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Trump’s Red Line . . . & Ours

Jean-Léon Gérôme, Caesar Crossing the Rubicon

2,239 words

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In response to the chemical attack in Syria, President Trump has said that it “crosses many, many lines, beyond a red line” and has changed his thinking about President Bashar al-Assad. As I am writing this, bombs are not yet falling on Damascus (UPDATE: it’s official, now they are), but it is being widely reported that he is currently discussing military options with his staff. If President Trump actually does take America into yet another war (how many will this make now?), then the true Right needs to begin reevaluating its stance toward him. We also have a red line, and Trump seems poised to cross it. This must be our Rubicon.

I’m not so naïve as to believe that Trump and his people are worrying about what those few of us on the Alt Right will think if he goes to war with Assad. However, on this point, the Alt Right is certainly of one mind with the vast majority of those sixty-three million Americans who voted for Trump: namely, that we have had enough of neocon wars. It is no coincidence that Michigan, where I lived for many years, is both a state that has been very badly hit in terms of casualties in our recent string of wars, and is also one of the usually reliable Democrat states that flipped in the last election. Campaign promises aside, given how narrowly Trump managed to secure victory, it’s difficult for me to imagine why he and his people are so willing to throw those who did vote for him under the bus so quickly. No one in America voted for Trump so that he could continue to engage our country in senseless wars. (Although it seems he has won the support of Bill Kristol, unsurprisingly.)

We agreed with those sixty-three million Americans because it is one of the principles of the true Right that no people should interfere with the lives of another except where such is necessary for self-defense. We believe that all peoples have a responsibility to look after their own interests – including and most especially our own, but we respect others who wish to do so for their own as well when they don’t conflict with ours, most especially in the case of leaders like Assad, whose policies are in some way aligned with our own (such as in his opposition to radical Islamism).

Moreover, even if we were to accept that the rebels in Syria have noble intentions (I don’t, just to be clear), we must recognize that it is not the place of the United States to spend its own blood and treasure in the pursuit of goals that are the sole responsibility of the people of that nation. The Syrians should be left alone to sort out their politics for themselves. (Indeed, if we had followed such a policy from the outset, it’s likely that this war would never have come about in the first place, given America’s role in fanning its flames – which would also mean that there likely never would have been any “migrant crisis,” either, but that’s a subject for another time.) We’ve been responsible for too many failed attempts at nation-building over the last twenty-five years to undertake yet another.

I’m not usually one for conspiracy theories, but anyone rational has to admit that this attack is extremely suspect. The use of chemical weapons would be the act of a regime driven to desperation in the face of total defeat. In fact, Assad has been winning against ISIS and the other rebel groups for some time now. Why he would suddenly choose to resort to “weapons of mass destruction” now is mystifying, all the more so when he must surely realize that their use would be likely to provoke an American military response. This is also to ignore the fact that the last time a chemical attack took place in Syria that brought the US to the brink of war, in Ghouta in 2013, no definite proof of the government’s responsibility was ever produced, and it appears likely that it was staged by the rebels to coincide with the arrival of United Nations Mission inspectors. This latest attack bears all the signs of having been carried out for similar reasons. In 2013, faced with intense pressure from Putin and the refusal of the British Parliament to back a NATO military response, President Obama refrained from retaliation.

In contrast, Trump’s response to this attack has been almost as baffling as Assad’s (alleged) motives for carrying it out. Apparently, he is willing to doubt the CIA’s conclusions about Russia’s involvement in the election, but when it comes to Syria he takes their word as gospel. It’s unclear what has changed. Perhaps Trump is getting tired of being at loggerheads with his own intelligence agencies and hopes that if he goes along with them on this, they will support him on something else he wants to do. Or, if we can believe the rhetoric coming from the White House, perhaps he really does see this as a way of showing that he won’t back down from crossing the “red line” that Obama set and then refused to cross during the 2013 Ghouta crisis, thus demonstrating his bravado – although this would be extremely odd considering that Trump himself opposed military action at the time, tweeting:

Trump’s threats against Assad were made all the more ominous by the fact that they came on the same day that Steve Bannon, the Alt Right’s man on the inside, was dismissed from the National Security Council (where he might have had a few things to say about bombing Assad) – yet another worrisome sign that Trump is beginning to cave in to his adversaries.

