Looking to the storms coming in 2019, we consider, how is Trump the same as other U.S. presidents, and how is his regime markedly different, requiring concerted action from us?
Each of the three “war on terror” presidents were and are completely committed to the US empire’s domination of the globe through military supremacy. Each declared victory in the illegitimate endless war in their own way. George “W” Bush proclaimed “mission accomplished” (2003), Obama did it with “air strikes… taking out ISIL leaders, heavy weapons, oil tankers, infrastructure,” promoting a “network of partners” instead of invasions (2015) and, Trump bluntly declared victory over ISIS in Syria, saying “now, we’ve won” (2018).
Many people living in the US got taken in by these justifications and declarations, while the power structure united behind war for empire. Post 9/11, there were very few in power who opposed W’s clearly false basis for the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq and, even after the 2004 invasion of Fallujah killing thousands of civilians, he was re-elected. Democrats ran for power in 2006 and 2008 promising they would end the wars, but did not. Obama surged more troops into Afghanistan and, again, civilian deaths spiked. US troops were only removed from Iraq in 2011 because the Iraqi government would not agree to give them immunity for killing Iraqis. The Obama administration developed new strategies of targeted killing via drones, expansion of the use of special forces – including mercenaries and, rather than using US trooops, “outsourcing” the infantries of lesser imperialist or subservient countries to fight. The CIA and CIA-trained forces have managed to push more people toward the Taliban over 17 years in Afghanistan. See Anand Gopal’s No Good Men Among the Living and C.I.A.’s Afghan Forces Leave a Trail of Abuse and Anger of December 31, 2018.
By 2016, the largest modern refugee crisis, fed by the US invasions of Afghanistan, Iraq, and its role in Yemen, Syria, Libya as well as from climate change, left 65 million people desperately moving across Europe. Probably 3 million had been killed in the US war on Iraq and six other countries and 4.5 million made into refugees. Regimes subservient to the US running Afghanistan and Iraq couldn’t succeed against or control a surge of Islamic fundamentalism – all the basis for that had been provided by the illegitmate, unjust, immoral war on terror and an estimated $3 trillion in weapons.
Trump’s “America First” rhetoric confused some in the anti-war movement who thought that meant non-interventionist. Daniel Larison in The American Conservative called him a hawk: “Trump was quick to denounce previous wars as disasters, but his complaint about these wars was that the US wasn’t ‘getting’ anything tangible from them. He didn’t see anything wrong in attacking other countries, but lamented that the US didn’t ‘take’ their resources.” The Trump/Pence regime’s innovations to the war on terror have been increasing the use of drones, including the spread of drone bases in Africa; increased bombing (the “Mother of All Bombs” in Afghanistan in 2017 was the largest non-nuclear bomb ever dropped); and the relaxed rules of military engagement making killing of civilians more frequent. “Retribution will be fast and powerful as we lift restrictions and expand authorities,” he said, and hired James “Mad Dog” Mattis, architect of the Fallujah massacre, an established war criminal of the era. Read more about Mattis here.
If Trump follows his boast to pull troops from Syria and Afghanistan, one has to ask where they will be sent. To Yemen in support of the Saudi war? To Africa where there are now 34 US bases? Will mercenary forces replace them? Will the US bombing increase?
Trump, in two years of power, has become an unrestrained war criminal. See WarCriminalsWatch.org Donald Trump.
RefuseFascism.org indictment: Crimes Against People of the World
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But, is Trump just another in the line of commanders in chief for the empire? NO, his regime is more dangerous.
In response to the deep challenges the US empire faces, the Trump/Pence regime is a break with the normal workings of how the empire was gained and developed for 70 years. The normalized chaos Trump creates is fascism at work, not playing by the customary rules, but consolidating its political base and its grip on the courts, the military, and the culture. Coco Das, writing on RefuseFascism.org, says, “this chaos is the very vehicle by which this regime frees itself from the constraints imposed by the established domestic and international order.”
Revcom.us looks at the challenges the US empire faces with the disaster of the war on terror, and increased global threats in When the American Hitler and His War Criminal Defense Chief Battle It Out…Do We Have a (Mad) Dog in Their Fight?
“Trump’s ‘Make America Great Again’ and ‘America First’ are not just nostalgic slogans to satisfy a rabid base fearful of a world where their privilege is eroding… but concentrate a fascist program that is a response to the reality that the imperialist program that has held since WW2 is failing—with the longest war in U.S. history in Afghanistan an acknowledged disaster. The old world order has been increasingly racked with deepening problems, and the top dog, the U.S., has been losing its edge in a world system of imperialism.
The Trump/Pence regime’s foreign policy is at one and the same time radically reactionary and rooted in the uninterrupted world view and history of ‘Manifest Destiny,’ a quasi-religious belief that America is divinely entitled to enslave, to destroy—including through genocide—to conquer and expand anywhere it deems its ‘interests’ to be, without a shred of concern for other peoples or lands. Manifest Destiny, from its inception, has white supremacy as the thread running through it. This mission of world domination is not just historic, but runs right down to today, through both Democrats and Republicans, including the Afghanistan/Iraq wars of Bush and Obama, and Obama’s horrific wars in Libya and Yemen now carried forward by Trump—wars with genocidal impact that continue to crush in the most torturous ways millions of people, including millions of children.”
Our interests are the interests of humanity and the planet, not in siding with the “mainstream” conventional imperialists or with the mad-dog fascists.
Our New Year’s resolution: we will not allow ourselves to be normalized to the horrors. Speak up, tell the truth, protest and work towards sustained, non-violent protest with the single demand: The Trump/Pence Regime Must GO! See RefuseFascism.org.