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Is Trumpism a permanent or a temporary feature of American geopolitics?

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Over the weekend we learned more about how disastrous Trump’s visit to Europe was, although you’d never know it by the rah-rahing on right wing media. They’re having a field day portraying the trip as a net-plus game changer for him; typical is the New York Post, which deemed it “a huge success” and praised Trump for being “clear, concise and disciplined.” Of course, you have to consider the source: the Post is owned by, yes, Rupert Murdoch, of Wall Street Journal and Fox “News” notoriety. But this pro-Trump slant is a canard—nobody outside of Trump/tea party circles believes it (and even the more intelligent of them doesn’t). Clearly it is a ham-handed attempt to distract the nation’s attention away from the gathering menace of RussiaGate.

In reality, two overarching facts emerged from the trip:

  1. Trump was warmly welcomed by Middle Eastern dictators and also by Israel’s right wing government, and
  2. Leaders of western democracies are appalled by Trump and Trumpism.

It is the end of May, 2017, only four months into this new administration, and so suddenly has Trumpism become a phenomenon that it’s impossible as yet to place it in perspective. What does it mean for America and the world? Is it an aberration—a fever that will break, releasing the patient from delirium? Or is it a new permanent condition?

America is such a dominant factor in world geopolitics that anything that happens here has instant and long-lasting impact everywhere else. The Cold War began here—rightfully or wrongfully will long be debated—and quickly spread around the globe, influencing everything for the next half-century and even today. Truman, Acheson and Marshall decided in favor of resistance to the Soviet Union, and they prevailed, proving that the wishes of a small handful of men can send history careening in a certain direction.

Now we have Trump. What is Trumpism? It has elements of fascism, in its pro-corporate inclinations and disdain of liberal democracy. It is nationalistic: “America First” implies that traditional “American exceptionalism” now has reached gigantic proportions of hubris. It is authoritarian: Trump as businessman was accustomed to being the only voice that counted, and his predilection for dictators, such as King Salmon in Saudi Arabia, Duterte in the Philippines and Trump in Russia, shows that he prefers to do business with others who call the shots in their own countries, without the messy distractions of interfering parliaments.

Which leaves Western European leaders in a bind. When Merkel announced that Germany’s and Europe’s reliance on America is now “over” due to Trumpism, she was simply voicing the common-sense conclusion that Trump’s skepticism about NATO and climate change, not to mention his character, are proof that the U.S. is not a reliable friend. When Macron said his tense, awkward handshake with Trump was a deliberate “moment of truth,” that, too, was an announcement that France is prepared to break with 70 years of solidarity with America.

Nor were Merkel and Macron the only Europeans shocked by this regime. “Donald Trump’s Europe tour leaves leaders strangely shaken,” the Guardian headlined, with NATO’s secretary-general, the prime minister of Montenegro and the Belgian prime minister publicly registering degrees of insult and shock. A U.S. State Department official, off the record, said to the Daily Beast, When it comes to diplomacy, President Trump is a drunk tourist. Loud and tacky, shoving his way around the dance floor. He steps on others without realizing it.”

Some “huge success”!!

Why would a Trump supporter in a Red State care about all this gossip? After all, those offended leaders are foreigners, and not only that, they’re Europeans. Devout Christians from the Bible belt have been reared on the belief that you can’t trust Europeans. They’re atheists, Euro-trash, and globalists, in favor of homosexuality, abortion and trade deals that rip off America—in other words, the enemy.

History loves symbols: Hitler at Nuremberg, being hailed by 100,000 Nazis in the “ice cathedral” of Leni Reifenstahl’s spotlights; JFK declaring “Ich bein ein Berliner” at the height of the Cold War; that lone Chinese protester in Tiananmen Square facing down the tanks. Trumpism, too, now has its symbol: those Trump-supporting white supremacists marching in Virginia earlier this month, chanting “Russia is our friend.”

I can speak only for myself, but I prefer the culture of western Europe to that of Middle Eastern autocracies. The West has developed traditions of liberalism, intellectual curiosity, tolerance, diversity, optimism and progress—values I cherish, and that I believe advance world civilization. This current president, Trump, seems to prefer something else: regressive, dark, resentful, atavistic and paranoid. If Trumpism is a new permanent feature of American policy, it is deeply disturbing, but I think it’s too early to say that at this point. Macron’s landslide victory in France, after all, suggests that the fascist-nationalist wave rolling across the West may be over. At any rate, The Resistance continues to be all-important: it is our duty, to America, to the world and to the future, to make Trumpism a temporary sickness.

  1. When I was a child in the 50’s, the horrors of WWII and the Holocaust were a recent and very real memory for my parents. They were children of parents who fled their Eastern European homes for the opportunity and safety of the USA. But they always warned me that it could happen here – the “regressive, dark, resentful, atavistic and paranoid” behavior of Nazi Germany.

    We’ve made enormous progress in this country over the last 50 years, but the dark underbelly of fear and bigotry has always been here. It’s human nature to fear “the other”. The greatest problem now is that the genie is out of the bottle and doesn’t want to go back in. With Trump and the current ultraconservative Republican party showing by their own behavior that hate crimes against other religions, against women, against LGBTQ people, are OK – and are not really crimes because of, you know, “no humans involved here” – how do we bring light and understanding, and effective prosecution of hate crimes to those who enjoy the power of hate?

    #Resist #NeverAgain

  2. Dear Goddess, I don’t know how to bring “light and understanding” to anyone, because people have free will and can choose darkness and ignorance. I do know how to beat them, though, and that is through elections. We have got to persuade more young people and people of color to vote!!! Had all eligible voters voted in 2016, we’d be talking about President Hillary Clinton.

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