We do need to take Trump seriously but only when he is reading a speech. He is then a mouthpiece for the people controlling him. Yes, he is frequently out of control and that is dangerous as hell but it is obvious that he is commonly ignored, then, until the record can be corrected. I completely agree that the speeches on nationalism are important. These are revelatory of the people behind the Trump facade and the minds, such as they are, and the policies, such as they are. This is one central theme in the chaotic internal war of forces for control of Trump.
We have been seeing the latest resurgence of nationalism. I would like to say the last resurgence but bad ideas tend to come back. The points made in this article are accurate and specific in defining the absence of any logical rigor in arguments on nationalism. There is really no ‘there’ there with apologies to Oakland.
Interestingly enough the vehicle of nationalism, used traditionally for emotional speeches inciting bigotry and violence, seems to be the only theme, other than blatant racism and all forms of bigotry, that is used as a pretense at policy for the remains of the right wing. And I use the term ‘right wing’ carefully as it includes the tattered remnants of what was once a valid, political tradition. The whole thing is so far past its inventory pull date that most people in the emerging metropolitan, post industrial world have difficulty taking it seriously.
Sadly, we must take it seriously because this stuff is dangerous. The shoddy thinking behind it doesn’t matter. It is a form of religion and relies, as most imperialist religions do, on mythologies and emotional reaction. This is its staying power.
Since the last serious fit of this in western civilization ended with the German Third Reich, having started with Napoleon in the wreckage of the French Revolution, we have had only its cousin economic imperialism. I’ve come to realize that the American experiment became a carrier of the disease and, ironically, seems to have become fully infected in its last stage. But that is a related topic.
The more relevant point, I think, is the linkage to Vladimir Putin and the return to virulence of nationalism in the Russian remnants of the USSR. The focus on the Russian electoral manipulation of the US 2016 election and the popular discovery that Facebook’s sloppiness facilitated much of that process makes the source of the nationalist talking points apparent. There are a number of writers clustered on the authoritarian, racist, misogynistic front who are either products of Russia’s semiofficial RT media or actual paid agents who consistently support the talking points of Putinesque nationalism.
Trump’s heavy involvement with Russian financiers and his adulation of Putin close this circle. The alternative drive to start a war with Russia, Iran, Korea, or all three by neocon forces that seem to have filled a growing vacuum in a chaotic and failing White House and powerless Congress are natural players in the nationalist game.
The fact that this leaves Trump in a very rough place doesn’t seem to be of much concern to anyone but Trump. I’m sure the death of an ex Russian agent and his daughter in London for no apparent reason could cause very disturbing thoughts in the White House night.
This all shows the intellectual shoddiness of the whole cluster of losers picking over their remains of the old ‘right’. If anything their shoddiness makes them more dangerous. Desperation rules.