Dear President Trump: An Open Letter
November 17, 2016
Justin Raimondo / AntiWar.com & Katrina vanden Heuvel / The Nation
Commentary: A leading voice in the US anti-war movement finds common ground with Donald Trump "in the face of a lot of skepticism from some of my colleagues." Trump ignored a chorus of boos at a GOP gathering to condemn George W. Bush for knowingly lying about WMDs in Iraq. Trump has criticized the neocons and globalists behind US foreign aggressions. Trump has called NATO costly and obsolete and he wants the US to stop funding the anti-government terrorists in Syria. Can we talk?
Dear President Trump: An Open Letter
Justin Raimondo / AntiWar.com
(November 14, 2016) -- The recent presidential campaign saw a plethora of open letters directed at Donald Trump, at least two of which were authored and signed by neoconservative foreign policy "experts" denouncing him for challenging their most cherished notions.
Now it's my turn to write an open letter, albeit coming from the opposite direction.
Dear President Trump:
Unlike what you might expect from a writer for a web site like Antiwar.com, I've given you a pretty fair shake. I have to admit that, at first, I just didn't get it, but I'm honest enough to admit when I'm wrong.
As you began to lay out your platform, I took notice -- and, in the face of a lot of skepticism from my readers and even from some of my colleagues, I started to cheer you on. Not that I cheered every pronouncement -- but when you started criticizing the conduct of American foreign policy under the Bush administration, and not just the Obama regime, I was quite impressed.
The turning point, for me, was when you got up at that South Carolina GOP presidential debate and said:
"I want to tell you. They lied. They said there were weapons of mass destruction, there were none. And they knew there were none. There were no weapons of mass destruction."
You stood there amidst a storm of booing and said, "Go ahead and boo" because you knew you were speaking truth to power -- and you knew the American people were listening and nodding in agreement. As for me, I wasn't just nodding -- I was cheering. After all, I spent the entire run-up to the war saying precisely that, and for the first time a major political figure -- and a Republican at that! -- was saying it too.
For the GOP front-runner to defy decorum, take a big risk, and tell the Republican donor class and the Bush-bots the brutal unadorned truth to their faces -- that took courage. It took independence of mind. In that moment, you won my respect -- and my undying gratitude.
Your willingness to swim against the tide, to question what "everybody knows," was demonstrated once again when, in response to the widespread allegations that the Russians hacked the Democratic National Committee, you said "We have no idea who did it" -- even as the Obama administration joined in the chorus. Because the truth is that we don't' know -- and the "intelligence" cited by Washington is always politically self-serving.
Now I'm hoping you'll exercise the same independent judgment in resisting the siren calls in the media to let your worst critics into your administration. Many of those in the GOP national security Establishment who were saying before the election that you are "unfit" to be President are now singing "Kumbaya" and trying to slither into the councils of state. Please reject them! These snakes in the grass will rear up and bite you in the ass at the first opportunity -- don't give them that chance.
Here's what you said in your foreign policy speech:
"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."
The neoconservatives who lied us into war and who are the very globalists you've been attacking all along have no place in your administration -- and I mean by that John Bolton, Stephen Hadley, Zalmay Khalilzad, Kelly Ayotte (who viciously insulted you), Mike Rogers, Frances Townsend (who called you "fundamentally dishonest"), and any number of others trying to crawl in through the cracks.
Some of these people openly denounced you: others advocate policies that are the exact opposite of your "America First" less-interventionist approach. None of them should be given the time of day.
The American people didn't vote for a globalist -- they voted for you. Kick these internationalists to the curb, and to heck with "can't we all just get along"!
During the campaign, you pledged to make NATO members start ponying up their fair share of the costs -- and said that this alliance, forged in the midst of the cold war, was "obsolete." You even said you would consider withdrawing the US from NATO if the other members didn't shape up.
Now the head of NATO is warning you not to do it -- yes, that's what the headlines say, he warning you! Isn't it time to warn him that he and his fellow deadbeats are mooching ingrates whose time is pretty much up?
Why in the heck are tens of thousands of American troops still protecting these European moochers from a nonexistent threat while our own country is falling to pieces and we're $20 trillion in debt?
Never mind making these deadbeats pay up -- let's just get the hell out of NATO, which is truly obsolete as you rightly said.
You also told us that rich nations like Japan and South Korea -- which are eating our lunch in the realm of international trade -- are perfectly capable of defending themselves, and that it's time they did so. Yet we hear that you've already contacted the leaders of these countries and assured them that the gravy train is still running. What's up with that?
Oh yes, we're watching your every move very closely. The widespread myth that your supporters will let you get away with anything is -- like most memes spread by the mainstream media -- totally false. And we care about foreign policy -- because, contrary to the myth that voters don't care about this subject, we realize that it's very closely aligned with domestic policy. Because when you're a global empire, the distinction between foreign policy and domestic policy breaks down -- as you well understand.
