portland independent media center  
images audio video
newswire article reposts united states

government | imperialism & war

Could Trump Bring Down the American Empire?

In the last speech of his victory tour in December 2016, Donald Trump promised: "Let's stop tearing down foreign regimes that we shouldn't have been involved with. Instead of investing in wars, we will invest in rebuilding our crumbling infrastructure... ".

Trump's unorthodox approach has encouraged him to challenge the essential logic of the U.S. military empire more than any previous president. And the final years of his administration will surely bring him more struggles over these issues with those in charge of the empire, predicts Gareth Porter in Truthdig.
 http://www.truthdig.com/articles/could-trump-take-down-the-american-empire/
 http://www.counterpunch.org/2018/10/26/could-trump-bring-down-the-american-empire/

October 26, 2018

Could Trump Bring Down the American Empire?

by Manuel E. Yepe

More than any other presidency in the modern history of the United States, Donald Trump's has been a permanent threat of socio-political shipwreck. He has deliberately excited and fuelled conflicts, involving xenophobic and racist currents in society, with an always nasty political discourse. Trump's eccentricities have been widely highlighted by the press, but his attacks on the U.S. military presence in the world and its commitments to that end have received far less attention.

Such is the essence of an essay by journalist and historian Gareth Porter, published on the website TRUTHDIG.

Trump had come to the White House with a commitment to end U.S. military interventions. This was based on a worldview in which wars for military domination have no place. In the last speech of his victory tour in December 2016, Trump promised: "Let's stop tearing down foreign regimes that we shouldn't have been involved with. Instead of investing in wars, we will invest in rebuilding our crumbling infrastructure... ".

At a meeting in the summer of 2017, where Defense Secretary James Mattis defended new military measures against the Islamic State in North Africa, Trump expressed his displeasure at the endless wars and Mattis claimed that "we are doing it to prevent a bomb from exploding in Times Square," to which Trump replied, furiously, that the same could be said about anything that happened in any country on the planet.

Trump's national security team was so alarmed by his questioning of military commitments and troop deployments that they invited him to the Pentagon. They were hoping to make him better understand their arguments with the usual rhetoric of the international democratic order based on the rules of globalism.

Ignoring decades of wars in Southeast Asia and the Middle East, Mattis and other high-ranking officials argued that "this order is what has kept the peace for 70 years." Trump shook his head in disagreement and diverted the discussion to a subject he found particularly irritating: economic and military relations with South Korea. "We spend $3.5 billion a year there to keep troops in South Korea," complained Trump. "I don't know why they're there. Let's bring them all home!"

In September 2017, while Trump threatened to destroy North Korea in tweets, he privately held an opinion against the presence of troops in South Korea and his determination was to eliminate it, according to Bob Woodward.

Political-diplomatic events with the two Koreas in early 2018 reinforced Trump's view that U.S. troops should withdraw from there, so he accepted North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's offer to hold a summit.

Trump ordered the Pentagon to study options for the withdrawal of these U.S. troops. That idea was viewed by the media and most of the U.S. national security elite as completely unacceptable. But the Pentagon's military and intelligence specialists long knew that U.S. troops were not needed to deter North Korea or defend against an attack through the demilitarized zone.

Trump's willingness to practice personal diplomacy with Kim was driven by his ego, but also by the idea that it would contribute to ending or attenuating the deployment of troops in South Korea. Obviously, such a thing could not happen without a clear rejection of the national security ideology that had dominated Washington's elites for generations.

Bob Woodward tells in his book "Fear in the White House" that Trump was eager to put an end to the three great wars inherited from Barack Obama: in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria, about which he said in July 2017 that he was very tired.

"We should proclaim victory, end wars and bring our troops home," he said, repeating the political tactic with which Washington covered up its defeat in Vietnam in 1966.

Trump feared he would be held responsible for the consequences of defeat in a war. This was the same fear that had led Lyndon Johnson to abandon his strong resistance to large-scale intervention in Vietnam in mid-1965 and Barack Obama to accept a major escalation in Afghanistan that he had been objecting to.

Trump's mercantilist worldview poses economic dangers for the United States that may lead him to reject the tactics of multiple permanent wars. But his unorthodox approach has encouraged him to challenge the essential logic of the U.S. military empire more than any previous president. And the final years of his administration will surely bring him more struggles over these issues with those in charge of the empire, predicts Gareth Porter in Truthdig.

