Boris Yeltsin was the first President of Russia after the collapse of the Soviet Union from 1991 to 1999. This was a tumultuous time for the Russian people.
Yeltsin came to power on a nationalistic, populist reform ticket. He railed against corruption and government waste, fired hundreds of bureaucrats and sought to turn Russia into a competitive market economy. (Sound familiar?)
In the process, he allowed the wealth of the nation to be privatized and controlled by a small group of oligarchs. By the end of his tenure, during which he enjoyed lavish perks and benefits, his people had suffered serious economic hardship and the country had borrowed $40 billion from the IMF in order to survive.
Yeltsin's military expedition into Chechnya left around 80,000 people dead with nothing to show for it. Meanwhile the Oligarchs prospered (not least from the IMF loan) as they fought each other for power and control over Russia's enormous natural resources.
An alcoholic with a reputation for bizarre behavior, Yeltsin was sometimes seen as a clown on the global stage, a larger than life character who left people wondering what he would do next.
The parallels with Trump are extraordinary:
Trump has come to power as his country declines from superpower status.
Trump has surrounded himself with oligarchs with a track record of feeding off ordinary people for their own benefit.
Trump likes to fire people.
Trump is an addict, not to alcohol, but to his own narcissistic image.
Trump is an aggressive bully, committed to conflict and winning at all costs.
Like Yeltsin, Trump too holds a sort of morbid fascination for the rest of the world, having turned the White House into a Reality TV show. But, whereas Yeltsin was a bit of a joke with his drunken escapades, Trump is much more dangerous.
His over-reactive, emotionally fragile personality, combined with his aggression and constant need to be seen as a winner are a dangerous combination.
Trump is not used to the kind of continual public scrutiny of his every action and word to which he will now be subject. His history of starting multiple businesses with grand words, which then fail in a few months has not prepared him to be held to account on the public stage. Hence his attacks on the media.
While this blog has been no fan of the Main-Stream Media's propaganda over the years, it still has a job to do. It is now hoist by it's own petard.
This will not end well for the United States. What is likely to happen is that as the US turns inwards on itself, with more calls for secession, the rest of the world will simply get on with building a more open, networked twenty-first century - hoping that what emerges from the fractured United States is more inclusive and community minded.
Posted by Nicholas Moore 10:11:41 am