It is a convenient attitude after marshalling a global coalition (twice) for intervention in Kuwait (Gulf War 1) and again in Iraq (Gulf War 2) for the purposes of US energy security that Trump now wishes to pursue a kind of “splendid isolationist” foreign policy after his predecessors have left behind a not so splendid mess. A mess which he is now doing his best to compound.
These previous US initiated actions have spiralled into the regional mess we now have in the Middle East, North Africa and Southern Europe. Trumpites think we should all applaude them now for leaving everyone else to handle the social fallout of their actions even those of us who were not part of their pair of “grand coalitions”.
The Ongoing Erosion of US Prestige & Influence
The Trumpites view that their outcome will be a glory filled jingoistic romanticised dreamland is delusional. The outcome of Trump will be the further erosion of US influence and prestige globally as the US (Democrat and Republican) for some reason best known to themselves continue to hand Russia, China and Iran the initiative and like always we “over here” [Europe] pick up most of their bill (socially).
I wonder how prepared Trump supporters are for sectarian domestic warfare instead of their preferred modus operandi of taking a giant shit on everyone from a great distance.
Selective hearing is one thing when it comes to “hearing” the reality of past US foreign policy disasters. Selective memory to justify a US foreign policy of “splendid isolation” is another thing entirely.
Trumpites Are Unprepared For The Outcomes That They Will Cause
Not content with splitting external regions in two the US has elected Trump after some minor civil unrest and a number of tragic radical Islamist atrocities and divided their own country. But the numbers of deaths on US soil are tiny in relative terms and Trumpites think that they are ready for domestic sectarian strife that Trump policies will inevitably lead to – if pursued.
The election of Trump is in reaction to how many deaths from terrorist attacks on US soil? The US cannot handle terrorism on their own soil without making wildly disproportionate decisions.
The US hasn’t had a serious conflict on their soil since the Civil War. Since then it has all been one sided affairs for them locally. The Spanish-American War, the native American Indian genocide and a few spats with Mexico.
Over-Simplification & Generalisation
Among all the pro-Trump comments there is a common theme of over-simplification and generalising. It is possible to be outraged and hold a contrary opinion to the mainstream without relying on prejudice, racism or extremism.
It is also possible to hold composite opinions that are not contradictory. I am and continue to be a vocal opponent (who regularly has taken the time to write these opinions down and publish them) of political correctness, mass migration and open door policies, the undermining of Western cultural values, radical Islam, sharia law, “states within states” groups who refuse to assimilate and expect everyone to cater to their often radical demands.
All Values Can Be Accommodated
In order to aggressively assert your values you do not have to destroy the values and beliefs of others or go to war with conflicting ideologies.
I held a position of Special Advisor – Security Affairs (Oman, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Yemen) Undisclosed – NGO (Mass Migration Predictive Profiling – Radicalisation Threats). My focus was on rigour in vetting and processing immigrants along appropriate lines using appropriate methods, not blanket bans.
My blog is full of content that places my opinion on the record – from November 2015 “Weak-willed West Needs To Aggressively Assert Its Values“:
* “We can fret about the potential rise of Islamic extremism in this country and fool ourselves into thinking that we are immune. But why should we be uniquely exempt from other European countries? Extremism doesn’t even have to be violent to have an impact. Extremism can be seen in Muslim clerics who, post-‘Charlie Hebdo’, threatened prosecution of anyone who reprinted the offending cartoons. Extremism is seen on Irish campuses where Sharia-spouting whackjobs are given a round of applause while anyone espousing liberal, Western values is shouted down as a racist – assuming they are allowed to speak in the first place. The terrifying truth is not the strength of ISIL’s convictions, but the weakness of ours. Put simply, they want it more than we do and until we start to aggressively assert Western values in Western countries, is it any wonder that they despise us? Frankly, I can’t say I blame them.”
* (Re-blogged from an article in The Irish Independent by Ian O’Doherty)
Clever Interventions Are Far More Effective Than Populist Broad Brush Strokes
It is a highly complex world with a highly complex security problem. A history lesson and the roots of the current mess is not possible here. But briefly the US finds itself dealing with large scale domestic socio-economic problems; Europe is in a monetary, economic and cultural crisis; social cohesion has disintegrated in large parts of the Middle East and North Africa.
There are rising far right groups in Europe and the US has elected a man with explicit alt-right sympathies as President. Subtlety and diplomacy and clever interventions are far more effective than broad brush strokes like Trump has begun to take. The majority only see the headlines and do not care to or want to dig deeper. A man and a set of policies that appeal to populist sentiment are a dangerous combination.
