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Profiles in Discouragement

One day, the United States will turn the page on Donald Trump. But, as Americans prepare to observe their Thanksgiving holiday, they should reflect that their country's culture and global standing will never recover fully from the wounds that his presidency is inflicting on them.

NEW YORK – Some specialists in the life sciences say that no one is ever fully cured of any injury or disease, because our cells forever retain traces, memories, of even the slightest attacks on the body’s integrity. So it will be with the United States.

One day, the US will turn the page on Donald Trump. But America will never recover completely from the unstanchable wound that his presidency’s baseness, bull-headed stupidity, and puzzling passivity in the face of China’s global ambitions has inflicted on its culture and international standing. Is Trump a symptom? Or is he a terminal disease?

Demoralization and defeatism have not spared the Democrats, as I found recently in New York and on a recent visit to Chicago to address a seminar at the University of Chicago’s Institute of Politics. At the home of the Iranian-American Nazee Moinian, whose Manhattan apartment recalls the patrician abodes of the members of the Algonquin Round Table, the assembled elites are in agreement. Trump, by not backing the Kurds in their bid for independence from Iraq, committed not just a moral error, but also an irreparable political mistake. He betrayed his Kurdish ally. He strengthened his Iranian adversary.

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