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Pay No Attention to That Man Behind the Curtain

Where will the Trump neofascists and his administration’s fellow travelers move next? At some point in the near future, the billionaire class is going to call for its lesser players’ cards to be laid on the table. Billionaires can and will tolerate all manner of mayhem to a point… all kinds of governmental and human rights abuses before putting an end to the lunacy in the White House and Congress. Not understanding the lengths the ruling class will go to in the name of profit and greed is something that the antiwar movement got wrong during the Vietnam War and beyond. Perhaps there are very old lessons to be re-learned aren’t there?

With almost unlimited funds and a vibrant arms industry, the billionaire class took all of the time that it needed to decide to end the Vietnam debacle between 1973 and 1975. They couldn’t have cared less about the massive bloodletting of that historical epoch. Being mostly young and unsophisticated, those in the antiwar movement didn’t comprehend all of these issues at the time. Some even thought that the working class in the U.S. would rise up en masse and support largely white college-educated liberals in the antiwar movement. No such powerful movement against war and government mayhem has arisen since.

Now, while the circus is in town in Washington, D.C., there is a pressing need to step back and try to determine where this insanity will lead. The far-right of the Republican Party, with some collusion among their friends in the Democratic Party, will not allow for these opportunities in slavish service to their paymasters to go without some payoff. Where will that be? War is a “great” way to change the focus of the masses and simultaneously make some serious pocket change.

Judging from the reaction to Trump’s military forays in Syria and Yemen, the dogs of war can’t be far from knowing what to do next. Both Trump and/or Pence know this instinctively. Senator Charles Schumer and Senator John McCain won’t be far off lending their unequivocal support to an attack against Iran, or expansions of the endless wars in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and a whole host of other places, possibly including Korea. And their adoring sycophants in the mass media will salivate to replay the “shock and awe” show that was so popular during the Bush II regime. “Beautiful” will be one of the lesser adjectives used to describe the carnage. The so-called resulting collateral damage will be largely ignored, or shrugged off as one of the necessary costs of war. Netanyahu, well, up until this latest Trump debacle, will be jubilant as even his allies in the Middle East will be subject to this new world order.

There is always the outside chance the the billionaire class will act to dump Trump and bring Pence into the Oval Office. Then the real dogs of war will have their day and human rights and women’s rights will be placed on the chopping block.

A good analysis of the potential for a war scenario can be found in The Real News Network’s “Wilkerson: Trump ‘Needs a Good War’ and Pence is Waiting in the Wings to Lead It,” May 12, 2017. Here, Colonel Wilkerson, former chief of staff to Secretary of State Colin Powell and an adjunct professor, gives a clear and realistic assessment of where Trump and his associates may be heading in terms of war.

Vijay Prashad, Professor of International Studies at Trinity College put it this way on The Real News Network: “The more you tell somebody that when you bomb you’re being President, the more you encourage them to use the military to earn high polling numbers and to earn the plaudits of the liberal intelligentsia,” (“Trump Expanding War From Syria to Afghanistan As Media Focuses on Comey,” May 15, 2017).

While the masses in the U.S. are mesmerized by the shiny object that is the firing of former director of the FBI, James Comey, and now the leak of Israeli intelligence information about ISIS in Syria to Russia, the White House is not oblivious to the fact that war is a great sell to the American public. The somnambulant attitudes toward war on the part of masses of people continues under Trump as it did during the Obama administration. Millions can be mobilized on the streets for disparate and important causes that are under daily attack, but as far as militarism and military adventures go, the quiet is deafening!

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Howard Lisnoff is a freelance writer. He is the author of Against the Wall: Memoir of a Vietnam-Era War Resister (2017).

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