Scathing criticism of president: Can America control Trump?

Last week, we celebrated one of the great achievements of modern politics in these islands.

By honouring the Good Friday peace deal, we marked a triumph of politics over tribalism. That the deal is becalmed between forces unable to replace animosity with ambition is a failure of today’s politics — a failure criticised by the senior statesmen and women who achieved the unimaginable two decades ago.

A solution to that impasse will be found, but far bigger questions about the capacity of politics to do good or prevent evil have assumed a new urgency.

Those questions were brought into sharp focus by former FBI chief, James Comey, when he said that he thinks Donald Trump is morally unfit to be president of the world’s superpower.

There is no particular reason to single out this criticism of Mr Trump; there are many, many others as valid. Trump’s behaviour, especially his shameless ignorance and routine dishonesty, offer so many opportunities to criticise him that others are superfluous.

However, the far greater question must be if America’s system of checks and balances has the capacity and the durability to constrain Mr Trump’s wilder, blowhard, send-others-to-die instincts?

What a tragedy it is for America, and for democracy everywhere, that these questions even need to be asked, but every day that passes, every brutish White House Tweet, makes them more pressing.

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