If the President does indeed come to “fix Chicago,” it’s likely he may find a reality here that can help him fix the larger “mess” he sees. He will find simmering here some of the same divisive geopolitics that simmers across the globe.
Not with nations, but with neighborhoods.
Neighborhoods often unwilling to be a part of a larger solution, because they take pride and prejudice in their own racial-ethnic insularity. Not unlike Brexit in Europe, the Philippines in Asia, the Arab states in the Middle East, and American Firster’s in D.C., most of our Chicago neighborhoods look, smell and live with a fierce resistance to “outsiders” and any “it-takes-a-village thinkers.”
If neither our Mayor nor our President has easy answers to this neighborhood nationalism, what are the chances for success on the world stage? The historical reality of the nation-state has been problematic from the beginning, with the chaos rabid nationalism crippling attempts at internationalism from the the 1815 Treaty of Vienna to the 1919 League of Nations to the 1946 United Nations.
Our Mayor is committed to keep trying. In contrast, our President has not committed himself to any clear international mission. However, his chief adviser Stephen Bannon has. Tracking his writings, interviews, visits to conservative members of the Vatican, it seems he embraces a vast and vivid geopolitical vision which, unlike his President, finds an historic chance to put this chaotic nationalist world right, all in the name of Donald Trump.
Trump hasn’t said it yet, for Bannon perhaps hasn’t advised it yet. But if we mere citizens are left to speculate, the dots Bannon may be connecting for the President’s next thought could be this. A sweeping geopolitical vision which has all the appeal of clarity, simplicity, and grandeur this President feels comfortable selling. Here it is in a few speculative words:
Western Civilization is in danger….Russia is still part of that civilization….Islam is not and never has been….therefore our rendezvous with destiny is to gather together the West in the great and existential cause of stemming the geographic & demographic growth of Islam and its jihadist surrogates….and only the United States, once safely walled in from intruders, is the one to do it!
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