Arts &
  Arts Culture Analysis  
Vol. 19, No. 4, 2020
  Current Issue  
  Back Issues  
Robert J. Lewis
  Senior Editor
Bernard Dubé
  Contributing Editors
David Solway
Louis René Beres
Nick Catalano
Chris Barry
Don Dewey
Howard Richler
Gary Olson
Jordan Adler
Andrew Hlavacek
Daniel Charchuk
  Music Editor
Serge Gamache
  Arts Editor
Lydia Schrufer
Mady Bourdage
  Photographer Jerry Prindle
Chantal Levesque Denis Beaumont
Emanuel Pordes
  Past Contributors
  Noam Chomsky
Mark Kingwell
Charles Tayler
Naomi Klein
Arundhati Roy
Evelyn Lau
Stephen Lewis
Robert Fisk
Margaret Somerville
Mona Eltahawy
Michael Moore
Julius Grey
Irshad Manji
Richard Rodriguez
Navi Pillay
Ernesto Zedillo
Pico Iyer
Edward Said
Jean Baudrillard
Bill Moyers
Barbara Ehrenreich
Leon Wieseltier
Nayan Chanda
Charles Lewis
John Lavery
Tariq Ali
Michael Albert
Rochelle Gurstein
Alex Waterhouse-Hayward




Peter McMillan is the author of Collected Essays on Political Economy and Wartime Civil Liberties, 2002-2008, An Anthology of Hardly 20/20 Flash! Fiction, and Missing Stories: An Anthology of Hardly 20/20 Flash! Fiction.

Right now, in the last third of July 2020, the most dangerous virus in the world is not COVID-19 with nearly 15 million confirmed cases and more than 600,000 confirmed deaths. No, the most dangerous virus in today's world is Trumpery—glitter-covered worthless nonsense and lies. It has infected approximately half the voting population in America. Trumpery is the essence of the present US Government that continues to exert a disproportionate and negative influence on the rest of the world. Since very little good has come from the Trump Administration, very little can be expected in the future. Trumpery is the virus that the rest of the world shouldn't have to suffer. It must be contained within its borders and cured there.

We Americans ‘may’ have the opportunity to decide in a legitimate election whether to return the President to the White House, but if we refuse to re-elect him, there looms the possibility that he will continue as President anyway, probably under a substantially-modified constitutional regime. We Americans have the right of self-determination and sovereignty—historically denied to lesser nations (especially in the Western Hemisphere) and currently being denied to some of our fellow Americans in concerted efforts to suppress the vote through campaigns of voter disinformation and efforts to discredit mail-in voting in the time of the COVID-19 global pandemic where America leads the world in cases and deaths. Come November, we Americans will have another chance to choose what kind of country we want. However, as mentioned, do not expect the President to concede even if he loses the election, the increasing likelihood of which may oblige him to act pre-emptively: to either postpone or cancel the election.

The rest of the world will have to live with the consequences if the President is fraudulently re-elected, illegally cancels the election, or refuses to comply with an unfavourable election result, and quite likely not just for four more years. (Expect a hereditary—not necessarily a bloodline—transfer of power upon the President's death).

The global consequences are often lost on many Americans as our perspective has historically been short-sighted, parochial and self-serving, not unlike that of other peoples whose governments have ruled large parts of the world. Perhaps a difference is the zealous self-righteousness and moral tyranny that the US Government projects mendaciously among its citizens and residents and throughout the world, which non-Americans, and many of us Americans as well, recognize as out-and-out hypocrisy, deception and perversion of the ideals of charity, freedom and choice, which have been twisted and corrupted by our government's interpretations of a secular state, elected government and competitive markets.

