Inferiority Industrial Complex

I’m thinking of writing a longer thing about Donald Trump and what happens to the country when the President has a deep inferiority complex that translates state-level decision-making that reflects that mindset. (I feel like I’m not cheating on my 300-words-or-less blogging resolution by blogging about maybe writing a longer piece.)

I realize that this is, in Kenneth Waltz-speak, a first-level analysis — and therefore limited by default. It’s also shameless armchair psychology, but I can live with that. I really do think that Trump’s personality and internal logic — or lack thereof — can and will heavily affect our foreign policy and how we are viewed internationally.

I’m trying to think of historical examples of similar figures who managed to acquire enormous amounts of power and am coming up empty, maybe because the reality of Trump as PEOTUS is still so preposterous to me that it brings no analog to mind. Any suggestions?

  • Rob Pennoyer

    I wonder if this perspective suffers from the West Wing Fallacy–that the executive branch is run entirely by five people (or one person). Trump’s inferiority complex and how that manifests is important, but I’m more curious about how the lieutenants and sublieutenants of an organization as large and complex as the US Government react to an ideologically weak strongman as president.

    Between negotiating with Carrier and writing mean tweets, there’s only so much foreign policy Trump himself can actually get involved in (not to mention domestic policy or any of the other things we expect from a president). So, if you’re the Deputy Undersecretary of Whatever at the State Department, and you know that nobody is paying attention at the top, do you push your own agenda? Do you work back channels to smooth over the noise coming from White House?

    I think Trump’s attention gap leaves a power vacuum where real decisions are made.