Open Letter to Trump Opponents: Don’t Fall for Conservative Criticisms of Trump!

Open Letter to Trump Opponents:

Don’t Fall for Conservative Criticisms of Trump!

Guest post written by Steven Leigh
Steve Leigh is a member of the Seattle Revolutionary Socialists and the Revolutionary Socialist Network.
There is no doubt that Trump is a menace to the U.S. and the world. His regime has been a disaster in any number of ways that are well known and require no repeating.
Because of this there is a tendency among opponents of Trump to use any criticism of Trump as a cudgel against him: He doesn’t know how to spell; He is lazy; He is incompetent; He is a complete buffoon etc.
However, some attacks on Trump actually shore up the politics we hate Trump for. One example is the current uproar over the supposed Russian bounty on American heads in Afghanistan. MSNBC, CNN  and the major newspapers along with Democratic politicians want to find out 1) is this charge true? 2) Did Trump know about the Russian bounty?
The idea is that if it is true, Trump should have taken some undisclosed dramatic action against Russia. If  Trump didn’t know, his administration is incompetent at running the U.S. Empire . If he did know , then his lack of action shows that he is at best a fool and at worst a Russian puppet and traitor to U.S. interests. In either case, goes the argument he should at the very least be ousted in the next election, if not thrown out before it.
This charge is not new. Trump has been labeled a Russian asset by Democrats since he took office. Democrats have taken a stronger anti-Russia stand than Trump, demanding more sanctions etc. Liberals have denounced him for cutting funds to NATO, the bulwark against Russia. They have opposed his plan to pull back troops from Syria.
Trump has usually been more right wing on domestic policy than the Democrats. However, his foreign policy has been less consistent. He loves authoritarians from Putin to Kim Jung Un to Erdogan in Turkey. He backs the Saudi slaughter in Yemen. He continues U.S. wars in Afghanistan and threatened war with Iran. He has whipped up hysteria against China.
However, on the issue of Russia , the Democrats have criticized Trump from the Right. They have pushed for a renewal of a cold war against Russia. They have pushed for more sanctions and isolation. They are for more military aid to U.S. allies. The Democratic vision including that of Joe Biden is one of more confrontation with Russia , which would make the world even more precarious and less safe.
This is why it is so dangerous for opponents of Trump to accept the Democratic/Mainstream Media line on the Russian bounty.  Who is actually responsible for deaths of U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan? Who is responsible for the slaughter of so many Afghan civilians? Who is responsible for the resultant destruction of the country?  For the last 19 years , the source of all this has been the U.S. government The ruling class of the U.S. through its government bears the responsibility for this debacle.  The blood of U.S. soldiers as well as Afghan people is on the hands of the U.S. government and both of its main parties, the Republicans and Democrats. It is on the hands of Trump, but also his Democratic opponents.
No opponent of authoritarianism is a friend of Putin.  No one should excuse or justify Putin’s attempt to make Russia into a stronger more dangerous imperialist power . However, the way to counter Russian imperialism is not to bolster U.S. imperialism. A more belligerent , war-like U.S. gives Putin more political cover at home   to increase Russian nationalism. The way to build international solidarity between people is to oppose all governments’ war-moves. As part of this, we should oppose the drive to impose sanctions on Russia or other cold war measures.
The outrage against the Russian bounty is pure hypocrisy!  As Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. said ,the U.S. government is the “ main purveyor of violence” in the world.  This is still true 53 years after he said it. The U.S. has the most foreign military bases of any country in the history of the world. It has levied sanctions against numerous countries that have killed thousands. From Vietnam where it killed a million and a half to Iraq where it killed another million to support for the Saudi war  to the drone strikes that regularly kill civilians, it is still the most dangerous threat to people across the world.
The desire to oust Trump should not overcome commitment to principles. Today , millions are marching to defund, demilitarize and even abolish the police. This should extend to the other violent arm of the U.S. government, the military. Falling in with the pro-military criticism of Trump may seem like a convenient cudgel to beat Trump with. However  it will get in the way of building a strong opposition to  Trump-like policies which will continue to be  carried out by whatever party takes office in January.
Those who oppose Trump’s racism, sexism, homophobia,  anti-immigrant bigotry, cut backs in social programs, destructive environmental policies,  repression etc., need to forge an independent path. Trump is a menace. However, his Democratic opponents are also committed to  U.S. domination around the world. They are fundamentally committed to austerity and neo-liberalism which is racist and sexist in practice if not in rhetoric. They are not for abolishing the police or reducing the strength of the military. They are not for challenging the capitalist system which depends on exploitation and oppression and must produce poverty. As Nancy Pelosi said of the Democrats, “ We are capitalists”.
This independent path needs to start now with rejection of pro-military conservative attacks on Trump from his liberal opponents.

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Workers’ Voice/La Voz editorial stand.

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