by Leonardo Boff
Eco-Theologian-Philosopher, Earthcharter Commission
Humanity faces several threats: the nuclear threat, shortages of drinking water in vasts regions worldwide, increasing global warming, the dramatic consequences of overuse of the natural goods and services indispensable for life (the Earth Schoot Day).
To these threats is added another, no less dangerous one, already noted by several world analysts, such as Nobel Prize Laureates Paul Krugman and Joseph Stiglitz. Italian-Argentinian economist Roberto Savio, co-founder and general director of Inter Press Service (IPS), now emeritus, recently wrote an article that should give us pause. It is titled: Trump came to stay and to change the world (ALAI-America Latina en Movimiento, June 20, 2018).
In that article, Savio asserts that Trump is not the cause of the new world disorder. Rather, Trump is a symptom: a symptom of a time when the civilizing values that gave cohesion to a people and to international relations, are, simply put, annulled. What counts is the narcissistic will of the all-powerful head of state. Trump replaced those values with money and business: pure and simple. Money and business definitely are what count. Everything else is a cover for world domination.
America first must be interpreted as being only America, and her world interests, that count. In furtherance thereof, as he foretold in his electoral campaign, Trump has broken commercial treaties with old European allies, pulled out of the Transpacific Alliance, and started a risky trade war with the biggest rival, China, imposing tariffs on products worth billions of dollars, as well as tariffs on steel and other products from other countries such as Brazil.
It is the nature of authoritarian and narcissistic figures to dispense with legislatures. When it is convenient, they go around them without giving reasons. Trump values the invention of «a truth» more than a factual truth itself. The fake news is a resource always present in his tweets. According to Fact Checker, from the time he assumed the Presidency, Trump has said about 3.000 lies. Truth and lies only have value to him to the degree they support his interests. Curiously, he won his principal battles and has the approval of 44% of the public, and 82% of the Republican Party.
Trump does not tolerate criticism and surrounds himself with servile advisers who must say «yes» to him, or risk being summarily fired.
If he is re-elected –which is not improbable–, this style of government, and elimination of all ethics, could be irreversible. Let's not forget that Hitler and Mussolini were also elected and created their own lies, which they sold to their people as «truths». We may be facing a world marked by xenophobia, the exclusion of thousands and thousands of immigrants and refugees, excessive affirmation of nationalism, and rejection of the values of the others.
Such attitudes, transformed into official policies, can be the source of grave conflicts, whose «growth» can even threaten the human species. Nearly 1300 Northamerican psychoanalysts and psychiatrists have identified serious psychological deviations in the personality of Donald Trump.
What would be the destiny of humanity in the hands of a narcissist such as Trump, whose parallel is found only in Nero, who enjoyed seeing the fire that engulfed Rome; with the difference that now it is not about just any fire, but a fire in our whole Common Home. Since he is unpredictable and can change his position at any time, we wonder, both frightened and terrorized, what will be his next move.
May God, who announced Himself as «the passionate lover of life» (Sabiduria 11,24) save us from the tragedies that may befall us, given the irrationality of someone who sees «only one world and only one empire» (the North American empire).