quarta-feira, 23 de novembro de 2016

8 Reasons to Love Trump

Augusto Zamora R

Shirts of every stripe (except neo-fascist ones) were torn in anguish over the election to the US presidency of the outsider Donald Trump, and as tends to happen, the passions of the moment have crowded out the space available for analysis. From this spot, we had already pointed out  that Trump, although he was no Bluebeard the Pirate (nor Hillary any Joan of Arc) certainly was addressing himself to whites –that is, to 69% of registered voters– and that topics such as immigration aimed to pull votes  away from Hillary, whom various surveys had predicted would lose.

We will still insist that Trump is not Bluebeard, and that Hillary is no Joan of Arc. Beyond all of the screeching, it may be that Trump turns out to be the better option, and that, given time, we will apply the words of Matthew “by their fruits will you know them” (Matthew 20).  Without forgetting what we have said previously that “whoever wins, once anointed, will be incorporated into the establishment” – a less passionate and more realistic analysis of Trump’s actions in the Whitehouse will show that the wolf is not as scary as he is made out to be. So let us review:


Trump affirmed that he will carry out a huge deportation of immigrants. In the US, that is synonymous with Latin Americans (latinos or hispanics, putting it simply). Now he says it would be only be one million (there are more than eleven million), but that they would be immigrants with criminal records, which, if true, would be just a handful. The whole song-and-dance over Trump has created the impression that there were no deportations before. Nothing could be further than the truth. The “benevolent” Obama exercised, in his term, the most severe anti-immigration policies of the past thirty years. According to Department of Homeland Security (DHS) data, 2,768,357 people were deported between August 2009 and August 2016. In 1986, under Reagan, the figure was 24,592 Hispanic immigrants; in 1996, under Bill Clinton, 69,680; in 2006, under Bush Jr. 280,974; in 2012, under Obama, 435,498 people. When Barack ends his term, he will have expelled 3 million immigrants whose only crime was to be hungry. Trump, in excluding –for the moment- immigrants with clean records from the threat of deportation, is exempting 95% of them. Next to Obama’s “wholesale deportation for everyone” there will be Trump’s “wholesale deportation of those with records” which will greatly improve the situation of ordinary immigrants.


We reiterate our belief that the wall will never be built. Trump has said that he will only build parts. Neither is this a novel subject. The first wall was built in 1990, with 20 kilometres in the area of San Diego. En 2005, the US Senate approved an extension of 1,123 kilometres to the 600 kilometres of the wall already in existence by that year. In 2006, the same Senate adopted a new amendment to build 595 kilometres of wall and 800 kilometres of fences. In 2009 similar walls and fences covered more than one thousand kilometres. Today, there are 509.5 kilometres of wall for those on foot and 482.4 kilometres of fences against those in vehicles (which those on foot can leap over) and 58.4 kilometres of a double or triple wall in the San Diego section. Walls come and go, but immigration will never be stopped. From 1990 till present, some 20 million Hispanics have crossed the border, showing the futility of the barriers. Unlike the previous governments, which built walls and barriers without making a fuss about it (and dismissing Mexico’s protests), Trump has laid the subject on the table, and –surprise!– he will meet with the Mexican president about it. No other US president has done so in order to address this issue. We will see how it is eventually watered down and will end up remaining more or less as it is, but with some extra fencing for appearances’ sake. The only novelty will be in Trump discussing the wall with Mexico.


 A little bit of history. Free trade deals (originally called ‘free exchange treaties) were an invention of England in the 19th century in order to benefit its industrial production, this at a time when Great Britain was the world’s factory. Latin American countries were the first victims: the continent’s “liberators” agreed to sign free trade deals which exempted British products from taxes. Those treaties destroyed the economies of whole countries and gave rise to neo-colonialism. Today, the premise is the same. ‘Globalisation’ is only for capital and multinational companies, not for workers. The free trade agreements have undermined working conditions, including those of the US middle class which voted largely for Trump. The multinationals took their industries to Asia or Mexico and closed their US installations. Trump’s promise to reindustrialise the country can only be criticised by the corporations that want the free circulation of goods and capital, but their workers without rights, as has been happening in Spain for years. The TTIP, which Trump has labelled “madness”, is a treaty that puts states on their knees before big business and capital. To defend economic and social rights is the struggle of the Left. If Trump helps in that, then we should let him.

4. NATO: 

According to Trump, Europeans should meet their “defence” expenditures, since the US economy is not now in any condition to finance NATO’s aggressive deployments. Since 1999, Europe has experienced an unprecedented militarisation which, if not halted, will sooner or later lead to war with a Russia that is being territorially boxed-in further and further. That Trump should openly address Europe being in a state of war, a subject deliberately avoided by the media, is a welcome thing. A note for our followers:  in the coming months, the deployment of 6,000 soldiers to Eastern Europe is envisioned, together with hundreds of tanks, armoured vehicles and heavy ordinance. Also approved is the Armoured Division of the Fourth Division Infantry sending another 4,000 soldiers in January of 2017.  According to the newspaper Stars and Stripes, the US will also deploy 60% of the personnel and equipment of the 10th Combat Aviation Brigade of New York, made up of 1,750 pilots and 60 planes and helicopters, amongst them the UH-60 Black Hawk and the CH-47 Chinook, (“2 brigades of nearly 6,000 troops head to Europe amid growing Russian tensions”). Stars and Stripes is an army daily which reports on troop movements, military exercises and other themes related to the US armed forces. If there’s going to be a war, let them give us a heads-up first.


