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Reply to Dr. Rimanelli’s Review of World War Trump in the Florida Political Chronicle, v.26, n.1 (20

Reply to Dr. Rimanelli’s Review of World War Trump

in the Florida Political Chronicle, v.26, n.1 (2018)

Journal of the Florida Political Science Association

By Hall Gardner

I.First, let me thank Dr. Marco Rimanelli for taking the time to write a full review of my book, even though I strongly disagree with some of his interpretations of the book’s policy proposals, as well as his observations on the state of America under the Trump presidency. Dr. Rimanelli and I do share common apprehensions about the Trump administration’s ability to peacefully manage the global interstate system although we may differ to a large extent as to foreign policy prognosis.

Where we differ most significantly can be seen in Dr. Rimanelli’s negative reaction to some of my domestic policy proposals that are intended to simplify, and more thoroughly democratize, the presently dysfunctional and excessively costly American system of democratic governance. Although Dr. Rimanelli does realize that the United States and other major democratic countries (including the UK, Italy, and now France) are confronted with a major legitimacy crisis (which has manifest itself by the rise of so-called “populist” movements), he does not seem to recognize the depth and dangers of this socio-political-economic crisis and why it is absolutely crucial to propose and then debate realistic governmental reforms and alternatives in an effort find some common ground between conflicting perspectives as soon as possible so as to forge a stronger consensus as to how to move forward.

The failure to achieve a stronger general consensus as soon as possible will make it even more difficult to prevent the real possibilities of extreme domestic violence and possible steps toward authoritarian rule whether by the right or by the left within the US itself and elsewhere in the near future. The goal of World War Trump is accordingly to initiate a nation-wide American debate on the nature of both US domestic and foreign policy. Those interested should also read the review of World War Trump by Jonathan Power who stated that “Every foreign affairs student, journalist, academic and policy maker should make reading (World War Trump) a priority.

II.Dr. Rimanelli is right to say that my views on NATO enlargement and toward Russia have been in the minority and yet I have correctly and consistently forewarned of a Russian backlash to NATO expansion, particularly with respect to Ukraine and Crimea, since the publication of my first book, Surviving the Millennium, in 1994—twenty years before the Russian annexation of Crimea. In my efforts to analyze the possibility of a Russian backlash, Dr. Rimanelli states that I have appeared to “sympathize” with Moscow, but this is a vulgarization of my analysis. I definitely do not sympathize with the Russian leadership, nor with President Putin in particular, but I do “empathize” with Moscow by trying to explain Russian actions, whether positive or negative, as objectively as possible. Dr. Rimanelli should know the difference between “sympathy” and “empathy.”

Since the end of the Cold War, the vast majority of mainstream US foreign policy analysts downplayed both the possibility of a dangerous Russian backlash (and what I call preclusive imperialism in reference to Crimea), as well as the burgeoning possibility of a Russia-China alliance. By contrast, I have consistently warned about these possibilities, in addition to warning about the real possibility of World War III—that is, if the US/NATO sustains its “open NATO enlargement” policy and does not soon begin to resolve a number of disputes with Moscow and Beijing, among other states.

As I argued in Surviving the Millennium (Praeger 1994), in Dangerous Crossroads (Praeger 1997) in more detail, and more recently in Crimea, Global Rivalry, and Vengeance of History (Palgrave, 2015) and in IR Theory, Historical Analogy, and Major Power War (Palgrave 2018) , which was just published, there was a viable alternative to NATO enlargement that would have minimized the possibility of a Russian backlash and a Sino-Soviet alignment. As proposed in 1993, Partnership for Peace (PfP) forces, backed by the US/NATO, Europeans and Russia, could have been deployed throughout eastern Europe under a general UN or CSCE/OSCE mandate; these forces could have taken the place of all Soviet forces as they moved out of eastern Germany and eastern Europe. Such an alternative option meant that NATO would have remained in the background in defending a neutral, yet militarily-integrated, eastern Europe in a system of US/NATO/European/Russian cooperative-collective security. It would have prevented a major arms race and the present conundrum in which NATO forces in the aftermath of the Russian annexation of Crimea in 2014 have been deployed in the Baltic States and Poland on the Russian/CSTO frontline where they are vulnerable and subject to pre-emption in a nuclear and hypersonic missile age.

