Isolationism

Six And A Half Months To Most Crucial Presidential Election Since 1940

We are facing this November the fifth most crucial Presidential election in American history.

Every Presidential election matters, of course, and in the midst of each campaign, there are those who will think it is the most important event ever to occur.

But in reality, the number of times that an election has been truly “crucial” is limited to what this author and blogger believes are only a few times.

Those few elections that have been crucial to the extreme would include, chronologically the following:

Election of 1860, a four way race, with the Civil War seen as on the horizon, and Abraham Lincoln winning with only 39.8 percent of the vote, over Stephen Douglas, John C. Breckinridge, and John Bell.

Election of 1864, in which Lincoln defeated former General George McClellan, at a crucial time in the Civil War.

Election of 1932, in which the nation was at its lowest economic point in history, with the failure of Herbert Hoover, and the alternative of Franklin D. Roosevelt and his New Deal.

Election of 1940, when America faced the danger of Fascism in the world, but isolationism reigned, and Franklin D. Roosevelt faced a businessman with no government experience, Wendell Willkie, as the world was engaged in World War II.

Now, in 2020, we face a CoronaVirus Pandemic; a collapsed economy worse than any time since the Great Depression; and a crazed, dangerous President who should have been removed from office for abuse of power, and instead is, effectively, taking the nation over the brink of the cliff that it is facing at this time!

So just as Abraham Lincoln and Franklin D. Roosevelt came to the rescue, each of them twice, now Joe Biden and his female running mate face the challenge of the greatest crisis in 80 years, and we have to hope he can gather the strength, courage, and decisiveness of Lincoln, FDR, and other great Presidents, including Harry Truman, John F. Kennedy, and Barack Obama in difficult moments in their Presidencies!

America In World Affairs Since First World War Entrance 101 Years Ago!

America has been actively engaged in world affairs now for a century, finally abandoning isolationism in the first week of April 1917, when President Woodrow Wilson delivered a war message to Congress on April 2, followed by four days of heated debate, and then a declaration of war on April 6.

While America reverted to isolationism in the 1920s and 1930s, it failed, and once we entered World War II, the die was cast that we would always play a major role in world affairs, but not without controversy.

Since World War II, America has engaged in five wars–Korea, Vietnam, Persian Gulf against Iraq, Afghanistan, and Iraq, with none of those wars leading to victory, although at least, the boundary line in the Korean War was restored by 1953.

But we lost in Vietnam, and have not accomplished our goals in Afghanistan and Iraq, although the brief Persian Gulf War was won in six weeks, but the problem of Saddam Hussein reared its ugly head a decade later.

We have also been involved in many invasions, unofficial interventions, and many cases where we had troops without the knowledge of the American people, and often even leaders of Congress.

Secret wars have gone on and are going on right now, and under Donald Trump, we might very well end up sending troops to North Asia to fight North Korea and to the Middle East to fight Iran.

We now have the most militaristic government without any controls under Donald Trump, with his top aides now being extremely militaristic and warlike.

And war will likely reinforce the Trump supporters, and could, conceivably, cause public opinion gains that could help the Republicans keep control of Congress, and keep the White House in Republican hands in 2020!

We are at a very delicate time, with instability of our nation’s relationship with our allies around the world, and his “bromance” with Russia and Vladimir Putin, along with Trump’s “tariff wars” likely to provoke one crisis after another.

This is our situation as the 101st anniversary of our engagement in World War I is upon us three days from now!

Former Presidents George W. Bush And Barack Obama Come Out Against Trump, And Bush, Sr., Bill Clinton, And Jimmy Carter Are Also Opponents

Former Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama both made speeches on Thursday, denouncing the policies and mentality of the Trump Presidency, but without mentioning his name.

Bush has never criticized his successor, Barack Obama, but he is clearly, along with his brother Jeb, and his parents George HW and Barbara Bush, willing to speak out against the nativism, nationalism, isolationism, and xenophobia of Donald Trump.

Obama has avoided direct attacks, but spoke in a similar vein as Bush.

Their opposition has been joined with utterances by Bill and Hillary Clinton, Jimmy Carter, and indirectly by the elder Bushes.

So all five living former Presidents have become critics of a man who has strongly attacked all of them.

