I’m spending a few days here in Las Vegas, the true feel of America is played out everywhere. The American corporate companies will do anything to generate a buck and relieve you of your cash. And that’s not simply on the casino floor.
The Strip in Las Vegas has changed so much over the last twenty years that it is unrecognisable from the last time I visited when I was a student, travelling the States having worked in a summer camp for three months in New York State. The hotels and casinos are amazing pieces of real estate with soaring structures, opulent lobbies and a fancy Starbucks in almost every atrium. I don’t know what the deal is, but Starbucks appears to have Vegas sewn up on the caffeine stakes. There must be about 80 outlets and they all look very fancy. No dowdy sofas and cracked leather chairs here.
Starbucks has used it’s considerable muscle to ensure it has a great seat at the table in every casino. The pools are filled with private cabanas and air-cooled tents that you can hire for ludicrously expensive sums of money. And I guess that is why they were all empty while us proles were herded and corralled into the cheap sun beds on the outskirts of the pool area. But, there is something else going on in Las Vegas that is played out on the Strip and on the news channels. It’s all about control and economics.
As I walk up the Strip past some really spectacular hotels like the Bellagio with its awesome dancing fountains display, the Venetian with its river gondolas for hire and Paris with yes, the Eiffel Tower our front and centre, I am awestruck at the money and finance that has built Las Vegas into what it is. Escalators and moving walkways traverse the Strip ensuring that we can get from A to B to spend money as effortlessly as possible. Then I look up at the end of the Strip and I see a truly imposing site. It stands there so everyone can see it. It makes you look at it, because it has taken up a position of power. It doesn’t roll with the other hotels and casino resorts. It is making a statement about who it is and what it is. And in big bold lit up letters it says it all as it signals this power to me. It’s called TRUMP. Yes, the Trump Hotel looks pretty awesome as it dominates one area at the end of the Strip. And if there was any doubt as to why it is where it is, then one only needs to look at this week’s address to the UN by the man himself.
I really want to stay in the Trump Hotel, because it looks really upmarket and classy. Even on booking.com, the hotel algorithm that works out occupancies and makes sure the 100,000+ rooms here in Las Vegas are full every night, it is one of the most expensive places to bunk down. But my partner will not set foot in the place. For her, staying at Trump would be selling out and in her words, make her physically sick. Yes, she watched the UN address as well and was gobsmacked at the way the Hotelier and President spoke. It was unstatesmanlike she said, and incendiary to peace. The UN is to be respected, right? But then I turn on the TV and direct her to Fox News. It seems that Fox just dig what President Trump had to say. Lou Dobbs, the news anchorman, used words like ‘bold’ and said it was the best speech he has ever heard from a US President. It was honest and truthful and much needed as the big hotelier at the top of the Las Vegas Strip said he would destroy North Korea. I must say I quite enjoyed it.
But as we spoke the next day in the cheap seats at the hotel pool, as I again asked permission for a night in Trump tower, I thought about why Trump said what he did in the way he did. Firstly, like guys such as Michael O’Leary from Ryanair, Trump is an entrepreneur who lives by and for money. He is not like his predecessor Barack Obama, who is now mugging people for £500 a plate at dinner. Trump made his money before politics. This is why he knows the rules of the game. And this is why I would offer a different perspective on his odds at the UN.
I bet that Trump has called his fellow rich buddies in Russia and China and of course the USA. These buddies between them probably own a huge percentage of the net wealth and income generation of these countries - Putin included. China and Russia are raking in billions in business and they just love it. Capitalism has seduced them and they want more. So they don’t much care for Rocket Man and his antics. He is a distraction.
No, Trump will have spoken to the real power players, not the politicians, to make sure they are onside before he let loose at the UN. And this is why it all happens…
One day, apart from a couple of aircraft carriers parked alongside North Korea, there will be a Trump hotel or two being erected where once there were missile displays in the main square. And that is what the game is all about: power and economics driven by a few very rich white men who are quite literally unstoppable.