by Eric Zuesse
Barack Obama was the only U.S. President who at the United Nations defended nazism — racist fascism — and Holocaust-denial. It received almost no reporting by the press at the time (or subsequently). But his successor President Donald Trump could end up being removed from office because he said that racist fascists are just the same as are people who demonstrate publicly against them. Trump’s politically stupid (not to say callous) remark became viral, and apparently the press (which had ignored Obama’s defense of nazism at the U.N.) just won’t let go of Trump’s statement unless and until he becomes replaced by his even-more-far-right Vice President, Mike Pence.
Why is there this intense press-coverage of Trump’s support of racist fascism, when there wasn’t of Obama’s (which was actually far more meaningful)? The answer comes closer if we ponder first a different question: How could the Republican Party, which is right-wing at its core, condemn a Democratic Party President who goes out of his way at the U.N. to protect today’s nazis? That wouldn’t be politically practical for Republican politicians to complain about (a Democrat’s being too far to the right); so, they didn’t do it. Similarly, no Democrat will criticize a Republican for being too leftist. There may be a few exceptions, but that’s the general rule: Successful politicians don’t offend their base.
But that still doesn’t fully answer why the press ignored it when Obama defended nazism at the U.N. The rest of the answer comes when we recognize that America’s press gets its cues from the two political Parties. If the ‘opposition’ (and not just the President’s own Party) is hiding something egregious that a President is doing or has done (such as happened there with Obama, and with many other conservative policies that Obama executed), then the press will hide it, too. Republicans weren’t calling attention to Obama’s defense of nazism, because they’d then be offending some of their own supporters. (Democrats weren’t calling attention to it, because a Democrat was doing this, which didn’t fit the ‘progressive’ storyline.) And, if the ‘opposition’ isn’t pointing it out, then neither will the press. The matter will then just be ignored — which is what happened. This was thus bipartisan non-reporting, of what Obama did. There was a lot of that while Obama was President.
In other words: America’s press are tools of, and are led by, the same people who actually, deep down, control both of America’s political Parties — the billionaires. They control both politics, and also the press. Numerous social-science studies have shown that the wealthier a person is, the likelier that person is to be politically conservative — at least to the extent that political conservatism doesn’t threaten his or her particular business and financial interests. As America’s billionaires have come to control America’s politics, this country has been moving farther and farther to the right, except on the relatively few issues (such as immigration, gay rights, etc.) where their own economic interests are served better by a progressive position (or, at least, by a position that seems to most people to be progressive).
Trump’s problem here is that he’s too obviously playing to his Party’s base. Obama didn’t need to do that, because he had massive support from billionaires, and he was a much better liar than Trump, good enough to keep many progressive voters with him even after he had already shafted them in his actual policies. For example, when Obama dropped ‘the public option’ as soon as he became elected, he was excused for it because most Americans thought he was simply being practical and avoiding an ‘unnecessary’ conflict with the opposite Party in Congress. This view ignored that he gave up on it even as being a bargaining-chip to get concessions from congressional Republicans to drive new legislation to be more progressive. Obama had no interest in progressivism. Actually, Obama didn’t want to offend his mega-donors. He thus handed the task of drafting the Obamacare law to the conservative Democrat, and public-option opponent, Max Baucus, instead of to the progressive Democrat and public-option supporter, Ted Kennedy, who desperately wanted (and expected) to have the opportunity to draft it.
Both Trump and Obama (in their actions, if not also in their words) are proponents of what Benito Mussolini called “Corporationism” — big-corporate control of the government, which Mussolini more-commonly referred to as “fascism.” President Trump has been widely condemned both here in the U.S. and around the world (which his predecessor President Barack Obama never was), for his recent blatant statement equating the worst of fascists, which are racist fascists, as being comparable to the people who in Charlottesville Virginia had marched and demonstrated against racist fascists and who were violently attacked and one of them killed by racist fascists, against whom they had been protesting. Trump was equating anti-fascists with fascists, and he even equated racist fascists — ideological nazis — with the people who were protesting specifically against nazism. Apparently, the press won’t let go of it. They treat this event as if top-level U.S. nazism were unprecedented in today’s post-WW-II America — as if this nation were still anti-nazi (as it had been in FDR’s White House), and as if this incident with Trump says something only about Trump, and not also, and far more meaningfully, about today’s American government, including Trump’s own immediate predecessor-in-office, and also about America’s current press-institution, and about what it has become.
