Trump the Neocon?: The Changing Climate of Antiwar Politics

2016 was a strange fucking year to be an antiwar voter. It was the first open Democratic primary since the Iraq War without a clear peace candidate and Ron Paul’s heir apparent, Rand, proved to be a total dud. It was actually pretty fucking depressing. It felt like after 8 years of Obama drone striking teenagers and killing Gadhafi, nobody gave a fuck about peace, love and understanding. Then there was Trump, who seemed to slip out from nowhere to awkwardly fill the void like a ginger dog fart. I never bought into his whole Pat Buchanan with dick jokes routine. Even if I could get past the vile xenophobia, the fucker still had all the slick charm of a Craig’s List kidney thief.

But I knew more than a few legit antiwar activists who were taken in by the orange bastard. Most of them were right-wing libertarians and paleocons, and most of them would readily admit that the guy was an asshole, but they still held out hope that this whole America First scheme would light a fire beneath middle America that would drive out the neocons and usher in a new era of conservative isolationism like the kind that once dominated the GOP before Nixon. At the very least, they held out hope that that foul gangster would finally bail us out of Afghanistan. I didn’t see it. So I voted for Jill Stein again.

Five years later and I find myself in I-told-you-so country again. After a very brief flirtation with anti-globalist rhetoric and getting-along-with-Putin bromides, the GOP has rejoined their war loving frenemies in the Democratic Party to crucify Joe Biden for doing what their darling Trump promised to do for four years straight and finally get us the fuck out of Afghanistan. Both sides are fucking hysterical over the shocking spectacle of old Joe doing something right for the first time in his impossibly long career as a Beltway gangbanger, but those blathering crybabies over at Fox News take the cake.

After four years of posing like Charles Lindberg, you’d think that Biden shot their dog the way they grieve the loss of that twenty year quagmire. And Donald Trump appears to be ready and willing to join their chicken-hawk pity party, telling Sean Hannity and another gutless pigfucking imbecile who’ll listen that his long-promised pull out of Afghanistan would have been completely “conditions-based” and suggesting that America should declare total war on the Taliban for the crime of confiscating our fleeing Afghan Army’s American war toys. All of this madness leaves me with the surreal and vexing question that if peace is the cross the GOP plans to nail Biden to in 2024, will Donald Trump, the great isolationist hope, run as a fucking neocon?

Stranger shit has happened and Donald Trump’s checkered biography is full of it. We have to remember that this is a corporate welfare grifter who has literally played every single side of the fence to keep himself one step away from financial ruin. He’s been a Democrat. He’s been an Independent. He handsomely funded New York neoliberals and neocons alike, forking over thousands to the Clinton’s alone. Then you have to consider the sneaky motherfucker’s actual record in office.

While Trump waxed philosophic about putting America first and did battle with the cold warriors in the Deep State over the Russiagate hoax, he essentially pimped out the entirety of our war machine for rent to the Saudis and the Zionists. He put the West Bank at two minutes to genocide by gifting Bibi Netanyahu Jerusalem on a stake and he went out of his way to fund and fuel Mohamed bin Salman’s sickening genocidal bloodbath in Yemen. He also crippled Iran, Venezuela, and Cuba with cruel sanctions at the height of the pandemic and continued to edge us ever closer to world war with China and his supposed bosom buddy Putin in Russia. And then there was his real plan for Afghanistan.

The Donald’s last acting Secretary of Defense, Chris Miller, has gone on the record claiming that the post-election pull-out was little more than a fucking ruse. The plan was to use the threat of peace to strong arm Afghan president and fellow parasite, Ashraf Ghani, into accepting a power-sharing agreement with the Taliban on the condition that all parties involved accept the indefinite presence of about 800 special-ops hitmen as a so called “counter-terrorism force.” In other words, Trump’s plan wasn’t to leave Afghanistan, it was to hoodwink the Taliban into consenting to the forever war lasting, well, forever. Who fucking knows if it would have worked. Like most of Trump’s schemes, it might have just as likely blown up in his fucking face, but the point is Trump’s plans for Afghanistan, just like everywhere else, were never much less than neocon in objective.

The truth is it was always in all the worst people’s better interests to paint Donald Trump as an anti-interventionist. For his enemies in the Democratic Party and his rivals in the GOP and the Deep State, it was a way of painting the man as a tyrant kissing coward who would sell American greatness down the river for a song. For his Republican allies and their fallacious whores on Fox News, it was a way to sell their brand of corporate conservatism as a balm for pissed-off middle Americans aching from decades of bipartisan warmongering and gutter capitalist globalism.

In a classic Washington twist, it was all theater. Trump’s rhetoric and bad table manners may have offended both parties legacy imperialists but he was never really a threat to anything but the empire’s international PR campaign. After four years of behaving like a rent collecting stick-up artist, Biden’s camp pretty much had to finally give up the ghost in Afghanistan just to shake off the reek of gangster Trump left behind. Ironically, this may be that bastard’s only real antiwar legacy. The million dollar question now is will Donald Trump’s duped antiwar populists follow his cult of personality into open warmongering? For the sake of what’s left of this country’s antiwar movement, I sure as fuck hope not.

Nicky Reid is an agoraphobic anarcho-genderqueer gonzo blogger from Central Pennsylvania and assistant editor for Attack the System. You can find her online at Exile in Happy Valley.