Trump’s presidency has been disappointing so far. We knew it was going to be tough going – that, as a man with no previous political experience, there was going to be a learning curve, and that enemies from every corner of Washington were going to emerge to oppose his agenda. But there really hasn’t been much “winning” going on since January. Both attempts at a very modest immigration ban failed – admittedly as a result of forces beyond Trump’s control, but they don’t bode well for any truly radical reform in that area in the coming years. The Republicans’ extremely lame attempt to repeal Obamacare also failed – mainly because they couldn’t come up with anything worthwhile to replace it with (single payer, hello?). And Trump continues to make himself look ridiculous by harping on about trivial affairs such as his disputes with the media over facts that nobody cares about until he makes an issue out of them.

Bombs falling on Damascus notwithstanding, I’m not giving up on him just yet – we’re not even three months into his term, after all. And I’m still hopeful that this is all just saber-rattling and that he will step back from the abyss. But if he reneges on his foreign policy promises as well, it’s difficult to see what there could still be to salvage from his administration. The President’s powers over domestic policies are limited; they lie primarily in the legislative and judicial branches. Where the President has real power is in foreign and military policy. Only the President can order military action. So if he breaks with his own line on war, then there’s no reason to believe that he will follow through on anything else.

Already, some of those – both some on the Right as well as liberals – who have remained pessimistic about Trump all along are saying, “I told you so.” But to them I say, “No, you didn’t.” At no point did I ever unequivocally support Trump, and I can’t think of any major figure on the Alt or New Right who did, even if we allowed ourselves to bask in the glory of Trump’s improbable victory for a few months in the aftermath, and perhaps got a little cocky about it at times. We never saw Trump as “the Alt Right President.” No one with good judgment in our circles ever embraced all aspects of his program and personality uncritically. During the campaign, Trump articulated some ideas which happened to coincide with our own views – more so than any other mainstream politician in decades – and because of this, we supported him. But the goal of the true Right, which existed long before Trump and will continue to exist long after he is a memory, was never simply to get Trump elected, and even once that was accomplished, we never wanted to become his cheerleaders. We rather saw it as an opportunity to push the political conversation at least slightly in our direction. But we never intended to abandon our efforts to continue honing and spreading our core ideas and ideals, Trump or no Trump.

Even if Trump’s presidency turns out to be a complete disaster from our point of view, I’d argue that it was still worth it. After all, if Hillary were President right now, there wouldn’t even be any question of the sort of rhetoric we’d be hearing in Washington regarding Syria. And regardless of what Trump himself does, his victory was still worthwhile from the standpoint of disrupting the neoliberal establishment’s narrative and giving the true Right a voice – however faint and often distorted – in the mainstream.

Trump’s victory was a symptom of the neoliberal system finally beginning to break down. We, and all those who voted for him, did so because we knew that we can’t expect change to come from within the establishment, and we took the opportunity to see what would happen if we put in an outsider. It may be that we were wrong, that Trump will end up selling out, or that he is doomed to failure by the system he’s forced to work within – it’s too early to say with any certainty. But nevertheless, we had nothing to lose and everything to gain in the attempt. And it was also an exquisite pleasure seeing the white working class flipping the establishment that had long since forgotten them the bird, and seeing the paroxysms of the liberals in response.

Some have been suggesting that Trump’s failure will result in the weakening of the true Right and the strengthening of the Left. Of the sixty-three million people who voted for him, it may be the case that some of those people will run back to the Left, but given how deeply polarized the nation currently is, it seems unlikely that it’s going to be many of them. For those of us on the Alt Right, true Right, or what have you, our job will be to keep doing what we’ve already been doing for most of the last decade, which is to keep challenging the status quo.

