FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Trump is the New Gaddafi

Photo by Joel Kramer | CC BY 2.0

I was trying to think a few hours ago – after his shameful, outrageous, insane breaking of a solemn international treaty – just who Donald Trump reminded me of. I used to think about the boastful, gung-ho racist Theodore Roosevelt, the ‘Rough Rider’ who enjoyed war (and threats). But Theodore Roosevelt actually did win the Nobel Peace Prize. And then I realised.

The political leader who most resembles Trump is the late Colonel Gaddafi of Libya.

The parallels are quite creepy. Gaddafi was crackers, he was a vain, capricious peacock of a man, he was obsessed with women, he even had a ghost writer invent a ‘Green Book’ of his personal philosophy, just as Trump had his business manual written for him. Gaddafi was vengeful towards his opponents but his views on the Middle East were odd, to say the least. He once advocated a one-state solution to Israel and Palestine which – in all seriousness – he suggested should be called ‘Israel-tine’. A bit like moving the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

Trump’s White House is now like Gaddafi’s tent, which the Libyan leader took with him everywhere. Trump’s late-night television viewing was not unlike Gaddafi’s insistence that business must be done in his tent. Gaddafi’s handshake was legendary – so was his kiss from Tony Blair, who was as obsequious to Gaddafi in Libya as Theresa May was to Trump in Washington. Much good did it do Blair or May.

Gaddafi ran his business dealings through his family – now there’s a thought – and even maintained good relations with Russia. His speeches were interminable – he liked the sound of his own voice – and although he constantly lied, his audience was forced to listen and to fear his wrath. Above all, Gaddafi was completely divorced from reality. If he lied, he believed his own lies. He believed that he kept his promises. He believed in the world he wanted to believe in, even if this was non-existent. His Great Man Made River Project was supposed to Make Libya Great Again.

 

If all this seems flippant, there is a weird parallel between Trump and other Middle Eastern leaders – the ex-Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad comes to mind. He claimed that a holy cloud appeared over his head when he spoke at the UN and then denied he’d said this – until an Iranian political opponent produced the videotape. I wonder, after Trump’s latest, disgraceful performance, we’ll soon hear from Ahmadinejad again. The only other man whom we might compare to the American president, I suppose, is Korea’s “little rocket man” himself – whom a few hours ago appeared to be the man who might provide Trump with that Nobel Prize. Dare one utter the obvious words: Ye Gods!

Of course, we know what Trump’s breaking of the Iranian nuclear deal means – quite apart from his lies and fraudulent arguments about the original agreement: the United States is now a part of Israel’s foreign policy. The Arabs used to say that Israel was an American state. Now the US has become part of the Israel state. That infamous speech contained seven references to “terror” in relation to Iran – “state sponsor of terror”, “supports terrorist proxies”, “reign…of terror”, “a regime of great terror”, “funds…terrorism”, “support for terrorism”, “the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism” – and so on and so forth. This is almost as good as Benjamin Netanyahu’s speeches at the UN.

And we are supposed to believe, like children, that Shiite Iran is supporting Sunni Muslim al-Qaeda – when it’s been fighting al-Qaeda in Iraq and Syria. We are supposed to believe that Iran’s long-outdated “intelligence documents” provide “definitive proof” that Iran’s promise of not pursuing nuclear weapons is a lie. But what is America worth now – in the Middle East or anywhere else (North Korea comes to mind) – when it can so blatantly tear up an international treaty agreed by the US government itself. That used to be what some European leaders – one in particular – did in the first part of the 20th century.

Just play the scenario backwards and switch the characters in this obscene drama. Imagine that the American government managed to forge an international nuclear agreement with Iran. But then consider what would happen if Iran’s reaction to Trump’s presidency was to announce that the Islamic Republic would shred the agreement. The Mays and the Macrons and the Merkels would line up – perhaps even with Russia and China – alongside Trump to denounce this act of perfidy. How could Iran break so binding an international treaty, we would ask ourselves? What kind of regime runs Iran? It would almost be enough to call it a ‘terrorist regime’.

