Well, I don’t see how your comment addresses the quoted part of the article.

I agree that in 2016 Trump campaigned on a populist message that included an anti-war platform. My contention is that Trump is a consummate salesman, that is, a con man, so his campaign was a fraud.

Trump has indeed upset the establishment, not because he’s put in place policies that help the average American at the expense of the elites or the establishment, but because his recklessness, incompetence, corruption, venality, bullshitting, and authoritarianism threaten to reveal that the American Dream has been a lie for a long time. Trump’s flagrant personality disorders undermine the civic myths that inspire people to revere the Oval Office and the other symbols of American greatness. That’s why the establishment hates Trump, not because he’s a genuine populist who cares about the little guy. Obviously Trump is literally a malignant narcissist who cares only about himself (and indirectly those who worship him, namely his base, as the article says).

Trump conflicts with the war hawks because they believe in something, even if it’s just aiding American corporations or preserving America’s military hegemony. Meanwhile, Trump is a nihilistic child emperor wearing no clothes, in way over his head, stumbling around and heedless of the damage he’s doing to America’s and democracy’s standing in the world.

So the facts that Trump’s keeping the troops in Afghanistan and droning lots of hapless folks are consistent with this line of argument: Trump has no coherent foreign or domestic policies. He’s “transactional,” which means he changes when the wind blows. He has no moral compass and doesn’t care about ideas or facts. In short he’s about as monstrous as any human could be. But that leaves the mystery of why he hasn’t started more wars—lots of wars, lots of carnage. That’s the paradox and the mystery I was addressing in the article.

Knowledge condemns. Art redeems. I learned that as an artistic writer who did a doctorate in philosophy. We should try to see the dark comedy in all things.

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