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Friday, 21 June 2019

Parallel governments

Recently, the Russian President expressed his frustration in a TV interview that relations between Moscow and Washington "are going downhill, they are getting worse and worse”. As a reason he mentioned: “The current [U.S.] administration has approved, in my opinion, several dozen decisions on sanctions against Russia in recent years.” (Reuters)

Whether the above is true or not (my recent blog) is hardly relevant because even for Europeans it feels like Washington has parallel governments: Trump versus his Administration (eg, TNR). Allegedly, government, intelligence and military officials even withhold essential information from their President (eg, NYT, the HillUPI).

Wiki: "The "parallel state" is a term coined by American historian Robert Paxton []". Turkey's former Prime Minister and current President "has used the term "parallel state" (or "parallel structure") to describe followers of Fethullah Gülen who occupy senior bureaucratic and judicial positions, which have been accused of attempting to bring down Erdoğan's government."

The daily chaos in Washington is much better understood once you accept the notion that there actually might be parallel governments working against and/or together with each other. Trump and his businesses were/are (in)famous for infighting. The continued chaos surrounding the Trump Administration appears to mirror his businesses (eg, BI, NBC).

From a business management and psychological perspective, there is ample evidence of benefits and of dangers following groupthink (eg, 1997 study on teamthink, Wiki). 1997 study: "Notable evidence indicates that cohesive groups [] tend to create internal pressures towards conformity that interfere with constructive critical analysis and ultimately lead to dysfunctional decisions." An example of the dangers of international groupthink is the 2003 Iraq invasion.

The goals of any CEO are much more clear and simple than a President: continuity, expansion, profit. Crushing competitors is a means to an end. Formulating a mission is much more difficult for any CEO. Often mission statements contain "so many words, most of them empty" (eg, FT-2015, Lucy Kellaway).

Trump has been effective in destroying his predecessors' achievements through court appointments, deregulation, reshuffling diplomatic relations, starting trade wars, and (threatening) abandoning international treaties. Replacing these by new policies requires a joint mission / vision, which remains lacking (eg, ObamaCare, Trump's trade wars, Trump's Wall).

I've written several blog articles on Trump's revolution of disruption, chaos and destruction (parts #1, #2, #3, #4 and #5). Excerpt from my 2019 blog: "it seems that any revolution leads to an autocracy". Trump's "mission" might just be establishing an autocracy, which would indeed provide continuity, expansion and profit for Trump, his family and businesses.

The Mission (1986) by Ennio Morricone

Note: all markings (bolditalicunderlining) by LO unless stated otherwise

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