Waiting for War

by William Skink

The opposition to Trump put their uselessness on display over the weekend by demanding Trump release his taxes. Instead of pointing out how over half over every tax dollar goes to America’s killing machine, the anti-Trumpers are maintaining their obsession over Trump’s taxes the same way conservatives frothed at the mouth for Obama’s birth certificate.

As tensions with North Korea ratchet up, where is the anti-war sentiment from Democrats? It’s conspicuously and dangerously absent. At Intelligent Discontent, for example, Nathan Kosted managed two posts back-to-back about Trump’s taxes but there is nothing about America’s path to a military confrontation with North Korea, just like there was nothing about Trump’s war crime against Syria.

Over at Cowgirl, there is similarly no substantive acknowledgement of Trump’s 180 degree turn from his campaign rhetoric against the interventionism that Hillary represented. Montana is in the middle of a special election for a Congressional seat, yet there seems to be no interest by local Democrats to discuss how Congress has abandoned its constitutional role in declaring war before, you know, bombing another country with missile strikes.

I guess Democrats are content with leaving the anti-war position to the alt-right. At Counterpunch today, Shamus Cooke ponders whether the alt-right will hijack the antiwar movement. From the link:

Society reeled from the newest war, but the fertile soil for protest barely produced a sprout. The establishment “supported” the new war, either directly by cheerleading or indirectly via silence.

The rest of the left was against the war but they didn’t bother to organize a protest. The only notable group that did — the ANSWER coalition — found little help from other left groups. The few protests that were organized were small or denounced by others on the left as being “pro Assad.” Trump was certainly pleased by the non-opposition and division against his new war.

Into the giant antiwar void crept the neo-Nazi “alt-right” groups, including leading white supremacist Richard Spencer, who loudly broke his support of Trump by protesting the new Syria bombing in front of the White House. Other alt-right-associated individuals or organizations — including altright.com and Infowars — loudly denounced their former Fuhrer.

In some ways the white supremacists protested more loudly and militantly than the left, which declined to ring any alarm bells, opting to minimize the aggression by dismissing the strike as “symbolic,” or “routine.”

While much of the alt-right unconditionally denounced the bombing, some on the left gave partial legitimacy to it by focusing half of their post-bombing energy on denouncing Trump’s target, Assad, helping to put the American public back to bed instead of agitating them into the streets.

Trump apparently silenced his critics by doing what they feared most. How did this happen?

It’s no mystery how this happened. Democrats gave up opposition to war once Obama was elected, and they were willing to elect an interventionist warmonger, so now that Trump is doing what Hillary would have done, how can they oppose it?

Democrats could admit they were wrong to give Obama a free pass to bomb a half-dozen countries, but they won’t do that. Here is a reminder of what the partisan conventional wisdom was like at the time of Libya’s destruction:

I don’t celebrate the death of anyone, but it’s hard to feel terribly sad about the fact that the Colonel is no longer in a position which allows him to torture and kill indiscriminately. Eventually, people rise up to take down despots. It’s often ugly, even brutal, but it will happen—and I’d prefer a national security policy which works to prevent those people from being slaughtered.

In the end, the US and NATO did an admirable job. They used a relatively inexpensive mission which gave the rebels breathing room in which they could defend themselves against a despot. And then the people of Libya did the rest. We can’t know what kind of government or future Libya will have, but I think we can be sure that it will be better than the past two generations.

As the years pass, these words get more and more disgusting. A few days ago The Guardian reported on the migrant slave market in Libya:

West African migrants are being bought and sold openly in modern-day slave markets in Libya, survivors have told a UN agency helping them return home.

Trafficked people passing through Libya have previously reported violence, extortion and slave labour. But the new testimony from the International Organization for Migration suggests that the trade in human beings has become so normalised that people are being traded in public.

There was no plan, post regime-change, to keep Libya from sliding into chaos. When it comes to opposition to American hegemony, American policy makers (aka, butchers) prefer chaos. It’s like the childish sentiment that if I can’t possess a toy, I’d rather destroy the toy than let another kid play with it.

It’s astonishing that the space left vacant by the left when it comes to opposing war is being filled by white supremacists. With the stink of the alt-right opposing America’s insane military brinkmanship, the chance of reviving the left’s opposition against military interventionism seems extremely unlikely.

