产商,是大富豪、名人。国内这种对金钱和地位的崇拜很流行,一些人视特朗普为偶像并不奇怪。他这种政治强人的形象可能也暗合了中国人的喜好,你看最近人民网不是还搞了一个"大国崛起呼唤强大领袖核心“的公众“核心观念与核心意识调查报告”。你把里面词汇调换一下,换到特朗普头上倒是蛮合适的。特朗普的排外主义、种族偏见、对穆斯林的敌意,也很容易引起国人的共鸣。不过最常见的理由,大概是出于对希拉里的反感,觉得她的外交政策咄咄逼人,对中国不利。敌人的敌人是朋友。何况特朗普还是个“右派”....

小白:除了上面说的,我觉得还有几点原因。首先是中国传统文化本身就带有很强的保守倾向。我们的传统语汇中从来没有“公共”或者“社会”这样的概念,像community这个词,实在找不到对应的,只能别扭地译为“共同体”。人与人的亲疏关系和相互关怀,就止于家族或者宗族。很多人只求“独善其身”,"各人自扫门前雪,莫管他人瓦上霜"是他们的处世之道,像墨子这样的“兼爱”,始终是历史上的异数。所以到了国外,支持保守主义的政党,是很正常的事。

小白:哎,语境错乱了,此左非彼左。就说经济吧,一种是在保障个人的政治自由和权利的情况下,牺牲一定的经济自由,换取社会的相对公平和机会的相对平等,一种是强制的平均主义,剥夺个人财产和选择的权利,使人人都“平等”地成为国家机器上的一颗螺丝钉,为一个人为构建出来的“人民”或者“集体”服务。从农民对统购统销和农业合作社的抵抗,到人民公社的失败,都能看出这是一种无集体主义精神的强制集体化,国家的强制措施一旦消失,马上就回归到了原来的小农状态。共和国前30年受这种“左”的负面影响太深,以至于现在很多人闻之色变。他们移民美国,也是为了躲避这种“左”。正是因为这个原因,在美国的第一代华裔移民和第一代古巴移民,对共和党的支持度都高于来自其他国家的第一代移民。

小白:在国外,左与右与受教育程度有高度相关性,受教育程度越高,越有左倾的倾向。我这代中国人,却不是这样的。有很多大学毕业之后赴美深造的同学、名校毕业的博士,思想上依然右倾。究其原因,可能和不同代际的成长环境有关。中国改革开放四十年,在经济上有不少类似新自由主义的地方,自由市场,自由竞争,社会达尔文主义横行。很多人的世界观就是以自我逐利为中心、弱肉强食的丛林法则,理想主义在他们看来幼稚可笑,甚至是虚伪的。而且我们接受的是90年代的爱国主义教育和思想政治教育,对外国往往抱着偏见,也没有经历过美国那种民权运动的洗礼,对种族歧视、性别歧视、社会平等、平权以及争取这些所付出的艰苦卓绝的努力和代价缺乏切身体会,有些人甚至自己就带着种族和性别的偏见。中国的高等教育也没有带来相应的人文教育,大学毕业后来到美国,其实人生观已经基本确定,许多人的政治知识、政治阅历都不够,只求自给自足,双耳不闻窗外事,自然和保守主义十分切合。

这么多年以来,华人都是平权的受益者,在不少教育和就业场景中,恰恰是平权给了华裔、特别是华裔女性更多的机会。只不过后来华人的境遇改善地最快,很多人就觉得黑人或者拉丁裔似乎更容易获得机会,对华人来说不公平。

阿喵:哈哈。这我太了解啦。华裔女性在就业市场里最吃香,这简直是路人皆知的秘密。不过我告诉你,我们STEM领域里的华裔男生实在是太多了,僧多粥少啊。在中国文化里,男人又是主外的。一平权,不但多了其他少数族裔作为竞争对手,在同样资历的情况下,竟然连我们女生都竞争不过,你说他们回家能不心理不平衡吗!
chinese  trump  usa  chat  politics  explained  opinion  2016 
december 2016 by aries1988
Does Trump’s Rise Mean Liberalism’s End? - The New Yorker

Decisions made by Web designers years ago mean that today the Internet is a free and lawless zone that erodes state sovereignty, ignores borders, revolutionizes the job market, smashes privacy, and poses a formidable global-security risk.
AGM

This is not the first time the Liberal Story has faced a crisis of confidence. Ever since this story gained global influence, in the second half of the nineteenth century, it has endured periodic crises.
NB
CPR

The liberal phoenix next faced a challenge from the left, during the Che Guevara moment, between the fifties and the seventies. While Fascists found the liberal story soft and degenerate, socialists accused it of being a fig leaf for the ruthless, exploitative, and racist system of global capitalism.

the Liberal Story proved to be far more supple and dynamic than any of its opponents. It triumphed over traditional empires, over fascism, and over Communism by adopting some of their best ideas and practices (such as government-sponsored education, health, and welfare for the masses).
AGM

it might be much harder for the Liberal Story to survive the current crisis of confidence, because the traditional alliance between liberal ethics and capitalist economics that has long underpinned the Liberal Story may be unravelling.
politics  trump  crisis  liberalism 
october 2016 by aries1988

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