The lunatics have taken over the asylum. The problem is that the asylum is Planet Earth, and the lunatics are in charge of the most powerful country in the world.
President-elect Donald Trump has announced some of his most important appointments. And they prove that Trump has every intention of running the country in the same way he campaigned: into the ground, under the jackboots of reconstructed-Nazis.
Lunatic security chief
Trump’s national security advisor is General Michael Flynn, the former head of the Pentagon’s Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), who earlier this year tweeted:
“Fear of Muslims is RATIONAL: please forward this to others: the truth fears no questions…”
Flynn denies that Islam is even a religion, describing it as a “malignant cancer.”
Flynn also has a strange admiration for Vladimir Putin, the autocratic President of Russia. He did a series of speaking events in Moscow, for which he was paid a fee so large he doesn’t want the figure to be disclosed. He also appeared at an anniversary party for the Kremlin-funded TV station, RT, during which he was photographed sitting next to Putin himself.
In 2015, Flynn admitted that a secret DIA intelligence report dated 2012, declassified under FOIA, did indeed confirm that senior US officials were warned how support for jihadist groups in Syria by the West, Turkey and the Gulf states would lead to an ‘Islamic State’ type entity in the region.
Since then, however, Flynn has done an extraordinary about-turn, expressing his unbridled support for President Erdogan of Turkey, and uncritically parroting Turkish state media’s absurd propaganda.
Despite Flynn himself being personally aware of the authenticity of US intelligence on Erdogan’s support for jihadists in Syria; despite mounting evidence even from senior former Turkish counter-terrrorism officials confirming the covert policy; and despite Erdogan’s frightening crackdown on Turkish democratic institutions, Flynn now advocates that “It is unconscionable to militate against Turkey, our NATO ally…”
Lunatic white supremacist
Trump’s new Attorney General is Senator Jeffrey Sessions, who is an anti-abortion fundamentalist, a rabid opponent of gay marriage, and a closet racist.
A Justice Department lawyer, J. Gerald Hebert, testified in Sessions’ confirmation hearing that in private conversations, “Sessions had labeled the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) ‘un-American’ and ‘Communist-inspired’” and “forced civil rights down the throats of people.”
Hebert also testified that Senator Sessions had once called a white civil rights lawyer a “disgrace to his race” for litigating voting rights cases.
Another witness, Thomas Figures — a black former assistant US Attorney in Alabama — testified that during a 1981 murder investigation involving the Ku Klux Klan, Sessions was heard by several colleagues commenting that he “used to think they [the Klan] were OK” until he discovered some members were “pot smokers.” Sessions had patronizingly called Figures “boy,” and after overhearing him chastise a secretary, told the black attorney to “be careful what you say to white folks.”
Senator Jeff Sessions claimed that many of these racist statements were just “jokes”, which in itself says much. But he also stood behind his description of the 1965 Voting Rights Act — which for the first time outlawed the denial of African Americans’ rights to vote — as a “piece of intrusive legislation.”
Sessions is also a climate denier, who said in 2015 that he was “offended” by the views of the 98% of climate scientists who point out that climate change is a real phenomenon caused by human-induced carbon dioxide emissions.
He also likes Big Guns and Big Oil, having previously received substantial donations from employees of the most prominent private defense firms, including Northrup Grumman, Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, and United Technologies — not to mention oil interests like Koch Industries and ExxonMobil.
Lunatic spy master
The incoming CIA director is Mike Pompeo, a Tea-Party aligned Congressman and staunch defender of the NSA’s mass surveillance programs. In February, he demanded that whistleblower Edward Snowden be brought back from Russia to face the “death sentence.”
Pompeo’s grand vision for the US intelligence community is frightening:
“Congress should pass a law re-establishing collection of all metadata, and combining it with publicly available financial and lifestyle information into a comprehensive, searchable database. Legal and bureaucratic impediments to surveillance should be removed. That includes Presidential Policy Directive-28, which bestows privacy rights on foreigners and imposes burdensome requirements to justify data collection.”