A CubaNews translation by Walter Lippmann.

homepage: homepage: http://www.counterpunch.org/2018/10/26/could-trump-bring-down-the-american-empire/
address: address: CounterPunch


Trump: Iraq Invasion "Worst Decision In The History Of Our Country" 29.Oct.2018 00:14

>

Trump: Iraq Invasion "Worst Decision In The History Of Our Country" West Columbia, SC 6/25

 http://portland.indymedia.org/en/2018/06/436268.shtml


 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KzP_L43G5dA

From Trump rally at Airport High School gymnasium in West Columbia, South Carolina on June 25th 2018.

Note his remark:
"But count the lives [lost] on both sides. Millions of lives. You don't hear that — millions of lives."


starts around 53:00 into speech —

---
"... We have seven trillion dollars invested in the Middle East — what do we have? What do we have? Other than death, and destruction — what do we have? What a decision that was, to go in. I believe it was the worst decision in the history of our country; and the way we got out was horrible, if you look at Iraq. The way we got out was horrible. Truly one of the worst decisions ever made in this country. Were it for seven trillion dollars and thousands of lives — but count the lives on both sides, folks. Millions of lives, in my opinion. Millions. You don't hear that — millions of lives."
---


[Trump:] "What? You Think We're So Innocent?" 29.Oct.2018 00:15

author: Paul Atwood

 http://portland.indymedia.org/en/2018/06/436177.shtml

In response to media questions about his failure to address the dismal human rights record of North Korea Trump in his inimitable manner said "What, you think we're so innocent?"

Trump is the first president of whom I am aware even to broach the unmentionable much less admit publicly that we are hardly exceptional.


Donald Trump's Unique Human Decency On Iraq 29.Oct.2018 00:16

author: John V. Walsh

 http://portland.indymedia.org/en/2016/10/433491.shtml

From a humanitarian standpoint, the content of Trump's condemnation of the war is outstanding. In fact, to grieve over the lives of Americans but not the people of Iraq is a form of racism. Trump is virtually unique among major politicians in taking this stand on the lives of innocents the US has attacked. He should be praised for it.

As election day approaches, it is time to ignore the noise of the moment and think clearly about the crucial issues facing us, none of which is more important than war or peace. The War on Iraq has been a touchstone for these issues over the last 14 years.

On Iraq, Clinton and her operatives have sought to avoid at all costs an accurate comparison of her position over the last 14 years to Trump's. "What did Trump say?" has been buried by the Clintonites and company. "When did he say it?" has been slyly substituted for it. The time line has been used to equate the positions of Hillary the most notorious of hawks with that of Trump.

Let us have a look at Trump's words as well as the dates they were uttered. And compare them to Hillary's:


Donald Trump Could Be The Military-Industrial Complex's Worst Nightmare 29.Oct.2018 00:17

author: William Greider

 http://portland.indymedia.org/en/2016/07/432871.shtml

Trump came to Washington in March 2016 and dropped a peace bomb on the neocon editorial writers at The Washington Post and the war lobby. Trump wants to get the United States out of fighting other people's wars. He thinks maybe NATO has outlived its usefulness. He asks why Americans are still paying for South Korea's national defense. Or Germany's or Saudi Arabia's.

This Trump talk is definitely career-threatening for the military-industrial complex. It was particularly playful of Trump to choose The Washington Post as the place to drop his bomb; after all, it's the Post that has made itself such a righteous preacher for endless war-making.


King of Liars Nation of Death 29.Oct.2018 15:59

rAT

Everything Trump utters is a fucking LIE- a calculated bid to justify Nazism by any means necessary. Dead Jews? We all saw this coming during the 2016 campaign as mGOP goons roughed up protesters at rallies as Trump cheered them on and promised to pay their legal fees. Thugs were jumping all over the few brave souls who dared to speak truth to power in public. JUST LIKE NAZI RALLIES IN GERMANY IN THE THIRTIES. Same fascist mentality and condemnation and eventual destruction of what little liberties still existed. Trump is the NEW HITLER in so many ways. His army of right wing zombies are armed and primed for battle now that their beloved Fuhrer has OK'd murder and mayhem against the "enemies of the people". Greider sold out to yuppie billionaire Jann Wenner ages ago. A liberal stooge of the Huff Post variety, owned by the elite for decades. No cigar for him. And Walsh would drown in his own bullshit if he didn't have Hillary Clinton to blame for the world's ills. A former First Lady? They do deserve each other I suppose. Back to the troll farm for your deceitful ass.

