What will Trump do?
At last the agonizing myth of Uncle Sam will finally die and go to the cemetery. The most powerful myth of the modern age. Uncle Sam—the kindly old gentlemen with a white beard. Anti-colonial Uncle Sam—defender of all the oppressed and downtrodden peoples of the earth. Democratic Uncle Sam—of the people, for the people and by the people. Freedom loving Uncle Sam—welcoming the world’s poor into New York with a torch: “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses.”
Trump will strip off the tattered disguise and show the world the real Uncle—in flagranti. The Uncle who beats his wife. The Uncle who kicks his nephews. The Uncle who rapes his niece. The Uncle who helped the slave trade that snatched 100,000,000 blacks from their homes. The Uncle who massacred 15,000,000 “redskins” in his march from sea to shining sea. The Uncle who killed every male over age 12 while “liberating” the Phillipines. The Uncle who burned up the civilians of Hiroshima. The Uncle who butchered millions of women and children in Vietnam. The Uncle who drowns the Middle East in a sea of blood.
Uncle Jefferson founded Amerika on the principle that “all men are created equal and have the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” But the real Uncle ran a slave camp at Monticello with a beautiful house in the center. His overseers tortued his slaves with whips. They whipped the children who worked in the Uncle’s nail factory. The Uncle raped hundreds of black women in order to sell their children In Mississippi. Today his DNA is widespread among blacks in the US South.
Uncle Andrew Jackson gave the vote to poor white males and brought populists into the White House. General Jackson also massacred the Seminole Indians. He also worked in the slave trade. As President he sent General Gaines to snatch Texas from Mexico. He was a bigamist. He was a real Uncle.
There was a long line of such uncles, and now Uncle Trump will show the world what an Amerikan uncle can do. He has appointed retired General James Mattis as Secretary of Defense.
Even for an uncle this is shocking behavior. Why? In Amerika there is a long tradition of civilian control over the military. The Secretary of Defense is always a civilian.
Imagen 1. http://www.gettyimages.com/
Down until the Cold War the military was supposed to be only a defender against an enemy attack. For two centuries there had been widespread hostility to the existence of a big standing army. For example, in the 1860s Ulysess S. Grant complained that the French siezure of Mexico would would mean the need for a US standing army on the border to guard against a world empire in expansión. Americans did not like militarism, they did not want a big standing army.
Yes, civilian control of the military meant that the Secretary of Defense was a civilian. An apolitical military was the American tradtion. When General Douglas MacArthur, the American hero of World War II, disobeyed President Harry Truman during the Korean War and bombed bridges ending in China, the President fired him. So in 1951 the war hero came back to Amerika with his tail between his legs and held huge rallies against Truman. The President laughed at him.
In 1956 C. Wright Mills published his classic sociological study of the Amerikan power elite. He treated the economic elite, the political elite and the military elite as equals. His book was hailed as a masterpice except for one mistake. Critics thought that Mills had given too much influence to the military elite. The critics thought that the military elite was subordinate to the other two.
But a couple of generations of Cold War began to change that. The military-industrial complex gained ever more power. In the twenty-first century the increasing complexity of military technology has created a military caste that looms above the other two elites. The generals have a powerful hand in the creation of foreign policy.
Now for the first time in 65 years a general will probably lead the War Department, pardon me, I mean the Department of Defense. I say “probably” because the law forbids military offcers from holding the position of Defense Secretary within seven years of their retirement. So the Congress must pass a waiver allowing General Mattis to head the Pentagon. The Republican Congress will probably do it.
Who is General James Mattis? He is a four-star Marine Corps general who led U.S. Central Command from 2010 to 2013. After the Arab and Egyptian guerrillas attacked Washington and New York in 2001 he commanded forces in both the Afghanistan and Iraq wars. He is an expert in counterinsurgency.
To his marines in Iraq he gave this advice: “Be polite, be professional, but have a plan to kill everyone you meet.” His nickname in the military is Mad Dog Mattis. Trump likes his mad dog.
For forty years the mad dog has been in the military. He has never held a civilian post. That means that his brain works on the military metaphysic. What is that? The US left thinks that the military metaphysic is the generals’ tendency to solve diplomatic, political and economic problems by force. Example: “world oil prices have gone into the sky but don’t worry—if necessary we can always take what we need with the marines.” Example: “the USA deindustrializes but what makes a nation great is not economic power but military might.”
What will the mad dog do when Trump takes over? We don’t know what he will do in the short run—a few months. But in the long run of a few years THERE WILL BE WAR. In a world where international relations have spun out of control, the military metaphysic will see to that.
For the Department of Homeland Security, Trump has picked retired General John Kelly. Like Mattis, Kelly is a veteran of more than forty years in the Marine Corps. For the final three he was head of the Southern Command. He is a specialist in border security and illegal immigration from Mexico into the USA. He will be in charge of deporting illegal immigrants.
For National Security Advisor, Trump has chosen retired Army General Michael T. Flynn. The National Security Advisor is a key player in the formation of foreign policy and has often been more powerful than the Secretary of State. Trump is populating his cabinet with generals.