In 2010, he was forced to apologize after his campaign tweeted out a post describing his Indian-American opponent, Raj Goyle, a “turban topper” who “could be a Muslim, a hindy, a buddhist etc who knows.”
He’s also a climate denier who said:
“There are scientists who think lots of different things about climate change. There’s some who think we’re warming, there’s some who think we’re cooling, there’s some who think that the last 16 years have shown a pretty stable climate environment.”
On Wednesday, Carl Higbie, a spokesman for the pro-Trump Great America PAC, said that Trump could enforce a government registry for immigrants and their children from Muslim countries because “we did it during World War II with Japanese.”
Trump himself told Time in December 2015 that he might have supported internment under Roosevelt. “I would have had to be there at the time to tell you, to give you a proper answer. I certainly hate the concept of it. But I would have had to be there at the time to give you a proper answer.”
Asked repeatedly on MSNBC to clarify whether he believed internment violated American values, he refused to respond.
A video from November 2015 shows that Trump did actually propose establishing a network to register and trace Muslims living across the US.
The Muslim register scheme would require Muslims in America to carry ID that would describe their religious affiliation, a policy inspired by Nazi treatment of Jews in Germany.
It’s no surprise then that many of Trump’s senior advisors on his campaign team have direct ties to full-blown neo-Nazi parties in Europe.
These appointments make one thing very clear. Donald Trump’s incoming government plans to kill the American republic on the altar of American fascism.
The war on the American republic, led by special interests, neoconservative ideologues, corporate giants, defense conglomerates and Big Oil, has gone on for some time. It has now reached epic proportions, resulting in a situation where white supremacists who sympathise with the Klu Klux Klan hold the levers of political power.
Trump wants to slash taxes for the rich, cozy up with dictators like Putin, support state-sponsors of ISIS like Erdogan, and launch a full-scale planetary war on the environmental basis of human survival by burning the world’s remaining oil, gas and coal.
And to justify it, he wants to intensify populist hatred against minorities — black people, Mexicans, Muslims, gays — so that he has lots of people to blame, to deport, to shoot, to indefinitely detain, when his insane plans dramatically fail.
The Trump presidency signals the end of the American republic. But it also signals the end of the American empire.
Because empire is all Trump and his cronies have left: war, slaughter, violence, hatred, misogyny, rage, blood.
Yet Trump represents the sort of smug fascism that happens when an empire begins to die, but refuses to accept its own death. When, in its efforts to kill off the republic that has held it at bay, the empire goes nuts, and starts lashing out against anyone in its path.
The American empire has overreached. Burdened with debt; riddled with inequalities; drying out due to climate-induced droughts; the fossil-fuel system rapidly haemorrhaging under the weight of its own unprofitability; spending maniacally on drones, surveillance and walls; the American empire is on the brink of collapse — with Trump, and his family, at the reigns.
Collapse forecast for 2020?
Make no mistake. This outcome was predicted some time ago.
In 200o, the man who correctly — and precisely — predicted the collapse of the Soviet Union, predicted the inevitable collapse of the American empire.
In an academic treatise, The Fall of the US Empire — And Then What? (Transcend University Press, 2009), Professor Johan Galtung, widely viewed as the founding father of Peace Studies, explained that his theoretical methodology to forecast so accurately the fall of the USSR was based on identifying five contradictions and their interactions. This led him to predict in 1980 that the Soviet Union would break-up within 10 years.
He was spot-on.
In 2000, Prof Galtung articulated a similar prediction for the United States, identifying 14 contradictions which, he said, would mature within 25 years leading to the break-up of the American empire.
After the early months of the Bush administration, Galtung revised his prediction to within 20 years, “because of the way in which [Bush] sharpened so many of the contradictions posited the year before, and because his extreme single-mindedness made him blind to the negative, complex synergies.”
Now Trump is in power, the contradictions that sharpened under the Bush regime are sharper than ever.
So yes, the empire might well be in overdrive right now: but Trump’s victory is, in fact, the beginning of the end. Over the next four years, Trump will accelerate the trajectory of imperial decline forecast by Galtung.
And the worse he makes it, the more urgent the task of preparing to salvage and restore the American republic after 2020.