And all five former Presidents are co-sponsors of a hurricane relief concert for the benefit of the victims in Texas, Florida, and Puerto Rico, and the US Virgin Islands. All five will be attending the Texas A & M concert this evening, and that will make for a rare photo of five living former Presidents, which has only been accomplished three times before–1861-1862 during the Civil War and the early Presidency of Abraham Lincoln; 1993-1994 in the first year of the Bill Clinton Presidency; and 2001-2004 during the second Bush Administration.

Additionally, all five former living Presidents will be with their wives, five former First Ladies—Rosalyn Carter, Barbara Bush, Hillary Clinton, Laura Bush, and Michelle Obama, an amazing development, since both the older Bush and Carter are now 93, and their wives are 92 and 90, respectively.

They are adding to their stature, as responsible and statesmanlike, something that Donald Trump is incapable of accomplishing.

Donald Trump And Afghanistan: No More Interest In Reform, Only Killing, A Prescription For Disaster!

Donald Trump’s speech on Afghanistan last night was what this blogger expected: Trump the warmonger, a complete switch from his “isolationist” stand during his Presidential campaign.

It was very predictable, as again, Donald Trump proved to be what he has always been best at being, a massive liar and manipulator of the truth!

The man who was a draft dodger, on the basis of bone spurs in the 1960s, and said his “Vietnam” was avoiding sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) with women at that time of his life, now has become a war President, and is allowing his overly dominant military administration to “charge on” in Afghanistan, after 16 years, the most of any American war, and inability to resolve the matter.

Afghanistan caused the loss of Alexander the Great in ancient times; of the British Empire in the 19th century; and of the Soviet Union from 1979-1989.

It is a “hell hole” with no end, and already 2,400 Americans have died in that war, and the war has also cost an estimate of between $841 billion to $2 trillion dollars, a massive waste of money that has undermined the nation! And over 20,000 men and women have been wounded, many of them seriously, and mental issues have arisen among many of these veterans, and many others who were not physically harmed.

And to top it off, Trump has indicated there is no interest in trying to make life better for Afghan civilians, but rather just to kill terrorists!

That is a prescription for endless, constant war, and bitterness, and continued growth of terrorism for decades on end!

The Taliban control an estimated 35-60 percent of the nation, and opium production in the major province that produces the drug is 80 percent under their control.

The Afghan mentality is that you kill their relatives, for generations after, the goal will be revenge, so a war is unwinnable.

And Trump seems to be stirring up trouble with neighbor Pakistan, a Muslim nation with nuclear weapons, with his hostile rhetoric.

It seems as if Trump has decided to be a warmonger–continuing in Afghanistan, while fighting ISIL (ISIS), and stirring up China with threats of trade wars, while trying to deal with North Korea, without starting a new Korean War or using nuclear weapons on Kim Jong Un; and threatening to break the Iranian nuclear agreement; and also suggesting action in Venezuela; as well as trying to deal with the Israeli-Palestinian dispute, Syria, and Iraq.

All that Trump seems to be able to do is make money all of the time, while promoting American imperialism overseas, insuring engagement in more wars, and spending taxpayer money to glorify himself as a “tough guy” in international affairs, while avoiding diplomacy, and cutting the State Department budget by up to 40 percent, including NOT having many ambassadorial positions filled or even nominated after seven months in office!

Trump is a true proponent of unregulated capitalism and American militarism, precisely what has led to so much turmoil and suffering caused by the top few percent of the population who worship Wall Street and the Pentagon as the answer to all problems in America.

Meanwhile, the white and minority working class become the cannon fodder for Trump’s egotism and narcissism, as he continues to divide America, and has no concern about the tremendous damage he is causing, creating an atmosphere of civil anger and disrespect that has split America like no time since the 1960s, and in many ways, worse than that decade 50 years ago!

Donald Trump Rejects The Paris Climate Deal, A Tragedy Long Term For America And The World!

Donald Trump has just done the most disastrous long term action so far in his Presidency. by rejecting the Paris Climate Deal!

His own daughter, Ivanka, could not get through to him, and neither could Secretary of State Rex Tillerson; thousands of climate scientists; and hundreds of corporations, including Shell Oil and Exxon Oil, where Tillerson was once its leader.

