By Emanuel L. Paparella, Ph.D.*
Afew days ago, on February 20, in Brussels, Belgium, the capital of the EU, vice-president Mike Pence reassured the NATO- EU allies of the US commitment to the Atlantic Alliance.
Almost at the same time, Steve Bannon, Donald Trump’s chief ideologue and strategist in the White House, delivered an anti-EU message to the German ambassador to the US, which was subsequently echoed at Trump’s rallies in South Carolina and Florida, wherein a preference for disunity in the EU was expressed. That is to say, the EU is perceived as broken up and the US would prefer to conduct relations with European nations one-on-one.
Bannon’s world-view based on alarming historical theories of clash of civilizations, is that the future of Europe will be characterized by strong nationalist and populist movements. Enter Madame Le Pen.
Be that as it may, one cannot but wonder if we are dealing with schizophrenia, or derangement, or some other aberration. After all, Trump has never repudiated his sympathetic remarks about Brexit and his branding the EU “basically a vehicle for Germany.”
It is no wonder that some leaders in the EU are rather skeptical about those reassurances. They consider the likes of Pence or McCain sycophants sent around the world to clean up the messes of their boss, mere pooper scoopers of sorts. Or is it worse? Are they complicit in deception? One wonders about that too.
An essential component of reason, with which all rational beings are endowed, is that logically a thing cannot be and not be at the same time. Aristotle, the father of the art of logic called it “the principle of non-contradiction.” But somehow, within the walls of the present White House they seem to believe that such a rational feat is possible.
While Aristotle would probably consider it a sign of irrationality leading to chaos, Donald Trump in “The Art of the Deal” seems to believe that it is possible for something to be and not to be at the same time. Logic does not apply to business deals.
But perhaps President Lincoln had it on target when he asserted that one can fool some of the people all the times, and all of the people some of the times, but one cannot fool all the people all the times.
Lincoln also made it a point to remind people that a house divided against itself cannot long stand.
About the author:
*Professor Paparella has earned a Ph.D. in Italian Humanism, with a dissertation on the philosopher of history Giambattista Vico, from Yale University. He is a scholar interested in current relevant philosophical, political and cultural issues; the author of numerous essays and books on the EU cultural identity among which A New Europe in search of its Soul, and Europa: An Idea and a Journey. Presently he teaches philosophy and humanities at Barry University, Miami, Florida. He is a prolific writer and has written hundreds of essays for both traditional academic and on-line magazines among which Metanexus and Ovi. One of his current works in progress is a book dealing with the issue of cultural identity within the phenomenon of “the neo-immigrant” exhibited by an international global economy strong on positivism and utilitarianism and weak on humanism and ideals.
This article was published by Modern Diplomacy