America

Lonely at the Top

By Andrej Mrevlje |

I’ve been around the world

Had my pick of any girl

You’d think I’d be happy

But I’m not

Everybody knows my name

But it’s just a crazy game

Oh, it’s lonely at the top

Listen to the band, they’re playing just for me

Listen to the people paying just for me

All the applause-all the parades

And all the money I have made

Oh, it’s lonely at the top

Listen all you fools out there

Go on and love me-I don’t care

Oh, it’s lonely at the top

Oh, it’s lonely at the top

Randy Newman, 1971

The first person to say it out loud was General Raymond Thomas of the Special Operation Command – SOCOM: “Our government continues to be in unbelievable turmoil. I hope they sort it out soon because we’re a nation at war.”

Thomas is a powerful general; he commands every branch of the military whenever they participate in covert and clandestine missions. These kinds of operations – be it an assault action, a special reconnaissance, or a counter-terrorism operation – are based on scrupulous intelligence gathering and data analysis. This is the type of material the National Security Council provides for the president who then decides a course of action and gives orders to General Thomas and other commanders. But General Thomas is now objecting the current standstill, lack of input, and inaction of his forces. This objection sounds an alarm because America is in a war but only watching things happen, the general is saying. He secretly desired a reaction from the White House or Pentagon. Instead, all he got was mild media coverage.

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Media

From Behind the Enemy Lines

By Andrej Mrevlje |

After working for more then 20 years for various news organizations, I am now finally happy where I am working for myself. I never worked from a newsroom, but for many years I reported, wrote, spoke, and contributed to the newsroom. And, cursed a lot. Because even if you worked below the radar like I did, the editors in the newsroom still give you a hard time. Always. Their expectations, ignorance about the places written about, and preconceived notions of the elements that build a good story make journalism a headache sometimes.  Read more »

Trump Era

War Room

By Andrej Mrevlje |

Time passes slowly, but change is hitting us at the speed of light. We are only two weeks into the new government, and our world has changed already. We are no longer doing the same things we use to do. Trump’s administration is fast and erratic, providing so much information that it’s hard to follow. It takes time to read and absorb everything, to remember it and connect the dots. But when you do, the story points to a cunning conductor.

Just a week ago, when I wrote my last post, this government was still hiding its actions behind what then appeared to be more a symbolic ritual than real executive orders. Aside from ripping up the TPP agreement, a frenzy of other compiled presidential orders will have to go through long time evaluations and bureaucratic procedures. Only at the end of this process will we know for sure what their impact will be. But for the time being, most of those first executive orders look like paper tigers.   Read more »

White House

Melania’s Secret

By Andrej Mrevlje |

America feels like an orphan without the first lady in the White House. Melania Trump — aka Knauss — has been silent for two weeks. She left the nation’s capital the day after the inauguration, and — according to White House correspondents — never came back,  as if she wanted to give her husband space. After all, he is all over the place, and in his frenzied manifestation of power, he likely never has time for her. Except that the official explanation for why she is staying in New York is her pre-teen son, Barron, who attends school in New York. Of course, there’s much more to the story, and there are also doubts about young Barron’s health. But it could also be that the couple wants to have some distance from each other, which I find healthy. Read more »

America

House of Smoke Signals

By Andrej Mrevlje |

Since day one, President Donald Trump has managed to turn attention on himself entirely. The day after the inauguration, Washington, D.C. flooded with people of all colors and ages. The gathering was, like Obama’s two inaugurations, three times larger than the 45th president’s inauguration. I spent the day walking and biking around the streets for six hours. It was a fantastic event — a people’s event, as the prevalent populist jargon of the moment likes to call any political gathering. The march on Washington was massive. And even after hours of walking through the crowd while trying to find the head and the tail of the march, I only encountered a flood — rivers of people endlessly pouring out of the subways and Union Station, heading down to the streets that host the seats of political power. Nobody complained because of the train delays in that mass of well-intentioned but very determined folks. Some of them even showed their naked bodies at a safe distance from the man who professed a penchant for grabbing women’s crotches. I hardly remember this kind of event in my life. People were marching — or rather walking — and overtaking the city with no apparent goal but showing themselves as they were: citizens who were offended by their president. There was no leader of the march, no violence. There weren’t even many police on the streets. And of those who were, some were wearing pink pussy hats, too. It was incredibly satisfying, and I came home late and exhausted only to realize that it did not happen. Or rather, it might as well not have. The massive event on the streets of Washington, D.C. that by itself deserved some reflection was quickly moved to the back pages of the media, making space for the performance of a single man.

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China

Black Swan

By Andrej Mrevlje |

When a four-star general in full uniform steps in front a renowned academic think tank and starts to document all the possible reasons why America needs to stay in the Pacific, then you know that the U.S. president — barely a week into his term — has blown it. Or is the general simply staging a resistance because the president just ripped up the TPP agreement that was in the interest of the military and the rest of the old order that Trump is trying to change? Read more »

America

American Crossroads

By Andrej Mrevlje |

Change is here. With Donald Trump sworn in, the long-promised change in this country has finally arrived. It is not the change that most Americans would like to see, but it’s still change. You can sense the fear and the uncertainty that comes out when people talk about the future — you can feel it in President Obama’s words during his last press conference, when he tried to reassure the nation with warm words, like a father trying to reassure his children. “We are going to be ok,” he told the nation that he’s no longer able to protect. The words of a helpless man who had to abandon the nation to its own destiny. There will be no reincarnation, no new pope — just darkness.

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America

The President-Elect’s First War, Part II

By Andrej Mrevlje |

In 90 days, Donald Trump intends to report the true facts of the alleged Russian hacking during the November elections. At least, that is what the president-elect promised during his first press conference in months, just nine days before he is to be sworn as the new president. Trump’s words made it sound as though, with his own intelligence agencies in command, he will be in position to rewrite history. Nothing will ever be the same again, Trump seems to warn his citizens from high up in his golden tower.   Read more »

America

Thiel, the Contrarian

By Andrej Mrevlje |
Burning of the Capital, 1812.

As I write this, I think we’re losing it. I am looking through my window of my fourth-floor apartment and see a spread of low buildings below me — low enough that you can see the wavering American flag on every government building in town. It is 21 degrees Celsius today (70 degrees Fahrenheit) in Washington, D.C., and all of a sudden, I got drunk off that fragrant smell that only comes with the spring, when the soil starts breathing again after a long, cold winter. That is how someone can feel after six years of living in New York, where “Mother Nature” has been suppressed. Moving to Washington, D.C. — especially on a day like this — it feels like moving to the past that I am not able to locate yet. But it does not matter since I am well-aligned with the spirit of the time. Read more »

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