It is a smack in the face to the entire world, with 195 countries having agreed to it, and only Syria and Nicaragua not taking part, and in the case of Nicaragua, they rejected the deal as too weak and wanted a stronger deal. So only a nation in the midst of a long civil war has refused to cooperate, as millions are dying, being wounded, or fleeing for their lives in that tragic war in Syria.

Trump is rejecting science, and allowing Scott Pruitt, his despicable head of the Environmental Protection Agency, and White House Advisor Stephen Bannon, to control his decision.

Trump will be condemned in history for this dastardly act, and his super nationalistic view reeks of Fascism, and it must be bitterly opposed by marches and demonstrations, and the push to defeat every Republican in Congress who supports what Trump has done.

Trump is showing no concern for future generations, and we will see over this century the eventual flooding of such cities as New York City, Boston, Miami, and New Orleans, and his legacy will be that he helped to cause this to occur.

Politicians go to doctors for medical treatment, for their expertise, so why not have politicians leave it to scientists to warn us what we must do to prevent climate change and global warming from destroying the nation and the world?

Imagine if Franklin D. Roosevelt had rejected the advice of Albert Einstein about nuclear weapons in 1939, because after all, one cannot see the atom visually!

America has given up world leadership, and will pay long term for our isolationism, and whatever can be done to reverse this crazy decision legally and politically over the next few years must be done!

How selfish and self serving can a President be? And Trump says the world will laugh at us if we do not rescind the Paris agreement, as the world is taking advantage of us, when in fact, the world is laughing at his stupidity and ignorance precisely because he has made this despicable decision!

A Sobering Centennial: America Enters “The Great War” On April 6, 1917

It has been a century since America entered world affairs in a full sense, as on April 2, 1917, President Woodrow Wilson spoke to Congress and asked for a declaration of war against the Imperial German Empire, the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and the Ottoman Turkish Empire, and allied with Great Britain, France and Italy, in what was called “The Great War” at the time, and later World War I or the First World War.

The controversy over whether Wilson could have kept us out of the war has raged for a century, and his handling of the war effort, and the promotion of restriction on civil liberties during the war has remained highly contentious, and has caused Wilson to decline from Number 6 in the C Span Presidential poll of 2000, to Number 9 in the C Span Presidential poll of 2009, and now Number 11 in the C Span Presidential poll of 2017, all participated in by reputable scholars.

American sacrifices in war had been avoided, as America remained isolated from world affairs and foreign conflict until 1917, but in the last century, we have been in many major wars since then, including World War II, the Korean conflict, the Vietnam War, the Persian Gulf War, the Iraq War, and the Afghanistan War, along with many other foreign interventions in Latin America and the Middle East.

No one can be anything but sober to realize that when Congress voted for war on April 6, 1917, it transformed America in a permanent way, helping to create the concept of an American Empire, and America as a world leader since the end of World War II.

And now, with Donald Trump, the whole history of American foreign relations is in flux, and we face many challenges and crises in international affairs, and the hope is that we will avoid further military conflicts in the future, but hard to believe that is the scenario under Donald Trump.

PBS will have a six hour presentation on The American Experience on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday evenings April 10, 11, and 12 on America and The Great War, our nation’s engagement in the First World War, from many different perspectives, highly recommended to all who read this blog.

First Thoughts After The Inauguration: How Nasty, Mean Spirited, And Lacking In Compassion Donald Trump Really Is!

I had said I was taking a day off from commentary, and will write in greater detail tomorrow, but I felt a need to comment just before midnight on Inauguration Day, so here goes!

Donald Trump in just 12 hours has made clear just how nasty, mean spirited, and lacking in compassion he really is!

He claims that he is in the White House for the average American, but he has painted a picture of America which is very dark, very pessimistic, and very lacking in truth.

He claims there is a “carnage” that has gone on, even though Barack Obama presided over more employment gains than any President in history, and starting from a economic disaster known as the Great Recession, and in danger of falling further into another Great Depression!

He claims concern for mothers and children in the “ghettos” in the cities, but has never once indicated what he will do.

He declares “America First” without any understanding of the history of that term.

He has no knowledge or understanding of history or science, as he declares war on the environment, with lack of concern for our children and grandchildren by putting profits ahead of health and safety in the future.

He is basically telling our allies in Europe and Asia to go to hell, and promoting isolationism, protectionism, super nationalism bordering on Fascism.