In the period 1994-97, the PfP approach represented a position of alternative realism, and it was supported by one of the major hard-core realists during the Cold War, Paul Nitze, who wrote the National Security Doctrine NSC-68 in 1950 that had militarized George Kennan’s containment strategy. But after the Cold War, Nitze had argued that it was in the US national interest to draw Russia into a positive relationship with the US and Europeans. Nitze forewarned in testimony before the US Congress and in the “Open Letter to President Clinton” that the open NATO enlargement would create a dangerous backlash in Russia.

Yet the PfP approach was denounced by more traditional realists, such as Henry Kissinger, among others—who dubbed it the Partnership for Postponement (of NATO enlargement). In essence, it was an alliance of neo-conservatives, neo-liberals, and traditional realists, who opted to risk a major arms race and a Russian backlash by pressing for an “open” and costly NATO enlargement into eastern Europe for political and economic reasons and not from any truly strategic and military rationale—as if NATO were some form of social club and not a collective defense organization.

III.Now let me turn to the concerns discussed in more depth in my book World War Trump which argues, much as Republican Senator Bob Corker forewarned in the early days of Trump’s presidency, that Trump’s inconsistencies, policy flip flops, refusal to strongly support US allies, and self-serving behavior, could spark World War III. Trump did not initiate the present crisis that the US and the world is presently experiencing, but his policies are definitely making the domestic American and global situation even more confused and instable. Trump’s contradictory policies risk further polarizing major powers into rival alliances at the same time that the nature of Trump’s narcissistic personality, rhetoric, and policies are further dividing domestic American (and world) society into rival factions.

In arguing that variants of Trumpism and “America First” nationalism are here to stay, Dr. Rimanelli lambasts me for holding a “traditionalist vision of a U.S.-led moralist world order steeped in TransAtlantic security with Europe, free trade Globalization and support of U.N.-sponsored human rights and peacekeeping in global troubled spots.” This is a significant misinterpretation of my argument. It is a misleading critique that testifies to the fact that Dr. Rimanelli does not grasp my conception of alternative realism, which seeks to better balance US nationalism and internationalism. His critique does not explain the fact that my policy proposals, both domestic and international, are neither “traditional,” nor “moralistic”; nor do I necessarily support what he calls “free trade globalization” in all cases.

As argued above, my policy proposals toward Russia, NATO, and toward security/defense for eastern Europe in general, definitely cannot be considered “traditional” as they were never implemented in the aftermath of the Cold War. And even Trump administration policy, despite the general belief that it is pro-Russian, has not been advocating a political settlement with Moscow that would involve a neutral, yet decentralized, Ukraine, as I argue for in World War Trump. And contrary to the vast majority of American analysts, I argue that there is a way to negotiate a peace accord between Moscow and Kiev over Crimea that does not represent a total capitulation to Moscow’s annexation of Crimea. But I also argue that Trump has been absolutely wrong in the foolish and sycophantic manner in which he has approached President Putin.

True, I still believe in the importance of UN-legitimized peacekeeping, but this is from a perspective of alternative realism that understands that UN-led peacekeeping can actually be less expensive and more effective than US-led or NATO-led peacekeeping, as a number of studies, including those of RAND, have observed. My proposals involve the deployment of NATO Partnership for Peace forces, involving troops acceptable to both Moscow and Kiev, in peacekeeping missions under a general UN or OSCE mandate in eastern Ukraine, the Caucasus, and elsewhere.

In fact, Alexander Vershbow, former Deputy Secretary General of NATO from 2012 to 2016 and a former Assistant Secretary of Defense and US Ambassador to Russia and NATO, has argued in his January 2018 article “How to Bring Peace to the Donbas. (Yes, It’s Possible)” that the deployment of a robust UN peacekeeping force “if done properly, could bring peace to conflict (in the Donbas in eastern Ukraine) that has dragged on for nearly four years. Without it, the conflict could return to a boil, jeopardizing Ukraine’s stability and destroying any basis for reducing tensions between Russia and the West.”

In my formulation, this kind of peace-oriented approach toward the Russia-Ukraine conflict would provide NATO’s Partnership for Peace with a new mission, but in a more indirect role in managing disputes under a general UN or OSCE mandate, in which Moscow possesses a positive role and droit de regard. I would suggest that Dr Rimanelli, whose expertise covers NATO policy, should do some more research on options that the US and NATO are considering with respect to the Ukraine-Russia conflict that include UN peacekeeping. Given President Putin’s New Year 2019 call for “dialogue with the USA on the most wide-ranging agenda,” the need for a total rethinking of NATO’s approach to Russia and Ukraine is particularly crucial now that there is the real potential for Ukraine-Russia conflict to draw NATO into a major war over the Sea of Azov.

