Category Archive 'Isolationism'

09 Apr 2017

Friends of Pepe Miffed at Trump for Bombing Syria

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I’d been wondering how our isolationist friends in the Alt-Right are reacting to Trump bombing Syria. So, last night, I went looking for responses from all the usual suspects.

It was Vox Day, who had linked international populist right reactions (via the Telegraph):

Many former Donald Trump supporters have turned on the President after his decision to retaliate against the Assad regime for its chemical weapons attack.

Nigel Farage, Milo Yiannopoulos Katie Hopkins, right-wing vlogger Paul Joseph Watson, Ukip leader Paul Nuttall and Ukip donor Arron Banks are among the Trump supporters who have been disappointed by their hero.

Mr Farage said: “I am very surprised by this. I think a lot of Trump voters will be waking up this morning and scratching their heads and saying ‘where will it all end?’

American right-wing commentator Ann Coulter, who campaigned for Donald Trump, wrote: “Those who wanted us meddling in the Middle East voted for other candidates.

“Trump campaigned on not getting involved in Mideast. Said it always helps our enemies & creates more refugees. Then he saw a picture on TV.”

and the irate Zman:

Yesterday, the alt-right and even many seasoned geezers like me took a body blow when Trump abandoned everything he said over the last two years and embraced the idiocy of yet another war in the Middle East. Not only is he embracing the lunacy of the traitorous neocons, he is risking war with Russia. His “reason” for condemning himself to ruin is that his daughter got the sads over seeing pictures of dead kids in Syria. She takes to twitter over this latest agit-prop and in a day daddy is launching missiles at Assad.

The United States has no interest in Syria. There are no good guys to back. There’s no “solution” to what ails that part of the world, short of another flood. Syria is a mess because it is full of Syrians. The only sane policy is to make sure it remains full of Syrians. Let them kill each other there, not in Paris or Portland. If the Russians want to build their pipeline there and pay the price for it, good for them. If the Saudis want to stop them, best of luck with it. This is not an American problem. It is their problem. Let them own it.

Vox Day himself is also agin’ all that “Neocon” policeman-of-the-world humanitarian-intervention stuff.

For the record, I am totally opposed to US involvement in the Middle East. However, as a student of military history, I am also not inclined to leap to criticize strategy on the basis of a single limited tactical strike. War is coming, but not necessarily where everyone assumes it will be or at the behest, and in the interest, of the neocons.

Vox is clearly saving his ammunition for RaHoWa [Racial Holy War] or the reconquest of seceded leftist California.

17 May 2016

Know-Nothing-ism Redivivus

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CitizenKnowNothing

Roger Cohen finds that everything old is new again: both the anti-immigrant passion of the late-1840s-early-1850s American Party and the America First isolationist movement of the late 1930s. Like Protectionism (which has been discredited for decades and decades after the Smoot-Hawley Tariff provoked a universal trade war which played an important role in the world-wide Great Depression), Nativism and Isolationism have been for a very long time looked upon as discredited political positions, which it would be intrinsically disgraceful and discrediting to embrace.

Donald Trump proved that none of the three grave historic fallacies of American politics was a third rail that killed candidacies any longer. His supporters in general didn’t know their history and didn’t care.

On the evidence, ethnocentrism is a pretty basic human instinct. Band together with your own. Keep the outsider down or out. In the 1850s, at another moment of American unease, the Know-Nothings swept Massachusetts and won mayoral elections in Philadelphia and Washington on a nativist platform to “purify” national politics by stopping the influx of Irish and German Catholics.

Papist influence was then the perceived scourge through which the Know-Nothing movement, as the Native American Party (later the American Party) was commonly known, built its following. Today the supposed threat is Muslim and Mexican infiltration. Or so Donald Trump, the de facto Republican presidential candidate, would have us believe in his “America First” program.