"Nazism" (etc.) by rAT — 29.Oct.2018 17:29

_

so, Obama (protege of Clintons) who obliterated more brown people than any recent U.S. president and was put into office by Wall St./big bank-insurance *isn't* a 'Nazi'?

"Hillary Clinton to blame for the world's ills" —
isn't that what rAT was doing 3 years ago? We've seen plenty of your unhinged insane editorializing <-- thereabouts


Trump is the only well-known U.S. political figure, PERIOD END, to have made consistently strong statements since 2004

ABOUT THE WELFARE OF THE PEOPLES OF IRAQ WHO WERE MASSACRED BY U.S. FORCES.


**** you rAT, you drooling incompetent nincompoop. Who wipes your ass (we already know you're incapable of handling that task yourself)?

p.s. RE: Trump himself (or any WH occupant) and, alluded-to violence 29.Oct.2018 18:30

_

This just happened :

--------------------
 link to www.orlandosentinel.com

Shots fired into Volusia County Republican Party satellite office, police say

October 29, 2018 3:50 PM

Bianca Padró Ocasio
ReporterOrlando Sentinel

At least four shots were fired into the Volusia County Republican Party's office in South Daytona, police said Monday.

No one was injured, according to South Daytona police Capt. Mark Cheatham, but the shooting broke the offices' front window and caused some damage to the drywall inside.

--------------------


Don't forget this clown :

 http://portland.indymedia.org/en/2018/10/436797.shtml#454114

James Hodgkinson fired 70 rounds at U.S. Congressmembers on a baseball field in Virginia last year because he was "incited" by Trump and Fox News :

 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2017_Congressional_baseball_shooting





Trump, Obama, Hillary Clinton ET CETERA are not 'the problem'.
Neither is 'politics', left-right allegiances, people having spenetic aneurysms /
'internet civil wars'
over Identity politics ad infinitum :



Never mind the parties, politics, or '3 branches' of government 17.Oct.2018 00:13
> link  http://portland.indymedia.org/en/2018/10/436723.shtml#454069


The problem isn't the political parties, legislative / executive / judicial branch politicians-appointees, or what Shiny Topic the corporate mass media planted for you to pay attention to today.

Problem is the Shadow Government and deep state ( no, not the Trumpkin rhetorical one; the Mike Lofgren one ).
which includes the Federal Reserve [<-- entity which is neither of those 2 words], IRS and many other unconstitutional institutions.


you, the U.S. citizen (and by extension of the U.S. dollar, FedReserve and military-industrial plutocratic complex, the rest of planet Earth) are not ruled, or governed, by 'elected officials' or political parties.


Read on (and scroll down) :
 http://portland.indymedia.org/en/2018/08/436626.shtml#453759

yes, you're going to actually have to *read* ^

(assuming you even want to *address* the problem...)

Trump's Greatest Truth 31.Oct.2018 00:50

The Red 'X' Society

"The Press is The Enemy!"

more rec'd Reading Comprehension for rAT (not that it'll do any good...) — 04.Nov.2018 23:16

author: Rob Urie

Donald Trump and the American Left

August 3, 2018

The election of Donald Trump fractured the American Left. The abandonment of class analysis in response to Mr. Trump's racialized nationalism left identity politics to fill the void.

This has facilitated the rise of neoliberal nationalism, an embrace of the national security state combined with neoliberal economic analysis put forward as a liberal / Left response to Mr. Trump's program. The result has been profoundly reactionary.

As widely loathed as the Democratic establishment is, it has been remarkably adept at engineering a reactionary response in favor of establishment forces. Its demonization of Russia! has been approximately as effective at fomenting reactionary nationalism as Mr. Trump's racialized version. Lest this be overlooked, the strategy common to both is the use of oppositional logic through demonization of carefully selected 'others.'

