The perils of 'always winning'

vol. 1, issue 28


Consider this another chapter in my musings about what happens when the story you tell yourself no longer fits your reality, only this one comes with a twist…what happens when the story comes true and you refuse to believe it?

Recently, I attended a social gathering of Washingtonians with learned points of view on what is happening in US foreign policy right now. The chit chat there got me thinking about the interplay of personal narratives and politics.

A high level person from a branch of government currently led by one of the many “acting” secretaries observed that our president is incapable of internalizing that he is already the most important man on the planet. Instead, he turns every interaction with every official, every foreign leader, every member of Congress, every member of the media, everyone else on the planet, into one where he must demonstrate that he is tougher and more powerful than the other person.

“He is a bully,” said another guest, this one a former watchdog of federal monies, and so no stranger to rebuffing big egos. “Which is why now that Iran, or whomever actually attacked that oil field, hit back, he doesn’t know what to do.”

I reflected on this. You can bully people into submission by wearing them down with lawsuits, you can erode a competing nation’s economy with tariffs, but you can’t bully a drone or missile strike from hitting your electorate.

How many world leaders see this as a time to strike the bully before he strikes first?And that is now a real possibility. It was, of course, always a possibility, but now that the bully’s story has been disrupted, the possibility is in the ascendant: thanks to the so-called strong man’s personal narrative of “always winning”, we are all more vulnerable than before.

For the first time in my life, I am not sure who the American president regards as our nation’s enemy. Our current president’s actions seem to say that everyone is our enemy. What ally is there left who trusts us or that has not been overtly alienated by POTUS45?

If even our allies don’t trust us, then I conclude the global leader we must fear the most is our own.

If he can’t absorb the fact that he is powerful enough to have made his personal story come true — that he is in fact the most important person in the room, in the country, on the planet — what will be the natural conclusion of this cognitive dissonance?

Only we, as the electorate, know the answer.

And here is your Friday funny…

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