and its presidents played the farce of
an altruistic United States that acts
for the global good and in
the interest of humanity.
That was always a lie. Wherever one took a deeper look the U.S. acted solely in its (perceived) self interests.
But the rhetoric helped to drag others along.
Tributary governments could pretend they worked for the "universal good" when they in fact just followed orders from Washington DC. U.S. pressure was applied behind the curtain:
Those times are over...
The neo-conservative chaperone in the White House, National Security Advisor General McMaster, and the Goldman Sachs veto holder in the White House, economic advisor Gary Cohn, penned an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal that reveals the new true face of the U.S. empire:
From now on the U.S. will only engage in selective, temporary friendships:
Wherever a country deviates from that, even partially, it will "encounter the firmest resolve." That is as clear a threat as it can be.
The threat was there before but it was applied silently. When the then German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle voted against the war on Libya at the UN Security Council, the Obama administration launched a local media campaign against him (through U.S. stooges), that devastated his party in the following election.
Most people in Germany did not recognize the campaign for what it was. It was hidden behind "human rights" talk, "democracy" fluff and "winning" in Libya.
But the U.S. induced campaign against Westerwelle happened, was successful and was a lesson to other local party leaders to stay in line with U.S. demands.
The more honest Trump approach brings such threats out into the open. It is now clear that the U.S. follows only its interests - exclusively, and that it will apply the utmost pressure on whatever party disagrees with it in this or that case.
Such behavior may work well in relations with the dimwit dictators of Saudi Arabia or Qatar. But voters in democracies do not like it when their politicians cave over the demands of a Donald Trump, or any other such egoist. They will demand accountability.
Local politician talk about "doing our share in the global community" will no longer pamper over sycophantic behavior towards unjust U.S. requests to further its interests.
Voters will insist on opposition to unjust demands and will be willing to bear the consequences.
Trump is likely to find that this openly brutal foreign policy approach, without the warm and fluffy, pseudo-altruistic marketing of an Obama administration, will not work very well.
He can hardly invade Spain should it decline to put pressure on Venezuela. No country will sign on to new sanctions against Iran should such a demand come with open threats.
Self-determination and justice are too strong motivators to be overcome with pure boorishness.
The McMaster/Cohn op-ed ends with this:
That is a lonesome approach and it is unlike to enhance, promote and extend anything but disdain for the U.S. But it may well be the line it will follow over the coming years.
If this is the end of the U.S. empire that evolved from World War II it is at least an honest one...