The significance of America's 'actually adhered to values' as opposed to its liturgically-recited ideals is linked to the reality that America is still without question the dominant nation in the world. It has the world's largest and most powerful economy and military, which can project its advantage unilaterally and anti-competitively vis-à-vis other nations or other blocs of nations. It has a massive government infrastructure that is relatively well coordinated within its borders and across the globe. The vastness of the American bureaucratic state is intermingled with the nominally 'private' corporate world ('free enterprise' being an American oxymoron), which thrives on public grants, tax incentives, and market protections and develops public policy in between elections, leveraging its industrial and commercial wealth, connections and expertise.

Theoretically, the legitimacy of the US Government's power derives from its charter to protect life, liberty and property (pursuit of happiness,’ really?) not of everyone in America (that was never the intention if we are honest about American history, and since the public murder of George Floyd by the Minneapolis Police Department we are, for a time, being more forthright in our self-assessment) and certainly not of the rest of the world's inhabitants, who represent merely a theological burden. Fundamentally though, America's power is coercive and therefore grounded in its authority, i.e., its ability to muster brute force to compel submission. Nevertheless, inside the borders, the military has traditionally been kept out of domestic affairs (though periodically ordered in to enforce federal desegregation law or invited in by State governors to keep the peace, e.g., after Rodney King's violent beating by the Los Angeles Police Department and the subsequent acquittal of the officers involved), but the world and even some of us Americans are realizing that the perpetuated myth of American goodwill will be mass-marketed as perfectly compatible with the continued slipping-off of the constraints of liberal (limited) government and the enabling of the idiosyncratic governance of its President, who has been able to dominate the administrative machinery of government, the Congress, the Supreme Court, the Federal Reserve Board, much of the armed services, the federal police—from the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Justice, and perhaps the State Department (CIA)—and State governments. This has been accomplished by a coup that too few Americans have acknowledged—some naively regarding these rollbacks as temporary and reversible and attributable to an anomalous president.

As the underlying power of the US government rests with law enforcement and the military, with restraints removed, the policing of America will be facilitated by the dumb, sycophantic or non-confrontational pliancy of our American electorate who persist in the belief that America is the just leader of and shining light for the world—those ends justifying dubious means. Many in the American police and military establishments have no doubt been rehearsing the Nuremburg defense and are ready and willing to follow whatever orders the commander-in-chief gives. Then, there are the secret police that the world has seen in Portland, Oregon and the multitude of militias that stand waiting in the wings to be called into service by the President. That's all part of 'the [perverted] American way.' "We don't want a king—but we'll take a dictator—we do crave a leader to worship" as has been proven for all the world and history to see. Whatever the President wants done will be supported, or at least not opposed, by a frighteningly large number of Americans, and it will be enforced through the might and technological sophistication of the post-Eisenhower military-industrial complex, sometimes overtly as in Lafayette Square and cities across America, and sometimes covertly as in Portland, quelling the protests (one day perhaps giving no quarter) but raising the spectre of a police state wherein we may have our own desaparacidos (disappeared).

The US Government has extraordinary political, economic and military influence around the world, and to the extent that a unified authoritarian nation remains entrenched in Washington, D.C., the world has good reason to be prepared to prevent the contagion of its illiberal and anti-humanitarian policies. Actually, the first question is what can the US Government do to the world by means of exercising its unequalled global power? The answer: pretty much what it wants. The next question is what will the US Government do to the world, i.e., will it lead the world and treat other nations with charity and fairness? The answer: don't bet on it.

American exceptionalism is a global problem, but American exceptionalism under the direction of a President, who may be variously described as an incorrigible mobster or child-brained, should frighten the daylights out of the world (and America), much more so than did the Cuban Missile Crisis in those long October days in 1962. Don't think that the President is inclined towards the calculus of proportionality and don't believe that the voice of reason and wisdom will always have the ear of the President in a crisis. This President is capable of setting the world on fire to feed his vanity . . . and that includes America from Wall Street to Highway 101 and all the Main Streets in between.

While we Americans ‘may’ be able to decide for ourselves in November, what can other nations do? How can they protect themselves against the ever-aggrandizing American autocracy, which to some just means ‘a whole lot more of the same as what we've been getting.’ As we Americans may not be able (or willing) to deal with our own rogue president, nations around the world must have a contingency plan to protect themselves against this unchained monster.

