The Progression of the American Presidency: Individuals, Empire, and Change

How will history judge President Trump?
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The Presidential Empire

The Progression of the American Presidency examines in detail the institution of the American presidency from the selection Individuals, Empire, and Change. The progression of the American presidency: individuals, empire, and change. Responsibility: by Jim Twombly. Edition: First edition. Publication: New York.

Add to Registry. About This Item We aim to show you accurate product information. Manufacturers, suppliers and others provide what you see here, and we have not verified it. See our disclaimer. The Progression of the American Presidency: Individuals, Empire, and Change The contemporary presidency, and the nation it governs, is more dependent on the individual in office than ever before.

Specifications Publisher Palgrave Macmillan. Customer Reviews. Trump did not create the American empire. He knows nothing of its creation, does not read history and would be happy to see it collapse under its own weight, as the British, French and Dutch empires have collapsed in his lifetime.

Brexit appealed to him as a deliberate casting-off of the kind of responsibilities and ideals that he scorns. Isolationism is not new in American history, however. Backed by Congress, President Warren G Harding opted to put an end to lower tariffs and seek protectionism from foreign trade in the early s; by the following decade, world trade had plummeted by almost two-thirds.

Moreover, as European nations struggled with fascism and communism, the US electorate became profoundly insular and anti-immigrant, led by the America First movement. That Roosevelt was able to move Congress and public opinion to embrace global responsibilities was a kind of miracle, especially for Jews and those countries the US liberated from Nazi or Japanese occupation. As even Stalin acknowledged, the war against the Wehrmacht would have been lost without US mass production not only providing 12 per cent of Soviet war needs in resisting Hitler, but feeding the world economy and arming a huge American military in the air, at sea and on land.

This enabled it to launch, against British fears and objections, the contested amphibious cross-Channel assault of D-Day — and, later, using the newly developed atomic weapons, to crush the Japanese empire, which continued to commit atrocity after atrocity in China and the Pacific.

The burgeoning of the US economy as the war was fought and won — as well as its commitment to free world trade — was then used to cover a multitude of American domestic and international sins, including the persistent cries of isolationists, anti-immigrants and trade protectionists. In creating the United Nations in as a more effective international peace and security organisation than the League of Nations had been, Roosevelt established at least the framework for the diplomatic international discussion of global issues.

Yet the principle behind his concept did survive — becoming a world order guaranteed by the US and the Soviet Union, backed by supportive lesser nations. However, with the economic ascent of post-Mao China, the fall of the USSR and the growing Shia-Sunni conflicts and internecine wars in the Middle East — often inflamed by impetuous American intervention — the notion of a stable world order began inevitably to wobble. It was only kept alive by a septuagenarian UN, an ageing Nato alliance and an elderly bipartisan American consensus, expressed in the abiding willingness of Congress and the majority of voters to take ultimate responsibility for world security.

Not, however, by the 45th US commander-in-chief. The American empire, in other words, was created by a single American commander-in-chief — arguably the greatest leader in American history — and is now being systematically dismantled by another American commander-in-chief. The American economy boomed — the more so thanks to increased, not decreased, international trade and trade agreements. Behind the economic scenes, however, the world economy was bound to tilt towards other, more populous nations offering cheaper labour, especially in Asia — and it did.

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This would inevitably affect the world order. With the continuing wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, the bills were due for payment.

As incomes failed to rise in the same way as they had over the past seven decades and the great postwar US economic ascendancy approached its limit, suffering from unsustainable national debt, the centre would no longer hold. White, male, formerly reliable working-class Democratic voters, in particular, found themselves humiliated by a professorial black president. The blame game had thus started in earnest, with varying culprits burned in effigies: from Wall Street, on one hand, to federal regulators on the other.

Moreover, with President Bush allowing the ten-year Clinton-era taxes on the rich to expire, and President Obama unable to get a Republican Congress to restore them, economic inequality in America bred not just contempt but hatred. As a consequence, Hillary Clinton was not even able to blame Wall Street, her backers, for the rising inequality in the nation. Or Or the years that followed, up to the end of the 20th century.

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It is now under increasing strain, as a new cold war with Russia threatens, chaos consumes the Middle East and North Korea sabre-rattles in the East. With a diminishing American economic share of the world pie and its citizens fighting with each other to protect or increase their own share of the remaining domestic pie, the US is unlikely to remain a willing or even able guarantor of peace and trade abroad. America, in other words, is hurtling today towards Second World status.

The Progression of the American Presidency: Individuals, Empire, and Change

It lacks a leader who possesses any idea of how to prepare the nation for the changing structure of the world; a world in which Americans will have to share their relative decline more equitably at home, or face ever-worsening social and political fragmentation and conflict and diminishing authority abroad.

Blithely indifferent to this, the president resembles, in the view of many historians, the emperor Nero, fiddling while Rome burns. The realistic idealism that Roosevelt once inspired — and that subsequent American presidents carried like a baton in a relay race towards the future — has vanished from both of the main political parties.

Many psychiatrists have pointed, in private, to the similarities between Donald Trump and Richard Nixon, despite their different childhoods. But they are permitted to say nothing. Observers have thus increasingly been turning to biographers, who have no gag rule.