“The term “fascist” tends to be applied, granted far too liberally, to those whose behaviour aligns with breathless nationalism, authoritarianism, and militarism.”
Nationalism is only one ingredient required to make a fascist, in much the same way that a slice of cheese does not make a cheeseburger.
Trump is now the President of a country. It is a nation. His mandate, whether he serves it well or not is simple — to prioritise the needs of his country and its citizens over the interests of all others. That is where a presidential mandate begins and ends. It doesn’t really matter what country you’re talking about. If he were not a nationalist therefore, then he would never be capable of being a good leader for a nation.
Whether Trump is a militarist or not remains to be seen. He has certainly tried to appeal to patriotism and invoked respect for the military during the election campaign. Massaging the egos of the military to try to maximise the vote count is pretty normal. Every other president has done it too.
But the last eight years have seen American militarism out of control and recklessly dangerous especially in Eastern Europe, presided over by a president who was not a nationalist, but an internationalist instead; and that has historically been an even more dangerous combination.
Obama, like Trump did not meet the criteria that would make any accusation of fascism credible. That they each tick one or two of its boxes does not make them fascists. Any other president in the world could tick one or two of those boxes.
“And then, of course, you have those on the right who deem any support of social programs as “communist””
Well many social programmes are justified by a commitment to properly regimented “equality.” Equality is a communist concept. That is a fact. Fascism itself was also a product of communism. Both are closely related. Both involve centralised states, collectivisation, group consensus, identity politics, the destruction of the family and its replacement by the state. All of these things have always been far more a feature of democrat rhetoric and action than republican.
Fascism and socialism are just two sides of the same coin. The most destructive fascist party of all time did not call themselves “National Socialists” for nothing. The slight differences in socialist and fascist ideologies are massively outweighed by the similarities.
The brand of fascism that was realistically associated with the Obama administration was more the Marxist inspired variety which arguably has been even more dangerous and destructive than the version more generally recognised as “fascism.” (with one major exception of course)
“The problem with using the label too frequently or when it’s not a propos of the statement/behaviour is that one’s accused of crying wolf when fascist behaviour is actually creeping in.”
That is true; but I would like to add that being selective about when we cry wolf based simply on the ideological team colours worn by the wolf is another huge problem. Why were the people who consider themselves “progressives” silent in the face of those wolves when they were wearing democrat colours?
Trump’s willingness to lie makes him a typical business man / politician. Nothing more: It is no different from Clinton’s propensity to lie routinely and blatantly and simply wave it away when she is caught out.
And a lot of people cried wolf as a result.
“His statement during the CIA speech about having another chance at Iraqi oil should worry virtually every American, if they’re going to be intellectually honest and consistent.”
It should worry Americans. It should especially worry Iraqis. But people have to weigh up the choices before them. The American people were offered a choice between Trump and Clinton. They were offered two far from perfect candidates. But they still had to make a choice. In terms of foreign policy regarding militarism there was a huge difference. Clinton has a track record of being one of the loudest and most persistent war-mongers of the Obama era. Her irresponsible diatribes against Russia and her cheerleading for some of the most reckless and provocative sabre rattling on Russia’s borders since the second world war, have been stupid, misinformed and dangerous beyond belief.
It was after all, democrats not republicans who were funding openly neo-Nazi movements in Ukraine. Clinton, for some inexplicable reason, was so virulently anti-Russian she was willing to risk a catastrophic world war to prove whatever she wanted to prove. And the Obama administration continued to ratchet up the military tension in Poland and the Baltics right up to the last week of their tenure. The largest war manoeuvres in NATO’s history were Clinton’s baby and they took place right on Russia’s door step. You do not get provocative militarism written any larger than that. They prompted frantic military expansion in Russia too.
There was a joke in Russian military circles about how every time Hillary Clinton opened her mouth; the Russian government would increase the military budget by 5%.
How anything that Trump said could compare with war-mongering militarism on that scale is beyond my understanding.
When the American electorate put an end to Clinton’s presidential ambitions, the American people moved the world a few steps back from the brink of nuclear war. Which way Donald Trump will choose to take it is anybody’s guess.
Trump might want another shot at Iraqi oil. Clinton spoke openly about shooting down Russian planes. If I were an American I would worry far more about the later.
As a Russian I still do because I have no doubt about how Russia would react to such attacks and I do not wish to see a war.