Trump Critics Have Let Their Dismay Go Too Far, Military Analyst Says
President Trump tried to downplay the backlash to his roundly criticized meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin this week by tweeting, “Some people HATE the fact that I got along well with President Putin of Russia. They would rather go to war than see this. It’s called Trump Derangement Syndrome!”
Even some critics of the president might agree.
Here & Now‘s Robin Young speaks with military analyst Andrew Bacevich, who writes in an op-ed for The Boston Globe critics of Trump “have allowed their understandable dismay with the president to become an all-consuming mania.”
“Wehaveapenchantfortheparanoidstyle,” he says. “Itoccursperiodicallyinourpolitics,andithasatremendouslydistortingeffect.AndIthinkthatinsomerespects,weareexperiencingasimilarphenomenonrightnow.”
On how Trump triggered a “paranoid response”
“It is, I believe, anger on the right — not confined to a small minority — anger on the right that led to the election of Donald Trump. ThefocusofmyessaywastosuggestthatnowthatTrumpispresidentthathasinducedaparanoidresponseontheleft,amongTrump’scritics.”
On why the paranoid response poses a greater danger than Trump himself
On why it’s important not to get caught up in Trump’s rhetoric
“Somuchofwhatthepresidentsaysisutternonsense,andit’simportanttocallhimonit.ButIthinkit’salsonecessarytothinkaboutwhathappensnext.SowehaveapresidentwhomakesalloftheseextraordinarystatementsaboutNATO — suggesting that the United States is about to withdraw from NATO, that the whole alliance system is going to collapse — and then lo and behold, that doesn’t happen. So yes, we should take cognizance of the idiotic things that he says, but I think it’s equally important to recognize that much of what he says actually doesn’t end up producing any substantive change. We’re still in NATO. There still are sanctions on the Russians for their annexation of the Crimea. The G-7 is still up and running. I’m not defending the president. I think his statements are beyond counterproductive, but it doesn’t mean the end of the world.”
On how Trump’s “America First” policy hasn’t extended to ending wars
“Sowehaveapresidentwhoembarrassesus,butwealsohaveanapproachtopolicy—onethatpredatesTrump—thatTrump, despitewhathepromisedtodoasacandidate, isinfactaffirming—andIreferheretoourendlesswars.AndIwouldarguethatthatisafargreaterscandalthananythingthathappenedatHelsinki.Thatwhatmembersofthepressoughttobegrabbingontowiththesamesortoffiercenessthattheygrabontohisstupidremarksishowcanitpossiblybethatwearelodgedinthisconditionofpermanentwar?That’swhatpeopleshouldbewritingabout,talkingabout,arguingabouteveryday,notTrump’slatestmishap.IfinditinexplicablethatsomanypeoplevotedforTrump.ButthecomplaintsthatledsomanypeopletovoteforTrumparelegitimatecomplaintsandthat’swheretheattentionofourpoliticalsystem,ofourmediaoughttobeon — thosegrievances.
On how radical changes in the nation’s moral landscape led to Trump
“WhatImeanisthatourcultureismovingrapidlyinadirectionawayfromwhatwemightcall ‘traditionalnorms’derivedfromourJudeo-Christianreligioustraditions,andalotofpeoplethinkthatthat’sfine,necessary.ButIthinkit’sfairtorecognizethattherearequiteanumberofourfellowcitizenswhoareuneasywiththesechanges.We’renevergoingtogobacktothe1950s.Weshouldn’tgobacktothe1950s.Butitseemsnecessary — ifwe’reevergoingtobringthecountrybacktogetheragain — toatleastacknowledgethatpeoplewhosevaluesderivefromthe1950satleastdeserveacertainhearing,acertainamountofrespect.AndIthinkthatagainisoneofthoseissuesthatdemandsaheckofalotmoreattentionthanthepresident’slatestgaffe.”
Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.