(TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images)
The Crystal Ball
The Official Future Is Dead! Long Live the Official Future!

A year after Donald Trump’s improbable election, the post-Cold War Official Future has collapsed—and in its place have emerged a bewildering array of possibilities.

Published on: October 30, 2017
Nils Gilman is vice president of programs at the Berggruen Institute and a monthly columnist for The American Interest.
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  • TNI Censors Comments Now

    Post Cold War? We’ve got the Democratic Party and certain corrupt elements of the leftover Obumer admin doing, saying, and trying anything they can to create a Cold War. They spent millions to create a document that alleges Trump surrounds himself with prostitues and watches anime and likes golden showers.

    • CheckYourself

      Of course I agree with your assessment, and I’d like to add that the Democratic Party did not get crushed in a single election. Not hearing nearly enough about their consistent losses throughout all of the Obama years, leaving majorities of governors mansions and state legislatures in republican control not to mention the federal legislative losses and now the WH.

      Donald Trump mopped the floor with his rivals to come out the nominee from 2015 to 2016, and what was the Democratic Party doing? Thanks to leakers, possibly Seth rich, and whoever else, we know that they were colluding with the mainstream media, Clinton campaign, and against the Sanders campaign. This is now a matter of court record per the lawsuit which found “palpable bias” against the sanders campaign, but that the party successfully argued it can cheat because it’s a corporation, and not a public work. True. At least they’re honest about being cheaters I guess.

      The Democratic Party is full of pedophiles and cheaters like Donna Brazile Who is a proven liar and cheater yet she’s now on their rules committee.

  • Angel Martin
    • Jim__L

      Ah, the renaissance of American political humor. Can anyone imagine the hue and cry if this had been done against Obama?

      One more reason not to elect Democrats. 🙂

  • Bankotsu

    “The Official Future Is Dead! Long Live the Official Future!”

    Thank God! I was sick to death of reading the same old rubbish.

    Let’s see whether we can get something fresh and new for a change.

  • Ray

    Re: “…the good sense of the American people would make it impossible for a pathological liar and traducer of every political tradition to actually get elected.” I’m not sure about the traducing of political traditions (which is probably not so bad since anymore the main political tradition in this country seems to be corruption), but I do know the biggest pathological liar lost the election for President.

  • ByzantineGeneral

    So, the US will continue to be what it has always been, multicultural? No, it will become Aztlan North, with rivers of blood running down the steps of the pyramids. Multiculturalism is a lie.

  • EmHu

    What a bunch of self serving trash. Nothing but platitudes and blame Trump for every failure of our political class for generations. For eight years we heard nothing but how Bush caused all the problems and Obama was blameless and just righteously cleaning up the mess left behind. Well look at the mess Obama has left. And no I don’t have to recite it — you know what he did, and the press failed to speak truth to his power.

  • fandango

    A physics student was so flabbergasted to see his icon, Albert Einstein, traveling on the same train from Princeton to Boston, that he asked: “Do you know, Professor, when does Boston stop at this train?” Moral: sometimes it’s not that something radically new occurs outside the bounds of “official future” or any such conceptual contraption. It’s that the “official” itself has, over the years, become so radical and extreme – while keeping the appearances of “everything’s normal” – that no slow-motion resistance could stop it in its tracks. What seems as the “black swan” of the Trump phenomenon is actually the brown-stained vulture of hitherto nearly invisible mainstream leftoid stronghold on definition of reality. The pain generated by parting from this privilege must be indescribable.

    • Curious Mayhem

      The frog was slowly dying in his boiling water, until The Donald tipped over the pot.

      • fandango

        excellent summary, I have to admit.

  • FriendlyGoat

    The outlook for ascendance of kindness and honest sense in what we share with each other is suddenly poorer than most people expected to see in the 21st Century. That’s about it.

    • Honest sense … as opposed to continuing to trust “experts” and “leaders” to make all our decisions FOR us like feudal lords … is making a comeback, albeit painfully.