A know-nothing tide is upon us. Tribal politics, anchored in tribal media, has made knowing nothing a badge of honor. Ignorance, loudly declaimed, is an attribute, especially if allied to celebrity. Facts are dispensable baggage. To display knowledge, the acquisition of which takes time, is tantamount to showing too much respect for the opposition tribe, who know nothing anyway.

Any slogan can be reworked, I guess. America First has a long, unhappy history, the America First Committee having pressed the view that the United States should stay out of the war to defeat Fascism in World War II. …

Well, America First is back, tweaked as Trump’s we-won’t-be-suckers-anymore ideology. …

The know-nothings are on the march. But of course they must know something. Millions of people who vote for Trump cannot be wrong. Perhaps their core idea, along with the unchanging appeal of ethnocentrism, is that politics no longer really matter. Celebrity matters.

Power centers are elsewhere — in financial systems, corporations, technology, networks — that long since dispensed with borders. That being the case, loudmouthed, isolationist trumpery may just be a sideshow, an American exercise in après-moi-le-déluge escapism.

Read the whole thing.

01 May 2016

Trump’s Paleocon Nationalism and Obama’s Anti-Americanism Sound Very Much the Same

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Isolationism4

Claire Berlinski contemplates Donald Trump’s recent Foreign Policy speech and finds that he is really preaching the same doctrine of American withdrawal from world leadership and decline that Barack Obama was.

Trump’s speech made him seem to me Obama’s natural successor, and made me decide that neither are the aberrations I thought they were. Both reflect an external reality: the relative loss of American power. Both envision a limited role for America in the world. Trump’s wrapping Obama’s view of the world in the American flag, and making it palatable to people who weren’t willing to hear it from Obama, but it’s the same message. We’re no longer able to be a benevolent global hegemon. Indeed, we never were a benevolent hegemon. The world will be fine, and so will we, without our efforts to lead it. If we’re an exceptional country at all, our destiny is to lead by example, not force. “America First” is not an accidental slogan. Trump certainly knows where it comes from, and I suspect most Americans at least intuit it.

Trump in many ways echoes the themes of Obama’s first presidential campaign:

    We tore up what institutions they had and then were surprised at what we unleashed. Civil war, religious fanaticism, thousands of Americans and just killed be lives, lives, lives wasted. Horribly wasted. Many trillions of dollars were lost as a result. The vacuum was created that ISIS would fill. Iran, too, would rush in and fill that void much to their really unjust enrichment.

    They have benefited so much, so sadly, for us. Our foreign policy is a complete and total disaster.

Here’s Obama in 2008:

    … we have lost thousands of American lives, spent nearly a trillion dollars, alienated allies and neglected emerging threats – all in the cause of fighting a war for well over five years in a country that had absolutely nothing to do with the 9/11 attacks.

And with just a few changes in tone,

    I am running for President because it’s time to turn the page on a failed ideology and a fundamentally flawed political strategy, so that we can be intelligent about keeping our country safe. I stood up and opposed the Iraq war from the start, and said that we needed to fight al Qaeda.

    Hillary Clinton says she’s passed a “Commander in Chief test” – not because of the decisions she’s made, but because of all the years she’s spent in Washington. But here is the truth, folks, believe me: there is a gap in this country – a gap between people who claim to be tough on national security, and how unsafe we are because of their stupid, disastrous decisions. Our foreign policy is a complete and total disaster.

    The war in Iraq enriched Iran, continuing its nuclear program and threatening our ally, Israel. Instead of the new Middle East we were promised, we got nothing. The war in Iraq has enriched North Korea, which built new nuclear weapons and even tested one.

The above passage is Obama in 2008, with a few words changed so that the voice sounds more like Trump’s, although the meaning is intact.

A world — including me — that’s been looking at Obama for eight years and wondering if the American century is over is now watching the Trump campaign and realizing that it’s long since past. Come 2016, Trump or Hillary Clinton will be in the White House. Clinton is explicitly running on “more of Obama’s foreign policy.” Trump is implicitly running on the same promise, and proposing to get there at warp speed.


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