Many of us, myself included, were willing to give working with the system a try to see what would happen. A dismal Trump failure will only mean that we will revert to the position we were in prior to 2015, when we were encouraging people to think outside the establishment and business as usual. The crucial difference will be that now, with all the publicity we’ve received, we will be reaching a lot more people than before. The Left tried to discredit Trump by associating him with the Alt Right, but they failed, and sixty-three million people voted for him anyway. I really don’t think that all or even most of those sixty-three million will just throw up their hands and say, “I guess we were wrong, obviously we should just go back to the way things were before.” Change is inevitable at this point. We just have to keep at it.

So, we need to see what happens in the coming days. Hopefully, Trump will come to his senses, if he ever truly left them, and decide to leave Assad alone. If he doesn’t, then we will very much need to begin taking a much harsher critical stance towards him. It will be essential to do this if we are to retain our integrity. I’m not really worried about this, however, as judging from what I’ve been seeing on social media today, it seems that nearly everyone on the Alt/New Right is in agreement on this.

We will remain undaunted regardless. As Jef Costello recently reminded us, all of us have already joined the ranks of the League of Shadows – it only remains to be seen if we will continue working in the sunlight, or if we will melt back into the undergrowth and work from the sidelines. Wherever we stand, many more Americans have already started listening to us. And I daresay that our long-term prospects are much better than Trump’s. We’ve struck a chord in the zeitgeist. Whether our President decides on good or ill, we’re going to continue doing what we’ve been doing all along. This has never been about Trump. The true Right is back and we’re here to stay.

Addendum: Literally as I was posting this article, I saw the news that the US has just fired fifty to sixty cruise missiles at a Syrian airbase. So, unfortunately, it seems that we’re in Plan B mode now after all.

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24 Comments

  1. Proofreader
    Posted April 9, 2017 at 8:13 pm | Permalink

    Perhaps one of the silliest talking points used against Bashar al-Assad is that he’s a dictator “killing his own people.” For one thing, it’s probably impossible to govern any Arab state without some form of dictatorship, and Ba’athism is certainly preferable to Islamism; in any case, any government in a civil war has to govern in a dictatorial manner or it will fall. For another thing, every armed native faction in a civil war is engaged in “killing their own people” — it’s a defining condition of civil war.

    By the logic of this talking point, Abraham Lincoln was also a dictator killing his own people, but this doesn’t prevent him from being venerated by neoconservatives; it can therefore be presumed that he was good for the Jews. Incidentally, one article by Thomas DiLorenzo (“Why Neocons Are Freaking Out Over Lincoln,” Lewrockwell.com, June 21, 2013) reports that neoconservatives are fond of calling Abraham Lincoln “Father Abraham”; some background on this label might be provided by Gary Phillip Zola’s book, We Called Him Rabbi Abraham: Lincoln and American Jewry, a Documentary History (Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 2014).

  2. Newton Finn
    Posted April 8, 2017 at 4:21 pm | Permalink

    I am heartened that my friends on what I like to call the principled right have spoken out for peace and restraint in Syria and elsewhere around the world. I am a member of what might be called the 60s left, which had its origin in the peace movement. Apart from certain social issues, I suspect that what most deeply divides alt-right and alt-left is the answer to this fundamental question: If the private sector cannot provide enough decent jobs for those who need or want to work, should the public sector create such jobs? I have never understood how that answer can be no, unless one sacrifices compassion for ideology or supports something like a guaranteed income. Don’t we indeed lack a sufficient number of decent jobs, and isn’t productive work preferable to just giving people money?

