Why Trump Might Win
An old Kennedy aide lays out the case for Trump.
I have a bit of a thing for the Kennedys. I think JFK and Bobby probably saved the world by beating back nuclear war during the Cuban Missile Crisis.
I probably know more than is strictly healthy about the JFK assassination. And I think American and global politics would have been massively better had Bobby himself not been killed in 1968, probably on his way to becoming president.
Yes, I know there was a very dark side to them too, but I still think some of the mythology was true.
Think of any modern politician today telling citizens not to ask what their country can do for them, but what they can do for their country – like JFK did in his inaugural speech.
Think of any modern politician single-handedly quelling riots in a city by quoting Greek tragedian, Aeschylus, as Bobby did in ’68 in Indianapolis, the night Martin Luther King was killed.
This is part of what he said that night –
“For those of you who are black and are tempted to fill with — be filled with hatred and mistrust of the injustice of such an act, against all white people, I would only say that I can also feel in my own heart the same kind of feeling. I had a member of my family killed, but he was killed by a white man.
“But we have to make an effort in the United States. We have to make an effort to understand, to get beyond, or go beyond these rather difficult times.
“My favorite poem, my — my favorite poet was Aeschylus. And he once wrote:
Even in our sleep, pain which cannot forget falls drop by drop upon the heart, until, in our own despair, against our will, comes wisdom through the awful grace of God.”
Things have changed.
Cities and universities are burning in the US and SA – but we have nobody like Bobby “to go beyond these rather difficult times”.
But do we have Trump?
Bobby’s old speechwriter, Adam Walinksy, recently wrote a highly controversial piece for US website Politico in which he put forward the rationale for why he, a legacy Democrat, will vote for the apparent Republican monster, Donald Trump.
His chief reason? The Democratic Party, led by Hillary Clinton, has become the Party of War:
“John and Robert Kennedy devoted their greatest commitments and energies to the prevention of war and the preservation of peace. To them that was not an abstract formula but the necessary foundation of human life. But today’s Democrats have become the Party of War: a home for arms merchants, mercenaries, academic war planners, lobbyists for every foreign intervention, promoters of color revolutions, failed generals, exploiters of the natural resources of corrupt governments.
“We have American military bases in 80 countries, and there are now American military personnel on the ground in about 130 countries, a remarkable achievement since there are only 192 recognized countries. Generals and admirals announce our national policies. Theater commanders are our principal ambassadors. Our first answer to trouble or opposition of any kind seems always to be a military movement or action.”
And Clinton is more of the same – with her at the helm, there is also a chance of nuclear war with Russia:
“Nor has the Democratic Party candidate for president this year, Hillary Clinton, sought peace. Instead she has pushed America into successive invasions, successive efforts at “regime change.” She has sought to prevent Americans from seeking friendship or cooperation with President Vladimir Putin of Russia by characterizing him as “another Hitler.” She proclaims herself ready to invade Syria immediately after taking the oath of office. Her shadow War Cabinet brims with the architects of war and disaster for the past decades, the neocons who led us to our present pass, in Iraq, in Afghanistan, Syria, Libya, Yemen, in Ukraine, unrepentant of all past errors, ready to resume it all with fresh trillions and fresh blood. And the Democrats she leads seem intent on worsening relations with Russia, for example by sending American warships into the Black Sea, or by introducing nuclear weapons ever closer to Russia itself.
So why Trump? Here’s Walinsky again:
“In fact, in all the years of the so-called War on Terror, only one potential American president has had the intelligence, the vision, the sheer sanity to see that America cannot fight the entire world at once; who sees that America’s natural and necessary allies in this fight must include the advanced and civilized nations that are most exposed and experienced in their own terror wars, and have the requisite military power and willingness to use it. Only one American candidate has pointed out how senseless it is to seek confrontation with Russia and China, at the same time that we are trying to suppress the very jihadist movements that they also are attacking.
“That candidate is Donald Trump. Throughout this campaign, he has said that as president, he would quickly sit down with President Putin and seek relaxation of tensions between our nations, and possible collaboration in the fight against terrorists. On this ground alone, he marks himself as greatly superior to all his competitors, earlier in the primaries and now in the general election.”
Walinsky excuses the crassness of Trump on these grounds:
“It must also be said: Mr. Trump is an imperfect candidate, and he would surely be an imperfect president. He is crude, often vulgar. He has areas of great ignorance. He insults people and inflicts unnecessary harm. He would be twice the candidate he is if he used half the words. He is often intemperate; though it is not Trump but his opponent who is so intemperate as to compare Putin’s moves in Ukraine to what Hitler did—an insult that throughout all the Cold War and to this day, no American president has ever offered to any Soviet or Russian leader, not even the enormous butcher Josef Stalin, with whom in fact we joined to win the Second World War.”
“Donald Trump has been mocked mercilessly for saying, “America first.” But to demand that all the actions of government, at home or abroad, be first directed at the interests and well-being of our own country is not old-fashioned or outmoded. Rather it represents the deepest wisdom and tradition of American statesmen from the founders on. Only with a clear vision of what is truly in the interests of our nation and our fellow citizens, and a full commitment to those interests, can we act wisely at home and in the world beyond.”
Walinsky’s point is worth considering.
For all Trump’s flaws, he HAS made the case for peace and the end of American nation-building.
Clinton is apparently already planning putting troops on the ground in Syria. She has learnt nothing about her support for the regime changes in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Libya.
The most significant powers of the American president are the powers to make war. Domestically, he or she is much more constrained by Congress. (Obama can kill almost anyone abroad by means of drones – but he can’t tackle climate change.)
Yes, there are other concerns when it comes to a President Trump.
But it is looking increasingly likely that the American voters may just look past those concerns come November and put in power a candidate who promises to up-end the American political status quo – which includes its endless wars.
I can’t help but be reminded of some advice Churchill gave to his ministers and army commanders during the struggle against Hitler regarding their approach to promotions:
“We want live wires, and not conventional types…
“We cannot afford to confine Army appointments to persons who have excited no hostile comment in their careers… This is a time to try men of force and vision and not be exclusively confined to those who are judged thoroughly safe by conventional standards…
“It is not only the good boys who help to win wars. It is the sneaks and stinkers as well.”
The question is – are America’s problems desperate enough to put an orange reality TV star in the Oval Office?
With the ultimate “conventional type” running against him, the orange “stinker” might just win.