Echoes of the 1930s in Trump’s Inauguration Speech

Donald Trump gestures after being sworn in as president of the United States in Washington DC, January 20
Donald Trump gestures after being sworn in as president of the United States in Washington DC, January 20 (Hillel Steinberg)

Donald Trump sounded more like a twentieth-century European strongman on Friday than the president of the American republic.

Minutes after being sworn in as president, Trump accused the congressmen and -women, senators and former presidents who surrounded him on the steps of the Capitol of sapping America’s strength and prosperity.

A property mogul and hotelier who inherited most of his wealth, Trump complained that politicians are “all talk and no action” and promised that, under his leadership, government would be given back to “the people”. Read more

Goodbye, Mr President

American president Barack Obama walks through a hallway of the White House in Washington DC, August 8, 2013
American president Barack Obama walks through a hallway of the White House in Washington DC, August 8, 2013 (White House/Pete Souza)

I wasn’t a fan of Barack Obama eight years ago, when we started the Atlantic Sentinel. It unnerved me how many people, especially here in Europe, fell over themselves to praise the new president and I disagreed with his policies.

Now I’m sad to see him go.

It’s not just that the Democrat looks like a paragon of grace and wisdom compared to his Republican successor, although Donald Trump’s shortcomings in both areas are profound.

It’s that I’ve become less right-wing and Obama was a better president in his second term than in his first. Read more

Israeli Right Jeopardizes Alliance by Hectoring Obama

Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu and American president Barack Obama speak at the former's residence in Jerusalem, March 20, 2013
Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu and American president Barack Obama speak at the former’s residence in Jerusalem, March 20, 2013 (White House/Pete Souza)

With less than a month left in his presidency, Barack Obama has managed to infuriate the Israeli right by hardening America’s stance on the construction of West Bank settlements.

Whatever the merits of their quarrel with the American president, though — and there are leftwingers in Israel and Jewish supporters of Obama in the United States who are disappointed as well — the over-the-top reaction from the Israeli right is unjustified and, more importantly, ill-advised. Read more

Republicans Put Party Before Country in Election Hack

Republican senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky
Republican senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky (Bloomberg/Brendan Hoffman)

Since The Washington Post reported on Friday that the CIA believes Russia intervened in the election to help Donald Trump win the presidency, more damning revelations about his party have surfaced.

We now know that President Barack Obama, wary of publicizing the CIA’s findings unilaterally lest it be seen as an attempt to help his chosen successor, Hillary Clinton, summoned leaders of both parties to the White House in hopes of presenting a united front against Russia’s mischief.

Democrats were in favor; Republicans split. Senate leader Mitch McConnell reportedly raised doubts about the intelligence and told Obama he would consider it an act of partisan politics if the administration revealed to the public that a foreign power was manipulating the electorate to the advantage of his party’s candidate.

This is appalling. Read more

Realists, Please Stop Making Excuses for Trump

Businessman Donald Trump makes a speech in Derry, New Hampshire, August 19, 2015
Businessman Donald Trump makes a speech in Derry, New Hampshire, August 19, 2015 (Michael Vadon)

Since Donald Trump announced his presidential candidacy in the summer of last year, a cadre of self-described realists has jumped to the Republican’s defense whenever he challenges Washington orthodoxies in his foreign-policy statements.

These observers — wishfully and mistakingly — believe Trump’s utterances reveal a shared disdain of the liberal internationalist establishment and a common desire to put narrow self-interest (back) at the heart of American strategy.

The reality, as Philip Gordon, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, writes for Politico, is that Trump has few, if any, fixed policy positions and can easily be manipulated into actions that damage America’s relations with the rest of the world. Read more

Dark Days Ahead for Liberals

Washington DC at night
Washington DC at night (Pixabay/skeeze)

The light are going out for liberals and globalists around the Western world.

Austria is on the verge of electing its first far-right head of state since the end of the Second World War.

Poland last year switched its centrist, pluralist government for an ultraconservative administration that is threatening the independence of the judiciary and the freedom of the press.

Marine Le Pen, who leads a party that was once unambiguously fascist, is almost certain to make it into the second round of France’s presidential election next year.

Even in the United Kingdom, the homeland of liberalism, there was an atmosphere of isolationism and xenophobia around the vote to leave the European Union in June.

And now America, “the last best hope of Earth,” as Abraham Lincoln once called it, has elected Donald J. Trump. Read more

There Can Be No “Clean Slate” for Trump

American president Barack Obama meets his successor, Donald Trump, in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington DC, November 10
American president Barack Obama meets his successor, Donald Trump, in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington DC, November 10 (White House/Pete Souza)

Now that Donald Trump has been elected president of the United States, there will be a tendency to normalize him. Blame a combination of status quo bias and a continued refusal to take the man at his word.

There have already been calls for a “clean slate” and to keep an “open mind” as well as predictions that Trump will finally “pivot”, by which is meant: stop behaving so atrociously.

Remember how Trump similarly “pivoted” after winning the Republican presidential nomination in July?

Neither do I. Because it didn’t happen. Read more