Global Independent Analytics
Navid Nasr
Navid Nasr

Location: Croatia

Specialization: Global security, Politics

Trump: Anti-Interventionism as the New "Fascism"

So now we come to the most important element of this campaign, or any other. The true third rail of American politics -- foreign policy.

In my previous column I tried to make the case that a Trump presidency would, almost certainly, be no better or worse than the Reagan presidency, either of the Bush presidencies, or, for that matter, the Obama presidency.

So now we come to the most important element of this campaign, or any other. The true third rail of American politics -- foreign policy.

For the sake of this column I'm working on the assumption that Sanders is not going to win the Democratic nomination. It's almost April and he's far behind in the delegate count. He just swept three western states and Team Hillary just yawned and shrugged it off. If he actually comes back and takes the nomination it will be something truly unbelievable and miraculous.

One thing to get out of the way quickly for the sake of this discussion is Hillary and what kind of foreign policy she will bring to the table. If you're genuinely in the dark on this topic, or have fooled yourself into believing that you're not sure what kind of foreign policy she will pursue as president Eric Zuesse's recent piece on Global Research is the best single primer on the topic. And mind you, he only delves into what she has actually done in Haiti, Honduras, Libya, Syria, Afghanistan and Ukraine. What she has promised to do with regards to Iran is not discussed, nor is the role she played in directing US foreign policy in the Balkans during Bill's presidency.

But what of Trump? What is it about his campaign that literally has all the neocon-iest neocons foaming at the mouth and baying for his blood? Why are absolutely and thoroughly evil, Darth Vader-like creatures like Lindsey Graham, Robert Kagan and Bill Kristol excoriating their own party over his likely nomination and threatening to put all their flab... err, I mean muscle, behind Hillary's campaign or else push a third-party or independent candidacy that's more to their liking?

Why are Karl Rove and the American Enterprise Institute organizing "secretive meetings" with "billionaires, tech CEOs and top members of the Republican establishment" at a private island resort off the coast of Georgia, strictly for the purpose of derailng his campaign?

Why is it that "a secretive group of Republican operatives and conservative leaders convened... for more than three hours to discuss ways to unite the right against Donald Trump?"

Why is that noblest of civil rights organizations (ahem), the Anti-Defamation League, "sharply rebuking" Trump and saying that it will "redirect" previous donations that they received from him?

Why is National Review (which, admittedly, is not tailored for that class to begin with) attacking white working class communities,which it perceives as being bastions of support for Trump, in quite so vicious a manner?

The truth about these dysfunctional, downscale communities is that they deserve to die. Economically, they are negative assets. Morally, they are indefensible,"... "The white American under-class is in thrall to a vicious, selfish culture whose main products are misery and used heroin needles. Donald Trump's speeches make them feel good. So does OxyContin. What they need isn't analgesics, literal or political. They need real opportunity, which means that they need real change, which means that they need U-Haul. If you want to live, get out of Garbutt [a blue-collar town in New York]. (The National Review)

Part of it has to do with, as the Washington Post put it, his "dangerous revolt against free trade." Part of it has to do with his going severely against the Republican grain in seeking to preserve Social Security and Medicare. But, far and away, the single biggest source of conservative Republican hostility to Trump's presidential bid are the various pronouncements he has made on the topic of foreign policy. Nathan Guttman's article in the Forward, "Donald Trump's (So Far) Unstoppable Run Leaves Neoconservatives Out in the Cold" is very instructive in this regard:

Trump made clear his own view of that war [Iraq] at the Republican presidential debate in Greenville, South Carolina on February 13, when, to the shock of GOP traditionalists in the audience, he declared, "Obviously the war in Iraq was a big, fat mistake." Then, twisting the knife deeper, he added: "We should have never been in Iraq. They lied, they said there were weapons of mass destruction. There were none, and they knew that there were none.”

For neoconservatives, this, along with Trump's comments about staying "neutral" in the standoff between Israel and the Palestinians so as to preserve his credibility as a mediator, told them all they needed to know. A Trump presidency, they believe, would be a death knell for restoring their vision of promoting democracy and American values through a stronger U.S. military role in the world and, in particular, in the Middle East.

But it doesn't stop there. Trump expounded further on his anti-interventionist views during his sit-down with the Washington Post prior to his appearance at the annual AIPAC confab:

Donald Trump outlined an unabashedly noninterventionist approach to world affairs Monday, telling The Washington Post's editorial board that he questions the need for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, which has formed the backbone of Western security policies since the Cold War.

[...]