He talks about America being great again, when it already is, but is willing to destroy all progress accomplished under his predecessor, who he spent five years destroying, and now will put the final nails in the 44th President’s legacy.

He says he cares about the “forgotten people”, but he is taking steps to harm these same people, including many who voted for him.

How can this man sleep at night, have no conscience, and be almost gleeful at destroying all of the great social and economic progress from Theodore Roosevelt to Barack Obama?

It as if the devil is in him, Satan in a way, a man with no ethics, morals, or scruples.

One has to believe in divine retribution in the next world, or “what goes around, comes around”–Karma!

Ike’s Farewell Address Being Ignored By Republican Party And Donald Trump 56 Years Later

On this day in 1961, with three days left in office, Dwight D. Eisenhower gave his greatest speech in his Farewell Address, warning America about the dangers of the Military-Industrial Complex.

56 years later, the Republican Party and Donald Trump are totally ignoring this warning, and setting America back to the Gilded Age in domestic policy making, and a dangerous isolationism in foreign policy, alienating all of our NATO allies, and creating an unstable world by the lunatic ideas of a man many are calling Trumpolini!

We are moving into very difficult and tumultuous times, and yet 11 million more people voted against Donald Trump than for him, when one counts the 3 million more votes for Hillary Clinton, and the total of 8 million more votes for third party and independent candidates.

Our Electoral College system has put America into a constitutional crisis, with no idea how it will end.

Progressives must commit themselves to fight endlessly against the extremist right wing government, Fascist in many ways, that is about to take over our government.

We will need to be vigilant about our Bill of Rights, and refuse to sit back and allow horrible actions that are against our entire historical tradition.

Pearl Harbor Attack 75th Anniversary: Reality Sets In, Now Threatened By President Who Has Zero Understanding Of International Relations!

Today is the 75th anniversary of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, which crippled our navy, and brought America into World War II.

This was the greatest military disaster in American history, with over 2,400 soldiers, sailors, and airmen killed, and ended the isolationism of the United States.

From that point on, it was clearly understood by Presidents and Congresses of both political parties that we needed to have strong alliances with other nations, and that putting America First, the old line of the isolationists, was detrimental to our security.

But we now have an incoming President, who touts America First, and is upending all traditional American foreign policy doctrines, to our detriment and potential danger.

A man who was willing to accept a Purple Heart from a soldier, and avoided military service on flimsy grounds, and thought being in a military high school was equivalent of military service and sacrifice, is now going to be Commander in Chief of the armed forces, something to worry about.

The reality of Pearl Harbor, and the more recent reality of September 11, must not be forgotten, but international relations is now again in danger of massive crisis, as our unstable, unhinged, ill informed, and Twitter provoked future President makes the whole world situation much more unpredictable, a threat to our military and to our entire population.

The Greatest Generation, as the World War II generation, rapidly declining in numbers, is known, needs to be remembered and respected on this solemn anniversary, and Americans must make clear they will NOT tolerate a narrow minded, isolationist foreign policy in the 21st century!

Protectionism And Isolationism: Herbert Hoover And Donald Trump

Eighty six years ago, President Herbert Hoover signed into law the most protectionist tariff law in American history, the Smoot Hawley Tariff of 1930, over the strong opposition of hundreds of economists who signed newspaper ads opposing the cutoff of foreign trade in the early months of the Great Depression.

These economists warned that creating tariff walls would backfire on the US economy, but Hoover did not listen, and he paid the price of a much worsening depression, leading to his defeat in 1932 for reelection by Franklin D. Roosevelt

Hoover also pursued a foreign policy of isolationism, refusing to participate in the League of Nations, and issuing the Stimson Doctrine in 1932, named after the Secretary of State, Henry Stimson. This document declared the US refusal to recognize the aggression by Japan against Manchuria, part of China in 1931, but making clear that no military or other action would be taken against foreign aggression anywhere in the world.

Hoover continued to be an isolationist after the Presidency, and opposed US entrance into World War II until after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in December, 1941.

Now, Republican Presidential nominee Donald Trump is taking similar stands on both protectionism and isolationism, a pivot from the modern tradition of the Republican Party, and considered by many to be a major mistake in both domestic and foreign policy.