IV.Not pointed out by Dr. Rimanelli in his review of World War Trump, is that fact that I was one of the few analysts who argued that Trump would meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un despite Trump and Kim’s nuclear threats and the hype raised by the media and books such as Fire and Fury. At the same time, however, Trump’s meeting with Kim does not guarantee a peaceful outcome and could provoke war if one side or the other believes that they have been duped at the presidential level, particularly as the term “denuclearization” is not commonly defined by Pyongyang and Washington. There is much that still separates North and South Korea that could spark a devastating war.

But here, contrary to Trump’s “America First” and his “Peace through Strength” ideology, I argue that Trump will eventually need to engage more deeply in multilateralism and inter-state trade-offs and compromises in the effort to achieve peace on the Korean peninsula—and with respect to the China-Taiwan and China-Japan disputes—than he presently claims.

Concurrently, South Korea is pressing to establish three “peace communities” that will help reconcile the North and South—which in World War Trump I call a “peace and development community”. A “peace and development community” is a practical proposal involving interstate cooperation and cannot be so easily dismissed by Dr. Rimanelli as an idealistic aspect of “UN sponsored human rights and peacekeeping.” As argued in World War Trump, the US needs to work with Russia, Ukraine and the Europeans to establish a “peace and development community” in eastern Ukraine, and ultimately in the Caucasus, while also working with Russia, China, Japan, and the Europeans to establish a “peace and development community” for North and South Korea.

The complicated situation on the Korean peninsula requires effective bilateral, multilateral, and international diplomacy. It will take Trump some time, but he and his administration will soon realize (hopefully before it is too late) that bilateral deals between Kim and Trump will not be adequate to sustain regional and global peace in situations that significantly impact regional actors. Trump will soon need to alter his tactics if his administration is to sustain peace.

Nevertheless, the Trump administration’s stated goals in support of South Korean proposals for a North-South Korean “peace community” are very similar to what I have proposed in my book, even if Trump’s tactics may be very different. Trump knows well that a war with North Korea would prove devastating not only for the region—but for the US as well, as the US would be compelled to intervene. Yet one major dilemma that has been created by Trump’s decision to meet directly with Kim is that the meeting has raised Kim’s expectations that Trump himself will negotiate the future “deal” between the two sides—as Trump’s underlings cannot be entirely trusted. But then again, neither can Trump be trusted as he is constantly shifting his policies in addition to his foreign policy team.

V.My policy proposals—that are intended to prevent wider regional wars, if not the real possibility of a major power war—are not at all based on “moralism”—but upon basic self-interest. It is basic self- and national- interest to avert costly wars and to engage in peace-oriented diplomacy wherever possible.

In a major issue that Dr. Rimanelli did not thoroughly discuss in his review of World War Trump, but which is key to the thesis of the book, is that the global war on terrorism has begun to merge with major power rivalry, so that the major and regional powers have begun to polarize into two contending alliances with an enlarging NATO linked to the EU and Japan against Russia/CSTO and China, with India so far caught in-between.

If Trump, or the post-Trump US leadership, does not soon begin to find ways to prevent the polarization of the global geopolitical system into two rival alliances by engaging diplomatically with both Russia and China, World War III will soon be around the corner. And Dr. Rimanelli will not be able to escape from the radioactive fallout by sipping pina coladas on Florida beaches as he not-so-comically jests in the conclusion of his book review!

VI.Dr. Rimanelli and I do share a few of the same foreign policy concerns, but he is dead wrong about my understanding of domestic US politics. Contrary to Dr. Rimanelli’s insinuations, I am not a “sincere loving “Expat” who has lost touch with my compatriots. And contrary to Dr. Rimanelli’s assertions, the Trump presidency does not represent “the living embodiment of a new ‘permanent’ populist revolution”. In making such an assertation, Dr. Rimanelli is mouthing pure propaganda that only serves the interests of Trump and his former advisor, Steve Bannon.

