I am filled with an impotent rage. I accept that throughout history leaders have been essentially weak and self-absorbed, and that a degree of psychopathy is a basic requirement of any successful leader; and perhaps it is just that this latest Devil’s jest is happening in my time, and my late time at that, that I feel so appalled. To see the world in the hands of two such thugs as Putin and Trump, to sense that there is no significant world leader of any standing other than Angela Merkel (whose days are numbered) frightens me as much or even more than the vicious posturings of DAESH, which in itself serves as material for the two superpowers to exert their influence to use other countries, such as Syria, as pawns in their game, without giving a damn about the plight of those whose sufferings are a by-product of their empty ambitions. The fact that Putin is far cleverer than Trump means little, for he will never be wealthy enough to overthrow the USA, and perhaps the only comfort lies in the fact that those two villains cancel each other out – a situation all of us born after World War Two have lived with anyway all our lives.
On the other hand, it’s amusing to be living inside the plot of one of those thrillers by Tom Clancy or John Grisham or Clive Cussler: Russia fixes US presidential election! US tycoon becomes president and is blackmailed by the Reds after romps with Kremlin prostitutes!
And just look at the vocabulary Putin and Trump use: the language of street-corner toughs. I really must read biographies of each of them; interesting that we are in the hands of two such damaged psyches. Has democracy brought us to this? Perhaps the most depressing thing of all is the thought of the mentality of the people who put them in power and maintain them in it.
The remaining glimmer of optimism within me tells me that perhaps Trump won’t stay the course: he is fundamentally thick anyway, and perhaps he won’t have the stomach for politics in the end. As for Putin: for all his destructiveness, he will stay within his borders as long as he doesn’t feel menaced – which is what he feels at the moment, hence his reaction.
On the other hand, whoever guaranteed us humans permanency?