Donald Trump has done the unthinkable – unthinkable, that is, to the sneering elites: the “journalists” who have been spending their days snarking at Trump on Twitter, the DC mandarins who disdained him from the beginning, and the foreign policy “experts” who gasped in horror as he challenged the basic premises of the post-World War II international order. And he did it by overcoming a host of the most powerful enemies one could conjure: The Republican Establishment, the Democratic party machine, the Money Power, and a media united in their hatred of him.
That this is a revolution is a bit of an understatement: revolutions are usually national in scope. This is an earthquake that will shake the whole world.
The United States is a global empire, and from the Korean peninsula to the Baltic states, our protectorates are quavering in panic that the system they’ve depended on for over half a century is about to come down. During the election, America’s client states all but formally endorsed Hillary Clinton, and expressed their unmitigated horror at the prospect of a Trump presidency. After all, the GOP candidate pledged to make our allies start paying their own way, a possibility that naturally fills them with dread. And Trump committed the biggest heresy of all by not only openly questioning the continued existence of NATO, but also by asking “Wouldn’t it be nice if we could get along with Russia?”
The Clinton campaign’s response was to do what no presidential candidate has done since the earliest days of the Republic: they accused Trump of being a Russian “puppet.” Former CIA director Mike Morrell, in endorsing Clinton, wrote that Trump is “an unconscious agent” of the Kremlin. In the hothouse atmosphere of Washington, D.C., this was not only acceptable: it was the conventional wisdom. Indeed, it no doubt still is. However, out in the real world, it fell flat: no normal American believed that for a minute. Endless articles appeared in the media, linking Trump to the Kremlin: a major piece of “evidence” for the “puppet” theory is that the Trump people pushed to keep a plank calling for arming Ukraine out of the Republican party platform. What the new McCarthyites didn’t understand, however, is that nobody cares about Ukraine, as polls consistently show.
The political class is reeling: how could this have happened?
We’ll doubtless be subjected to endless essays on the subject of who or what is to “blame” for Trump: FBI Director James Comey? The “alt right”? WikiLeaks? Putin?
Their problem is that these people live in a bubble: the conservative writer Mollie Hemingway tweeted the night of the election that “ I was at a small DC dinner several weeks ago where several people said they knew not a single Trump supporter. I was like, ‘I know 100s.’” This evokes the famous Pauline Kael quote, who is reputed to have responded to Richard Nixon’s 1972 landslide victory by saying: “I don’t know how Nixon won. I don’t know anybody who voted for him.” Actually, the acerbic film critic didn’t say that, exactly. What she really said was far more telling:
“I live in a rather special world. I only know one person who voted for Nixon. Where they are I don’t know. They’re outside my ken. But sometimes when I’m in a theater I can feel them.”
This puts it succinctly: the inhabitants of the “special world” of the political class — self-satisfied pundits, self-serving politicians, avaricious hedge fund managers, arrogant academics, less-than-thoughtful thinktankers, politically correct scolds, neoconservative warmongers – couldn’t imagine a world in which Donald Trump could win the White House. They laughed at him when he announced, they sneered at him even as he was winning the primaries, and they unleashed more venom than an army of rattlesnakes when he won the Republican nomination, even as they claimed he was headed for a Goldwater-like defeat. The American ruling class lives in a world entirely separate from that of their subjects: even as the peasants with pitchforks gathered in the shadow of the castle, they never saw the Trumpian revolution coming.
In short, they have no idea why he won because they live on a different planet than the rest of us. And yet the reason for his victory is very simple, and it’s no secret. He stated it clearly and succinctly in a remarkable television ad in the final days of the campaign.
Trump understands that, as I put it in my last column, “The main issue in the world today is globalism versus national sovereignty, and it is playing out in the politics of countries on every continent.” A transnational ruling elite, the types who flock to Davos every year, has arisen that believes it has the right to manipulate the peoples of the world like pawns on a chessboard. These lords of creation engage in “regime change” when a government they don’t like challenges their imperial prerogatives: they move entire populations around as if they were human dust – they manipulate currencies, “manage” the world economy — and woe to those who challenge their rule!
