THE RED FLAG ON TRUMP'S SMALL THINGS REDUX PART TWO

AMERICAN VOTERS AND THE RACE CARD

Julie Pace write that on February 28, President Trump was greeted by enthusiastic applause as he entered the House chamber, though it was filled with Democrats who vigorously oppose his policies and many Republicans who never expected him to be elected.  Most Republican lawmakers have rallied around him since the election, hopeful that he will act on the domestic priorities they saw blocked during President Barack Obama's eight years in office.

Pace does not mention that Donald Trump won the Election of 2016 by Playing the Race Card.  Racism has always been latent the makeup of White American psyche.  Ronald Formisano in The Tea Party: A Brief History (2012) insists that Tea Party (in control of Congress since 2010) are less favorably disposed to African Americans and Hispanics than most Americans, according to a 2010 University of Washington survey of whites in five states who approved of the Tea Party.  Similarly the CBS News/Times poll found that 52 percent of Tea Partiers believe that too much has been made of problems facing black people, compared to 28 percent among all adults.

Prominent race-theorists of the early 20th century who were among Adolf Hitler's favorite authors were Madison Grant, who divided Europe by White races--not ethnics, and Lothrop Stoddard who wrote a jeremiad against the Aryan Race being overtaken by lesser races including black, browns, reds, and Jews, which have only been classified as White since the mid-1950s.

Stephen Kinzer in The True Flag: Theodore Roosevelt, Mark Twain, And The birth Of American Empire (2017) will help explain Trump's American voters.  Kinzer state that as imperialists, race has always played a key role in the debate over American expansion.  The 19th century and early 20th century was an era when respectable opinion held some groups of people to be inherently superior to others.  Imperialists naturally made this view a central part of their argument.

Kinzer posits that during the Cuban war, many American soldiers and correspondents wrote of being shocked to see that the rebel army was largely non-white.  They had arrived full of admiration for these brave soldiers, relentlessly drilled into them by the jingo press.  This sympathy changed quickly to disdain.  One reason Americans began backing away from their promise to grant independence to Cuba was their growing realization that any elected government these would be at least partly black.  Newspapers that had painted the Cuban rebels as gallant patriots began describing them as a primitive, thieving rabble.  Leonard Wood said their army was "made up very considerably of black people, only partially civilized, in whom the old spirit of savagery has been more or less aroused by years of warfare, during which time they have reverted more or less to the condition of men taking what they need and living by plunder."

Post-WWII, eventually Communism was used as an excuse for Cuban inferiority, not race.

Racism came naturally to the expansionists.

FOREIGN POLICY & RACISM

Kinzer writes that a high water mark of American restraint in foreign affairs came during the presidency of Calvin Coolidge's successor, Herbert Hoover.  Historian fault Hoover for his inaction after the stock market crash of 1929, but he was a genuine humanitarian who became the most resolute anti-imperialist president in modern American history.  As president he pursued modest and respectful foreign policies.  In one speech he asserted that conflict in the world was the result not of the rebelliousness of ignorant natives, but of "the great inequalities and injustices of centuries."  He brought Americans the unwelcome news that in "a large part of the world," the United States was seen as "a new imperial power intent upon dominating the destinies and freedoms of other people."  Son after taking office he declared, "It ought not to be the policy of the United States to interfere by force to secure or maintain contracts between our citizens and foreign states."  No previous president had spoken like that.  None has since.

 

Hoover was not alone in his philosophy.  Senator William Borah, the Republican "Lion of Idaho" who succeeded Henry Cabot Lodge as chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee when Lodge died in 1924, was an outspoken opponent of U.S. intervention abroad.  So was Senator Huey Long of Louisiana, a Democrat who was assassinated in 1935 while preparing his campaign for the presidency.  Long had promised that if elected he would name the country's most contrarian military hero, General Smedley Butler, as secretary of war.

Henry Luce declared in 1941, "The 20th century, if it to come to life in any nobility of health and vigor, must be to a significant degree an American century.  It now becomes our time to be the powerhouse."

However, racism still remained sub rosa at the center of American politics.

Kinzer posits that for generations, makers of American foreign policy have made decisions based on three assumptions: the United States is the indispensable nation that must lead the world; this leadership requires thoroughness; and toughness is best demonstrated by the threat or use of force.  A host of subsidiary assumptions under-girds this catechism: the United States is inherently virtuous; its influence on the world is always benign; it must often intervene overseas because the risks of inaction are too high; its ideals are universal and can be exported; it welcomes support from other states but may act unilaterally when it chooses.  Rather than see in the world a wide spectrum of forces beliefs, cultures, and interests, Americans often see only good and evil.  We rush to take the side of good.  This usually brings trouble.

WHITE AMERICAN HUBRIS & THE WHITE MAN'S BURDEN

World

Longtime Diplomat Looks Back At 40 Years On The World Stage

7:01

Retiring U.S. diplomat Daniel Fried looks back on 40 years of service. Fried talks with Steve Inskeep about America's role in the world, and why he disagrees with a "winner-take-all" foreign policy. http://www.npr.org/2017/03/08/519170609/longtime-diplomat-looks-bac...

The History of U.S. Intervention And The 'Birth Of The American Empire'

36:51

January 24, 20171:33 PM ET

The True Flag

Theodore Roosevelt, Mark Twain, and the Birth of American Empire

by Stephen Kinzer

Hardcover, 306 pages

Journalist Stephen Kinzer's book, True Flag, explains how the Spanish-American War launched an ongoing debate about America's role in the world. Kinzer has also been writing about President Trump. http://www.npr.org/2017/01/24/511387528/the-history-of-u-s-interven...

