If it’s to be America First, Mr. Trump, cut the crap, and listen up

In the past weeks, Mr. Trump, you have had bit of tough luck. Some of the Republican establishment is warming to you, for example, and the Neocon/Israel First senators Lindsey Graham and Robert Corker have said you seem like a nice guy. On the positive side, though, you have pledged full protection of the indispensable 2nd Amendment and presented an excellent list of potential Supreme Court justices, men and women who would apply the Constitution as it was written, and would not legislate from the bench, invent endless numbers of new “rights,” facilitate the presidency’s steady growth toward being a tyrant’s post, or give legal preference to the every new crackpot minority that seems to cross the stage monthly.

But there seem to be several themes that recently have gone missing in your public talks and interviews. There are also a a few potentially disastrous straws in the wind.

In the missing-themes realm:

  • Why are you not relentlessly driving home the truthful point that America is dead broke, that we cannot afford the entitlement programs we have at the moment, and that those we do have must be reduced in their beneficence or eliminated? If this ever-worsening debt problem is not credibly put on the road to resolution, the idea of an America-First government is a pipe dream and the republic will die.
  • Why do you refrain from explaining to Americans that the United States cannot financially afford more of the unnecessary interventionist wars — fought for the lethal illusion that America can give democracy, liberty, and women’s rights to foreigners — that are always lost, deepen the debt, waste the lives of U.S. service personnel, and erode civil liberty? Just be frank with the citizenry, Mr. Trump. In 1940, Britain’s ambassador in Washington, Lord Lothian (aka: Philip Kerr), reportedly told the U.S. media “Well, boys, Britain is broke; it’s your money we want [to help defeat Germany].” (1) You can paraphrase Lothian’s opening words and say to the electorate “America is broke,” and then emphasize that there is no one to help Americans except themselves.
  • Why must you keep saying such mad Neocon mantras as “we are going to bomb the hell out of ISIS.” The United States, Russia, Syria, and dozens of other countries have long been doing precisely that and yet ISIS is today expanding on four continents. Air power provides the feeling, not the substance of success. You also would be smart to stop saying that Iraq, Jordan, the Kurds, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the UAE, and sundry other states are going to supply ground forces to complement Western air power and bring victory over ISIS. There are no ground forces coming from those countries to help the West impose its secular, and what Muslims widely perceive as an anti-Islam agenda on the Islamic world. Indeed, if the United States showed commonsense and disengaged from the war with Islam, you would see forces from those nations take the field alongside ISIS and al-Qaeda in a campaign to destroy Iran and, at least, the Shia populations in Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon. You should also say that it will be the policy of a neutral and non-interventionist United States to do or say nothing that would slow the start, limit the combatants, moderate the brutality, or shorten the duration of such a war.
  • And while you are at it, why not tell the voters that there will not be a U.S.-led world war against ISIS and the other Islamists because that war properly belongs to the nations having genuine, life-and death national-security interests in it? Those nations are Israel, the European states, the Arab tyrannies, and Putin’s Russia, the last of which will pay a dear price in the Caucuses and Central Asia for launching a brutal Syrian military campaign it did not intend to win. It is their war to win, abandon, or lose; it is America’s to silently observe, while it works to exert control over its borders, limit immigration, and rebuild a military capable of enforcing U.S. neutrality and annihilating, without the encumbrance of whining allies, any entity that dares attack the republic.
  • Why have you stopped explaining to voters the need for America to rid itself of a deadly and unneeded treaty commitment by withdrawing from NATO, an alliance that hangs around the republic’s neck and helps choke it to death? While you have gone quiet on the plague of NATO, John Kerry and his NATO counterparts have dispatched an interventionist “NATO Exploratory Mission” to Iraq (2) to get us more deeply involved in the last-gasp military affairs of a now disintegrating Iraqi government and the Shia-Sunni civil war that will follow its demise. The NATO military committee also has said the alliance’s force levels in Afghanistan will not be reduced, this after Britain began sending more troops to reinforce NATO’s defeat there in December, 2015, and as the U.S. military is now is sending ‘’hundreds” more troops to die in a war that was lost years ago. (3)
  • Begin again, Mr. Trump, to explain to Americans why the republic must leave NATO — it is too expensive, negates U.S. sovereignty, and denies independence of action. It also would be well to explain to the citizenry why, when leaving NATO, it is appropriate to tell the Europeans that the United States will never get involved in the coming EU war with Islam, the one that will rage across the continent. That war will be entirely of Europe’s making own, the predictable result of the sublime lunacy of military interventionism in the Muslim world, of making Europe borderless, of installing diversity and multiculturalism as the pan-European state religion, of creating of an Islamic state in Kosovo and abetting the growth of Islamic states in Albania and Bosnia, and of following, like demented sheep, the Chancellor Merkel-led immigration disaster (AKA: ISIS invasion) that she and the EU elites have deliberately inflicted on their peoples.