And the epicenter of this global ruling elite is located in Washington, D.C., with the White House as the inner sanctum of the whole rotten system. And now that Fortress of Power has been breached. Thus, the panic of the elites.
Trump rode into office promising that “we’ll get along with everybody” who wants peace with the United States, as he said in his victory speech. He campaigned on a platform of “America First” that his enemies derided as “isolationist” and which was, in reality, simply the foreign policy of the Founders of this country. While his stance on immigration provoked a lot of hostility, I would argue that the real reason for the sheer hatred directed at him by both parties is his foreign policy views – especially his radical condemnation of the Iraq war, in which he not only rightly denounced it as a disaster but also said that we were lied into that war. And he sent a message to the neoconservative authors of that war in his April foreign policy speech sponsored by The National Interest magazine. In outlining a new foreign policy vision for this country, he said:
“I will also look for talented experts with new approaches, and practical ideas, rather than surrounding myself with those who have perfect résumés but very little to brag about except responsibility for a long history of failed policies and continued losses at war.’”
As I put it in my column on the subject: “Here he is openly telling the neocons, who have inveigled themselves into every administration since the days of Ronald Reagan, that they will be kicked to the curb if and when he takes the White House.”
Which brings me to an important point: we must hold Trump’s feet to the fire on this pledge. This is the task of those anti-interventionists who supported him – and there are many – as well as those who stood aside. Let our battle cry be heard: no more neocons!
Trump has said that NATO is “obsolete” – and let’s hold him to that evaluation, and its clear implications. The Soviet Union has been dead since 1989. It’s time to put NATO in mothballs.
Trump has said Japan and Korea must start providing for their own defense: let’s hold him to that one, too. It’s high time to pull US troops out of South Korea, where they are sitting ducks, and out of Japan as well. The Korean war is over: so is World War II. These countries are wealthy, as Trump has repeatedly pointed out: let them defend themselves.
The Saudis depend on us for their defense: we send them weapons, we train their troops, while they fund terrorism and run one of the nastiest regimes on earth. They’re filthy rich, as Trump has remarked many times: it’s time to cut them loose, too.
In short, it’s time to pressure the new President to keep his promises. Because you can be sure, as the sun rises in the West, that the War Party will try to co-opt the new administration, and do everything in their power to make sure that they retain their hegemony over US foreign policy.
We can’t let that happen.
Trump is sincere, but he’s only one man – yes, he’s the President, but even the chief executive of the United States runs up against limitations; I’m talking about not only political limitations but also the power of the “deep State” – the permanent national security bureaucracy that guards it power and agenda jealously. President Trump cannot stand alone against these powerful forces: he needs a mass movement to stand behind him and, if necessary, push him in the right direction.
This is a great victory for our cause, and I can’t help but feel elated. Yet our job won’t get any easier: indeed, in many ways it will get harder. We are up against an enemy that will fight tooth and nail to retain its dominance, and who will stop at nothing to achieve their goals. We must be as determined to stop them as they are to resist the revolutionary wave that is lapping at their feet.
Yes, the revolution has arrived. But this is no time for complacency. Quite the contrary: we must be prepared for the counter-revolutionary reaction that is already setting in. We must ready ourselves to fight – and win.
NOTES IN THE MARGIN
You can check out my Twitter feed by going here. But please note that my tweets are sometimes deliberately provocative, often made in jest, and largely consist of me thinking out loud.
I’ve written a couple of books, which you might want to peruse. Here is the link for buying the second edition of my 1993 book, Reclaiming the American Right: The Lost Legacy of the Conservative Movement, with an Introduction by Prof. George W. Carey, a Foreword by Patrick J. Buchanan, and critical essays by Scott Richert and David Gordon (ISI Books, 2008).
You can buy An Enemy of the State: The Life of Murray N. Rothbard (Prometheus Books, 2000), my biography of the great libertarian thinker, here.