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At a Norfolk, Virginia ceremony today, President Trump commissioned the new aircraft carrier, the USS Gerald R. Ford.

There are manifold ironies afoot here.

One ship sets sail as another conceivably sinks. Is that sinking ship the Trump presidency or our American democracy?

We have a naval vessel, honoring an honorable public servant, launched by someone who’s something less than that.

At the ceremony, Trump declares that the warship will cause America’s enemies to “shake with fear,” even as he confoundingly cozies up to arguably our main adversary, Vladimir Putin.

But the prime irony could be yet to come: Gerald Ford quite possibly lost the 1976 presidential election because he pardoned Richard Nixon. That fact could well weigh on the mind of President-in-Waiting Mike Pence as he ponders his 2020 options, should Trump be forced out of office before then.

Based in Oakland, California, Stephen Golub writes, consults and teaches about international development, with a particular focus on justice, democracy, human rights and governance issues. Currently teaching part-time at Central European University in Budapest and previously at the University of California at Berkeley, he has worked in over 40 countries and with such organizations as Amnesty International, the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, the Ford and Open Society Foundations, the U.K. Department for International Development, the U.N. Development Program and the World Bank

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