Tag Archives: Nixon

L’etat, c’est moi

The Sun King, Louis XIV of France is credited with saying: “I am the state.” But he said it in French, of course. Now, he probably didn’t say it. Just an example of FAKE NEWS. But he acted like someone who would say something like that ,so….

I am the state. I am above the law. I am the law. Richard Nixon said something similar in his interview with David Frost. “If the president does it that means it is not illegal”. Nixon was referring to any action a POTUS might take in the national interest.

Now we have Donald Trump making the same claims of absolute power.  This week Trump followed up the letter his legal team sent to Mueller in January.

Trump and his attorneys claim that he cannot be indicted. Even if he kills someone. That claim is supported by Rudy Giuliani. He is above the law. He cannot be held accountable by any justice system. Taken to its (il)logical conclusion that means he can do anything he wants with impunity.

L’Etat, c’est moi.

Trump and his lawyers claim that Mr Trump can end any investigation for any reason. He can stop the FBI from investigating any possible terror attack. He can stop the FBI from investigating organized crime. He can stop the FBI from investigating his own family business practices. He can shut down the FBI permanently and allow them to investigate NOTHING. According to this legal theory.

L’Etat, c’est moi.

Trump and his lawyers claim he can pardon anyone for any reason. That he can even pardon himself.  While the Justice Department handed down a decision that a president cannot pardon himself Trump ignores it. That decision, of course, was requested by Richard Nixon. The DOJ said: No. Your pardon power does not extend to your own crimes. Three days later Nixon resigned. Trump will not. He is above the law. He is the law.

L’etat, c’est moi.

Louis the XIV fired his advisers. He said he alone would run the government. He didn’t need advice. Only he, under the will of god, could rule and make decisions.

He moved the French capital from Paris to Mar-a-Largo…er, I mean to a different location. He set himself up in the opulent Palace at Versailles. A massive wonderful building. Truly awesome. I have seen it. He brought the nobles under his power. He brought them to Versailles to play (golf?). And pay for the privilege. He catered to the elites, while intimidating them to kowtow to him. And accepting their tribute.

He revoked the Edict of Nantes, which gave Protestants religious freedom. He oppressed those of another faith. He didn’t like those foreigners. He didn’t like their religion. He changed the law. He was above the law.

L’Etat, c’est moi.

Donald Trump does not know history. Or science. Or math. Or…fill in the blanks. But he knows one thing. He has a subservient Republican Party that will allow him to do anything he wants.

L’Etat, c’est moi.

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Louis_XIV_of_France

http://landmarkcases.org/en/Page/722/Nixons_Views_on_Presidential_Power_Excerpts_from_a_1977_Interview_with_David_Frost

 

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Filed under Constitution, Politics, POTUS, Religion, Republicans, Society, Trump, United States, US

Time to Do Nothing

In 1949 Mao Zedong and the communists took over China. They instituted communist policies . In response the US cut off all relations with the People’s Republic of China for many years. Mao was a dictator. Harsh. Ruthless. The US would have nothing to do with him. He was an enemy.

Then, in 1972 , Richard Nixon did what was necessary. Mao did what his subordinates did not want him to do. Nixon visited China, met with Mao and started the opening up of trade and cultural relationships. The rightwing in China and the US were outraged by this betrayal of ideals. They wanted conflict, not reproachment.

The world did not end. The US was not defeated. In fact, over time, China has become a major world player and dominant economic force. A major trading partner with the US.

In 1986 the Russian leader, Gorbachev, met with the US leader, Ronald Reagan. Gorbachev had opened up Russia and the Russian people to the possibilities of democracy. Perestroika and glasnost . Reagan, a fervent anti-communists, saw an opportunity to cooperate on arms control. Both men signed the arms reduction deal which helped defuse the 40 years of hostility and tension between the two superpowers. Both men were criticized as “weak” by hardliners at home.

While Russia has fallen back into a dictatorship, the arms deals have held. Billions that could have been wasted by both nations on military spending has been saved. Not to say that both countries still spend way too much on the military. More than either needs for its defense. It was a bold, unpopular move for Reagan and Gorbachev to make.

But Reagan took a step toward an enemy and helped change the world.

Vietnam was a communist nation. The US fought a long war before ultimately admitting defeat. The hatred of many toward the North Vietnamese (and to some extent the South Vietnamese) was overwhelming. They were ruthless. They were despicable. The hatred of Americans by the millions of Vietnamese who had family killed by the “invaders” was also overwhelming.

In 1994, almost 20 years after the US left Vietnam, Bill Clinton lifted the trade embargo. Once again US companies could do business in Vietnam. Vietnam could be brought fully into the world trading system. Trade between the two nations now has reached billions of dollars a year. Former enemies have become trading partners.

Which brings us to Kim Jung -Un. The dictator of North Korea. Yesterday Mr Kim called for talks with his neighbor, South Korea. And South Korea responded positively. Both sides see no reason for increased hostility and increased fear. The president of South Korea, Moon Jae-in, has asked the US to postpone joint military operations as a gesture of good will. He wants to open up talks with his enemy to the north.

Would it not be nice if North and South Korea opened up more and more trade relations? Would it not be nice if these two nations could tone down the rhetoric and begin more cultural and economic interactions? Hasn’t history taught us that even the most hated  enemies can, over time, become trading partners? And once nations forge strong trade partnerships they both have a stake in keeping the peace and developing economically.

Nixon taught us that. Reagan taught us that. Clinton taught us that. Have we learned?

Let us hope that the US encourages this new interaction between the 2 Koreas. Or at least does not do anything to undermine the possibility of peace. Then, 20 years from now the people of North and South Korea may be able to freely visit each other and take advantage of increased trade and wealth.

If the US just lets it happen. Sometmes just doing nothing is enough.

 

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Filed under Clinton, Conservatives, economics, Economy, foreign aid, Foreign policy, Free Trade, government, nuclear weapons, Politics, president, Trump, United Nations, US