While there is a general social protest against the status quo of neoconservative and neoliberal politics in the US and in Europe, and in many other countries (such as Brazil and Philippines) throughout the world, this does not mean Trump’s policies necessarily represent the diverse aims and goals of those socio-political protest movements which are not at all unified. And Trump is definitely not representative of the entire American population given the fact that he won the presidency only because of an outdated electoral college system which Trump himself had denounced in reference to Obama before becoming president. (See World War Trump.) The fact of the matter is that Trump lost the national popular vote by a significant 2.87 million votes to Hillary Clinton, but then won the electoral college by less than a mere 80,000 voters in three states, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Michigan. This indicates Trump does not necessarily possess the support of the majority of the US population.

While the American population may appear to be shifting to the right under Trump at present, the US popular mood could soon shift more to the left if Trump’s promises are not fulfilled and if the average American no longer believes that they are benefiting from the American dream as the stock market continues its roller coaster ride up and mainly down under Trump’s protectionist policies. Despite Trump’s significant tax cuts designed to gain supporters, and his criticisms of the Federal Reserve’s decision to raise interest rates, it appears dubious that Trump’s “America First” protectionist policies are truly benefiting the average American.

It is increasingly clear that the “super-rich” (including Trump and many of his cohorts), combined with the comparatively less “rich”, are gaining considerably over the hard-working middle and lower classes, who are having real trouble making ends meet. At the same time, the average American student—a generation which appears to be voting in greater numbers than in the past— will need to pay back college loans for years in working jobs that are generally less well paid than those of his or her parents. These are just a few of the issues that can be used by the Democrats to win the 2020 presidential election.

VII.It is true, as Dr. Rimanelli argues, that the Democrats have not yet gotten their act together. At the same time, however, I believe that the Democrats will begin to forge greater solidarity as they continue to investigate the evident corruption of Trump, his family, and members of his administration, including Trump’s refusal to show his tax returns. And as more and more details surface about Trump’s alleged “collusion” with Russia to interfere in the US presidential elections, the more popular support Trump will lose. And I doubt Trump’s efforts to build a concrete wall (and see-through steel slats) between the US and Mexico, at the cost of a partial US governmental shutdown that does nothing but hurt US government employees and not politicians, will sustain the support of the majority of Americans. I accordingly believe most of American voters have not become Trumpists and many will oppose Trump or Trump-like “populist” candidates the future, albeit for differing reasons.

On the one hand, I do not think Trump will be impeached, even though the House Judiciary Committee should move forward on the impeachment process once the Democrats are empowered in January, but only if there is clear and sufficient evidence of high crimes and misdemeanors. On the other hand, I do not believe Trump will necessarily obtain the Republican nomination for a second term. Utah Senator, and former presidential candidate, Mitt Romney has just launched a scathing attack on Trump’s moral character. Romney’s attack, coupled with strong criticisms of Trump’s behavior and policies by other respected elites, will ultimately help to divide the Republican Party and turn it against Trump.

I thus find it dubious that Republicans will back Trump for a second term. Vice President Mike Pence, thus far backed by neo-conservatives and Christian conservatives, appears to be waiting quietly in the wings to replace Trump. He could take over the office of Presidency with the promise of granting Trump, family, and some friends, immunity from prosecution if he resigns. But even if Trump does not resign (because he can’t stand to be a “loser”), the Republicans could still choose Pence, Romney, or another candidate for Republican party ticket in 2020. But if Romney, Pence, another Republican, or even Trump, does become the next president, it will only be because the divided Democrats were not able to find decent presidential and vice-presidential candidates to oppose the Republicans.

At present, it looks like the battle within the Democratic party may be between Elizabeth Warren, the elderly Joe Biden, and younger Beto O’Rourke, if the latter two of these three individuals decide to run. And other candidates could soon enter the 2020 presidential race. The point is that the Democrats can win the next presidential election against the Republicans.

But it is true that Trump will not go down easily. And Trump could cause significant damage to the US and the world in the effort to prevent himself from falling from power whether by the threat of impeachment or even by the mere possibility that he might lose his chances to become president in 2020 for whatever reason. He could even start a war and has certainly been ramping up pressure on Iran that could start conflict—whether accidentally or accidentally-on-purpose.