As this reporter had headlined on 24 November 2014, “U.S. Among Only 3 Countries at U.N. Officially Backing Nazism & Holocaust-Denial; Israel Parts Company from Them; Germany Abstains”. Obama and his friend and U.N. Ambassador Samantha Power were unapologetic about having done that at the U.N., and Obama’s U.N. representative continued in that vein. As I headlined a few months later, on 21 June 2015, “America’s U.N. Ambassador Continues Standing Up for Nazis”. Both of those two news-articles were submitted to all of the U.S. and also to much of the European mainstream — and additionally to some of the ‘alt-news’ — international-news media, but each of the two articles was published only in around a half-dozen of only alternative-news sites. The ‘news’media (especially the mainstream ones) weren’t nearly as concerned about Obama’s blatantly racist-fascist, and specifically anti-Russian, actions, as they are concerned today, about the current U.S. President’s bending-over-backwards to retain his support from America’s racist-fascist or nazi voters, whom he apparently considers an essential part of his base. (Why else would he even say such a thing?)
Whereas Obama was imposing an actual nazi international campaign (via a violent anti-democratic coup, followed by an ethnic-cleansing campaign to cement it) in which his U.N. Ambassador played her necessary role, Trump was politically supporting an important portion of his voting-base, but not doing anything in actual policy-fact — at the U.N. or anywhere else — such as Obama had done. But the press focuses on Trump as if he were initiating the acceptability of nazism in the U.S. body-politic. Trump wasn’t.
Obama had done something truly remarkable: he was the first U.S. President, since the pre-Civil-War U.S. had ended and U.S. President Abraham Lincoln courageously led this nation clearly and explicitly away from its deeply racist past, to support publicly, and to carry out in policy a clearly racist policy-initiative, a blatant ethnic-cleansing military campaign. It aimed to remove from Ukraine’s voter-rolls the residents of the areas of Ukraine where from 75% to 90% of the voters had voted for the democratically elected Ukrainian President whom Obama in February 2014 had just overthrown by hiring racist-facist gunmen to drive out of power that man whom those people had so heavily voted for, in what now turned out to have been Ukraine’s final democratic nationwide election. Unless Obama eliminated those voters — ethnic Russians — the far-right politicians whom he had placed into power after the U.S. coup wouldn’t last through the first Ukrainian national election after the coup. Ethnic-cleansing was the only way to make Obama’s coup-regime stick; so, that’s what he wanted his Ukrainian stooges to do, and they tried their utmost to do it (and they’re still trying).
With all of the decades that have passed after World War II, not only Americans but also publics elsewhere, including publics in nations that America considers to be ‘allies’, such as Israel, seem to have lost any consciousness they might have had in the wake of Hitler’s defeat, about what racist fascism — what the ideology (and not just the German political party, where it had an initial capital letter) nazism — actually was, and what it meant. It wasn’t just anti-Semitic fascism that had been defeated in that war, but anti-Korean fascism, and anti-Chinese fascism, and anti-Russian fascism, and more forms of racist capitalistic dictatorship, the nazi ideology, which were defeated in WW II. During John F. Kennedy’s Presidency, the U.S. federal government very reluctantly started to deal with this country’s deepseated residual institutional racism against America’s Blacks; but, still, the ethnocentrism in America — even among Blacks and Jews — remained so pronounced, so that President Obama on 28 May 2014 could, without shame or any political embarrassment, tell the graduating class of future U.S. military leaders at West Point:
The United States is and remains the one indispensable nation. That has been true for the century passed and it will be true for the century to come.
But the world is changing with accelerating speed. This presents opportunity, but also new dangers. We know all too well, after 9/11, just how technology and globalization has put power once reserved for states in the hands of individuals, raising the capacity of terrorists to do harm. Russia’s aggression toward former Soviet states unnerves capitals in Europe, while China’s economic rise and military reach worries its neighbors. From Brazil to India, rising middle classes compete with us, and governments seek a greater say in global forums. And even as developing nations embrace democracy and market economies, 24-hour news and social media makes it impossible to ignore the continuation of sectarian conflicts and failing states and popular uprisings that might have received only passing notice a generation ago.