  3. Oleron
    Posted April 8, 2017 at 8:06 am | Permalink

    The road to revolution is paved with one stone at-a-time. We in this movement, we who live at this time, we will never see the promised land— that is for our decedents. Hitler’s movement was preceded by many decades of unrest. We know that our individual contributions will eventually accrete into a rock solid foundation for a millennial Reich. At the end of “Imperion” Yockey states:

    “The mission of this generation is the most difficult that has ever faced a Western generation. It must break the terror by which it is held in silence, it must look ahead, it must believe when there is apparently no hope, it must obey even if it means death, it must fight to the end rather than submit. Fortifying it is the knowledge that against the Spirit of Heroism no materialistic force can prevail.”

    “This destiny does not tire, nor can it be broken, and its mantle of
    strength descends upon those in its service.” – Francis Parker Yockey,
    IMPERIUM

  4. Posted April 8, 2017 at 2:08 am | Permalink

    It were unwise to draw this line prematurely. If Trump escalates the conflict in Syria, then we will be well justified in condemning him. Until then, we must not forget: Trump cannot reconstruct the entrenched political establishment by mere fiat; he is in need of wide liberty of action to accomplish even a fraction of what we would like. It may be that he just won himself, in a single act, a quantity of such liberty. It would be not only foolish but feckless to abandon him at such a juncture.

    Consider what Trump has potentially gained:

    1.) One of the most important weapons Trump’s opponents have used to paralyze him, are these insidious allegations of his subjugation to the Kremlin. At a blow, Trump has driven that charge into the shadows of fringe conspiracy theories.

    2.) Trump has been waging a most necessary, but also most disadvantageous, war against the press. Note the utter disarray of the media, which even yesterday stood against him in a unified front. The mainstream press hardly knows whether to praise or decry his strike in Syria—but for the first time since his candidacy, it is treating him with caution and sobriety.

    3.) To reorder international politics, Trump must be taken seriously by his allies and his enemies alike. No one on the international stage can any longer assume he is nothing but bluster and boast. His diplomacy and his policies will benefit enormously in consequence.

    I do not claim he had any of this in mind when he ordered the strike. Only time will show his real motives. But I do claim this: if this movement is to be politically effective, it must be politically subtle. Let us wait a day before denouncing an action, the nature of which we cannot yet understand.

  5. James
    Posted April 7, 2017 at 11:29 am | Permalink

    Here is the aftermath of the attack on the airbase, you can see how great and accurate American missiles are lmfao:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6I9oF8nGgmo

  6. ex South African
    Posted April 7, 2017 at 9:19 am | Permalink

    The big question I have, but you who are much closer to the events in the USA, will most probably be able to answer it better.

    Has Trump been coerced?

    There was a reason why Hitler never married until right at the end. Politics and marriage could not mix. They could get at him through his loved ones.

    It is another thing to loose your own life, but if the gun has been pointed at the members of the family, it is the ultimate tool to “convince” the family head to mend his ways.

  7. Dov
    Posted April 7, 2017 at 6:52 am | Permalink

    “After all, if Hillary were President right now, there wouldn’t even be any question of the sort of rhetoric we’d be hearing in Washington regarding Syria…”

    This is the material point. The Right hasn’t really “lost” by electing Trump; rather, it hasn’t gained as much as might be desired. If Clinton had been elected, not only would we be attacking Syria, but the US government would practically be sending cruise ships to bring refugees over here.

    I’ve never been a Trump supporter per se; I’ve simply supported his candidacy over Clinton’s. I’ve pointed out his personality and character flaws a number of times. But it does behoove us to recognize that from Trump’s rather simplistic perspective, the issue with foreign entanglements is the money spent on such adventures. Perhaps we can allow ourselves to hope that he is at least committed to not straying beyond tactical airstrikes with boots on the ground and hundreds of billions spent. Not reflective of the stance for which we voted, but did anyone really expect for the entire system to be flipped on its head?

  8. Michael Bell
    Posted April 7, 2017 at 6:37 am | Permalink

    MY sources indicate that Trump’s Imperial Battlemage has imprisoned Trump within the realm of Oblivion and has assumed his physical form. He then ordered the bombing.