This points to the most potent fracture on the Left, the question of which is the more effective reactionary force, the Democrats' neoliberal nationalism or Mr. Trump's racialized version? As self-evident as the answer apparently is to the liberal / Left, it is only so through abandonment of class analysis. Race, gender and immigration status are either subsets of class or the concept loses meaning.
Left apparently unrecognized in bourgeois attacks on working class voters is that the analytical frames at work— classist identity politics and liberal economics, are ruling class ideology in the crudest Marxian / Gramscian senses. The illusion / delusion that they are factually descriptive is a function of ideology, not lived outcomes.

Here's the rub: Mr. Trump's critique of neoliberalism can accommodate class analysis whereas the Democrats' neoliberal nationalism explicitly excludes any notion of economic power, and with it the possibility of class analysis. To date, Mr. Trump hasn't left this critique behind— neoliberal trade agreements are currently being renegotiated.

Asserting this isn't to embrace economic nationalism, support policies until they are clearly stated or trust Mr. Trump's motives. But the move ties analytically to his critique of neoliberal economic policies. As such, it is a potential monkey wrench thrown into the neoliberal world order. Watching the bourgeois Left put forward neoliberal trade theory to counter it would seem inexplicable without the benefit of class analysis.

Within the frame of identity politics rich and bourgeois blacks, women and immigrants have the same travails as their poor and working-class compatriots. Ben Carson (black), Melania Trump (female) and Melania Trump (immigrant) fit this taxonomy. For them racism, misogyny and xenophobia are forms of social violence. But they aren't fundamental determinants of how they live. The same can't be said for those brutalized by four decades of neoliberalism

The common bond here is a class war launched from above that has uprooted, displaced and immiserated a large and growing proportion of the peoples of the West. This experience cuts across race, gender and nationality making them a subset of class. If these problems are rectified at the level of class, they will be rectified within the categories of race, gender and nationality. Otherwise, they won't be rectified.

Democrats could have confronted the failures of neoliberalism without resorting to economic nationalism (as Mr. Trump did). And they could have confronted unhinged militarism without Mr. Trump's racialized nationalism. But this would have meant confronting their own history. And it would have meant publicly declaring themselves against the interests of their donor base.

Mr. Trump's use of racialized nationalism is the primary basis of analyses arguing that he is fascist. Left unaddressed is the corporate-state form that is the basis of neoliberalism and was the basis of European fascism. Recent Left analysis proceeds from the premise that state control of the corporate-state form is fascism while capitalist control—neoliberalism, is something else.

Lest this not have occurred, FDR's New Deal was state control of the corporate-state form. The only widely known effort to affect a fascist coup in the U.S. was carried out by Wall Street titans in the 1930s to wrest control from FDR before the New Deal was fully implemented. Put differently, the people who caused the Great Depression wanted to control its aftermath. And they were fascists.

More recently, the effort to secure capitalist control has been led by liberal Democrats using Investor-State Dispute Resolution (ISDS) clauses in trade agreements. So that identity warriors might understand the implications, this control limits the ability of governments to rectify race and gender bias because supranational adjudication can overrule them.

So, is race and / or gender repression any less repressive because capitalists control the levers? Colonial slave-masters certainly thought so. The people who own sweatshops probably think so. Most slumlords probably think so. Employers who steal wages probably think so. The people who own for-profit prisons probably think so. But these aren't 'real' repression, are they? Where's the animosity?

As political scientist Thomas Ferguson has been arguing for decades and Gilens and Page have recently chimed in, neither elections nor the public interest hold sway in the corridors of American power. The levers of control are structural— congressional committee appointments go to the people with lots of money. Capitalist distribution controls the politics.
Despite the capitalist rhetoric at the time, the New Deal wasn't 'socialism' because it never changed control over the means of production, over American political economy. Internal class differences were reduced through redistribution, but brutal and ruthless imperialism proceeded apace overseas.

The best-case scenario looking forward is that Donald Trump is successful with rapprochement toward North Korea and Russia and that he throws a monkey wrench into the architecture of neoliberalism so that a new path forward can be built when he's gone. If he pulls it off, this isn't reactionary nationalism and it isn't nothing.

Otherwise, the rich have assigned the opining classes the task of defending their realm. Step 1: divide the bourgeois into competing factions. Step 2: posit great differences between them that are tightly circumscribed to prevent history from inconveniently intruding. Step 3: turn these great differences into moral absolutes so that they can't be reconciled within the terms given. Step 4: pose a rigged electoral process as the only pathway to political resolution. Step 5: collect profits and repeat.