It will be your generation’s task to respond to this new world. The question we face, the question each of you will face, is not whether America will lead, but how we will lead — not just to secure our peace and prosperity, but also extend peace and prosperity around the globe.
Now, this question isn’t new. At least since George Washington served as Commander-in-Chief, there have been those who warned against, foreign entanglements that do not touch directly on our security or economic wellbeing. Today, according to self-described realists, conflicts in Syria or Ukraine or the Central African Republic are not ours to solve. And not surprisingly, after costly wars and continuing challenges here at home, that view is shared by many Americans.
A different view from interventionists from the left and right says that we ignore these conflicts at our own peril; that America’s willingness to apply force around the world is the ultimate safeguard against chaos.
He said that all nations other than the U.S. are “dispensable.” He said that the BRICS countries and “rising middle classes compete with us, and governments seek a greater say in global forums,” and that “It will be your generation’s task to respond to this new world. The question we face, the question each of you will face, is not whether America will lead, but how we will lead — not just to secure our peace and prosperity, but also extend peace and prosperity around the globe.” He said that “conflicts in Syria or Ukraine or the Central African Republic are … ours to solve.” He derided “self-described realists” who didn’t share his international idealism, of his own nation’s seeking out, instead of warning “against, foreign entanglements that do not touch directly on our security or economic wellbeing.” He said that “America’s willingness to apply force around the world is the ultimate safeguard against chaos,” and that George Washington was wrong.
He was saying that Hitler and Hirohito were right; that they had merely led the ‘wrong’ countries.
This man, who had just led the bloody coup and instigated the ethnic-cleansing campaign that forced two regions of the former Ukraine to secede from Ukraine and to seek instead Russia’s protection (and he then instituted sanctions against Russia for providing that protection to them), was there and then lecturing America’s future military leaders, to instruct them that they would have the right to invade “dispensable” countries, and to “apply force around the world,” in order to deal with the BRICS countries and “rising middle classes [that] compete with us, and governments [that] seek a greater say in global forums.” (He wanted none of that freedom for them.) He said that ignoring George Washington is “the ultimate safeguard against chaos,” and is somehow in accord with America’s values, even if not of George Washington’s values.
The ultimate insult was that this was coming from a man who considered himslef to be a Black — as if he were in the tradition of Martin Luther King, who had urged America to quit its invasion of Vietnam. Instead, Obama invaded and wrecked Libya, Syria, Ukraine, and Yemen.
Well, that wasn’t actually quite the ultimate insult: the ultimate insult was that Blacks continued to believe in him, and never turned against that nazi. They evidently keep what some of them call (as if it were a racial trait) ‘White man’s values’.
Values are not a racial trait, but stupidity and small-mindedness are the human norm everywhere, and no nation is ‘indispensable’ — far less, is any ‘the one indispensable nation’: not ancient Rome, not Germany, not Japan, not the U.S. — none, at all.
Trump’s foreign policies seem to be mainly aiming to out-do his predecessor’s. But, in no way is Trump yet the nazi that Obama proved himself to be. Trump could turn out to be that bad, if the people who are urging him to intensify America’s war against Russia and/or against Iran have their way. The “neoconservatives” (the foreign-policy ideology that’s sponsored by America’s billionaires of both the Republican and the Democratic Parties) seem still to be basically in control. Trump nonetheless could turn out to be the idealist that Obama, Hitler, and Hirohito, were, but there’s at least the possibility that he will instead turn out to be one of “the self-described realists” whom Obama had derided. Trump hasn’t yet exposed his true self, to the extent that Obama did during his eight years. But the ‘news’media are already calling Trump a “White racist.” It seems that the people who cheered-on Obama’s nazism (except when they said that Obama was being ‘too cautious’ about it) don’t like Trump, at all.
But, are America’s billionaires really that eager to replace Trump by Pence? One might wonder how far this campaign will go.
Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.