For many Americans, the choice between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump was painful – a classic case of choosing a lesser evil – but William Blum sees at least some hope in Trump’s turning away from war with Russia.
By William Blum
That he may not be “qualified” is unimportant. That he’s never held a government or elected position is unimportant. That on a personal level he may be a shmuck is unimportant. What counts to me mainly at this early stage is that he – as opposed to dear Hillary – is unlikely to start a war against Russia.
His questioning of the absolute sacredness of NATO, calling it “obsolete”, and his meeting with Democratic Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard, an outspoken critic of U.S. regime-change policy, specifically Syria, are encouraging signs.Even more so is his appointment of General Michael Flynn as National Security Adviser. Flynn dined last year in Moscow with Vladimir Putin at a gala celebrating RT (Russia Today), the Russian state’s English-language, leftist-leaning TV channel. Flynn now carries the stigma in the American media as an individual who does not see Russia or Putin as the devil. It is truly remarkable how nonchalantly American journalists can look upon the possibility of a war with Russia, even a nuclear war.
(I can now expect a barrage of emails from my excessively politically-correct readers about Flynn’s alleged anti-Islam side. But that, even if true, is irrelevant to this discussion of avoiding a war with Russia.)
I think American influence under Trump could also inspire a solution to the bloody Russia-Ukraine crisis, which is the result of the U.S. overthrow of the democratically-elected Ukrainian government in 2014 to further advance the U.S./NATO surrounding of Russia; after which he could end the U.S.-imposed sanctions against Russia, which hardly anyone in Europe benefits from or wants; and then – finally! – an end to the embargo against Cuba. What a day for celebration that will be! Too bad that Fidel won’t be around to enjoy it.
We may have other days of celebration if Trump pardons or in some other manner frees Chelsea Manning, Julian Assange, and/or Edward Snowden. Neither Barack Obama nor Hillary Clinton would do this, but I think there’s at least a chance with the Donald. And those three heroes may now enjoy feeling at least a modicum of hope. Picture a meeting of them all together on some future marvelous day with you watching it on a video.
Trump will also probably not hold back on military actions against radical Islam because of any fear of being called anti-Islam. He’s repulsed enough by ISIS to want to destroy them, something that can’t always be said about Mr. Obama.
International trade deals, written by corporate lawyers for the benefit of their bosses, with little concern about the rest of us, may have rougher sailing in the Trump White House than is usually the case with such deals.
The mainstream critics of Trump foreign policy should be embarrassed, even humbled, by what they supported in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Syria. Instead, what bothers them about the President-elect is his lack of desire to make the rest of the world in America’s image. He appears rather to be more concerned with the world not making America in its image.
In the latest chapter of Alice in Trumpland, he now says that he does not plan to prosecute Hillary Clinton, that he has an “open mind” about a climate-change accord from which he had vowed to withdraw the United States, and that he’s no longer certain that torturing terrorism suspects is a good idea. So whatever fears you may have about certain of his expressed weird policies … just wait … they may fall by the wayside just as easily; although I still think that on a personal level he’s a [two-syllable word: first syllable is a synonym for a donkey; second syllable means “an opening”]
Trump’s apparently deep-seated need for approval may continue to succumb poorly to widespread criticism and protests. Poor little Donald … so powerful … yet so vulnerable.
The Trump dilemma, as well as the whole Hillary Clinton mess, could have probably been avoided if Bernie Sanders had been nominated. That large historical “if” is almost on a par with the Democrats choosing Harry Truman to replace Henry Wallace in 1944 as the ailing Roosevelt’s vice president. Truman brought us a charming little thing called the Cold War, which in turn gave us McCarthyism. But Wallace, like Sanders, was just a little too damn leftist for the refined Democratic Party bosses.
William Blum is an author, historian, and renowned critic of U.S. foreign policy. He is the author of Killing Hope: U.S. Military and CIA Interventions Since World War II and Rogue State: A Guide to the World’s Only Superpower, among others. [This article originally appeared at the Anti-Empire Report, http://williamblum.org/ .]