TV entertainer Donald Trump sought to boost his ratings yesterday morning with missile strikes on an airfield in Syria. His stated reason for ordering the strikes was a response to the Syrian government’s use of chemical weapons against civilians in Idlib. Trump deliberately acted before proof was certain and without the support of the United Nations. His motivation was a combination of
- Dumb posturing
- Assisting the profits of the arms manufacturers
- Trying to convince US investigators that he is not Putin’s puppet
The missile strikes did not destroy the runways at the airfield and did not destroy all of the aircraft stationed there. Trump claimed that warehouses at the airfield that may have stored chemical weapons were destroyed but if they had contained chemical weapons, which they didn’t, then the explosions might have spread the chemicals around the surrounding civilian area. For the thousands of civilians living near the airfield the combination of Trump’s dishonesty and stupidity meant they were not suffocated to death by chemical agents. The airfield was operational again within hours of the missile strikes.
For any US president, aiding the transfer of taxes to the arms industry pit is a top priority. Trump recognises that priority just like all his predecessors. However, he adds unpredictability and a need to be popular to his desire for military action.
Given Trump’s behaviour and actions during his presidency, and before, and the consequential forthright criticisms of such from Democrats in the US and liberals there and elsewhere, it would be reasonable to assume that his clumsy, flashy show of force in Syria would receive similar denouncement from those allegedly not on the right. Apparently not. On the contrary, the missile strikes have been applauded with onanistic glee by the so-called centrists in the US and elsewhere, particularly in the UK. “I never thought I’d say this but ‘well done Trump'” is a popular cry from self-appointed political experts who claim to be liberal. Why have these anti-Trump voices of the centre shrieked support for him so suddenly following a failed military operation?
Liberal politics is a confidence trick. It is a pretence at opposition to conservatism and has been so since John Stuart Mill wrote the guidebook; see On Lieberty. Liberalism is a subset of conservatism. The main objection the self-described centre have to Trump is that he is a bit of an oaf. They, like many conservatives, are also perturbed by the fact that Trump’s unbridled voice reveals many of the con tricks of capitalist government. He is a bit embarrassing, and he has surrounded himself with strange unblinking far-right characters who don’t quite abide by the establishment rules. During his campaign for the presidency Trump claimed he wanted to withdraw the US military from Syria and elsewhere. That claim was false, much to the relief of politicians from the right to the centre; the benevolent fund for the arms industry will not be short of cash.
All conservatives, including the liberal subset thereof, are wedded to support for the arms industry and to the associated perspective of Western moral superiority over the rest of the world. They can’t help themselves. The concept of an otherness of culture is ingrained within them. Liberals declare themselves opposed to conservatives in order to stifle genuine opposition. The two cheeks of the same arse indulge in a pretence of rivalry. But, when spurious Western authority, financial or moral, is challenged the liberals scurry to stand beside their conservative colleagues. One (ineffective) military operation is all it took for a derided and ridiculed politician like Trump to become a hero for the liberals. Their fraud was revealed so easily.