VIII.In claiming that Trump is integral part of a “new permanent populist revolution,” Dr. Rimanelli appears totally oblivious to the need for electoral college reform. Dr. Rimanelli’s attitude is particularly bizarre given the fact that it was his own state of Florida which had blocked Al Gore, the Democrat’s Presidential candidate, from obtaining the Presidency in 2000, when George W. Bush won the electoral college vote. The need for a Florida vote recount forced the sovereign decision as to who would become the president of the American people to the US Supreme Court, which then handed the presidency over to George W. Bush by a divided 5 to 4 decision—even though Al Gore, who would have at least set the country in an environmentally sane direction, had won the overall nationwide popular vote by more than 500,000 votes!

The electoral college system was created in part to protect the southern slave states and in part to prevent demagogues or incompetent individuals from winning the US presidency. Yet the slavery issue is no longer relevant to contemporary post-bellum America and the electoral college system did not stop either a demagogic Donald Trump or an incompetent George W. Bush from being elected. Yet according to his irrational reaction to my proposal, Dr. Rimanelli does not appear to think that the electoral college system should be eliminated!

IX.Despite his comments to the contrary, it will be Dr. Rimanelli who will soon be eating the goop off the floor from his own very cheesy “flat soufflé” (as he himself put it in reference to my last two prescriptive chapters) and not me. Dr. Rimanelli rants and raves over issues I did not propose, at least in the way he claims I proposed them.

First, contrary to Dr. Rimanelli’s misinterpretation of my argument, I explicitly state that the electoral college system can be superseded without recourse to changing the US constitution. I only argue that eliminating the electoral college system alone is not an adequate means to deal with the deeper legitimacy crisis that the US system of democratic governance is presently confronting.

Second, I do not advocate abolishing the Second Amendment as Dr. Rimanelli claims I do. Instead, I argue that nothing in the Second Amendment justifies the possession of all kinds of weapons for purposes of self-defense. So what is crucial is the Supreme Court interpretation. And not all Supreme Court judges appointed by Trump will necessarily follow Trump on this issue and others. The Trump administration itself has finally moved to ban bump stocks that turn semi-automatic rifles to illegal automatic rifles despite National Rifle Association opposition. And as Trump himself claimed he was not beholden to the National Rifle Association, let’s make sure that proves to be true.

Given considerable public protest over the spate of mass killings, much more can be done once Democrats control the House to constitutionally limit the spread of firearms not strictly used for self-defense. After the mass killings in Florida—which ranks No. 3 in the nation for the number of mass shootings in the last five years, and No. 2 for the number of fatalities in mass shootings— how could Dr. Rimanelli not urge stronger gun control laws, particularly with reference to assault rifles?

X.Contrary to Dr. Rimanelli’s unfounded criticisms, I am also well aware of the legal and practical difficulties of changing the constitution. After all, the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA), for better or worse, has still not been added to the US Constitution since it was introduced in Congress in 1923, although a number of states have adopted similar measures.

Nevertheless, I am arguing that the contemporary American legitimacy crisis is so deep that the US government cannot continue to function in the same way for much longer without causing a major financial, economic, social, environmental and political disaster. Given mounting Federal, State, and Local debts (not to overlook high personal indebtedness), the size of US government will soon need to shrink.

If the American system of democratic governance is to become more supportive of the needs of the general population, it will need to become less complex, less impacted by vetoes, more effective, while concurrently becoming more participative and more responsive to the needs of the entire population.

Here my point of view evidently differs significantly from both neo-liberal Democrats and arch-conservative Republicans. I am advocating ways to simplify and further democratize government decision-making by giving the average citizen a greater say in governance, while likewise seeking ways to augment employee profit-sharing and participation in decision-making in major enterprises, as argued in the book.

The deeper question raised in World War Trump—that Dr. Rimanelli does not discuss in his book review—is the question as to whether the size of government will shrink in such a way that empowers citizens and protects both social entitlements and the environment or whether the US government will continue to serve the interests of the tax-payer subsidized fossil fuels industry and military-industrial-congressional complex, by cutting entitlements, welfare, health coverage, and environmental legislation. Thus far, Trump has sided the military-industrial complex and fossil fuel corporations against the development of an employment producing and healthy green economy.

I am thus arguing that the interrelated nature of social, political-economic, and financial crises will soon force radical change in both US foreign and domestic policies whether Dr. Rimanelli is prepared for those changes or not. So the time is now to start a real debate on a whole range of alternative options that will create the solid foundations for a fairer, more equitable society, and a more effective system of participatory governance.

The dilemma, of course, is how to build a solid consensus over which reforms are truly necessary, most effective, and relatively just. To achieve such a consensus will be the task of a new American leadership that engages in direct dialogue with a diverse population. Without engaged American leadership, the crisis will not be abated. Unlike Dr. Rimanelli, I believe such a consensus is possible to achieve.

XI.I will conclude on this point: Of the proposals that I make in World War Trump for major US governmental reforms that to seek to simplify American government and make it less costly, more effective, and more democratic, the easiest major reform to achieve is to limit the president’s length of term to a single 5-6 year term.

The purpose of limiting the president’s length of term to a single 5-6 year term is to help stabilize the transition from one president to the next, and hence reduce possible demagogic actions taken by the incumbent president as he prepares for re-election. This reform can be accomplished by a constitutional amendment, which can be achieved by one out of four ways.

This is not a utopian proposal made by someone who does not understand “the most basic principles of any POL-101 ‘American Government’ course” as Dr. Rimanelli insinuates. Rather, it represents a potentially major constitutional amendment that had been advocated by former President Jimmy Carter and that has been proposed on and off since Andrew Jackson’s demagogic era. In fact, Woodrow Wilson had been elected in 1912 on a Democratic platform calling for a single six-year term and the Senate approved that proposed constitutional amendment in early 1913, but then Wilson himself had it killed when the 62nd Congress went out of session. The 1912 Democratic Platform read: "We favor a single Presidential term, and to that end urge the adoption of an amendment to the Constitution making the President of the United States ineligible to reelection, and we pledge the candidates of this Convention to this principle." In showing his ignorance of the proposal to limit the presidency to a single term, Dr. Rimanelli reveals that it is his own views of the American government that have not advanced beyond the level of a freshman textbook.

The issue raised in World War Trump is accordingly that both presidents, Obama and Trump, wanted to stay at least three terms in office, while Ronald Reagan argued in November 1987 for starting “a movement” to repeal the 22nd amendment passed in 1951 that limits Presidents to two terms, at a time when he may have had Alzheimer’s disease. Yet let us prevent any president from serving more than one term in office by initiating a constitutional amendment to limit the US presidency to a single term of 5-6 years —and as soon as possible! If a single six-year term could be proposed back in 1913 and pass the Senate, then it can be proposed again and perhaps pass in the future!

Contrary to the views of Dr Rimanelli, I do not believe that the majority of the American people really want a corrupt, narcissistic, nepotistic individual, such as Donald Trump, plus his family, friends, and accomplices, to represent the United States for even a second term in office. Trump’s policies are not making America great again but are instead sinking the United States deeper into a hellhole of mounting debt and financial crisis, corruption, arbitrary executive decisions, and general governmental mismanagement—with the threat of significant acts of domestic violence, environmental catastrophe, and global war looming on the horizon.


1. Marco Rimanelli, "Book Review: Hall Gardner, World War Trump: the Risks of America’s New Nationalism (2018)", p.94-104, in Florida Political Chronicle, vol.26, n.1 (2018), Journal Florida's Political Science Association, p.105,;

2. Hall Gardner, World War Trump: The Risks of America’s New Nationalism (Prometheus Books, 2018); Jonathan Power, “Review of World War Trump: The Risks of America's New Nationalism,” New York Journal of Books (March 6, 2018),

3. Hall Gardner, Surviving the Millennium (Praeger, 1994)

4. Hall Gardner, IR Theory, Historical Analogy, and Major Power War (Palgrave, 2018)

5. See “Former Policy-Makers Voice Concern Over NATO Expansion: Open Letter to President Clinton” (June 26, 1997)

6. Hall Gardner, World War Trump: The Risks of America’s New Nationalism (Prometheus Books, 2018). See also, Hall Gardner, “Ukraine: A New Plan” American Affairs (Vol 1, No 2, Summer 2017),

7. See the views on UN peacekeeping of Alexander Vershbow, “How to Bring Peace to the Donbas. (Yes, It’s Possible)” Atlantic Council (January 5, 2018),

8. Frank Newport, “Americans Oppose Border Walls, Favor Dealing With DACA” Gallup (June 20, 2018)

9. Mitt Romney, “The president shapes the public character of the nation. Trump’s character falls short” Washington Post (January 1, 2019),

10. These potential Democratic candidates include Bernie Sanders, Eric Swalwell, John Delaney, Eric Garcetti, Andrew Gillum and Stacy Abrams, Amy Klobuchar, Mitch Landrieu, Steve Bullock, Sherrod Brown, and Jay Inslee.

