When Bill Clinton left the White House on January 20, 2001, the United States was not only the richest and most powerful country in the world but the richest and most powerful country in the history of the world.
Sixteen years and two awful administrations in a row have left the country grotesquely over-indebted, with a stagnant economy, millions of able-bodied men and women who have simply given up looking for work, a decimated middle class, wealth disparities not seen since pre-industrial times, the collapse of all moral and ethical underpinnings of society, including the traditional family, a generation of cry-baby college and university students who are aggressively refusing to learn anything valuable or useful, and finally a political class entirely under the control and direction of an economic elite whose only god is Mammon. Finally a failure of will in the West of unprecedented proportions in confronting barbaric religious totalitarians and an assortment of secular thugs.
Out of three hundred plus million people the best that the American political system could come up with were Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. In fiction, this would be considered imaginative overkill. Trump won in the face of a Clinton popular majority of almost three million votes. The new president will take over with little legitimacy and already declining popular support only to be immediately faced with the following mess:
Policy confusion amounting to chaos over how to deal with a Russia bound and determined to re-create the Soviet empire and then surpass it, aided by significant advances in military hardware enabling a country with a declining population and economy to threaten its neighbors and Western civilization with substantial success.
Almost every Trump administration nominee has contradicted his policy pronouncements on trade, Russia, China, Iran and just about everything else, leading to a situation of absolute uncertainty in which no-one knows what to expect about anything.
His refusal to divest himself of his business interests in any meaningful fashion, which can only result in continuous perception and accusations of corruption.
Finally, a decimated Democratic Party, almost the entire media establishment and seemingly the whole intelligence community vigorously engaged in trying to sabotage his new administration in every way possible, with absolutely no ethical restraints whatever. I am not an advocate of conspiracy theories. This, however, is no theory. It is a fact.
In short, Trump is taking over a capsizing ship of state with only two favorable qualities: He is not Obama and he is pro-Israel.
One hopes that he can build on this exiguous base. One prays that it will be so. We can only hope.