By Neil Clark
The late British Prime Minister Harold Wilson once said that a week is a long time in politics. The truth of his dictum has been proved again, quite spectacularly, over the last seven days.
This time last week, President Trump was a hate figure for the ’Extreme Center’ political and media establishment in the US, UK and the rest of Europe.
He was mentally unstable. He was a Russian stooge. A terrible sexist. He wasn’t really fit to be President. Obama was much, much better – what a pity he had to go.
Today, however, Trump’s being lauded as a great leader. And its his ‘weak’ predecessor who’s in the doghouse. What caused this dramatic turnaround? Trump’s dramatic turnaround on Syria.
By ordering cruise missile strikes on a sovereign state whose government the neoliberal globalists desperately want toppled, Trump has become the toast of the Endless War lobby. He is now hailed as a “proper President.” Fears that he would be an ‘America First’ isolationist who would damage the profits of the military/industrial complex have evaporated. Trump is doing what Hillary Clinton and John McCain urged him to do. The Donald, an unhinged, sexist Russian spy? Oh, don’t worry about that, we were only joking!
In Britain, Nu Labour ‘progressives,’ who have spent most of the past six months attacking the ‘madman’ Trump, lambasting his character and his immigration policies, now regard him in a much more favorable light.
In February, anti-Corbyn Labour MP Jess Phillips declared that the US President was “an open sexual predator,” but on Friday, after The Donald went to war, she was re-tweeting praise for the ‘open sexual predator’s’ actions on Twitter.
When Trump got elected in November, Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron bemoaned that ’liberal values of moderation’ and ’respect for the rule of law’ had been defeated. In March, he blasted PM Theresa May for having the same “aggressive nationalistic agenda” as Trump (and Putin and Le Pen). Now, the very same Tim Farron is writing Op-eds in papers that had been fiercely anti-Trump, in support of the POTUS’s illegal attack on Syria.
Liberal values of moderation? Respect for the rule of law? It’s hard to see how these are maintained by unlawfully killing civilians in response to chemical weapons deaths which the Syrian government has denied being responsible for.
The hypocrisy of the ‘progressives’ who hated Trump before April 7th, but who now praise him for launching missiles in a “humanitarian cause” is truly off the scale.
As Dr Eoin Clarke has pointed out there’s a very strong overlap between the MPs who are cheering Trump’s Tomahawks, and those who blocked a pause on arms sales to Saudi Arabia over the bombing of Yemen in October, a Labour motion supported by the genuine humanitarian Jeremy Corbyn.
Meanwhile, as Glenn Greenwald pointed out in his excellent Intercept column, we saw once again this week how the corporate media in The Land of The Free “instantly converts into state media” once the missiles start flying.
All the ’liberal’ outlets and media commentators in the US that had been attacking Trump 24-7, suddenly changed their tune. We now have a War President who must be supported! Anti-Trump voices must be silenced!
“People who dissent from this bombing campaign – who opposed it on the merits – were almost entirely disappeared,” notes Greenwald.
MSNBC anchor Brian Williams couldn’t conceal his enthusiasm, calling video footage of the US missile strikes “beautiful.”
(Try and imagine if an RT news anchor had said the same about a video of Russian strikes on ISIS targets).
On CNN, a network nicknamed the ‘Clinton News Network’ because of its hostile Trump coverage, host Fareed Zakaria declared: “I think Donald Trump became President of the United States last night,” in reference to the US attack on Syria. This is the same Fareed Zakaria who only in March had said that Trump had spent his entire life “bullshitting.” But a month later, Zakaria was willing to believe the serial ‘bullshit artist’s claims that Syrian government was, without any doubt, to blame for the chemical weapons deaths.
Even neocon Bill Kristol, editor of the Weekly Standard and probably Trump’s most consistent US media critic has done an 180 degree turn- coming out to declare his support for Trump on Twitter.
And in another Tweet, Kristol was honest enough to reveal what the ultimate ‘prize’ of the US toppling Assad really is: regime change in Iran.
While Trump’s stock (like the share price of Raytheon, the manufacturer of Tomahawk missiles) has risen with the endless war lobby, that of the 44th President has fallen. Obama has been attacked for not enforcing his ‘red line’ on chemical weapons use in Syria in 2013, and for his rapprochement with Syria’s ally Iran.
One prominent figure said that the chemical attack in Idlib was a “consequence of the past administration’s weakness.” The same prominent figure though had urged Obama not to attack Syria in 2013. “What I am saying is stay out of Syria. The only reason President Obama wants to attack Syria is to save face over his very dumb RED LINE statement. Do NOT attack Syria, fix USA.”
The name of the prominent figure: why, it’s Donald Trump!
At the same time that the flip-flopping Donald has found himself with a whole lots of new friends since Friday, those who had hoped – perhaps naively – that his Presidency would mark an end to illegal US regime change ops, feel mighty disillusioned. But don’t mind them. They’re only ‘far-right.’
Trump’s far-right supporters turn on him after Syria strike,” declared the New York Times.
“Decision rankles some on Far-Right,” said NBC News.
The Extreme Center loves to brand all those who oppose the policies of ‘liberal interventionism’ and endless war as being “far right.” Even if many of the opponents are socialists, Greens or Communists. By contrast, those who support regular attacks on Middle Eastern states are labelled “moderates.” We live in a truly Orwellian world where those who are quite happy to risk World War III in order to get rid of a secular government in Syria are presented as “respected commentators,” while those against this madness are marginalized.
The events of the last seven days have shown us what a charade the Establishment Trump-bashing was. The Donald was portrayed as beyond the pale not because the neocon/fake-left elite were genuinely concerned about him being a sexist or racist President, but because they were worried that he wouldn’t be a regime-changing War President.
Now that he’s come out against Assad, all is forgiven.