The United States will continue to project global power--but how?  Americans have not reconciled the conflicting desires that shape our approach to the world.  At times we are seized by martial impulses that lead us to launch preemptive wars and seek the absolute global power called "full-spectrum dominance."  Periods of prudence follow, but they are temporary.  Humility and arrogance

Coexist uncomfortably in the American psyche.  Sometimes they war with each other.

Americans want to protect our country, promote freedom, and help others.  Too often, however, we fail to realize that our power cannot wipe away deeply rooted patterns of culture and life.  We intervene because we see bad situations, not because we have a clear plan to improve them.  At moments of crisis or decision, emotion overcomes sober reasoning--and emotion is always the enemy of wise statesmanship.

Most Americans agree that the United States should act in its own interest.  We cannot agree, however, what foreign policies truly are in our interest.  Eager for quick results, we take rash steps to solve immediate problems.  That often creates larger ones.  History's great counsel to the United States is that it should more carefully weigh the long-term effects of its foreign interventions.

The United States has not discovered a magic formula that can produce happiness and prosperity everywhere.  It cannot implant its ideals or values in vastly different social and political environments.  Preemptive war and "regime change" operations reflect the quintessentially American view that the world is not a situation to be understood, but a problem to be solved.

LOST OF AMERICAN GREATNESS

Kinzer posits that most American interventions are planned to achieve short-term objectives.  They are not soberly conceived, with realistic goals and clear exit strategies.  Many ultimately harm the target country while weakening the security of the United States.

Violent intervention always leaves a trail of "collateral damage" in the form of families killed, towns destroyed, and lives ruined.  Usually these consequences are called mistaken or unavoidable.  That does nothing to reduce the damage--or the anger that survivors pass down through generations.

Intervention multiply our enemies.  They lead people who once bore no ill will toward the United States to begin cursing its name.  Every village raid, every drone strike, every shot fired in anger on foreign soil produces anti-American passion.  Americans are shocked and incense when that passion leads to violent counterattacks.  They should not be the instinct to protect one's own and to strike back against attackers is older than humanity itself.

American intervention overseas is hugely expensive.  The United States spends more on its military than the next seven countries combined, including trillions of dollars to fight foreign wars.  Meanwhile, American communities decay, infrastructure ages and withers, schoolchildren fall behind their counterparts in other countries, and millions go without housing, jobs, or health care.  Even worse, at least symbolically, are the lifelong plagues that haunt many combat veterans.  War brings "collateral damage" to Americans as well as foreigners.

TO EVERY GOOD-DEED ITS REVENGE

Foreign intervention has weakened the moral authority that was once the foundation of America's political identity.  The United States was once admired for its refusal to fight imperial wars or impose its will on distant nations.  Today, many people around the world see it as a bully, recklessly invading foreign lands, blowing up entire societies, and leaving trails of destruction and conflict.  They associate the name "united States" with bombing, invasion, occupation, night raids covert action, torture, kidnapping, and secret prisons.  History give them the right to fear that their country may be "saved" the way the United States saved Iran, Guatemala, Vietnam, Chile, Nicaragua, Afghanistan, Iraq, Sudan and Libya.

Some American leaders realized that these foreign interventions might set off upheaval in target countries.  All presumed, however, that there would be no serious effects within the United States.  For years this seemed reasonable.  In the modern age, though, people with roots in countries whose history has been twisted by foreign intervention find ways to take revenge.  It comes in forms from mass migration to terror attacks.  These are bad results of assaults that we believe would have no bad results.  We were foolish to presume that no matter how awful Americans or European interventions were, their effects would not reach the United States or Europe.  The developed world--the invading world--is not an island or an impregnable fortress.  Intervention takes a toll at home as well as abroad.

Views: 29

Comment by Ron Powell on March 11, 2017 at 4:17pm

White people, particularly  the ones who voted for Trump, believe the hype and myths about who they are and what they're about.

Therefore, they must cling to the narratives of Manifest Destiny and the White Man's Burden because they cannot reconcile their racism and racist impulses and reflexes with their Democratic  "principles" and egalitarian "ideals".

As a result, too many white folks are, of necessity, politically, socially, economically, culturally, psychologically, emotionally, and intellectually bipolar when it comes to matters of race. 

Hence the belief that it's permissible and acceptable to be of one mind publicly, and of another (the opposite) privately.

Trump has given voice to those who have grown weary of trying to maintain the false and duplicitous façade, and the untenable and unsustainable belief that they can be in favor of equality while wallowing in white privilege and denial.

Overt displays and manifestations of hatred and bigotry will continue to escalate as the shock of the Trump victory begins to wear off and the "normalization" process begins to take hold among those who are able to isolate and insulate themselves because they have enough money not to be concerned about not having enough money. 

As for the remainder of the less well informed and less well financially situated adherents of the Trump approach to government, they are the very first people Trump will screw over.

The very sad part of all this is, as long as he continues to keep them focused on their racism and bigotry with religious travel bans and exclusions and racist walls and deportations, they'll continue to buy into the supremely fraudulent notion that he's making it great to be white in America again.

Comment by mary gravitt on March 15, 2017 at 10:19am

This is what the West look like at present.  But there is always hope.

Comment

You need to be a member of Our Salon to add comments!

Join Our Salon

© 2017   Created by lorianne.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Privacy Policy  |  Terms of Service