Consortium News February 15, 2017
President Trump is so despised by progressives that many are rallying behind neocon-driven demands for a New McCarthyism to silence those who object to a costly and dangerous New Cold War. They are in effect making an alliance with the most war-mongering parts of the U.S. establishment. They are, in effect, buttressing incredibly dubious notions of U.S. victimhood and demonizing official enemies with the result of increasing U.S. militarism and the likelihood for confrontation with the other nation that could destroy the planet a hundred times over.
By Sam Husseini
Many liberals and so-called progressives are stoked that President Trump’s National Security Advisor, Michael Flynn, resigned over accusations surrounding his discussions with a Russian ambassador while Trump was president-elect.
Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-California
Congressional Democrats want to use this to go after Trump. Rep. Nancy Pelosi: “After Flynn resignation, FBI must accelerate its investigation of the Trump Administration’s Russian connection.” Even before Flynn’s resignation, Rep. Maxine Waters did a segment on “Democracy Now:” “Trump Should Be Impeached If He Colluded with Russians Ahead of Election.”
There’s certainly reasons to want to see Flynn go — he recently put Iran “on notice” while the White House tried to gin up the case against Iran. And there are others reasons for trying to impeach Trump. Many of his critics cite the Constitution’s “emoluments clause” which bars government officials from receiving gifts or other “emoluments” from foreign states.
But it’s perhaps easier, more “nationalistic” and ultimately horrifying for “progressives” and others with an alleged interest in peace to be harping on the Russian angle. The Clinton campaign took that tack time and again during the campaign — with disastrous results. Clinton talked about Russia and Trump talked about jobs in the Rust Belt. Guess who won the presidency?
Many so-called progressives are in effect making an alliance with the most war-mongering parts of the U.S. establishment. They are, in effect, buttressing incredibly dubious notions of U.S. victimhood and demonizing official enemies with the result of increasing U.S. militarism and the likelihood for confrontation with the other nation that could destroy the planet a hundred times over.
Trump had just reportedly turned down Elliott Abrams‘s bid to be number two at the State Department. That was a good thing. Elliott Abrams was part of the Iran-Contra scandal and needed a Christmas Eve pardon from President George H.W. Bush to expunge his criminal record. He backed death squads in Central America.
Abrams then did a stint in the George W. Bush administration in charge of “democracy promotion” and was almost certainly behind still unaccountable horrors by Israel and in Iraq and elsewhere. But he somehow gets depicted as “reasonable” by many, especially now that he was turned down by the Trump administration.
Indeed, just as the major media were closing in on Flynn, Elliott Abrams appeared on CNN, saying he thought Trump’s political adviser Steve Bannon was behind him not getting the State Department job. Damn that crazy Bannon for apparently blocking a certifiable war criminal.
Trump won the presidency in large part because he was a Republican who could with minimal credibility talk about being against the “Establishment.” I didn’t buy it, but lots of people did. He won an election that I doubt many in the vast Republican field could have. Trump talked about non-intervention abroad; he talked about preserving Social Security and Medicare; he defied much of the Republican orthodoxy at home and overseas.
One upshot of the Flynn resignation is that Vice President Mike Pence, a white “Christian” nationalist who is also is a darling of both Wall Street and the neocon interventionists comes out smelling like roses. Trump is a twisted narcissist and a political opportunist. But Pence is much more in line with what the Republican establishment wants done.
Flynn was compelled to resign in large part because the “intelligence community” apparently had recording of his talks with Russian representatives that he allegedly mischaracterized. This implies that people will be held accountable for their falsehoods or faulty memories if — and only if — their stance upsets the CIA, NSA, et al.
Retired U.S. Army Lieutenant General Michael Flynn at a campaign rally for Donald Trump at the Phoenix Convention Center in Phoenix, Arizona. Oct. 29, 2016. (Flickr Gage Skidmore)
It’s worth keeping in mind that when Trump seemed to challenge this part of the permanent government in January, leading Democrat Chuck Schumer said Trump was “really dumb” for attacking the intelligence agencies. Said Schumer: “Let me tell you, you take on the intelligence community, they have six ways from Sunday at getting back at you.”
And what else did we just see happening as Flynn was resigning? Steven Mnuchin, from the good folks at Goldman Sachs, was confirmed as Treasury Secretary. The case against Mnuchin is so massive and his Wall Street/Goldman Sachs/Soros/foreclosure king/Skull and Bones pedigree is so not “populist” that it’s quite remarkable that he was able to get through.
Virtually all the Democrats in the Senate did vote against Mnuchin. But they all knew that that wouldn’t stop him. Schumer got to put out some populist rhetoric, conveniently ignoring his own deep ties to Wall Street. Four of Schumer’s top funders through his political career are in insurance and finance: Goldman Sachs, Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase & Co, Credit Suisse Group. Heck, he even took money from Mnuchin himself.
Wall Street and other corporate interests are quite firmly in control of the Democrats in Congress and Trump has put them in power in his cabinet.
Trump is an obvious con artist and is not to be trusted. I’d bet his attempts at a detente with Russia have to do with profiteering — or worse, with trying to go after China or such. But the criticism to date bears more resemblance to the Republican obsession with Benghazi than with an attempt to meaningfully try to change U.S. aggression around the world.
But any meaningful critique of Trump can’t possibly be one that demonizes the other major nuclear power, especially given the litany of U.S. illegal aggressions around the world, including its provocations against Russia — such as violating promises and expanding NATO to Russia’s border.
If only these liberals scrutinized presidents when they want to go to war like they do Trump when he wants to make peace with Putin.Sam Husseini is communications director for the Institute for Public Accuracy and founder of votepact.org, which urges left-right cooperation. Follow him on twitter: @samhusseini. [A version of this article first appeared at The Progressive.]