There has been a flurry of commentary and articles on both sides of the pond seeking to fathom and comprehend the somewhat diabolical outcome over in the US. Donald Trump, the orange hued caricature of the volatile white supremacy movement, is to step into the Whitehouse to take the reins of a country which has for over a decade defined itself by secular creedal beliefs like freedom and democracy which have been militarily imposed upon the rest of the peoples of the world.
The reaction from the commentariat and Twitterati has been one of shock, followed by attempts to understand the rise of Trump. From disenchantment of the people with the elite, to the interconnected rise of neoliberalism and globalised greed, to even questioning liberal democracy itself (PREVENT anyone?), the reasons have been varied. A further explanation is that this is historic white supremacy reasserting itself – a racist institution recalibrating in the aftermath of a black president and excessive equality. For this reassertion, however, here has had to be a catalyst.
Culture wars are a neoconservative forte which is born from neoconservatism’s societal prescription of nationalism of the type which actively creates enemies, Otherises “aliens”, courts the religious/nationalist fanatic, and champions wars abroad. This is done under the overarching aim of creating an authoritarian closed society based on fascist principles, which is for neocons the solution for America’s liberalism-based cultural decline. To facilitate the “enemy” aspect of neocon policies, the clash of civilisations thesis is used along with the military doctrine of pre-emption to normalise the culture war against Islam and Muslims within the upper echelons of government. It is pumped through a multi-million-dollar, sophisticated network of hatemongers, think-tanks, propagandists and “alt-right” racist papers. Neoconservatives, in other words, are key in fostering the climate in which people have chosen Trump.
Trump and Neocons
Neocons like Irving Kristol promoted pragmatism or “prudence”; the idea which allows for the eschewing of established principles. Neocons can therefore believe it can be right do “wrong”, shift allegiances, and betray their champions (like Michael Gove and Boris Johnson affair) all in the name of obtaining power.
Trump has historically been backed by neoconservatives, primarily because he has said things which dovetail their policies perfectly. Earlier this year however, the pantheon of neocons including Robert Kagan, William Kristol et al spectacularly demonstrated their prudence and lack of principles by eschewing the GOP and backing Hillary Clinton. This was not however because they disagreed with Trump. Rather, his approach was not in keeping with their neo-Platonic belief that shaping society into a fascist one requires gradualism: maintaining and actively championing noble lies and myths of the “vulgar masses”, i.e. ideals like liberalism, democracy and freedom. Too much truth is not good for society because society is unable to comprehend the truth. With Trump threatening the veil of deception, Clinton, with all her corporatism, draconian domestic policies hidden behind the idea of security, and history of warmongering, became a more palatable candidate.
Now Trump is president-elect, we are witnessing a shifting of position once more. The “Never Trump” William Kristol has toned his language down, contending with the unreal Trump reality and adopting a policy of “onward” – which suggests “openness in the future” and “resisting the temptation to indulge in a warm bath of nostalgia for the past.” He even stated that “defeating Bush and then Clinton” was “pretty impressive”.
White Supremacist, Pro-Israel, Neocon Advisors
Those neocons nutjobs who have been Trump’s ideological backbone have filled his cabinet.
James Woolsey is now senior adviser on national security issues. He is a member of the notorious warring think-tank Project for New American Century as well as chair of the leadership council at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies (FDD). In 2003, former CIA division chief Melvin A. Goodman told the Washington Post that,
“Woolsey was a disaster as CIA director in the 1990s and is now running around this country calling for a World War IV to deal with the Islamic problem. This is a dangerous individual…”
Neocon warmongering conspiracy theorist Walid Phares, a former fellow of FDD, is now Donald Trump’s Middle East adviser. Phares, contrary to Trump’s affirmations, is not a Muslim. He is a “Maronite Christian, [who] trained Lebanese militants in ideological beliefs justifying the war against Lebanon’s Muslim and Druze factions” during the 1980s. These groups were, according to As’ad Abukhalil, a professor of political science at California State University, armed and financed by Israel. According to his close associates, he was a close advisor to Christian war lord Samir Geagea, and advocated that Lebanon’s Christians work towards creating a separate Christian enclave.
