Friday, 8 September 2017

President Trump is Not a Fascist

'This was apparent recently in Charlottesville, in the US, and the demagogue who excited the murderous rage that day, and later excused it, was Donald Trump'.
It's not entirely clear Trump 'excited' the Charlottesville mob directly to descend into the town, though clearly Trump's demagoguery during the 2016 election helped stoke up the far right in the US. However, Trump simply is not a fascist, even if his body language has certain similarities to Mussolini.

Usually very sensible commentators such as brilliant historian Tim Snyder have been right to caution about the threat to the rule of law and a constitutional republic. But it's hard to avoid the impression Snyder has been blinded by hatred for Putin's Russia, which he regards as 'fascist' and so yokes Trump with him.

The 'Russia collusion' narrative has been taken up by democrats smarting from Hillary Clinton's humiliating defeat and Republicans such as Senator McCain who have a neo-Cold War loathing for Russia and see any potential for a rapprochement as 'appeasement'. He also failed to become Republican President in 2008.

There is, however, very little evidence Russia successfully colluded with Trump's campaign team to install him in the White House. This conspiracy theory is held to by liberals who refuse to accept a right wing demagogue with an admiration for Putin could possibly have been voted in the world's leading democracy.

In the US there is no mass movement that Trump leads that swept him into the White House. That distinguishes Trump clearly from Hitler. Trump has no long term involvement in politics or agitation in radical nationalist groups. He's an outsider who flirted with both Democrats and republicans over the years.

Trump's straightforwardly a rabble rousing populist who would say anything to get votes and pose as the strongman who will 'Make America Great Again'. Unless there is a group within the US elites prepared to back an executive order in a 'state of emergency' to curtail the rule of law, the US is nowhere near 'fascism'.

This is not to say the US could not shift towards an authoritarian-nationalist power state should Trump shift towards an aggressive war after a 9/11 moment or building up with an Iraq style of choreography for a war with Iran later in 2017. But it's hard to see how the MSM and elites would not support such a war.

In fact, it's for this very reason Trump's administration could well be planning a war on Iran. After all, the brief missile strikes on Syria in April 2017, following Assad's alleged chemical weapons attack, repositioned Trump as truly Presidential-'the making of a President'-according to CNN's Fareed Zakaria.

Otherwise, unlike in 2003, the MSM might this time do its job should Trump cynically sabotage the 2015 nuclear deal and cook up various 'post-truth' pretexts for war. Those ranged in anti-war protests could well be demonised as 'enemies within'. There are dangerous signs Trump wants to militarise the police.

But it's more likely Trump's Presidency is going to be more 'sound and fury' rather than 'fire and fury'. The reason even normally staid liberals are tacking towards almost 'antifa' positions is more about demonising Trump because, understandably, he's not playing the public diplomacy game on 'US values'.

Trump is blundering, aggressive in rhetoric and largely lame in his Presidency. He commands no wider movement with power outside the Washington elites. There is no evidence of the police or FBI or others plotting or planning a takeover of the state. Checks and balances are working to restrain Trump's Presidency.

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