Trump

Triumph of Trump: such an easy headline. But one for some that recalls the arrogant populists who heralded the fascist order in Europe in the 1930s. Even if that’s underestimating the correcting power of Congress and the courts, Americans still woke up to a President who has lit a flaming brazier of hatred.

There’s a hole where my optimism used to be. It is sickening to see the media’s frenzied efforts to put lipstick on a pig, and now turn viciously on the candidate they lionized as the anti-Trump. People told the media they wanted change and didn’t trust Hillary Clinton, but these views were carefully filtered to the point where they didn’t sound credible. Meanwhile, the coffee-steeped coiffed commentariat spoke to one another in a vacuum and scrambled to explain how badly they misread the signs.

And now, reality dawns: A cavalcade of international tyrants and thugs throng to congratulate Trump; the short-sighted, narrow minded little Englanders who are engineering Brexit are crowing and preparing their hosanas for the high priest of isolationist jingoism.

Only Germany, now the world’s leading (only?) liberal society, made plain its disdain and disregard. And there’s always what’s left of the French Left. The headline in Liberation: American Psycho

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Dr Michael Vatikiotis, Asia Regional Director of the Geneva-based Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue, is a private diplomat/peace negotiator who has worked in Southeast Asia for the past thirty-five years. Formerly a journalist with the BBC, he then became chief editor of the "Far Eastern Economic Review". His non-fiction books include Indonesian Politics under Suharto: The Rise and Fall of the New Order (Routledge) and Political Change in Southeast Asia: Trimming the Banyan Tree (Routledge). His latest, Blood and Silk: Power and Conflict in Modern Southeast Asia, is published by W&N/Hachette and translated most recently into Chinese. He published "The Spice Garden" a novel set in Eastern Indonesia in 2004; "The Painter of Lost Souls" is a novel set in Central Java published in 2012. Fluent in Thai and the Indonesian languages, Vatikiotis lives in Singapore.

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