President Trump gave a speech in Saudi Arabia: “We are not here to lecture. We are not here to tell other people how to live, what to do, who to be, or how to worship. Instead, we are here to offer partnership — based on shared interests and values”
An early apology to my editor, but I take this as the politically correct way of saying: If there is money involved, fuck human rights.
It used to be that the pursuit of basic birthrights around the World was a pillar of U.S. foreign policy. And although a bipartisan issue, Republicans always seemed to champion an active role around the world more vocally that their democratic counterparts. Historically, there have been very few Republicans who do not endorse Pax Americana, a term applied to the concept of relative peace in the World as a result of the dominance of power enjoyed by the United States beginning after WWII and continuing to this day.
The big elephant in the room, of course, always being our relationship to Saudi Arabia. How can we, with a straight face, stress human rights while maintaining a close alliance with a literal authoritarian monarchy? The school of thought seems to be strategic. Centered around a choice between the lesser of two evils: “If not us, then the Russians”. From a military perspective, Saudi Arabia is a country-sized landing pad in an area of the world where we don’t have many friends. A fallout between a US-Saudi alliance, could very well produce the diplomatic vacuum that so often attracts the Kremlin like flies. However, previous administrations have played a balancing act, consistently applying pressure on issues like human rights. But not Trump.
I’ve said this before (yes even before the Trump phenomenon): Russian propaganda is the single biggest threat facing Western society today.
Not the Russian military. Not the political discourse in the USA. No. Our biggest threat is non-countered propaganda spewed by our enemies designed to seed doubt in our American institution, and career professionals, while simultaneously spreading false news. Russian propaganda outlets often sprinkle factual stories, and viral content which they use as a sort of ‘Trojan horses” to garner subscriptions (or likes) from unsuspecting Americans.
I don’t believe that the solution should be to censor RT, Sputnik, or any of the many channels peddling Putin’s garbage. The solution instead, should be to counter misinformation with facts.
The Baltic countries have been leading on this front:
In Lithuania a small army of bloggers of who’ve dubbed themselves “elves” — patrol social media, coordinating their actions through Facebook or Skype to expose fake accounts.
Latvia, intends to launch independent quality media in Russian, which could include a Russian-language TV channel to counter Kremlin propaganda.
Estonian politicians and Estonian public administration officers stopped giving interviews to Russian state-controlled broadcasting channels because it’s not real journalism … there is no point in giving interviews to RT when a story has already been made before the conversation happens.
President Trump, not only has chosen to avoid any condemnation directed at our foes, he has actually become a loudspeaker for many of the same propaganda points used by authoritarian leaders to lodge anti-American sentiment among their constituency.
Whether it means celebrating Brexit, calling NATO obsolete, or praising our greatest enemy: Putin. It’s sometimes hard to tell apart a Trump tweet from an official Kremlin statement.
So it’s time we face it. The classic conservative is extinct. At least in any relevant numbers sufficient to reflect on their own party. Republican senators are not incapable, but unwilling to challenge the direction taken by the leader of their party. With every passing day, it will become harder if not impossible to divorce the Republican brand from America’s greatest mistake.