Nation Fellow Tom Engelhardt traces the rise of Donald J. Trump from the blowback caused by the illegal 2003 American invasion of Iraq. See “If You Want to Know Where Donald Trump Came From, Look to Iraq” (The Nation, 16 March 2017). While this might not be the entire answer, it does help explain the fear factor that Trump so effectively exploits.
[In response to the 9/11 attacks]… the United States would set off a series of wars, conflicts, insurgencies, and burgeoning terror movements that would transform significant parts of the Greater Middle East into failed or failing states, and their cities and towns, startling numbers of them, into so much rubble.
Needless to say, that was not the dream! What George W. Bush, Cheney, and Rumsfeld had in mind was the “friendly” occupation of Iraq (and its oil), leading inexorably to the downfall next of Assad’s Syria and then of theocratic Iran.
Instead, a victory-less “permanent war” across the Greater Middle East came home to America, with the militarization of its police forces, the rise of the national security state, and the emergence of a terrorist adversary that even the world’s greatest military could not crush. All of this set the stage for con man extraordinaire Donald J. Trump and his winning electoral message of “America First,” which Engelhardt suggests actually means “a country walled off and walled in”.
Think of the road traveled from 2003 to 2017 as being from sole global superpower to potential super-pariah.
But it also means the “blowback wars” are only going to get worse, with a proposed $54-billion-dollar Pentagon budget increase and the “revving up [of] American military power in Yemen, Syria, and potentially Afghanistan” by the Trump administration.
For the full article, click on: “If You Want to Know Where Donald Trump Came From, Look to Iraq” (Tom Engelhardt, The Nation, 16 March 2017).
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