Thursday, November 17, 2016

A Trump Presidency: Part IV - The Sellout

So far in this series I have looked at some of the different “types” of president we might see with Trump. The first two types, the ‘Dictator’ and the ‘King’ are both scenarios that would be driven from internal needs for power and validation. The third type I described was the ‘Puppet’. In that case the actions we would see would be directed by an external yet intimate source. Following the line of reacting to external influences we come to the collection of actions that I called the ‘Sellout’.
Like the ‘Puppet’ scenario, the ‘Sellout’ is propelled to action by the need to appease external forces. This scenario has an external force that is extracting from Trump something they feel is owed to them. The aggrieved players might be previous large investors that Trump has failed to repay (nations, large banks), people of power that feel that he has somehow bilked them or treated them unfairly.

Unfortunately there is enough in Trump’s past to make thinking in this direction far-fetched, but not impossible. An article in the New York Times by Susanne Craig titled “Trump’s Empire: A Maze of Debts and Opaque Ties” outlines the dizzying and murky business world of Trump. For me though, the last quote of the article is what sticks in my mind. The quote is from Professor Richard W. Painter, of the University of Minnesota, a former ethics lawyer for the White House. He is quoted in the above article:

“The success of his [Trump’s] empire depends on an ability to get credit, to get loans extended to his business entities,” he said. “And we simply don’t know a lot about his financial dealings, here or around the world.” (Craig, NYTimes, AUG. 20, 2016)
That description is key to this scenario, because there are some factors that we do know. Trump’s investment record between 1985 and 2016 was described as ‘mediocre’ by The Economist in 2016. That Trump filed for bankruptcy six times in the 1990s and 2000s should be a warning sign to anyone with a wallet.

If Trump’s propensity for debt has driven him into the hands of international lenders that do not recognize the bankruptcy laws of the United States he could be in a situation with no legal system to help him eliminate his debt. So, if you’re into the Russian oligarchs for half a billion dollars, or the Chinese, what do you do?

It is a set-up like this one that could lead to a Trump presidency that followed the route of the ‘Sellout’. Here the assets of the United States would be up for sale. As a way of ‘working off’ of alleviating the debt that was owed items of national value would be bartered away. Items could be physical, such as lumber, oil, wheat, or gold. Barter could involve promises of non-interference in exchange for the reduction of what was owed. The extraction of the US from NATO would be a welcome development for the expansionist segment of Russian politics. The US withdrawal from the Paris Climate Agreement would be a victory for the Chinese. It would be more of a Pyrrhic victory, but a victory none the less.

And then there is the spectre of selling national secrets and nuclear codes. Spilling other strategies that are vital to national security. I keep telling myself that is too far, too horrible, but then, I pause and put the possibility back on the table.

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