So here we are, waiting for war.

About Travis Mateer

I'm an artist and citizen journalist living and writing in Montana. You can contact me here: willskink at yahoo dot com
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10 Responses to Waiting for War

  1. steve kelly says:

    Whatever new war Trump & Co. have in mind will be added to a long list of ongoing wars and an equally long list of broken promises for peace. We hear peace talk before elections, and very little about why, or where, we need another war after the election. Like bipartisan clockwork.

    • JC says:

      War, the lead-up to war, and the fallout from war always leads to “fundamentally realigning international geo-political alliances” (to grab a quote from the linked article).

      But is that a good thing? Particularly when no one knows how this is all going to play out? The “CEO as President” approach really does a disservice to foreign relations, as the other players (Russia and China in particular) are really far more savvy in playing the game. Trump is a poser, and like his many business ventures that have gone bankrupt, his foreign policy will go bankrupt too, in the form of WWIII if cooler minds don’t prevail.

      The tree house dude really is just looking at surface, and imagining he is digging below it. But a one-sided view of a multi-polar world will necessarily come to the wrong conclusions about the matter. All it will take is one wrong move by Trump’s generals, and NK attempting to take out the Vinson carrier group with a nuke will serve to wipe the playing surface clean. Then it’s game on, and all game scenarios in the W. Pacific lead to escalation and global nuclear war. At a minimum, you can take Seoul off the map. Once NK goes berserk, and then China, Japan, Philippines, and Russia join in, you’ve got major war.

      All because a bad neophyte politician though he could play his businessman games on the global geopolitical level.

  2. Big Swede says:

    If Russia and China are more “savvy” how come the Ruskies agreed to meet with Trump and how come China is cutting down on coal imports from the Norks?

    I would to seem to me “surface think” would involve screaming armageddon every time a Republican takes the reins of the White House. A multi-sided view would rely on alliances to solve potential hot wars.

    I’ll defer to a comment you made in a past post, “We will see”. Knowing full well if war doesn’t break out in Korea and if Assad never uses his chemical stockpiles again Trump’s negotiating/managing skills will never get full credit.

    • Big Swede says:

      By the way this is how your side does “deals”.

      “After Jimmy Carter met with Kim Il Sung in 1994 at Bill Clinton’s request, the US made a deal with North Korea where, in exchange for giving them two nuclear reactors, that the North Koreans would stop their nuclear program.”

    • Big Swede says:

      Oil is now being cut off.

      “Beijing’s patience with North Korea is wearing thin as Pyongyang continues to conduct nuclear missile tests. According to a state Chinese media outlet, Huanqui, China is considering a suspension of its crude oil exports to its neighbor should North Korea conduct a sixth nuclear test.

      North Korea depends on China for 90 percent of its crude oil supply, and stopping these will wreak havoc on the dictatorship, which China has been trying to avoid, since a regime collapse is likely to result in a massive influx of refugees. It has also opposed President Trump’s urging to penalize North Korea for the nuclear tests so far, but now it seems the mood is changing – having another nuclear neighbor is hardly China’s idea of a stable regional environment.”-Irina Slav.

    • JC says:

      Well, I haven’t heard that Putin and Trump are meeting yet. If you are referring to the Lavrov-Tillerson meeting, I watched their press conference, and it was very clear who was in control of the meeting. If anything, Russia is always ready to try face-to-face diplomacy (and is far more skilled at it than any of our “diplomats”) while the U.S. relies on gunboat diplomacy.

      And as to proving a negative, first we have to agree that Assad just used chemical weapons, and I con’t agree that there is evidence supporting that view. So if he doesn’t use chemical weapons, it probably has more to do with his agreements with the UN and Russia to not do so, and not having them in the first place.

      As to war in Korea, I haven’t seen any Trump negotiations with Korea. Just more gunboat diplomacy, and pretty much an ultimatum to China that if they don’t reign Korea in, our military will attack (which Korea will take as an act of war). So how can you say that any negotiations on our side did anything? And if you think that Trump is “managing” (or manipulating) the Chinese into doing our dirty work, that’s pretty funny.

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