CRF Blog

The Soul-Sucking, Attention-Eating Black Hole of the Trump Presidency

by Bill Hayes

In The Soul-Sucking, Attention-Eating Black Hole of the Trump Presidency for Foreign Policy,  David Rothkopf argues that the Trump presidency is making Americans focus too much attention on what is happening in the United States.

As I write this, I am in Shenzhen, China — a city that barely existed when Donald Trump began his fabled, checkered career as a real-estate developer. While he was producing garish properties and casino failures, this city grew to be 50 percent larger than New York. It is one of the richest cities in China, a thriving economic hub that is part of the Pearl River Delta megalopolis that is home to Hong Kong, Macao, and 60 million people who all seem so attentive to their booming businesses that they barely can spare a thought for Trump. And, as Trump sucks America into his ego’s gravitational field, into the swirling black hole of his neediness and delusions of grandeur, our country, too, seems less relevant. As one Chinese business leader said to me recently, “You have become preoccupied. That is not necessarily a bad thing for us.”

The Chinese did not mind when we were preoccupied with the Middle East and willing to spend blood and treasure in that region; it enabled them to roll out their coherent regional strategy for influence and interdependence without much interference from us. And President Xi Jinping did not seem to mind too much at Davos this year when, sensing the onset of Trumpism (the isolationism that comes from not caring about anyone or anything other than yourself) he offered China as an alternative leader in the international system. [more]