      The reason kindness is poorer, is because Progressives keep leveraging the coercive force of law to impose it, in a manner reminiscent of a bull in a china shop and thereby diminishing the level of kindness … including the errors of committed omission that fly in the face of I Corinthians 13:6: love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.

      Until you fundamentally question the assumptions of the Blue Model, instead of simply accepting it as The Way Things Are, you will not find the answer.

      • FriendlyGoat

        You are an example of the decline in quality of “communications” of which I speak. You can rivet a lot of things. I’m not one of them.

        • werewife

          Ritchie gave you a calm and reasonable disagreement, eloquently stated, equal to equal, and you pouted at him. If that’s your example of ‘kindness and honest sense …. in “communications,”‘ you are definitely a rivethead.

          • FriendlyGoat

            I don’t know you, but I know Ritchie. He has been pounding me personally with these types of replies for years. They are all pure bullsh*t.

          • egg0

            Just looking at the exchange between you and Mr. The Riveter, it doesn’t look like you know each-other.

          • FriendlyGoat

            At least a couple of years. Probably dozens of direct exchanges. Ask him.

          • Goat and I have engaged here for a while. He doesn’t like it when I pop the Blue Model bubble he cherishes.

          • Bullsh*t? Ask the people who were forced onto worst-of-both-worlds insurance thanks to Obamacare. Ask the people who lost their jobs because of a War on Coal based on a fanatical belief. And that’s just two examples.

            Every time your Progressive policies led to our government making choices for people, limiting their options (including their ability to work around the failures of their government and/or its operatives), or took their resources … for any reason except to secure the lives and liberty of others from clear-and-present threats to them … you are culpable for the damage done, because those policies would not exist without the support of you and other Progressives.

            You focus on collective “progress”, forgetting that the legitimate mission of government is to secure INDIVIDUAL rights. You think you help the “average” person, but don’t see how you harm many others.

            You don’t want to face that truth.

          • FriendlyGoat

            Natural gas was and is killing coal in the USA. The market after fracking improvements will not change in that regard, no matter what progressives say or do. Good health insurance costs a LOT of money and will be priced to the moon for old people and sick people unless government prevents that from happening.

            There is no conservative-spun “truth” you are going to get me to “face”. I’m 66 and my world views were formed decades ago. The general “side” I am on will not be changing no matter what you write to me. This is where we were years ago and where we still are.

        • You are an example of a bitter clinger, who in his self-righteousness wants the world to be what he wishes to be so much, that he doesn’t see the damage implementing his wishes does.

          • FriendlyGoat

            I have never damaged the world in my life. Worked in free enterprise, had family, retired with original wife now. Please go away and write your own original comments. You cannot change my world view.

          • seattleoutcast

            That’s the biggest load of hubris I’ve seen in awhile. Writers follow a rule when developing a villain for their story. The villain always thinks that they are right. It’s good advice to follow in real life, too.

          • FriendlyGoat

            No, outcast, it is just real life. I am not Franklin Roosevelt or Lyndon Johnson or even Nancy Pelosi. I didn’t implement anything. I lived my life by the rules, was more conservative in real life choices than most of the people here. In old age, I reflect and I opine. Being constantly attacked on a personal level for merely showing up is just crap. Go away and talk to someone who wishes to hear from you. Raise a glass and raise hell with Ritchie or werewife. I don’t need it.

          • seattleoutcast

            You said you never damaged the world. We all do. I’m calling you on your sanctimonious attitude.

          • FriendlyGoat

            In context of Ritchie’s accusations. What is WRONG with you people? You don’t go down the street talking this smack at others. Buzz off.

          • One man’s “smack” is another man’s truth.

          • Jim__L

            He apparently was offended by evangelical Christians when they asked him to believe that “All have sinned and fall short of the mark” must be taken literally.

  • Matthew W. Hall

    The Leninists didn’t win in the previous “Schwartzian moments” in America’s past such as the American Revolution, Civil War, Depression

  • MarkM

    From a historical perspective, Trump’s election was neither “improbable” or “categorically impossible” in connection with the so-called “Official Future”. We’ve seen this script before.