A whim of the Soviet leader Nikita Krushev, himself of Ukrainian origin and a hero of the Battle of Stalingrad, passed the historically Russian peninsula to the Soviet Socialist Republic of Ukraine in 1954. He did it to commemorate 300 years of Russian-Ukrainian unity and out of his belief in the eternal survival of the Soviet Union, then at the height of its power. The death of the USSR put within NATO’s reach the old German dream of bringing Ukraine into its orbit in order to use it against Russia.  The 2014 coup d’etat, promoted by the US and NATO, threatened to bring Ukraine into the Atlanticist organisation  –and with it NATO’s control of Sevastopol, the historic base of the Russian fleet in the Black Sea. But in Moscow, it was no longer the drunken Boris Yeltsin in power, but Vladimir Putin. Putin had already declared that he wouldn’t accept NATO bases in Georgia. In 2008 he invaded Georgia and put an end to the Atlanticist project. With this precedent, it was already obvious that Moscow would not accept the loss of Crimea. Last July, Trump declared that “the people of Crimea…prefer to be with Russia, instead of where they were before, and that has to be taken into account.” He also expressed his opinion on what could happen if anyone tried to return Crimea to the Ukraine: “And now you want to start World War Three in order to give [Crimea] back?” Trump recognising Russia’s recovery of Ukraine would be a political defeat for NATO and the EU, but it would help to shore up the continent’s precarious peace.


It is common knowledge that Ukraine is submerged in an interminable swirl of corruption and mismanagement. The country’s poverty has caused salaries to dip to 50% those of China. The ruling institutional clique has placed Ukraine at number 1 in Europe’s corruption index. Trump, during his campaign, labelled Ukraine a “country in chaos”, which provoked angry reactions in Ukraine’s leaders. Interior minister Arsen Avakov, called him a “dangerous outcast” whilst a government MP called him “a complete idiot”. Ukraine is a geostrategic borderland for Russia, and it is not going to let NATO take it, at least, not without a war. Crimea and Ukraine are part of the same package. Neither of them is worth a nuclear war. Except for the suicidal, nothing can justify a nuclear war. Reinforcing peace, however, is worth everything.  


 “Obama is the founder of ISIS and Hillary Clinton is the cofounder”, said Donald Trump on numerous occasions. He also said that he would finish off the Islamic State in one hundred days. Even if it’s 200 days, it won’t matter so long as it brings peace to the destroyed and martyred Syria. With Hillary that would not have been possible. With 250,000 dead, the country almost completely destroyed and eight million displaced, a thorough accord between the US and Russia is required. The announced meeting between Trump and Putin can at least deliver that deal. NATO won’t like it, but Syrians will. With the country pacified, hundreds of thousands of them will be able to return and, with international aid, rebuild their country. Is anyone against this?


Let’s admit it; even though it has a touch of demagogy about it, this is an honourable gesture which shouldn’t be dismissed. With this gesture, the multi-millionaire Trump says that he earns so much money that he doesn’t need a publicly-paid salary. Has any other millionaire done this before, even though many of them have filled public posts? The first US President George Washington, despite being a slaver and a millionaire, assigned himself a salary that was 2% of the national budget.  According to the Center for Responsive Politics, there are 268 millionaires in Congress, all of which faithfully receive their salaries, together with perks. The Texan Michael McCaul has a 500 million dollar fortune. Doesn’t Trump’s gesture say something to the ‘black card’ people or to the sports club managers who spend 737,000 Euros of public funds in restaurants, amongst a never-ending list of such people?

There is also a ninth reason: Trump has banned the ‘revolving doors’. No member of his cabinet may profit from the exercise of his public position until five years after he has left it. Let Spain and Europe take note.

Let’s ask the EU to expel only those immigrants with criminal records and give papers to those that don’t. Let’s tear down the barbed wire fences built by democratic governments and bring back the free movement of people. Let’s end the ridiculous militarisation underway and let us secure peace on the subcontinent. Let us put an end to the criminal policies that destroyed Libya, Syria and Iraq, and let us help to rebuild those countries. Let us criticise less and lead more by example. Trump is not worse than what we have here in Europe. To believe anything else is utter self-delusion and blindness. In Europe the racist extreme right already governs: in Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Denmark, Finland, Lithuania, Ukraine… These are realities, not speculation.

Translated by David Montoute from the original:


Although generally a good article, a few caveats should be added:

Russia's 2008 intervention in Georgia cannot accurately be described as an "invasion", but should be understood as an appropriate and proportional response to an unprovoked attack upon South Ossetian civilians and Russian peacekeepers alike by the Georgian government then headed by Mikheil Saakashvili.

Augusto's first sentence also leaves us with the impression that only neo-fascists cheered Trump's victory -a pretty extraordinary claim when 50% of the voting public chose him. In fact, Trump's support came from a broad swath of opinion and included both Leftists, diverse anti-interventionists (such Justin Raimondo's excellent Anti-War site), Paleocons, and simply those disgusted by the sociopathic warmonger Hillary Clinton. Contrary to media hype, the far-Right and its racist ideologues were a distant voice and an essentially irrelevant factor in Trump's truimph. It has been noted than a great number of those who previously elected Barack Obama (twice) this time opted for Trump. 

Did they all become "racists" overnight?

In a sane and rational world, Jill Stein's Green Party would now be steering the United States' away from its costly and destructive empire. But as our author has reminded us, serious analysis begins with the world that we have, not the one that we want.