’Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe;
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.
— Lewis Carroll – Jabberwocky 1871
“I’m trying to get out of wars. We may have to get in wars, too. OK? We may have to get in wars. We’re better prepared than we’ve ever been. If Iran does something, they’ll be hit like they’ve never been hit before. I mean, we have things that we’re looking at.”
— Donald Trump – Comments to White House press October 21, 2019
In the annals of nonsensical utterances, it’s difficult to outdo Lewis Carroll’s Jabberwocky — the epitome of senseless verbiage that was originally included in Through the Looking-Glass, the sequel to Alice in Wonderland.
Yet, listening to Donald Trump today speaking to reporters at the White House, it seemed as if the president was trying to displace Carroll’s nonsense poem from the top of the heap of unintelligibility.
Unfortunately, Trump’s word salad was expressing his own shambolic foreign policy — a policy that apparently includes two completely contradictory directions simultaneously in what can only be described as a quantum theory of military intervention.
After betraying the Kurds — America’s long-standing allies in the Middle East during conflicts in Iraq and Syria against enemies including Al-Qaeda and ISIS — and beginning a withdrawal from Afghanistan using the rationale that the United States needs to cease involvement in foreign conflicts that he considers “endless and rediculous,” Trump is trying to walk back the moves that have been read as signals of weakness and lack of resolve by other global leaders.
While expressing frustration at “endless wars,” the president declares his complete openness to starting new ones and pimps out the American military to protect Saudi Arabian oil fields.
Ultimately, while Trump has acknowledged that he was elected on promises of ending America’s role as a global police force, his antipathy towards Iran — likely an outgrowth of his hatred of his predecessor Barack Obama whose deal to prevent that country from developing nuclear weapons he immediately withdrew from unilaterally upon taking office — seems to overcome any isolationist principles that he may insincerely espouse.
In the end, the major difference between Donald Trump’s daily spewing of nonsense and Lewis Carroll’s Jabberwocky is the artistry with which the children’s book author expressed himself. Carrol’s words inspire joy and delight, the looking glass version of the despair and incredulous anger that the president’s gibberish and balderdash inspires.
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Vinnie Longobardo is a 35-year veteran of the TV, mobile & internet industries, specializing in start-ups and the international media business. His passions are politics, music and art.