For Secretary of the Interior, Trump has named Ryan Zinke, a former Navy SEAL commander. The Interior Department manages the nation’s public lands and waters and is supposed to enforce ecological concerns. Zinke will not curb the exploration of oil and gas. He says that climate change is based on “unsettled science.”
For CIA Director, Trump has picked Mike Pompeo, a former Army officer. Pompeo graduated first in his class at West Point. In the Army he was a tank officer patrolling “the Iron Curtain” before the fall of the Berlin Wall. He proposes to use the Guantanamo Prison in Cuba for holding and interrogating terrorism suspects. [Interrogation means torture.] Pompeo favors the federal government’s expanding surveillance of American citizens. [Big Brother is watching you.] The CIA specializes in counterterrorism—manhunts and killing suspected terrorists in drone strikes.
The cabinet is so full of moneybags that it’s cracking open. Never has the US executive sported so many billionaires. Trump has repeatedly promised to cut taxes on the rich and to curb federal spending. Education and health won’t get much from the government. But the Pentagon will get plenty and war spending will increase.
For years the Republican House of Representatives has dreamed of ending what little is left of the US welfare state. The Republican electoral victory has opened a window of opportunity to make the dream come true. The new regime aims at more privatization of education and to fully privatize health service.
As Secretary of Education, Trump has picked Betsy DeVos. She has been an advocate for expanding charter schools and private school vouchers. The teachers’ unions hate her.
For the Department of Health, Trump has named Dr. Tom Price. This conservative representative from Georgia is a critic of the Affordable Care Act and will work to dismantle it. He is an architect of Republican proposals to replace the health law. Obamacare will go out.
The Trump administration intends to push working people back down into the cellars of history. These working people include the white racist sexist macho fundamentalist proletariat. This is the minority that elected him. [The majority of voters were against Trump.]
But can the Trump regime afford to alienate its main base of support? What can Trump do to hold onto his base? Well, he can whip up its racist hatred of Mexicans, blacks, Muslims, gays and feminists.
He can roar that “The Mexicans are taking your jobs!” At Homeland Security that tough old Marine General John Kelly will throw illegal immigrants out of Amerika to the fanfare of the media. “Pepper bellies go home!”
Trump has appointed Jeff Sessions to be the nation’s top cop. The new attorney general is a fanatical opponent of illegal immigration. He is a racist who has praised the Ku Klux Klan. The encouraged Klan will have a free hand to persecute the hated blacks and to enforce Holy Scripture. [In Genesis 9 we read that from Noah’s sons the whole earth was populated, and Noah cursed his son Ham: “A servant of servants he shall be to his brethren”. For the Klan, Ham was black.] Trump can allow a crusade to make Amerika white again.
Trump’s appointment of General Micahel Flynn as National Security Advisor does not bode well for the Muslim minorities in the United States. He believes that the greatest threat to America is radical Islamic terrorism, says the New York Times. “All else is secondary for General Flynn.” He believes that Sharia law is spreading across the US. America is in a world war with radical Islamists. And then there is Vice President Michael Pence, a fanatical fundamentalist. He´s against condoms, abortion and gays. He wants to make American a Christian nation. He wants to fill up Guantanamo with prionsers. He thinks radical Islam is an evil empire.
In Trump’s inner circle Mike Pence is the man with years of work in Congress. As the man with hands-on Washington experience he will be a commanding figure in the administration. This fundamentalist may wind up managing the day-today work of the government.
The Amerikan underclasses drink at the trough of fundamentalism—70 per cent of the population believes that God created the world in six days and that on the seventh day he rested. Millions of fundamentalists would applaud a Christian jihad against the infidels. It might be only a verbal jihad, hyped up by the media, but it would be popular. Will the Trumpites try this demagogic tactic? And would it work?
We shall see.
Racists like Stephen Bannon, Trump’s Chief Strategist, and fundamentalists like Mike Pence, who is only a heartbeat from the presidency, are scattered through this administration of billionaires and generals.
It is the most reactionary in Amerikan history.
Wiencek, Henry, Master of the Mountain; Thomas Jefferson and His slaves, Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2012
Baptist, Edward, The Half Has Never Been Told: Slavery and the Making of American Capitalism. Basic Books, 2014.
Mills, C. Wright, The Power Elite, Oxford University Press, 1956.
Siegel, Josh, “Who is the new CIA pick, Mike Pompeo?” Newsweek, 2016. Online
“The Donald Trump Cabinet Tracker,” The Atlantic. online
Stone, Michael, “Mike Pence: Radical Christian Extremist, ” online
“The Donald Trump Appointment Tracker,” Michael Sebastian, December 22, 2016 online
For Trump appointments, also see these websites: Progressive Secular Humanist, Counterpunch,
Pincus, Michael, American historian in San Francisco, gave advice on this article.
Cómo citar este artículo:
GANDY, Ross, (2017) “What will Trump do?”, Pacarina del Sur [En línea], año 8, núm. 30, enero-marzo, 2017. ISSN: 2007-2309.Consultado el Viernes, 23 de Marzo de 2018.
Disponible en Internet: www.pacarinadelsur.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=1440&catid=15