This would be no modern version of the 19th century Concert of Europe. This time it must be a concert of the world—a global concert—committed to countervail the authoritarian, anti-charitable, anti-democratic and anticompetitive bulldozing of what exists solely for the purpose of developing a beautiful, brand-new, perfect world neighbourhood for the American elite and their hangers-on. Such a concerted global effort would not simply be a coalition of nation-states but a global consensus, uniting the sovereign and representative functions of the nation-state with the transnational missions of beneficent non-state actors to promote a multilateral, progressive agenda for the world instead of the retrograde, self-serving agenda of American exceptionalism and its asymmetric political economy embodied in the Washington Consensus.

But, this global concert cannot be led, directed, or controlled by any existing or nascent autocracies or blocs thereof. What would be the point of exchanging one autocracy for another?

Alas, who will sponsor such a new world order? The Concert of Europe, the League of Nations, the United Nations? What would be the next evolutionary step? Does the UN Security Council have the remedy? No, it does not, as each of the five permanent members (three of whom are themselves arguably present-day hegemonic threats to the world), possesses the ultimate secret weapon—the veto of multilateral cooperation. So, what is to be done (And not à la Lenin)?

As a first step, the containment of monolithic world powers must be addressed, and the US Government provides the immediate problem for which a solution must be found. Separation of powers, checks and balances . . . the world has listened to this ad nauseum. Forget the scraps of paper once called the U.S. Constitution. It's time for the rest of the world to step up and condemn American exceptionalism and dissuade other hegemons waiting in the wings. This is no time for the piously silent. The world must speak out.

The leadership of China, Russia, Iran and North Korea will enjoy the ironic turn of events and will easily be persuaded to join in. Let them, but for humanity's sake, remember that one or more of these countries would fill a power vacuum with alacrity and themselves emerge as a greater threat than America now is.

America must come around. We Americans must get rid of our dictator. America must join the rest of the world, and it must assume a leading role but not ‘the’ leading role. America's role must fit in the context of global power-sharing among nations who would eschew the dictatorship models of the Trump Administration or the governments of China, Russia, Iran and North Korea.

Is there a utopia on the horizon? No. So, does the world stand idly by waiting for the barbarians? No. Whatever can be devised will likely fail at some point. However, it's better to acknowledge our fallibility, and like Neurath's sailors out at sea, never cease making repairs to our unseaworthy vessel to stay afloat. And so, Americans and the world's nations must do the best we can, respectively, to improve governance. We Americans must check the dictatorship in our midst, and the international community must check American exceptionalism. It's the best we can do for now.

It is to be hoped that by calling out and challenging the excessive abuses (criminal and unconstitutional) of the President, we Americans will rally and defeat him at the ballot box and force him to accept the verdict of America's citizenry. The world can help by calling out and challenging these abuses. It is unnecessary and undesirable for the world to intervene in the same way the US Government has attempted and often achieved regime change during its storied history of American foreign policy. The means to the end are still important. Besides, there are millions of American patriots protesting in the streets, speaking through the media, in public spaces and among their friends, families, and neighbours—calling for universal basic human rights in America—and they must not be the innocent victims either of the President or the international community.


Email (optional)
Author or Title

also by Peter McMillan:
The War Flower

Clash of Civilizations












Arts & Opinion, a bi-monthly, is archived in the Library and Archives Canada.
ISSN 1718-2034


Bahamas Relief Fund
Film Ratings at Arts & Opinion - Montreal
2016 Festival Nouveau Cinema de Montreal, Oct. 05-16st, (514) 844-2172
Lynda Renée: Chroniques Québécois - Blog
Montreal Guitar Show July 2-4th (Sylvain Luc etc.). border=
Photo by David Lieber:
Valid HTML 4.01!
Privacy Statement Contact Info
Copyright 2002 Robert J. Lewis