By Jason Taylor
You gotta love the republican blame America first (or more specifically blame Obama first) attitude. How I’ve heard this so many times from members of that deceitful, hypocritical mess of a political party that I’m surprised I can even get angry about it anymore. Anyway just to remind Mr. Trump and his supporters that it was Assad that gassed his people and it is Putin who is killing off his opposition — not Hillary Clinton nor Barack Obama. Yet in his rush to make America “great” again Trump can’t help but blame other people for the actions of dictators and terrorists.
Trump’s disdain for humanity reminds me of a Republican debate some time ago when Ron Paul was asked that if someone did not insurance and if that person were in dire circumstances, what would Paul do. Paul hesitated long enough for someone from the crowd to yell, “Let him die.” The crowd cheered wildly.
Trump neither has a disdain for moralizing about other countries nor does he put the U.S. first.
First, Trump readily and repeatedly criticizes other governments’ approaches to how they treat people, as long as those governments are democratic. He refrains from criticizing authoritarian governments and often compliments them. When assessing other countries, Trump has moral standards. Democracies are weak and fail to provide ethnic-homogeneous societies where the rich can rule. Autocracies are more efficient at suppressing diversity and keeping the wealthy in power. Trump applies these moral standards internationally, as all can see whenever his little fingers get near his phone.
Second, Trump does not focus on U.S. interests. He does not put the U.S. first, at least not if by “the U.S.” one is referring to our whole country. Rather, he focuses on the interests of big business, giving a slight nod to U.S.-based businesses though he’s happy to help big businesses abroad as well. He rode to power by feigning to want to make America great and pretending to speak for the little guy (at least, the white, Christian little guys), but it was a charade. Every policy he is trying to implement benefits big business and hurts working people. Every. Single. One.
Trump is a racist authoritarian and his policies, foreign and domestic, consistently reflect that.
Besides the obvious temperament issues that Trump’s reaction reinforce, I think Trump’s “realpolitik” also speaks to Trump’s lack of understanding (disdain?) of political norms. Time and time again, he has confounded supporters and enraged detractors simply by stating the subtext as text. I think he thinks that this is due to his keen insight and masterful grasp of the issues, but of course, it has more to do with his lack of understanding that (in this case) the US is supposed to at least pretend to be the good guy.
Sadly, he’s probably right that there is little we can do to oust Assad short of an ill-advised military conflict, but what he fails to grasp is that maybe we should at least aspire to it. On the one hand, his candor is kind of useful to expose the hard-hardheartedness of Republican policy in general, but the shedding of at least a veneer of, I dunno, goodwill towards men, is profoundly depressing.
The idea that Trump is not strong on humanitarian values is consistent with the way he has lived his life. When you have spent 70 years in a bubble of privilege, the capacity for empathy is not likely to develop. He is a supremely self-interested individual and his stance on the horrors in Syria (among other things) is simply an extension of that quality.