Ronald G. Suny


Trump and Trumpism have left a trail of wreckage in their departure from Washington, a devastated landscape of racial, social, and ideological division. The Democrats propose unity and healing, more generous social programs, and less racial division, though their ambitious and laudable program is unlikely to win over the fractured but still Trumpist Republicans.

The sturdy democratic system in the United States withstood the attack, but it was evident that democracy is a fragile system always in danger from unscrupulous politicians, demagogues, and power-hungry opportunists.

Governments, like many people, find it difficult to face facts. They make up stories about the past, and they fabricate tales about enemies within the country and outside. Denialism and the creation of convenient fictions help self-interested politicians stay in power. But ultimately reality bites back and forces one to look at the facts.

Biden, of course, is neither a socialist nor a communist. He is a centrist liberal, who is supported by the Left in his party, the followers of democratic socialist Bernie Sanders, but at the same time suspected by them of not being progressive enough in his policies. Trump’s accusations against the Democrats are not sticking.

What is revolution in our time? It is using all means at hand to move toward greater democracy, increased equality, and more social justice. It is using people power to effect change in one way or another.

So, what about those lonely voices of the writers who try to imagine a future without the deadly war between two countries that once were relatively peaceful neighbors within another country, the Soviet Union? Is anyone listening to them?

Donald Trump is definitely a nationalist, but he is not a patriot. When he was called up to serve in the US military during the Vietnam War, he had a friendly doctor testify that he was ineligible because he suffered from bone spurs in his heel. Later, he could not remember which foot it was.

Putin is a formidable foe indeed. He is not a transitory danger to the West, for Putin intends to stay in power for the next sixteen years at least. But Western characterizations of Putin, and of Russia, are really caricatures that prevent an accurate reading of Russia’s role in the world.

Americans are continually perplexed by what our foreign policy actually is. The liberals shake their head in confusion, nostalgic for the Cold War clarity of who the enemy was; the conservatives avert their eyes not wishing to contradict the regime that has cut their taxes and tamed the resentful working class.