Brieitbart CEO and now chief strategist for Trump is Steve Bannon, a man who’s online platform is known to pedal anti-Muslim hate. His appointment was celebrated by the American Nazi Party, former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke, and Richard B. Spender, the president of the white nationalist National Policy Institute. Meanwhile, claims of Bannon’s anti-Semitism were dismissed by various pro-Israel activists including David Horowitz, who called Bannon a “good man”. Horowitz’s Freedom Center is, according to the Center for American Progress report “Fear Inc 2.0”, among the top eight funders of Islamophobia and has “helped spread bigoted ideas into American life”. He is also close to UK-banned, far-right Catholic deacon hate preacher Robert Spencer through the Freedom Center’s project Jihad Watch. Further defences for Bannon came from Pamela Geller, another anti-Muslim pro-Israel activist banned from the UK for her hatemongering. Notably, the writings of Geller and Spencer influenced far-right Christian terrorist Anders Breivik. The pro-Israel activist Alan Dershowitz also came into lend support to the embattled white supremacist. Dershowitz has contributed, alongside Robert Spencer, to the notorious anti-Muslim website Gatestone Insititute. Topping off this politically incestuous neocon/pro-Israel fest is the fact that Woolsey sits on the Gatestone advisory board.
There has also been speculation that notoriously anti-Muslim conspiracy theorist Frank Gaffney is advising Trump (though this has been denied). The Southern Poverty Law Centre has designated him an “anti-Muslim extremist” whilst the Fear Inc 2.0 report has included him and his think-tank, Center for Security Policy, among the prominent facilitators of anti-Muslim hate. Gaffney was the source for Trump’s immigration policies. Trump in his support of his fascist views cited a dubious poll by Gaffney’s organisation. Gaffney in turn has expressed support for Trump’s plans.
Links to Britain – Henry Jackson Society and Quilliam Foundation
These individuals, though shockingly abhorrent and globally violent in their weltanshauug, have supporters and links here in Britain. And most of these links lead to neocon hate preacher Douglas Murray, associate director of the hate-financed neoconservative “think-tank” Henry Jackson Society (HJS).
James Woolsey is patron of HJS.
In July 2007, HJS in conjunction with the Centre for Social Cohesion invited Walid Phares to speak on “Future Jihad”.
Murray has attended a number of anti-Muslim conferences organised by the David Horowitz Freedom Center, whilst championing Robert Spencer as a “brilliant scholar” and has also previously sat on the board of Gatestone Institute. Further, HJS has been a recipient of funding from Gatestone’s founding president Nina Rosenwald, a pro-Israel neoconservative described as the “sugar mama of anti-Muslim hate”.
Finally, Frank Gaffney enjoys a cordial relationship with Murray, whilst Quilliam Foundation’s Haras Rafiq shared a platform with Gaffney in 2007 after the screening of his anti-Muslim propaganda documentary, Islam vs Islamists.
Support for Trump in general has also come from the neoconservative Muslim Reform Movement’s Asra Nomani, who as a “liberal” voted for Trump. Her reason? Targeting Islam:
“most importantly for me as a Muslim we will deal honestly without obfuscation on this issue of Islamic extremism”.
This involves, for her, “talking about the Islam”. Late last year, Usama Hasan of Quilliam Foundation attended the Muslim Reform Movement’s event in Washington DC hosted by the neoconservative Heritage Foundation. Maajid Nawaz has also cited her in his pieces attacking Islam.
Murray’s Whitewashing of Trump
British links to Trump and his plethora of anti-Muslim bigot props are not the only worrying evidence of American-style white supremacist bigotry threatening Britain. In the case of Murray, there has been an active effort to play down Trump’s fascist, racist and anti-Muslim tendencies.
