Updated: Aug 9, 2018
When I was a boy, I was overly influenced by the films and stories told by Hollywood. For example, we grew up with movies on cowboys and Indians and were led to believe the cowboys, that's us, were the good guys. As I grew up, read history books and began to see the other side of the story I realized that at the end of the day there wasn't a hell of a lot of difference between the bad and good guys in the way they behaved. History was a factor of whose books you read, and where you were living.
Now as I grow older I am also beginning to realize the true power of a force I know as tribalism and the role of propaganda in reinforcing a special variety called nationalism. One other force that occasionally appears in societies and has an important role to play, is that of master of oratory. Found only in people, when harnessed by a talented individual, he/ she can focus the power of the masses and use them either for good or evil. One only has to compare the likes of Hitler and Churchill to realize that they were, in essence, nothing more than opposite sides of a coin. Research will tell you that Hitler was not an evil demon spawned in hell, but actually had humble, even sad beginnings. As his power grew, so too did the fear that he sowed in people, friends and enemies alike. In 1938 there were many that were bending over backwards to appease Hitler, even to the point of simply letting him walk in and take over a chunk of Czechoslovakia; but in the end he pushed too far when he annexed Poland and would not retreat.
With the aid of mass media and the internet we know much more about the circumstances of the world around us. We laugh and ridicule Trump and cheer when protests rise up against him, but I wonder just how many realize the dangers he poses to us and our way of life. If he was alone it would not be a problem, but in almost everything he does, he has supporters egging him on. He talks about not being the world's policeman, and at the same time lays down red lines that literally risk nuclear war, not just with North Korea but even his neighbors that support the dictator.
Now we have a new problem. As the situation for him becomes more serious at home over Russian collusion and his election, he will do and say anything to distract the world. He has already pissed off everybody when he decided to withdraw from the Paris climate treaty and even the TPP. In both cases the world reacted accordingly and neither did nor said much, just ignoring him and continuing along their way . The saner and more experienced leaders in the US simply said, we will continue to impose our targets for carbon emission reduction and so it was.
The Iran treaty being shredded unilaterally by the US raises a whole new set of problems for us in Europe. Since we (Europe) do not believe in punishing Iran for something they didn't do, if we follow the US's lead and impose sanctions on them, we are in essence following the early path in history of trying to appease, much like Chamberlain did with Hitler in 1938. We all know how that turned out.
The new US Ambassador to Germany has already as much as threatened the German companies that continue to do business with a sanctioned Iran. So what do we do? Some analysts predict there is not much we can do, but I believe it is more a case of standing our ground. Russia may not be Europe's best friend at the moment but I believe they have an even greater dislike for the US. Similarly China is not the US's greatest fan. There is no way the US will risk or can win an all out war against such a combination be it militarily or more likely, economically. So all we have to do is hang tight and let Trump simply burn himself out.
After all the British never did like a bully!