But, hey, I'm not just watch-dogging you -- I'm heartened by your apparent decision to stop funding and supporting the Syrian Islamist terrorists Hillary told us are really "moderates." We have no business trying to bring about "regime change" in Syria, or anywhere else, and the farther we stay away from that hellhole the better.
I'm also very much encouraged by reports that you have no intention of ripping up the Iran deal. That's exactly what you said during the campaign, but the media -- particularly Fox News -- wasn't listening apparently. We don't need another war in the Middle East: indeed, it's the last thing we need.
In closing, I just want to thank you for doing what I've long wanted someone to do, and that is revive and renew that good old slogan of "America First." When you made this your campaign theme, the elite media had a conniption: that's because they're committed internationalists who understand neither the history of that phrase nor its continued relevance to the situation we face today.
Your election to the presidency is a watershed moment, a sea change that many of us have been hoping for, and working for, lo these many years. And while I didn't and don't agree with each and every one of your policy proposals, it's in the realm of foreign policy that I believe your platform merits support.
Now my hope is that you'll stick to it, in spite of the tremendous opposition you'll face from the leadership of both parties. And again, I want to urge you -- because policy is personnel -- to keep the neoconservatives, who are your worst enemies, out of your government.
The success of your administration -- and your place in history -- depends on it.
An Important Note:
The American people just rejected a candidate who was basically threatening World War III with Russia. But the defeat of Hillary Rodham Clinton doesn't mean our battle is over. Indeed, it has hardly begun.
The neocons are trying to slither back into positions of power -- this in spire of their attempted sabotage of the Trump campaign. We can't let that happen. Antiwar.com is committed to mobilizing our readers and supporters against this imminent betrayal of our hopes and dreams -- but we can't do it without your help.
The War Party has unlimited resources -- and we have just you -- our readers and supporters, who have sustained us for over twenty years. But you can bet we aren't taking your support for granted. That's why we're working 24/7 to bring you the best, the most up-to-date coverage and the kind of incisive commentary you can find nowhere else.
The Nation on Trumpism
Mourn. Resist. Organize
Katrina vanden Heuvel / The Nation
(November 9, 2016) -- Today we grieve. Some of us even weep. We know the weeks, months and years ahead will not be easy, but we will get through them together and we will come out stronger together, as we always have.
Today, we rededicate ourselves to our role as journalists of principle and conscience. Today, we recommit to mobilizing against hatred, bigotry, misogyny, and economic pain. And as we have at other times of crisis in our nation, we will move forward in solidarity and in the belief that stronger communities arise in times of crisis. We rededicate ourselves to thinking anew, to putting forth a compelling vision of fundamental change.
We stand for an inclusive and progressive populism -- one that addresses inequality and economic insecurity. We stand with women and with Muslim, African-American, and immigrant communities who have been threatened by the blatantly racist, sexist, and bigoted campaign Trump ran.
As Nation writer Ian Haney-López reminded us just a few weeks ago, "Remaking our politics and economy will depend on a broad coalition that must include substantial numbers of racially anxious whites. Ignoring their fears, or worse, pandering to them, further impoverishes all of us.
Instead, we must have a unified message for whites as well as people of color. Fearful of one another, we too easily hand over power to moneyed interests, but working together, we can rebuild the American dream."
The answer to what some have called Trump's "whitelash" is not to retreat on social liberalism, ever; it is to double down on an economics that speaks to working and poor people.
The immediate response to Trump's election is one of opposition -- we commit to obstructing, delaying, and halting any attacks on people of color, women, or working people that may come from a Trump administration. But we must also understand why millions are angry and anxious, and why they voted for the cruel hoax that is Trumpism.
We knew this was an election about change and a revolt against political elites. Yet it is also a revolt against what elites in both parties have done or accepted -- global trade and tax deals of, by, and for the corporations; Wall Street bailouts; big-money politics and crony capitalism; decades of promises not kept.
It is a time for great reflection and an even greater reformation -- of the Democratic Party, of our politics, of our society. The Nation's work will continue -- as it has in good, not-so-good, and bad times -- to offer alternative visions and ideas, to deepen our journalistic mission of truth-telling and deep reporting, and to further the work of the political revolution in a nation divided.
Welcome to the Fight
If we withdraw into our grief and abandon those most threatened by Trump's win, history will never forgive us.
Don't Just Grieve for Immigrants -- Fight for Immigrants
Millions of our family and friends are in immediate danger -- some are in a database being delivered to Donald Trump. Check on your people, and be ready to stand with them.
This Is What White Supremacy Looks Like
Don't be confused. Trump's voters didn't vote against their own interests, they voted for the preservation of white privilege -- their paramount interest.
The GOP's Attack on Voting Rights Was the Most Under-Covered Story of 2016
This was the first presidential election in 50 years without the full protections of the Voting Rights Act.
The Plain People Spoke on November 8. Will the Powerful Listen?
Like it or not, Tuesday's ballot-box rebellion was a profound act of small-d democracy.
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