    #JagarTharn
    #ElderScrollsArena

  9. Ted
    Posted April 7, 2017 at 2:02 am | Permalink

    “At no point did I ever unequivocally support Trump, and I can’t think of any major figure on the Alt or New Right who did…”

    That depends I suppose how you define “unequivocally” and who you define as “Alt Right” – but I’d say VDARE, Amren, Occidental Observer, Chateau Heartiste, and Radix were all strongly supported Trump’s candidacy, some more strongly than others. Yes, some – not all – of those sites gave caveats and the usual “I don’t agree with him on everything” but the excitement and the “last chance for White America” breathless hero-worship were there to all to see. The Chateau folks are still engaging in hero worship.

    I see a bit of re-writing history here. I see as the reasonable stance during the campaign to support Trump to promote right-wing populism and destabilize the multicultural system – but note that Trump himself is a vulgar ignorant buffoon with no core philosophy and Jewish family connections. Very few people took that stance.

    • Vehmgericht
      Posted April 7, 2017 at 4:12 pm | Permalink

      I have found the Alt-Right’s naïvité with regard to Trump baffling and embarrassing. Whatever one might think of the stall he set out prior to his election, was it not absolutely obvious that the man himself is nothing more than a blustering mountebank?

      His Presidency is a busted flush now: he has been unable or unwilling to deliver any of his commitments, and the insane intervention in Syria indicates that he cannot even be relied upon to do no harm.

      To a European sensibility he comes across as inarticulate, ignorant and vainglorious. If he has such evident difficulty uttering a grammatical sentence what must his thought-processes be like? I regret to say that he seems very much the inferior of Obama in terms of intellect and character. And there is now the very real danger that so erratic a man could impulsively embark upon — or be gulled into — a military confrontation with Russia!

      I’m afraid the Trump debacle will be used as a stick to beat the Alt-Right for years to come. Instead of uncritically acclaiming this billionaire hotelier and television celebrity as a ‘God Emperor’ etc the movement could have derived a realistic appraisal from his track-record and known temperament.

      A period of reflection is now in order, as they say …

      • Oswald Wolkenstein
        Posted April 7, 2017 at 8:18 pm | Permalink

        Spot on, Vehmgericht! You are correct!

        I myself was engulfed in this ‘god emperor’ fascination, but now, I think, no political solution will suffice for the plight of white folks.

        This. Is. [Racial] War. :/

      • Ted
        Posted April 8, 2017 at 1:14 am | Permalink

        That’s an excellent comment. Unfortunately, the only period of reflection will be the wait before American activists/Alt Right latch on to the next Man on White Horse hero. Rinse, cycle, repeat, endlessly.

      • Bjørn
        Posted April 8, 2017 at 4:04 am | Permalink

        Hindsight is a peculiar form of wisdom, but I guess you are allowed it in this case. But two and a half months is a bit too early for me to draw any final conclusion, even if it does not look good for the time being.

        “I regret to say that he seems very much the inferior of Obama in terms of intellect and character.”
        Oh well, you intellectuals never trust anybody without a slick tongue, do you?

        • Ted
          Posted April 8, 2017 at 7:36 am | Permalink

          It is not hindsight in my case. I’ve been calling Trump a vulgar ignorant buffoon, and warning activists not to become too deeply enmeshed in Trumpism, months before Trump’s election. That was foresight, not hindsight.

          • Bjørn
            Posted April 8, 2017 at 10:23 am | Permalink

            Ted, as you probably understood, I was referring to Vehmgericht’s comment. No doubt you had foresight here.
            But since you picked up a glove: I do believe we have a tendency to emphasize style far too much. I have the undivided pleasure of working with some top notch professors at a Chemistry department at a University, and neither their oratory skills or their plumpness coincide with the excellence of their research or their common sense.
            Obama was an orator, but also a disaster as a president in my view. Clinton was not much better, he also being an orator. Intellectuals have a tendency to be swept away by such articulate behaviour.
            I prefer to judge Trump mostly by his actions and their consequences, and I believe I should wait with the conclusion. But by all means, it is not looking too good right now.