    Trump is not the first person to run an “outsiders” type campaign for President and succeed – indeed, the outsider theme has been used by various politicians from Ronald Reagan to Bill Clinton.

    Trump is not the first President who was willing to or interested in reducing immigration. President Jefferson (like Benjamin Franklin) had his doubts about the Germans; President Arthur signed legislation for a 10 year ban on Chinese immigrants, set the precedent regarding quarantine of immigrants, and strongly encouraged assimilation by the American Indian population; President Coolidge was a principled believer in immigration controls, as he noted in his 1923 State of the Union message: “New arrivals should be limited to our capacity to absorb them into the ranks of good citizenship. America must be kept American. For this purpose, it is necessary to continue a policy of restricted immigration.”

    Indeed, Trump may have been taking notes from the famous campaign of Andrew Jackson (and, for that matter, Ronald Reagan) – striking notes of a limited government populism combined with a willingness to throw zingers at his opponent.

    It is not even the first time the media predicted a Presidential election wrong. “Dewey Beats Truman” is a rather famous headline for those who remember history.

    Now, let’s strip down and analyze the so-called “Official Future” down a little into its’ key components:

    “Domestically, the United States was destined to remain what it had always been: a two-party multicultural federalist democracy, dedicated to capitalism, technological optimism, and creating better lives for our children.”

    Where do you see Trump’s election as inconsistent with this vision? Lines like “It’s morning again in America.” (from Reagan’s ad of course); “This country needs a new administration with a renewed dedication to the dream of America, an administration that will give that dream new life, and make America great again,” Reagan said in a Labor Day speech in 1980; “I believe that together we can make America great again,” said Bill Clinton is his 1991 presidential announcement speech. In a campaign stop almost a year later, he called on voters “to make America great again economically, educationally, and socially.” Trump’s MAGA slogan is very much in line with the prior campaigns prior outsiders Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton. Each of them ultimately called on Americans to make America better — ultimately, that translates into better lives for our children.

    “internationally, the United States would remain the center of the global order as well as the world’s greatest military power”
    The Obama/Clinton policy of leading from behind is clearly inconsistent with this approach. Between the two, Trump clearly respects the military more (and has more of the military’s respect from everything I hear than Clinton ever would have). Now, Trump’s version of the military may be more Jacksonian than many recent Republicans, but the evidence would tend to suggest it is sincere. (Among other things, Trump’s elevation of certain ex-military men into his inner circle is a pretty good signal on that score.)

    “what Madeline Albright called “the indispensable nation,” dedicated to promoting economic growth, democracy, and human rights the world over.”
    I’ll admit that Trump’s focus is far more on economic growth inside the United States than it is on economic growth in the world. His Jacksonian attitudes also cast doubt on his commitment to the growth of democracy and human rights outside of the United States. The interesting question is whether Hillary Clinton, with her ties to the Saudis and others, would have really done any better. Frankly, the entire concept of “Democratic Enlargement” is relatively new and very much a post Cold War development. During the Cold War, the US supported dictatorship in a number of places as a bulwark against Communism. We’ve had realpolitik moments before in American engagement abroad. Even President Bush (post 9/11), despite his support for spreading democracy (including to Iraq) supported certain authoritarian regimes which were willing to help the United States in dealing with terrorists/fundamentalists. So, I’m not sure how much of this is really part of the “Official Future” and how much is just projection by the author.

  • boonteetan

    How often do we hear about “Official Future”? Is there one, if not how could it be dead? Let alone long live…

  • Jane Rand

    So shall I assume Thatcher and Reagan were Leninists?… I short, a lot of pseudo-wise BS.

  • Landslide Hillary

    We’re closer to a Mad Max future than anything.
    Unless we start killing sh!tlibs by the hundreds of millions now.
    You will either slaughter them … or they will slaughter you.

  • Bankotsu

    “A year after Donald Trump’s improbable election, the post-Cold War Official Future has collapsed—and in its place have emerged a bewildering array of possibilities.”

    Trump is a great man for moving history forward. You’ve got to give him that. He opened up these wonderful possibilities for mankind.

