The Militant (logo)  

Vol. 81/No. 23      June 12, 2017

(front page, commentary)

Liberal rage at Trump foreign policy reflects fear
of workers

With President Donald Trump’s trip to Europe and the Middle East, liberal politicians and press, cheered on by middle class radical groups, turned their incessant hysteria to the administration’s foreign policy. These forces greeted his participation in NATO’s May 25 summit with a chorus of disapproval. Their complaints focused on his criticisms of the financial contributions of Berlin and some other European capitalist regimes to the NATO military alliance, and on claims he is in league with Moscow.

Their true target isn’t Trump, but the millions of workers who voted for him. This wing of the ruling capitalist families cannot reconcile themselves to the millions of working people who elected Trump, seeking a way to counter the economic carnage they face from the increasing assaults of the bosses and their government today. These workers want to “drain the swamp” — to beat back the tens of thousands of highly-paid bureaucrats in Washington who seek to “regulate” us in the interests of the propertied families.

Trump, like all his predecessors in the White House, seeks to advance the interests of the propertied rulers at home and abroad. But the rulers’ growing fear of working class resistance leads many — led by the liberals in the Democratic Party — to witch hunt the Trump presidency and attack the rights of those who elected him.

The Washington Post claimed Trump has “abandoned” the NATO alliance. Formed under Washington’s domination following its victory in World War II, NATO organized the permanent presence of the U.S. military on European soil. Now comprising 28 capitalist regimes, including five that border Russia, NATO draws overwhelmingly on Washington’s military might and is used to advance the interests of the strongest imperialist powers, Washington first and then Berlin.

At the summit Trump said openly what the U.S. rulers have long complained about — that Washington’s European allies, first and foremost Berlin, don’t come close to meeting their agreed-on commitments to foot NATO’s bills. He didn’t threaten to quit the alliance, instead saying NATO was insufficiently modernized, militarily ready or big enough to counter challenges to capitalist rule in the future.

NATO asks each member capitalist regime to spend the equivalent of two percent of its national gross domestic product annually to augment the size and armaments of their armed forces, and to be ready to join any call to action Washington and other NATO governments deem necessary to defend their rule. As the biggest and richest imperialist power, Washington pays an outsized sum.

Berlin, the strongest capitalist power in Europe, which uses the European Union arrangement to reinforce its economic dominance at the expense of its weaker neighbors, pays only 1.2 percent. For decades the numbers of German combat aircraft, tanks and military personnel have declined, along with its overall military spending.

In his NATO address Trump declined to make any direct reference to the alliance’s article five — which says an attack on any pact member requires all the capitalist rulers to respond. USA Today asserted that Trump’s refusal will “embolden NATO’s enemies, including Russian President Vladimir Putin.”

But no one thinks Washington, Berlin, London or Paris would launch all-out war against nuclear-armed Moscow should Putin make an incursion into Latvia or Lithuania, any more than they did so when Moscow actually moved on Georgia and Ukraine.

Trump has made it clear his administration will continue, and likely expand, sanctions on Moscow, which hit working people there hardest. NATO has increased the number of troops it rotates through eastern Poland and the Baltic states and Washington deployed a ground-based anti-ballistic missile system to Romania last year.

Denouncing Trump for an “insult to history” in calling out the German rulers, the editorial board of the New York Times said May 31 that the president was abandoning Europe to Moscow.

“It is up to Ms. Merkel and Mr. Macron to keep the alliance alive and relevant,” they said, at least “until another, wiser president replaces him [Trump].”

While they can economically extort weaker neighbors like Greece and Italy, the imperialist rulers in Berlin rely on Washington to defend Europe from foreign aggression.

Having proclaimed after the summit “We Europeans must really take our destiny in our own hands,” German Chancellor Angela Merkel thought more soberly of the real relationship of imperialist forces, and said Berlin’s relations with the U.S. were of “outstanding importance.”

Looked at from the viewpoint of the U.S. capitalist rulers, the Trump administration’s moves to defend their imperialist interests abroad are preferable so far to those of his two predecessors, Barack Obama and George W. Bush. Trump continues to reach out for allies, while minimizing military conflicts.

In a May 31 Times op-ed, columnist Ross Douthat says Trump acts this way because he is under the influence of Putin’s Russia. Until Trump can be unseated, Douthat says, “I am content to have Trump’s desire for détente balked by leaks, probes and the resistance of his military advisers.”

This is what they’re doing — with countless leaks from the “intelligence community” — seeking to cover Trump with smears and innuendo they hope to make up for the lack of any real evidence that Moscow pulls his strings.

The slanders about Moscow control are a key element in the liberals’ impeachment schemes. They hope they can be painted as “treason, bribery or other high crimes and misdemeanors” that the Constitution’s impeachment clause requires.

Democratic Party politicians in Washington and their liberal media allies are now trying to puff up “leaks” that Trump aide and son-in-law Jared Kushner met with the Russian ambassador after Trump won the election to discuss setting up a “back channel” for communications when necessary. “In the Cold War, Kushner’s actions would have attracted the stigma of treachery because Russia was an enemy of the United States,” Emile Simpson alleged in Foreign Policy May 27.

U.S. National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster brushed aside concern about Kushner’s actions, explaining this was normal practice for all U.S. imperialist administrations.

Working people face unusually far-reaching crisis conditions today. Growing numbers sense there is nothing the bosses can do to turn around the economic, social and moral crisis of capitalism, apart from taking it out on us, including in their wars abroad.

The growing witch-hunt atmosphere aimed at Trump is dangerous for the working class, as the capitalist rulers use it to attack our political rights.

The rulers’ foreign policy is an extension of their assaults on working people at home. The working class needs its own foreign policy, independent of the capitalist rulers, starting from solidarity with the struggles of working people worldwide.  
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