...Trump said he advocates a light footprint in the world. In spite of unrest abroad, especially in the Middle East, Trump said the United States must look inward and steer its resources toward rebuilding domestic infrastructure.

"I do think it’s a different world today, and I don’t think we should be nation-building anymore," Trump said. "I think it’s proven not to work, and we have a different country than we did then. We have $19 trillion in debt. We’re sitting, probably, on a bubble. And it’s a bubble that if it breaks, it’s going to be very nasty. I just think we have to rebuild our country."

[...]

"Ukraine is a country that affects us far less than it affects other countries in NATO, and yet we’re doing all of the lifting," Trump said. "They’re not doing anything. And I say: 'Why is it that Germany’s not dealing with NATO on Ukraine? Why is it that other countries that are in the vicinity of Ukraine, why aren’t they dealing? Why are we always the one that’s leading, potentially the third world war with Russia.' "

Trump said that U.S. involvement in NATO may need to be significantly diminished in the coming years, breaking with nearly seven decades of consensus in Washington. "We certainly can’t afford to do this anymore," Trump said, adding later, "NATO is costing us a fortune, and yes, we’re protecting Europe with NATO, but we’re spending a lot of money."

Trump sounded a similar note in discussing the U.S. presence in the Pacific. He questioned the value of massive military investments in Asia and wondered aloud whether the United States still was capable of being an effective peacekeeping force there.

This is literally the most non-interventionist foreign policy outlined by any presidential candidate that actually stands a good chance at winning the whole thing since... well, since ever. Dubya made some noises about a "more humble" foreign policy when he was running in 2000, as opposed to the rampant interventionism of Bill/Hillary and Obama alluded to some statements he had made about Iraq, which so many of us, myself included, read so much into. But no one has laid out this kind of agenda during his campaign run: pulling back from the Asia-Pacific theatre, dialing down involvement in Europe and NATO and specifically ending hostilities with Russia over Ukraine, rejecting "humanitarian" interventionism and "nation building," applauding Russia's legal intervention in Syria, wanting to "work with" Putin, and promising to be a neutral arbiter in the Israel-Palestine conflict.

As John Pilger wrote about Trump in his most recent column: "He says the invasion of Iraq was a crime; he doesn't want to go to war with Russia and China. The danger to the rest of us is not Trump, but Hillary Clinton. She is no maverick. She embodies the resilience and violence of a system whose vaunted exceptionalism is totalitarian with an occasional liberal face."

So why all the hostility to him from the majority of anti-imperialists, then? Well, frankly because he's a boorish, ill-mannered, pompous, a**hole with a penchant for saying ugly, defamatory and bigoted things about Mexican migrants, Muslims, women, you name it. And because, it seems at least, that the majority, even the vast majority of his supporters do not give a single damn about any of the things I've laid out here. They seem to be attracted to his candidacy precisely because of his rhetoric targeting those groups. And I understand that and wholeheartedly sympathize.

I would never ask anyone to do anything that I've never done in my life, such as voting for a Republican presidential candidate. But I will ask that people refrain from engaging in activity that, however unintentionally, results in empowering the Clinton campaign and running flack for her.

Political analyst Mark Sleboda said it best, and I agree with every word:

Trump is the Picture of Dorian Gray of America, the very postmodern embodiment of the Ugly American. They truly deserve each other - a well-deserved fate, karmic even. The American political system's excesses coming back to eat it alive.

A Trump victory would result in internal chaos as Congress, the Supreme Court, both parties of the duopoly, Wall Street, the civil servants in state institutions, and externally the EU all galvanize themselves against him. Although the American political system is likely strong enough to survive a Trump Presidency - it will temporarily cripple it - an impotent US for at least 4 years. That's why I hope against hope for a Trump victory.

The worst for America is the best result for the rest of the world. The worst case scenario for Russia and the Rest of the world is an unchecked neocon warmongering Goldman Sachs-backed imperial Clinton Presidency that the EU and greater West would willingly follow into hell.

What will it be people? A crippled and impotent U.S., alienated from all of its traditional allies/lackeys, for at least four years? Or four to eight years of hellfire missiles and regime change operations/"popular revolutions" all around the globe, backed by strong and resolute military and political coalitions, along with much more of the same with regards to mass incarceration and deportations on the home front? And all in the name of fighting "fascism?"

There is, of course, a third option, which is refusing the options that are placed before us, and I'm not talking about any third parties, but we're not there yet. Maybe someday, but not in the near future. Meanwhile the world burns, the country's physical infrastructure continues to crumble, and its people are incarcerated in the millions. And the only thing most of us seem to give a shit about are ugly words.

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