Am I alone in detecting a whiff of raw evil in the Trump administration’s utterances this week?
I spoke in the Seanad on Thursday about the evil plans of this man, the POTUS, to reintroduce torture, including waterboarding, for detainees suspected of having information useful to the US in its war on terrorism.
Lest we forget the “facts” we saw in the pictures from Abu Ghraib and lest we start lapping up “alternative facts”, it is as well to remind ourselves of some of the torture techniques deployed by American interrogators. Apart from sensory deprivation techniques (and we have all seen pictures of hooded, ear-muffed, shackled men being wheeled around Guantanamo), the Bush administration encouraged its torturers to assault and inflict pain on shackled victims, to wrap towels around their necks and repeatedly hit their heads against solid walls, and to use drowning and waterboarding to break their wills.
One disgusted Guantanamo serviceman wrote a book detailing what he saw there including sexual humiliation and degradation involving female US interrogators shackling a naked Muslim to a ring in the floor and then smearing him with what they claimed was menstrual blood. When I put this last scene to a conservative Republican, I was assured that it was probably fake blood.
Is all of this to start again? Are these practices all part of the shared values of “freedom and human rights” underlying the “special relationship” between the US and UK now being talked up by Theresa May? Or is Trump’s appetite for a revival of these unspeakable wrongs not evidence of some evil psychopathy in what passes for his personality?
Is there not also something very redolent of the 1938 German bullying of the Czechoslovakian president, Emil Hacha, in this week’s shocking attempt to bully the President of Mexico to come to Washington to have the cost of building Trump’s wall imposed as some kind of economic reparation on the poor people of Mexico?
Why on earth should the Mexican people or state pay for Trump’s wall? In moral terms, the idea is an outrage. Is it because those who live in comparative poverty must pay reparations for the fact that others have that fled poverty by becoming illegals working in the US? Or is it revenge for US job losses to Mexico by reason of NAFTA?
How would imposing a 20% import tax on Mexican goods to pay for the wall not result in the price being paid by US citizens – depending on price elasticity of demand on those goods?
Is it because the Mexicans are collectively guilty as a people of damaging the US, in the same sense as when at Kristallnacht in 1938 the tiny 1% Jewish German population were forced by the Nazis to pay reparations for the assassination of a German diplomat in Paris by a young and desperate Jew, Herschel Grynszpan?
Only a shameless bully and psychopath would seek to revive the cruelties and international thuggish methods of the Third Reich as the means to make America great again.
I wrote here some months ago (and well before his election) about the dangers of not calling out Trump for what he is. I warned of the same complacency that allowed Hitler to ascend to power.
This week’s warning by Trump’s close advisor, Steve Bannon, to the US media to “shut their mouths” and his description of them as “the Opposition” could have come straight from the lips of Josef Goebbels.
We have been told in recent weeks by “wise” observers not to worry – that Trump’s actions were what mattered ,not his words. But the two are not that different.
Why has the EU not expressed solidarity with Mexico? Why is Canada and its young premier, Justin Trudeau, so silent about the blackmailing of its NAFTA partner by Trump?
Why are we all struck dumb as Trump’s psychopathy is elevated to the status of US policy?
Why is our weakling government here in Dublin close-mouthed in the face of these events?
I think I know the answer – the March 17th presentation of shamrock at the White House would probably be cancelled if we opened our collective mouth and uttered even the most stifled squeak. One way or the other, POTUS will have no interest whatever in the future of Northern Ireland, by the way.
Such is our new world order.
Trump is a self-absorbed bully who wants the US to behave like a self-absorbed bully. He wants to re-create the US in his own image – “great”. He wants to dismantle the EU and destroy the euro so that he can do “Mexican Deals” on the weaker individual ex-member states of the EU.
He wants to encourage the Israelis to complete their absorption of “Judea and Samaria” as they call it – better known as the West Bank to us. He will move his embassy to Jerusalem in a short while.
He does not even seem to grasp that his inaugural speech’s promise to exterminate Islamic terrorism cannot be delivered if he abandons any hope of statehood for the Palestinians. He may soon see ISIS driven out of Raqqa and Mosul; but he will only stoke up the jihadist terrorists’ hatred and motivation if he permits Netanyahu to end the possibility of a two-state solution for Israel and Palestine.
If more terror follows in the wake of Trump’s Middle East policy, it will be no surprise. It, alas, is how the weak and desperate typically wreak vengeance on the strong and unjust.
Nobody knows exactly why Putin moved might and main to assist Trump’s election. But that strange alliance bodes ill for a new world order based on mutual respect, as the people of eastern Ukraine will appreciate.
In the 1930’s the world entered a dark valley. Forgive me if I have a sense of foreboding that Trump is bringing us all into another dark valley. All the ingredients are stock-piled for a new world crisis – not least the personal characteristics of Trump himself.
Even the word “carnage” seems to describe what is to come rather than what has already come to pass. His statement that the “carnage stops now” seems so very unlikely.