Demonstrating his neoconservatism and following the lead set by neocons in Washington, Murray had initially couched his writing of Trump as negative, classifying his proposal to ban Muslims as “ill-tempered”, before blaming Muslims and the Left for “how we got here” with Trump:
“When the political left refuses to identify where Islamic terrorism comes from, what drives it or what it can even be called, it leaves the ground wholly open for anyone else to do or say anything they want…”
Muslims and the political left are also blamed for being unable to talk about immigration. Disgustingly treating Muslims as a whole as a potential problem and feeding the far-right, he wrote,
“Worrying about what percentage of Muslims might be extreme or attracted towards extremism has also been turned into a ‘racist’, ‘bigoted’ and ‘Islamophobic’ discussion. Yet mass immigration from the Muslim world into liberal democracies at a time when the Muslim world is undergoing a succession of civil wars is a terrible idea.”
The notion of Muslims coming into Europe has always been a terrible idea for Douglas Murray. Aside from his cheap, substantively vacuous discriminatory blame games, Murray has come out in full support for Trump to the point of defending his reeking statements. In an article for the Spectator titled “Donald Trump won’t be as bad as you think”, Trump’s statements are spun away as “occasional rhetorical ugliness” in the following words,
“…the accusation that Trump was a misogynistic, homophobic, transphobic racist simply constituted the liberal press’s best effort at holing his campaign below the waterline.”
Just to remind readers what Trump’s statements are, they include the following:
“When Mexico sends its people… they’re sending people that have lots of problems and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bring crime. They’re rapists… And some, I assume, are good people.”
“Our great African-American President hasn’t exactly had a positive impact on the thugs who are so happily and openly destroying Baltimore.”
His views on Islam:
“I think Islam hates us”.
In support of a Muslim database:
“I would certainly implement that.”
On Syrian refugees in the US:
“I’m putting the people on notice that are coming here from Syria as part of this mass migration, that if I win, if I win, they’re going back.”
At a rally in December 2015 in Mount Pleasant, S.C., Trump defended his plan for a “total and complete shutdown of Muslims” by comparing it with former president Franklin Roosevelt’s decision to intern Japanese Americans during the Second World War. This example was recently used by a high-profile Trump supporter Carl Higbie as precedent for implementing a Muslim register.
All hell would be break loose for Murray with claims of Trojan Horses and “Islamist threats” being hyperventilated if such statements came from a Muslim targeting another minority. As it so happens, the above statements are minor issues when coming from a coral-white man surrounded by individuals with dubious links to him. Indications suggest that Trump seeks to implement the fascist policies targeting Muslims he outlined in his campaign.
The election of Trump has seen hate being unlocked in ugly ways from political circles to the streets. Attacks on Muslims are on the rise in the US, whilst there have been sharp increases in attacks on minorities over the past week. The fascist, authoritarian regime has arrived in the US and the neocons and white supremacists, are celebrating. The academic Shadia Drury wrote a book on the ideas of neoconservative godfather Leo Strauss specifically because,
“the book was also intended as a warning that the tendency of Strauss’s students to gravitate towards positions of political power is disconcerting because those who believe the things that Strauss believed are bound to behave badly when they are in positions of power and influence… There is a clear link between theory and practice: there is a definite connection between the political ideas of Leo Strauss and the ruinous state of American democracy and its tragic foreign policy.”
She showed that neocons are not simply zetetically pondering their ideal fascist state but actively implementing it.
The very same retroviral neoconservative ideologues who are puncturing America with their hate and policies of persecution have supporters here in Britain. The neocon organisations like the Henry Jackson Society and the Quilliam Foundation are the conduits for the continued, steady influx of American neoconservatism into the corridors of power and out into society through policies and laws.
The threat of a Trump-like situation here in Britain is real. The neocon threat to Britain is real. Is Britain’s future a ruined democracy?
UPDATE: Since writing this article, Trump as appointed neocon Michael Flynn as national security advisor. As the Guardian has noted, Flynn does not scrupulously distinguish between versions of a faith practiced by approximately one fifth of the world. In July, Flynn tweeted: “In next 24 hours, I dare Arab & Persian world ‘leaders’ to step up to the plate and declare their Islamic ideology sick and must [be] healed.” Flynn has also praised Egyptian dictator Abdel-Fatah el-Sissi, who has overseen mass killings of protestors and mass death sentences, for calling for “reformation of the Islamic religion”. In other words, this appointment too is a case of plus ça change.
 Drury, S.B. The Political Ideas of Leo Strauss, Palgrave Macmillan, New York, 2005, p.x