In this deeply depressing Presidential Election, it is important to highlight the few bright spots. And as odd as it sounds to say, Donald Trump has provided one of the most important ones.
Of course, I don’t mean his candidacy as such. To the extent that Trump has expressed consistent positions on specific issues, they are mostly bad–trade, immigration, free speech, torture, etc. But even so, Trump has made a powerful contribution to American politics by breaking the hold of neoconservatism over the Republican Party–and possibly destroying the party altogether.
The neoconservative movement is a group that has dominated American foreign policy circles since at least the reign of George W. Bush. It has been the leading proponent of all of our recent wars, and basically sees no problem that can’t be solved by American military power. Amongst other horrible ideas, the neoconservatives have been highly influential in supporting the following:
- Expanding NATO, which inevitably led to colder relations with Russia.
- In line with the above, strongly supporting the US-backed coup in Ukraine in 2014.
- Overthrowing the Taliban regime and occupying Afghanistan after 9/11 (apologies for the crazed stream-of-consciousness block text in that link)
- Lying to the American people to justify invading Iraq in 2003
- Bombing Iran, which reached a fever pitch around 2007
- America’s torture program (and not prosecuting any of the perpetrators)
- America’s massive NSA spying apparatus, and prosecuting whistleblower Edward Snowden
- Military intervention in Libya in 2011
- US intervention in Syria to overthrow Bashar al Assad (by backing jihadist groups)
- Opposing the Iran nuclear negotiations
- Supporting Israel’s occupation of Palestine under all circumstances
- Hatred of Muslims generally
- Supporting an even-handed approach to the Israel-Palestine question
- Accusing the second Bush Administration of knowingly going to war with Iraq on a false pretense
- Saying the world would be better if the US had not overthrown Saddam Hussein in Iraq and Muammar Qaddafi in Libya