          • Bjørn
            Posted April 8, 2017 at 10:53 am | Permalink

            Oh, and yes, there are different interpretations on what has been done:
            http://www.voltairenet.org/article195904.html
            Even if I cannot under any circumstances accept Trump’s disregard for international law with this attack.

  10. R_Moreland
    Posted April 6, 2017 at 11:08 pm | Permalink

    At this moment, one hopes that the Obama machine did wiretap the Trump campaign, and that those tapes are somehow leaked to the public. Be interesting to see what is really going on here, behind the scenes.

    It just may be that Trump had to cut a deal on a new war with Syria in order to salvage something of the rest of his program. Maybe. It just may be that in return for launching a few cruise missiles, the USA gets its border wall. Or rebuilds some rustbelt industry. Maybe. Or it just may be that we are going back to business as usual. But I do not see that as feasible (and certainly not desirable!), not after the events of the last year.

    We are witnessing what could be the game changer. It just may be that the one party technocracy deep state (or whatever we care to call it) has openly played its hand.

    This day’s events point up the need for the Alt Right to seize the high ground in the realworld. The Alt Right needs media on cable and broadcast, needs demonstrators in the streets, needs functionaries in alphabet agency cubicles, needs cigar smoking power brokers in boardrooms and shady characters in back alleys. All that and more to ensure politicians stick with the Alt Right program.

    The struggle is just beginning.

  11. Posted April 6, 2017 at 10:37 pm | Permalink

    Interesting how this is happening at the very time when the anti-Assad factions were finally about to be routed.

    • Chiron
      Posted April 7, 2017 at 9:07 am | Permalink

      Removing Assad and turning into he new Iraq is the Zionists number one goal, the former israeli minister of defense said himself he prepares Syria with ISIS/Al-Qaeda (never attacked israel) than Assad/Iran.

  12. Glen
    Posted April 6, 2017 at 9:12 pm | Permalink

    There will be no equivocation from me. I was wrong to support Trump.

  13. Chiron
    Posted April 6, 2017 at 7:57 pm | Permalink

    Trump had to cave to the Neocons/Jewish elite to not be impeached or worse, the goal of the Zionists is to bring down Syria, Iraq and Iran. Israel is fully supporting Sunni terrorists organizations in Syria and Iran (read about Jundallah-Mossad connection).

    Iraq is gone, Syria almost gone, Iran is the last target, its interesting to realize that for the Zionists the Shia (Iran, Hezbollah) and the secular rulers (Assad, Hussein, Gaddaffi) are biggest threat to them and the medieval Sunni Gulf kingdoms and their Jihadista are their unofficial allies.

    • DrewTexan
      Posted April 7, 2017 at 7:55 am | Permalink

      They are going after Syria so that they don’t have to deal with Iran. Iran is a kleptocratic totalitarian country whose mechanisms of control the neoliberal state wishes to more firmly establish here (Thick as thieves they are). The problem they have with Iran is it has ambitions to be the major power in the world’s most important region, and it isn’t stable enough for that role; It is susceptible to another nationalist/populist revolution, which is the very last thing the deep state wants. Which brings us to the real immediate target here. Trump may try to stop at a few cruise missiles, but the neolibs are after a bigger prize: Russia.

  14. Gina Hunt
    Posted April 6, 2017 at 7:43 pm | Permalink

    Its difficult but we have to decare solidarity with Russia against US warmongering.

  15. Prince of Disks
    Posted April 6, 2017 at 7:01 pm | Permalink

    Excellent article John.

    As of now, the bombs are dropping on Syria and the Rubicon has been crossed.

    The alt right is coming to terms with the harsh reality of our situation.

    This fight is not going to be easy.

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