    Looks like I was correct to forcefully support Trump back in July 2015.

  • Beauceron

    Been away…what happened to Via Maedia”?
    Booted out?

    • Jim__L

      WRM had a blurb that said he’d be busy doing other things for a while, and his wiki page puts his Editorship-at-Large for TAI in past tense. Fukuyama came on board to announce that there was a re-launch, and I haven’t seen Damir or other familiar faces for some time.

      The comment sections are missing regulars too, like you and WigWag. (Others like KremlinKryptonite and FriendlyGoat are still here.) The place has gotten a bit bland, to be honest, but there’s still plenty of fodder for contrarians who want to poke at doctrinaire Lefty silliness.

      I miss WRM’s polemics, though. I wonder what happened to him?

      • Beauceron

        Thanks for the rundown.
        I saw WRM’s post. It appears the editors have decided to go in a different direction, as they say. I subscribed to this journal because it was the closest thing to non-partisan, unbiased commentary you’re likely to find these days. Now it’s like reading The Atlantic or The New Yorker– except those two publications do it better.

        • Jim__L

          Back in the day, this was a place to find thoughtful (and sometimes entertaining) criticism of Obama’s foreign policy, from a non-partisan point of view.

          At this point, the the editorial lineup is full of people who can’t understand how Hillary could possibly have lost the election — or if they pretend to understand, they basically assume malicious or stupid motives on the part of tens of millions of people they’ve never met, and probably wouldn’t listen to if they couldn’t avoid meeting them.

          “Establishmentarian” is a good word for it. They simply don’t realize that the mass of population in many countries has come to the conclusion that the establishment has failed.

          It’s a sad day for journalism, viewpoint diversity, and rational thought in general.

      • Diws

        WRM was the main reason that I have subscribed to TAI. It’s looking like TAI is going more in a hard policy and perhaps establishmentarian direction. Not as interested now; will give the revamped TAI a chance, anyway.

        • Jim__L

          TAI has always been fairly hard policy, balanced by international news from a variety of sources and WRM’s observations on issues, foreign and domestic. If WRM is truly gone, TAI is far, far poorer.

          If you figure out where he’s off to now, I’d be very interested to know.

          • Diws

            As far as I can tell, he’s traveling a lot and still writing op-eds for the Wall Street Journal, and still is a part of the Hudson Institute. I will certainly seek him out; he is one of a handful of people out there of whose opinions and readings of the world I always am the better for knowing.

          • Jim__L

            He’s got a good attitude towards people generally, too. 🙂

  • To be honest, neither candidate for last election were ideal for the position of Presidency. In the minds of many Americans, it was just a matter of choosing the lesser evil, so to speak.

  • 5ftflirt

    ““The party would decide”
    to prevent such a nomination, and if nominated, the good sense of the
    American people would make it impossible for a pathological liar and
    traducer of every political tradition to actually get elected. All the
    sensible people knew this. All the sensible people were wrong.”

    No that was actually Obama. Pathological liar – check. Traducer of every political tradition – check. Sensible people? “Voting for the first black president” took precedence over being sensible. Obama wasn’t opposed because people were racist. Obama was elected because people are racist. Trump is a reaction to the political traditions being blown open by a grandiose inexperienced leftist community organizer with a murky past who wanted to “transform America.”

  • Interesting thesis. And while I am hardly a Leninist, Mr. Gilman and his readers may find something to like in my just published Notes Towards a New Way of Life in America, review copies of which are available on Amazon thru Nov 17. To download a free copy go here: https://goo.gl/q4kodC

    For those who aren’t familiar, it advances the notion that factories in the countryside run on part-time jobs will be key to the next stage in the suburbanization of the metropolitan complex. The whole thing is mercifully short—barely a hundred pages including appendices—so I hope readers will at least look at the intro and, if they like what they see, pass it on to anyone they think could be interested. That would include their kids, grandkids, nieces, and nephews, since they are the ones for whom it was written. Of course if you wish to engage it more fully, feel free to write an Amazon review. Or email me at my name at gmail.

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