In the realm of potentially disastrous, straws-in-the wind:

  • Why are you meeting and/or chumming about with giants of the war-wanting Israel-First and Neocon movements, men like Lindsey Graham, Speaker Gingrich, Sheldon Adelson, and that engineer of our Vietnam catastrophe, Henry Kissinger. These men abhor the idea of America First. Their goal is to keep U.S. money and blood committed to defend Israel, confront Putin, and continue worldwide democracy-mongering, and that reality can only result, for the United States, in an endless, unnecessary, and losing war with Islam, the expansion of the Executive Branch’s tyrannical powers, a larger national debt, and more reductions in civil liberties. If you want to use Adelson’s money and then ignore him after the election, that’s fine. And if you want to kiss Kissinger’s ring to please the Republican foreign-policy elite you have pledged to destroy, that’s fine, too, so long as the kiss is based on the rule that “insincerity costs you nothing.” But woe betide you, Mr. Trump, if the hint of betraying the goal of America First you have left in peoples’ minds by dealing with these men is an augury of your true status as just one more establishment warmonger.
  • Why did you say that Israel should build all the settlements it wants? From an America-First perspective, of course, there is no real problem in what you said, though it might better have been left unsaid. If your words mean there is no reason that Israel should refrain from doing whatever it thinks necessary for its defense, and that all nations have the right to defend themselves, well, that’s fine and irrefutably true. But no nation — Israel, the United States, or any other — has a “right to exist.” If your words mean that Israel should build settlements and that the United States always will militarily and financially defend both its right to do so and its right to exist, you have knowingly enslaved America First — as have many post-1945 presidents — to the disloyal Jewish-Americans who demand their countrymen pay and bleed to ensure their traitorous, Israel-First agenda. Why not offer some clarity on this point, Mr. Trump. Perhaps you could say saying something like, “Israel has every right to defend itself, as does Palestine, and we recognize the right of both to do so. Neither party nor their partisans, however, will be allowed to maneuver the United States into a position that would involve it in their endless religious war, one that is irrelevant to genuine U.S. national security interests.”

Overall, Mr. Trump, it is worth recognizing that while the media have said your candidacy is attracting support from “Americans angry with the national government,” the idea of “anger” may be inadequate to define the attitude of those supporting you. A recent comment sent to this blog suggested that a more precise term to define your supporters is “desperation,” and I think that is a valuable insight. While spurts of anger tend to come and go, the simmering anger — now decades old –that many Americans hold toward the national government is now progressing to a strong sense of desperation, one that sees the 2016 presidential election as likely the final chance to put the republic back on a steady economic, rule of law, and foreign policy track that ends the economic, cultural, faux-legal, racial, and interventionist carnage that has been deliberately inflicted on the republic by the theory-addled, Christianity-hating Democratic Party; the 90-percent or so of the media that thirsts to first lick the butt of and then praise any Democratic candidate; and, perhaps most enraging, their numerous, mush-mouthed abettors in the Republican Party — Romney, Paul Ryan, McCain, Chris Christie, Graham, Bush, Kasich, Bush, George Will, Bush, etc. — men who believe that a “good Democrat” like Hillary Clinton could be relied on to pursue the things they care most about, free trade deals that eliminate the middle class, and endless, unnecessary, and war-causing interventionism.

Citizens armed with this sense of desperation, it seems to me, are not hard to satisfy. There is, after all, little if anything that they want from their national government except to be left alone to pursue their livelihoods, keep more of their income, raise and educate their families, practice and pass on their faith, and love a country that is independent, sovereign, ruled by law, and always at peace unless it is attacked or imminently threatened. They want to govern themselves through the representatives they elect at the local and state levels; to protect what is unique about their region of America from the national government’s cruel process of cultural homogenization, especially that relentlessly imposed on the South; to prepare their children to be adults with an education controlled at the lowest possible level of government so they can influence its content; and to help shape their children’s spiritual life, conscience, and judgment with the faith and religious practices of their choice. In public, they want to celebrate their country’s history and honor those worth honoring on days set aside for, say, the birthdays of Washington and Lincoln, not for a meaningless Presidents’ Day. In private, they want to mark their own region’s and families’ past by honoring those killed in combat in all of America’s wars, even if that means placing General Lee’s battle flag on the graves of Southern soldiers and Marines buried anywhere in the republic, this as an expression of love for the dead, respect for their steadfastness and bravery, affection for home and region, and as the most enduring symbol of the greatest American trait — the moral capacity to reconcile, forgive, reunite, and henceforth labor together for the sake of the commonweal.

