By Raheel Bashir
In the spring 2013 issue of Daedalus, a journal of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Norman J. Ornstein of the Conservative think-tank American Enterprise Institute, described the Republican Party “a radical Insurgency- ideologically extreme, scornful of facts and compromise and dismissive of the legitimacy of its political opposition’’. Prior to his electoral victory, many political analysts, aptly, called Trump “a megalomaniac, whose only ideology is me, me and me” (ref. David Harvey). Very little could have been said or written about his policies since he was all over the map. However, Trump’s cabinet pickings, comprising of billionaires, Christian fundamentalists, privatization radicals and Climate Change deniers, made it increasingly clear that he, like his predecessors is dedicated to serving the interests of concentrations of private wealth and power. (Naomi Klein, the author of “ The Shock Doctrine”, called it a “corporate coup”.)
The recent firings and hirings by president of the United States via twitter have rung scare alarms across political circles. Trump’s first swing of axe came over Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, former CEO of ExxonMobil. New York Times reported that Tillerson learned he had been fired when a top aide showed him a tweet from Trump. Mr. Exxon, as Trump used to call him would be replaced as State Secretary by CIA director Mike Pompeo. Pompeo is a radical Christian ideologue whose political positions are nauseating, to say the least.
During his stint in congress Pompeo was a vehement critic of Obama and admittedly worked to undermine the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action nuclear deal with Iran. Pompeo has advocated its dissolution and “if deemed necessary” military strikes against Iran. His appointment could mean withdrawal of US from the nuclear deal thereby isolating US from the international stage. The advocacy group Diplomacy-Works fears that US may be plunged into another war in the region.
Contrary to Tillerson, Pompeo is also seen as hawkish on Russia and North Korea. He has encouraged an aggressive posture of the US towards Russia and reprimanded the ‘Russian aggression against the west’. His tenure at the State Department could mean the increased NATO-Russia military confrontations along the Russian border. He desires a regime change in North Korea and has repeatedly been calling for tougher actions against the Kim Jong regime.
Pompeo has long history of animosity with Muslims, declaring after couple of weeks of Boston Bombings in 2013 that all Muslims are ‘potentially complicit in terrorism’. His elevation to the top job in US state-department has reignited fears amongst many Muslims in United States.
As a CIA director Pompeo has sought continuation of most egregious aspects of Obama’s foreign policy vis-á-vis the so called “war on terror” and US’ global drone assassination campaign. He thinks that the National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden should be “brought back to US and executed”. He has opposed the closure of Guantanamo Bay and criticized laws requiring interrogators adhere to anti-torture laws. In wake of this, it comes as no surprise that Gina Haspel, a sadistic torturer, would take charge at the intelligence agency. Back in 2002, Haspel ran a notorious torture Centre in Thailand and subsequently destroyed the video evidence of the interrogation. She is known to have expressed ‘gleeful enjoyment at the suffering of someone being tortured’ (ref.Guardian).
Like an unending horror movie a grotesque, death worshipping ghoul has made way into the Trump administration, John Bolton would be the new NSA to President of the United States.Akin to Brigadier General Jack D. Ripper of Stanley Kubrick’s Dr. Strangelove, Bolton wants to kill everyone whom he deems adversarial to US interests. Bolton’s disregard for human rights and international law can be ascertained from the fact that he, like Pompeo, has argued for preemptive strikes against North Korea, which could set off a horrific tragedy killing tens of thousands, if not more. He once jokingly threatened to blow the floors of UN assembly.
Bolton is way to the right of political spectrum on Israel-Palestine conflict. Opposing the Internationally accepted two-state settlement along the pre-1967 borders, he has conceived his own version of a “three-state settlement” in which Gaza would be given to Egypt and West Bank to Jordan. In the age of Trump, the prospects of Justice and Dignity for Palestinians look precariously damped.
In a New York Times op-ed titled ‘To stop Iran’s Bomb, Bomb Iran’ , the neo-con called for military action against the country combined with vigorous American Support for Iranian Exiles, aimed at regime change by the end of 2019. He, along with Donald Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney, was the main architect of Iraq war and remains one of the few to still maintain unwavering support for it. The slaughter of one million Iraqis is a good enough qualification for his new job. Bolton’s tapping as NSA has only augmented the possibility of new full blown US-led wars.
Besides being an extreme hawk, Bolton carries the legacy of rabid Islamophobia. Bolton wrote the foreword of a book penned by ultra-right wing activists Robert Spencer and Pamela Geller. His work as a chair of Gatestone Institute, a right wing think-tank known for drum beating anti-Muslim vitriol, published commentary purporting the supposed threat Islam poses to Europe and United States. The publications often make preposterous claims like UK being transformed into an “Islamist Colony” by Muslim migrants.
Trump’s clique is devoted to accelerating the race towards the precipice. The threat of apocalypse looks real and imminent with jingoists, such as these equipped with military might that is unprecedented in the history of the world. In absence of a viable anti-war movement, the prospects of survival of human species look bleak. The doomsday clock maintained by Bulletin of Atomic Scientists represents the likelihood of a global catastrophe. It is now two-minutes to midnight (using the imagery of apocalypse).
—The author is currently pursuing B.Tech from NIT, Srinagar. He can be reached at: [email protected]