First I must start with a disclaimer.
In today’s hysterical media climate, any article that appears to show support for U.S. President Donald Trump – or seems to defend his actions in the very slightest – is likely to spark accusations of endorsing the most vile, reprehensible and bigoted bogeyman to cross the face of the planet earth. Even among Republicans, backing for the Commander-in-Chief is fading.
As such, all rational and objective analysis of his actions and policies have all but disappeared within the commentariat classes, especially at outlets with the faintest of “liberal” bends, but it is precisely this reason I feel it important to attempt to carry out this level-headed line of enquiry.
Needless to say, as with almost every politician that has come to prominence in the last decade, I have to say I do not like or endorse President Trump. His shoot-from-the-hip nature is not particularly good for solving complicated problems. His blunt and often incendiary language fans the flames of division in an already deeply divided nation.
Many of his policies are counter-productive and troubling – take for example his pandering to Israel which has opened the door for annexation, or his vetoing of a bill that would have ended the U.S.’s military assistance to Saudi Arabia’s devastation of Yemen.
Yet, when Americans voted him into power back in 2016, I did not balk and think a modern-day Nazi had been elected – a childish and frankly dangerous view held by many on the Left (the “broad church” I once proudly was a part of yet sadly no longer feel at home in).
There were legitimate questions to be raised about corruption and criminality, but as I have contended repeatedly in the last four years, his sins paled in comparison to the evils conducted by his then-adversary Hillary Clinton or her pals in the Democratic National Committee (DNC).
Further still, like it or not, Trump was the natural manifestation of the Democratic Party’s abandonment of the working class who by then had become entirely disillusioned with politics.
When WikiLeaks published Clinton’s e-mails in the run-up to November 2016, the whistleblower group revealed the reality that many Americans knew but could not outright prove until the disclosures: the DNC was really the party of Wall Street.
Trump’s slogans to “make America great again,” and to “drain the swamp” were ambitious and perhaps unrealistic ones, given the truly mammoth grip of corporations on American politics, yet there are very valid reasons they resonated.
Of course, when Trump took office the following January, one swamp was replaced by another and his cabinet picks included Steve Mnuchin of Goldman Sachs (who left the investment house to buy his own bank while millions of Americans languished during the financial crash), retired Marine Corps General James Mattis (a board member of General Dynamic Corp, one of America’s largest arms manufacturers) and included Rex Tillerson, the longtime chief executive of Exxon Mobil, who took over from Clinton as Secretary of State.
Tillerson, to illustrate just one example of the revolving-door rot that feeds on American politics, earned himself $300 million while chief executive of the oil conglomerate, in addition to a retirement package worth $180 million, in part because his “diplomacy skills” helped secure oil fields in Iraq and the autonomous region of Kurdistan following the 2001 illegal invasion.
Much of Trump’s cabinet has vastly changed since his inauguration, but interestingly, many of his off-the-cuff sackings – more than any other President in U.S. history – have come as a result of foreign policy disagreements.
It is this side of Trump I have found particularly fascinating to observe during his tenure as the forty-fifth President – it is this, I believe, why he is so hated in whole swaths of the political establishment, particularly among certain members of the military and the intelligence community.
For too many of them in the banditry of American politics, Trump represents a danger to their bottom line – their real interests lie in securing lucrative gigs with arms traders and private security firms, as opposed to the Constitution which they took an oath to protecting.
It must be remembered that while Trump was an outsider when he defeated Clinton, with the majority of the nation’s media against him, he was just as much an outsider in Republican circles too.
Nonetheless, he routed all 11 contenders in the primaries – defeating D.C.-long-timers like Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio easily – before going on to defeat the country’s first female presidential candidate, which some misattributed to purely sexism and misogyny.
He was, and is, a right-wing populist whose xenophobic statements on immigration were rightly condemned, but in viewing his policies solely through the prism of racism, the pundit class again missed genuine concerns over globalisation that exported American jobs, while happily endorsing domestic incomes to be shortcut by cheap foreign labour.
It was Trump’s resistance to this that made him vastly popular among vast swaths of the country – but what was also largely overlooked is that Trump was overwhelmingly opposed to foreign intervention.
Americans, on both sides of the aisle, had consistently polled in favour of ending military involvement in overseas wars.
A 2017 statistical analysis, conducted by Douglas Kriner of Cornell University and Francis Shen of the University of Minnesota Law School, concluded that Clinton’s 2016 loss was in large part due to her hawkish foreign policy positions.
In addition to this and the earlier point on working class families, I would add it is because Clinton famously labelled half the country “deplorable” – a further manifestation of the Left’s deeply divisive pursuit of identity politics.
Nonetheless, regrettably, Democrats learned nothing from the upset and collectively blamed Russia for just about everything – most egregiously, starting with the WikiLeaks disclosures which in fact came from a DNC insider who was sick of his party’s malfeasance.
His name, Seth Rich, was added to the notorious-yet-unmentionable “Clinton Kill List” after he was shot in the back in the nation’s capital – it had to be demonstrated that such levels of insurrection would not be tolerated.
Because aside from the Wall Street speeches and the election rigging against Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, the DNC e-mails showed a darker reality of American politics: how the Clinton Foundation acted as a covert intermediary between the U.S. State Department and Qatar’s funding for Islamic State.
This is, of course, the real reason why WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is being held in a maximum-security prison in London, in addition to the other countless crimes he revealed.
Regardless – as brilliantly and routinely documented by Aaron Maté of the Grayzone, among others for whom it would be sacrilege to give an inch of column space in “mainstream” media – Democrats have since persistently continued to pursue these Russia lies, irrespective of any reality.
Blaming all of America’s ills on the trickery and villainous cunning of Russian President Vladimir Putin has become a comical and farcical trope better saved for an Ian Fleming novel – even the popularity of the NFL’s #taketheknee protests started by Colin Kaepernick were eventually blamed on Kremlin operatives “looking to sow discord” – but it has been the only form of meaningful opposition to Trump’s presidency by a morally bankrupt Democratic Party.
After the two-year Mueller investigation, costing taxpayers $25 million and showing no signs of collusion between Trump and Russia, and an embarrassing impeachment fiasco that dominated CNN and MSNBC, Democrats and spooks have once again shown their true colours in their resistance to Trump.
On Wednesday (July 1), the Democrat-led House Armed Services Committee voted to block Trump’s intention to withdraw troops from Afghanistan, citing anonymously sourced leaks in the New York Times that claimed Russia offered bounties on American troops to Taliban fighters – as though anything of the sort was needed following nearly two decades of invasion.
In an article for Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting, Alan MacLeod has excellently dismantled these spurious claims, but the fanfare caused in the follow-ups of major U.S. publications gives us a taste of how resistance to a second Trump term will be fought before November.
In spite of Trump’s relatively hawkish actions on Russia, Democrats will clamber onto anything that portrays him as a Putin puppet, fighting him with fake propaganda as opposed to any form of real opposition. The party that once opposed McCarthyism is again guilty of neo-Cold War militarism.
The 21st Century
The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of 21cir.
*(Top image credit: Jørgen Håland/ unsplash)