None of this is much to ask, Mr. Trump, and all of it is encompassed in the phrase America First. If it begins to be clear that you do not intend to run a national government grounded on that principle, you are apt to see your support begin to whither and then flee. And that, Mr. Trump, is ultimately the great danger for the republic in the 2016 election, a danger which is now temporarily on hold, but only because of your public statements, promises, and apparent allegiance to the concept of America First. You, Mr. Trump, have a lot to lose not only for yourself, but for all Americans and their republic’s future.

Why? Because Americans with a sense of desperation are not going to give up and turn silent and submissive if you betray them. These citizens perceive, I think, that if this election cycle yields another iteration of the status quo, the chance of vote-driven improvement is over, and another tack must be devised. Indeed, this perception probably is the main motivation behind the enormous growth in gun purchases that has occurred since 2007. It has been far too easy for Democrats, Republicans, other elites, and the media to lie about this phenomenon by asserting that rising gun sales are soley due to a race-based fear and/or hatred of Obama, though that may have been a tiny part of the motivation.

The overriding reason that Americans bought those guns, however, is because they had found that almost nothing in America works, or can be made to work. People of all races who work have their pockets picked via excessive taxes meant to benefit those who do not and foreigners; wounded, maimed, and troubled service personnel die waiting for medical aid that never arrives; infrastructure collapses; deviants of every kind are awarded a status not unlike nobility, as well as legal preference above fellow citizens not lucky enough to be deviants; necessary and unnecessary wars are started, lost, and leave the enemy stronger; free speech is circumscribed at every opportunity, often by adding new categories to unconstitutional hate-speech laws; academic freedom and open debate are things of the past; authors are damned and books are removed from school libraries if they question the elite’s dogma on climate change, why Muslims hate us, abortion, diversity, multiculturalism, or bathroom usage; trade policy kills middle-class jobs and presidential candidates promise to use environmentalism to kill more; children are indoctrinated, not educated, in a system that is beyond their parents’ control but empties their wallets; and the national government works only to strengthen and broaden the tyrannical regime both parties have built and crave to make more powerful.

For many Americans, and especially your supporters, Mr. Trump, these issues must be addressed to their satisfaction or at least a credible effort to do so must be made. These citizens have worked to achieve their goals through decades of elections; they have been promised much in campaign seasons, but afterward are ignored and even treated as pariahs. The 2016 election is the last straw, and a victory for the status quo will render a new approach mandatory. Desperation and perhaps a touch of despair will lead these citizens to action. Added to that mix will be a measure of motivating fury after a year in which both party establishments, the media, and foreign leaders and journalists have loudly denigrated and ridiculed them as uneducated boobs, racists, trailer trash, clowns, misogynists, isolationists, dupes, thugs, and anti-Semites.

Words like these can be a last straw which brings on unwanted events, even something as terrible as civil war. “The heart of the matter,” said the brilliant Judah P. Benjamin, U.S. senator from Louisiana and later a Confederate cabinet secretary, “was not so much what the abolitionists and Republicans had done or might do to the South, as it was about the things they had said about the South — and the moral arrogance with which they said them.” (4) Whether similar words and the national government’s tyranny will do so in this era is unknown, Mr. Trump, but it would be worthwhile for you and the governing elite to dwell on that possibility, and then to reflect on Tom Paine’s timeless warning that people will not forever let themselves be “governed like animals, for the pleasure of their riders.” (5)


  1. See, Robin Prior. When Britain Saved the West: The Story of 1940. New Haven; Yale University Press, 2015, p. 271.
  2. Hurriyet Daily News (Istanbul), 21 May 2016
  3. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/checkpoint/wp/2016/05/18/top-nato-commanders-signal-support-for-keeping-troops-in-afghanistan/; http://forces.tv/88552731; and http://www.nytimes.com/2016/02/10/world/asia/us-troops-helmand-province-afghanistan.html
  4. Senator Benjamin is quoted in, Don E. Fehrenbacher. Sectional Crisis and Southern Constitutionalism, 1860-1861. Baton Rouge, LA: Louisiana State University Press, 1995, p. 31.
  5. Thomas Paine. Rights of Man, II, 1792

Author: Michael F. Scheuer

Michael F. Scheuer worked at the CIA as an intelligence officer for 22 years. He was the first chief of its Osama bin Laden unit, and helped create its rendition program, which he ran for 40 months. He is an American blogger, historian, foreign policy critic, and political analyst.