11. An incompetent and demagogic George W. Bush (“you are either for us or against us”) had permitted neo-conservatives to dominate US foreign policy unlike his father, George H. W. Bush and his father’s Secretary of State, James Baker, who generally prevented the neo-cons from obtaining key positions in the US government.

12. Richard Dawkins, “Can the Electoral College System Be Reformed?” (Feb 9, 2017) Dawkin’s proposal on how to reform the electoral college without a constitutional reform was incorrectly quoted by accident in World War Trump (Prometheus Books, 2018) in Chapter 10, on page 288, line 10. The sentence should have read ... "every state should cast its (electoral) votes for whomever won the popular vote in the whole country" and not as the book reads "within the state."

13. “Justice Department Bans Bump Stocks, Devices Used In Deadly Las Vegas Shooting” NPR (December 18, 2018),

14. Jason Kelly and Lauren Seabrook, “Here's where Florida ranks on the list of states with the most mass shootings” (Aug 27, 2018), Since 2014, 11 more people died in mass shootings in Florida than in California, where private ownership of assault rifles is banned. And California has more than twice as many people as Florida.

15. Dr. Rimanelli belittles the issue, but President Eisenhower was right to warn against the power and influence of the military-industrial complex. And to his credit, the late Senator John McCain had also been concerned with the considerable power and influence of the military-industrial complex in US governmental decision-making. McCain’s concern was revealed during Senate confirmation hearings that led Patrick Shanahan to become deputy defense secretary in July 2017. McCain warned that he was “not overjoyed” with Shanahan’s extensive background working in the defense industry: "I am concerned that 90 percent of defense spending is in the hands of the five corporations, of which you represent one," McCain told Shanahan. "I have to have confidence that the fox is not going to be put back into the hen house." Trump has subsequently appointed Patrick Shanahan as interim Secretary of Defense after Defense Secretary James Mattis stepped down in December 2018. Rebecca Kheel, “Meet Trump’s pick to take over for Mattis at Pentagon” The Hill (December 24, 2018)

16. A number of social, political, institutional, and constitutional changes are presently being demanded by French “yellow vest” movement which claims to be apolitical, but generally tilts to the right. How French President Macron dialogues with this powerful social movement in an effort to build consensus in 2019 remains to be seen. But if Macron does not soon find ways to make major compromises and build consensus, he will open the door for the Far Right to win in the next French presidential elections. Although the French socio-political context is different, I believe the post-Trump American leadership will soon be somewhat similarly tasked to consider fundamental changes in the US system of democratic governance.

17. I intend to discuss this and the other reforms that require a constitutional amendment, which include adopting a unicameral, as opposed to a bicameral, legislature, and reducing the number of states, so as to better balance their tax base and populations, in more depth in a future book.

18. Four ways to change the Constitution: (1) Both houses propose an amendment with a two-thirds vote, and three-fourths of the state legislatures approve. (2) Both houses propose an amendment with a two-thirds vote, and three-fourths of the states approve the amendment via ratifying conventions. (3) Two-thirds of the state legislatures call on Congress to hold a constitutional convention, and three-fourths of the state legislatures approve the amendment. (4) Two-thirds of the state legislatures call on Congress to hold a constitutional convention, and three-fourths of the states approve the amendment via ratifying conventions.

19. General Andrew Jackson, a wealthy slave owning planter, was seen as a maverick upstart in support of the common man against the corrupt aristocracy, while also strongly supporting American Manifest Destiny. Somewhat like Trump, Jackson gained the support of the Midwest and rural Americans to be elected President from 1829 to 1837. But even Jackson supported a single six-year term. See Griffin B. Bell and Herbert Brownell, “For a One-Term, Six-Year Presidency” New York Times (December 31, 1985)

20. “1912 Democratic Party Platform” The American Presidency Project,

21. Irvin Molotsky, “Reagan Wants End of Two-Term Limit” New York Times (November 29, 1987), Snopes “Did Ronald Reagan Have Alzheimer’s Disease While in Office,” accessed December 26, 2018,

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