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January 19, 2018

Quarterly Essay: Enemy Within

by N@ncy


ReadQuarterly Essay, vol. 63;  Watson, Don,  16 September 2016  (Australian)

  1. I’m trying to read a back-log of essays…and this one caught my eye!
  2. Enemy Within – American Politics in the Time of Trump  by  Don Watson
  3. This essay was written BEFORE Trump won the US election.



  1. This is one TOP NOTCH  piece of writing!
  2. I am amazed how Don Watson (Australian) has written such
  3. clever an insightful observations about a
  4. complex and chaotic American political landscape.


  1. Strong point: D. Watson is well read.
  2. He uses this information…to support his conclusions.
  3. The Tragedy of American Diplomacy (W. A. Williams, 1988)
  4. America’s War for the Greater Middle East (A. Bacevich, 2016)


  1. Strong point: writing style
  2. Don Watson is cheeky and at times irreverent.
  3. For example calling  John Foster Dulles
  4. …and his brother Allen door-kickers
  5. hitmen for the cause of US world supremacy. (ouch)
  6. Watson  gives us a refreshing look
  7. at the divides in America (Blue-Red sates)
  8. zooms in on the ‘purple state’ of Wisconsin,
  9. the circus  we call the US elections,
  10. the TV news media and the candidates.
  11. …especially the appeal of Bernie Sanders!


  1. Strong point: Best chapter: 6
  2. Watson makes remarkable comparisons between
  3. Trump’s campaign….and fascism
  4. …fanning the flames of rhetoric to win votes.


Last thoughts:

  1. I am very, very impressed with Don Watson’s essay.
  2. He is one of Australia’s foremost writers and intellectuals.
  3. There are so many Australian writers who we must discover!
  4. After reading this thought provoking essay
  5. …I think of a phrase I saw on the internet:
  6. Obama is the America…it thinks it is
  7. Trump is the America….it knows it is.


Here are a few gems:

  1. US:
  2. The United States is a concatenation of sulky tribes provincial
  3. …ignorant and seething with ambition…. [OUCH!]


  1. US TV NEWS:
  2. The pundits are not there to judge the quality of thought or action
  3. An election is a horse race and
  4. …no one cares what horses are thinking. [OUCH!]


  1. TRUMP vs TV NEWS:
  2. Donald Trump understands the news channels
  3. better than they understand themselves.
  4. His “outrageous” tweets push people toward the media
  5. and the media towards him.
  6. He dominates the news.
  7. He wins every day.
  8. Even when he loses, he wins!   [HOW TRUE….]


  2. Americans want a president through whom God can act.
  3. But as well as the right president
  4. …it must be the right god.
  5. Trump understands this too.
  6. [DE TOCQUEVILLE…wonders has TRUMP read my book?]
  7. Personally…I don’t think Democracy in America is on Trump’s TBR.


  2. Sanders never had to worry about an “image problem,
  3. …because he didn’t have an image.
  4. When he appeared on television he did not look like
  5. …a man in search of a camera;
  6. …more like a man  just retired
  7. …who  stumbled in on a talkshow  [LOL]


Read more from essays

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