That’s why I most enjoyed Trump’s expression of love for Iranians. All US presidents say how much they love the people they are about to invade. Bush said the same about the Iraqis. So did Reagan before he bombed Gaddafi’s Libya. Now Trump feels sorry for the “long suffering Iranians”. Trump reminded us all of a time when Iran “prospered in peace” and “commanded the admiration of the world” – and no-one has spotted that he was referring to the Shah’s Iran whose Savak secret police kept Iranians in a state of permanent fear and terror through a programme of obscene tortures.

More articles by:

Robert Fisk writes for the Independent, where this column originally appeared. 

August 21, 2018
Anthony DiMaggio
Fascist Nation: The “Alt-Right” Menace Persists, Despite Setbacks
Chris Floyd
Dial “N” for Mayhem: Wording Our Way to a New Level of Hell
Creston Davis
The Education Impasse in the USA
Jonathan Cook
In Detaining Peter Beinart, Israel Has Declared it No Longer Represents Millions of Jews Overseas
Kenneth Culton
Trump Supporters: the Joyous Cult Bound by Shared Story and Ritual
Andy Thayer
Why the Chicago ‘68 Convention Matters Today
Simone Chun
Sea of Tears: The Tragedy of Families Split by the Korean War
William Blum
The Russians Did It (cont.)
Manuel E. Yepe
How Capitalism Erodes Mental Health
Doug Noble
Thomas Mountain
Djibouti Faces Dark Days to Come; Eritrean Ports, Pipeline Threaten Ethiopian Trade Lifeline
Binoy Kampmark
Finding Fault and Faulty Infrastructure: Genoa’s Morandi Bridge Disaster
Kary Love
“Suffer Not the Little Children….”
Thomas Knapp
Omarosa Manigault Newman, Public Servant
August 20, 2018
Carl Boggs
The Road to Disaster?
James Munson
“Not With a Bomb, But a Whimper” … Then More Bombs.
Jonathan Cook
Corbyn’s Labour Party is Being Made to Fail –By Design
Robert Fisk
A US Trade War With Turkey Over a Pastor? Don’t Believe It
Howard Lisnoff
The Mass Media’s Outrage at Trump: Why the Surprise?
Faisal Khan
A British Muslim’s Perspective on the Burkha Debate
Andrew Kahn
Inhumanity Above the Clouds
Dan Glazebrook
Trump’s New Financial War on the Global South
George Wuerthner
Why the Gallatin Range Deserves Protection
Ted Rall
Is Trump a Brand-New Weird Existential Threat? No.
Sheldon Richman
For the Love of Reason
Susie Day
Why Pundits Scare Me
Dean Baker
Does France’s Economy Need to Be Renewed?
Jeffrey St. Clair
A Mighty Voice for Peace Has Gone Silent: Uri Avnery, 1923-2018
Weekend Edition
August 17, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Daniel Wolff
The Aretha Dialogue
Nick Pemberton
Donald Trump and the Rise of Patriotism 
Joseph Natoli
First Amendment Rights and the Court of Popular Opinion
Andrew Levine
Midterms 2018: What’s There to Hope For?
Robert Hunziker
Hothouse Earth
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Running Out of Fools
Ajamu Baraka
Opposing Bipartisan Warmongering is Defending Human Rights of the Poor and Working Class
Paul Street
Corporate Media: the Enemy of the People
David Macaray
Trump and the Sex Tape
CJ Hopkins
Where Have All the Nazis Gone?
Daniel Falcone
The Future of NATO: an Interview With Richard Falk
Cesar Chelala
The Historic Responsibility of the Catholic Church
Ron Jacobs
The Barbarism of US Immigration Policy
Kenneth Surin
In Shanghai
William Camacaro - Frederick B. Mills
The Military Option Against Venezuela in the “Year of the Americas”
Nancy Kurshan
The Whole World Was Watching: Chicago ’68, Revisited
Robert Fantina
Yemeni and Palestinian Children
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail