Trump the Terrible
One must not make too much of this but there are some interesting parallels between Ivan the Terrible of Russia and Donald Trump -- including one very thought-provoking possible parallel.
For a start, Trump wants to make America great again. Ivan DID make Russia greater. He conquered several adjoining states and thus greatly expanded the territory of Russia. We live in very different times now so that is not to be expected of Mr Trump but both men aimed at national greatness. Mr Obama stood for national shrinkage as far as I can tell.
And Ivan was eccentric. He was not "presidential". He actually appears to have gone mad on a couple of occasions. So Mr Trump's tweets are a minor eccentricity by comparison.
And Ivan was popular with the people but unpopular with the Russian establishment. Ivan too had a big "swamp" that he had to drain. And he did drain it. Quite a few heads came off the "boyars" (elite).
But, as Mr. Trump has found, draining the swamp is not easy. So Ivan still found the swamp frustrating
So here's the thought provoking bit. At one stage Ivan got so frustrated at the lack of co-operation from the elite that he took himself off to the countryside and told people he had abdicated.
The Boyars were of course delighted -- for five minutes. Then they realized that they couldn't do anything without Ivan to sign the paperwork. They were also afraid that the people might revolt against them. They knew that Ivan was popular and that they were not. So they had to beg him to come back. He did. But his price was high. He got a whole lot of things that he wanted out of them.
So could Trump do something like that? Could he get so frustrated with the GOP not doing what they were elected to do --abolish Obamacare and build the wall -- that he retired to Trump Tower and refused to come out again until the GOP had sorted itself out? Maybe even Trump is not radical enough to do that but it could work. Go Ivan!
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