Excerpt from “The Future of Populism in the Trump Era” by Paul Wayne:
“Already emboldened by the Brexit vote in June, the election of “an outsider” as President of the world’s oldest democracy has given particularly the core of Europe’s right-wing populist parties a rather vainglorious halo. These three—France’s Marine LePen, the Netherlands’ Geert Wilders, and Germany’s Frauke Petry—stand to create a political environment which could ultimately eclipse the European project. All in 2017, the same year in which the Union plans to celebrate its very founding with the 60th anniversary of the Treaty of Rome. The European Union can survive Brexit. Frexit—Marine LePen’s goal in her planned referendum on EU membership—would be Europe’s death knell.”
Two Party System – Universally Awful
The US is the architect of its own problems. I detest the Republican Party and the Democratic Party. Clinton was an awful candidate. Trump was an awful candidate. But both represent exactly what the USA has become. A polarised, corrupted dystopia who regularly foment problems internationally and when it does not work out then walk away and leave a sorry mess behind them.
All The Presidents Messes
In my lifetime the American people have elected Nixon (Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia), Ford (by accident), Carter (Iranian Revolution & Iran Hostage debacle), Reagan (Funded the Taliban / Iran-Contra Affair / Nicaragua / El Salvador / Guatemala), Bush the first (Gulf War I), Clinton (Somalia, Rwanda, Haiti / Israel-Palestine / Ethnic Wars in Europe – Croats, Serbs and Bosnian Muslims / Kosovo & Albania), Bush the Second (Iraq / Afghanistan), Obama (IRANDEAL, global appeasement, the relatively unopposed rise of ISIS, and the disintegration of Syria and Libya and Egypt as a result of US Foreign Policy failures) and now Trump.
In every case each of these presidents presided over a root cause of the current problem. The US does not have a good record. Trump supporters cite the border control, internal dissent and socio-economic problems as the main reasons for justifying a man like Trump yet most of his actions are having global fallout.
Always The Right Man, Until They Are Not
The US electorate who support the winning candidate always declare that they have elected the right man until he is not the right man and then they elect the right man again until he is not.
I do hope that they get it right soon because to date they keep getting it wrong, at their own and everyone else’s expense.
When the “Muslim” issue is “discussed” with Trumpites they will trot out the history of Muslim conquest and Crusader comparisons in terms of scale. It is a basic piece to any SME on History but it will like all base line rhetoric be offered as the lowest common denominator response masquerading as knoweldge instead of evolving the debate in to mature rather than reactionary territory.
“Small Nation, Small Thinking” But Wider Experience
Trumpites have referred to me and my opinions as being the result of being an inhabitant of a ‘small nation’ with “small thinking”.
Next week I will travel to the 27th Muslim country that I have visited for work and / or pleasure. How many Americans have been outside their state let alone their country?
I can tell you. Of the 311 million U.S. residents, there are over 109 million valid U.S. passports in circulation according to the State Department. The real number of Americans that actually traveled (took trips) overseas in 2009 for either business or leisure, was about 15.5 million —or just five percent of the nation’s 311 million residents.
If you take the jet setting HNWI’s traveling ways into account less than 14.6 million Americans actually traveled overseas in 2009 — maybe as low as just 11.6 million, or about 3.5% of all U.S. residents.
America’s most popular overseas countries are: England (9% of all trips), France (7%), Italy (7%), Germany (5%), Dominican Republic (5%), Jamaica (5%), Japan (4%), China (4%), India (4%) and Spain (4%). Other significant countries visited include: Bahamas (3%) and Costa Rica (3%).
With just six percent of Americans trips going to the Middle East, and even fewer, just three percent, visiting the whole continent of Africa, and two percent going to Australia/New Zealand.
The US is a nation where most of the population and certainly most of the Trump supporters have never seen first hand many of the places which they hold aggressively contrary opinions toward.
For a nation where remarkably few of the residents have ever set foot in or spoke to a citizen of these countries yet seem to know all about their motivations and traditions it is amusing to me that according to Trumpites that I should take my “small nation” thinking and replace it with the opinions of insular Americans.
Amusing because the majority of them derive their opinions from second hand biased TV & radio commentators, and politicians rather than first hand experience.
Well that’s just lazy isn’t it really?
“Self Informed” Rather Than “Externally Conditioned”
Americans who wish to mouth off about culture and integration (Reds & Blues) should try visiting some of these places and see the root causes for immigration or the effect of their past “right man at the time” presidents’ failed foreign policies.
A Trumpite responded in reply to this suggestion of taking time to travel and talk to Muslims in affected countries to gain a wider understanding by quoting (knowingly or not) the late comedian Chris Farley in the movie “Tommy Boy” that:
“Of course, I can get a hell of a good look at a T-Bone steak by sticking my head up a bull’s ass, but I’d rather take the butcher’s word for it.”
To which I replied “Well you couldn’t do that with Trump anyway pal cos his head is already up his own ass – plan B I guess”.