Given all this, Donald Trump’s presidential candidacy embodies dangerous fantasy at every level. For one thing, erecting walls to protect America from the world, as he advocates, could not work. More important, who would want it to work? While America’s population rises, Russia’s sinks like a stone. How many people would prefer to live in Moscow than in New York?
Trump’s agenda speaks to the big lie at the heart of the populism now roiling both America and Europe. We want our sovereignty back, people shout. We want to control our own lives and our own borders. In Britain, which in June will hold a referendum on withdrawal from the European Union, these sentiments are crudely stirred by anti-EU ministers who lie about the extent to which an allegedly dictatorial regime in Brussels interferes with the discharge of their official duties.