Trump is Bringing the War Back Home
Having made the psychologically damaging error of listening to Trump’s Inauguration speech, like a good many others in the world, I didn’t get a lot of sleep last night. But what haunted my dreams wasn’t so much the lumbering menace of “America First!” or even the Casino owners’s wager that no matter how ill thought through and asinine the policy, God would always be there to cover the bet. No…I kept wondering to myself where I’d heard this language before? When and where was the last time I saw a government formed of people with a radical hatred of government, people animated by the belief that the corporate thuggery that works for them in the boardroom will work when it comes to the complexities of running a country? Who were the last people who dismissed the very idea of complexity as faggoty defeatism, who believed that a combination of their own divinely sanctioned crassness and the miraculous power of the market could magically and speedily “make America Great Again.”
And it hit me. Iraq 2003.
That was the last place where free market ideologues were let loose like this…where education was to be run by someone who doesn’t believe in schools, where health can be run by someone who wants to destroy public medicine, where foreign policy would consist solely in looking for unprincipled, uncaring, devil take the hindmost deals with whatever power hungry thug could be found who shared your lust for a buck, where the environment and energy departments could be run by people who have railed publicly that these agencies should be shut down.
Iraq. 2003. A defeated country…in exactly the state of dereliction that Trump depicts “the greatest country in the world” and thereby justifies the slashing and burning of the state created by Roosevelt, Kennedy and Johnson…and lately in the hands of that unspeakable monster of racial miscegenation and liberal conspiracy, Barack Obama.
To be fair, Trump probably was shocked by what he saw of the rust belt states on the campaign trail, just no doubt Paul Bremer’s people were genuinely personally distressed by what they found in Baghdad. And probably Trump genuinely believes his own propaganda…that every half baked, bigoted myth he’s heard on talk radio about welfare and immigration represents the “truth” that pointy headed liberals self-interestedly conceal with their unmanly talk of “complexity.”
And so, with exactly the same mixture of arrogance and ignorance as in Iraq, a colonial administration has just taken power in the United States. People without knowledge, sympathy or imagination who believe in simple minded myths they themselves have peddled, contemptuous of experts and understanding and the stuff you read in books…have arrived in a real country with real history and real cultures…and yes…real complexity. Over the next few weeks, Trump’s appointees and Trump himself will be bulling and grunting around government departments full of people who will try to explain to them reality, and who will be dismissed as feather-bedding obstructionists…as ornery, irritating natives insisting that actually knowing things about the country you’ve invaded might be a good place to start.
Trump – and Ryan , and all the President’s Rich Men are about to do what Bremer did in Iraq. And, when a handful of coal-mining jobs are “returned” (at huge government cost…and profit to the very same colonial corporations) to West Virginia, while the government programmes that actually make life possible there disappear in a bonfire of tax cutting hubris, and an already denuded economy descends into community destroying chaos, it will, of course, be the nay-sayers with their “complexity” who will be blamed. The coming to power of Trump’s colonial, conquering administration of the rich and invincibly stupid is the beginning of the American civil war, not the end.
So we don’t need to look to Fascist Europe in the 1930s for precedents for what is happening in the USA. What is happening is the natural sequel to what neo-liberal intervention did to the economies of Eastern Europe in the 90s and the Middle East in the last decade.
The colonial war, finally, has come home.
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