Many people on the left are unable to explain why people from oppressed nations seemed to lend some support to Donald Trump in his election campaign. Confronted with the problem that they can’t blanket label all these governments racist, as many did to Trump supporters in America, refusing to explain Trump’s serious problems in order to fit a Clintonite liberal policy. What reasons could there be, when racism is no longer the answer, to why oppressed peoples around the world supported the Trump campaign?
When I visited Cuba I was chatting to a tour guide about politics (he was a big fan of his government and the Communist Party of Cuba), and he told me that he personally had hoped Trump would win the election, his reasoning being that Trump as a businessman might be more inclined to end the blockade, as it has a negative effect on the American economy as well as the Cuban; from a purely economic perspective it is bad for business.
Figures who no-one could accuse of having a love for America, such as Vladimir Putin, Bashar al-Assad and Robert Mugabe, and their respective governments, released statements that might seem to favour a Trump victory in the election. Even press releases from Chinese state media and the DPRKorean KCNA, prior to the election, favoured Trump.
The reason for this is Trump’s campaign promises. There was a lot of hysteria in America particularly about some of his proposed policies, accusing them of being racist, correctly so, as they were very racist. But he also advocated for isolationism, and end to sanction-based dealings, promising even to return all American troops to American soil. Syrian people on the whole would much rather they weren’t allowed to go to the US than the US continue their campaigns of mass destruction in Syria, for example. While a proposed border wall is a racist suggestion, it pales in comparison, racism-wise, to military excercises in occupied Southern Korea, economic support of the fascist Ukranian government and economic and military support of the fascist Israeli government, etc.
It is not that Trump promised these because he was an anti-imperialist, rather he was courting an American-exceptionalist audience who believed that America’s foreign campaigns actually benefited the rest of the world and wasted US resources.
Of course, he has backpedalled heavily on almost all of his promises, intensifying sanctions on the DPRK, Cuba and Venezuela, and continuing the war in Syria and funding for Israel.Why has he done this? Either he is a cold, power-hungry manipulator who deliberately courted a large alt-right audience to achieve presidency (and nobody can reasonably deny that Trump’s campaign was fantastically clever; the man achieved US presidency despite every mainstream US media outlet being dead against him), but now he is in power he’s more interested in courting the establishment neo-conservatives. Or, another real possibility, he was threatened, bribed or otherwise coerced into touting the imperialist line.
We must make efforts to avoid the hysteria around the Trump campaign. Saying that he’s uniquely fascistic, imperialist or some kind of satan-incarnate which a lot of people on the left do is ultimately very damaging. The election of Trump has provided us with an excellent oppurtunity to expose the crimes of previous presidents, because a lot of liberals are outraged at his policies but were ok with or usually didn’t even notice similar policies by Barrack Obama, Bill Clinton or even George Bush. Trump is not uniquely bad, he’s not uniquely tyrannical or uniquely racist. America , from its conception, is a state based on racism, and no president has ever deviated from this line. As a matter of fact most of Trump’s foreign policies are a continuation of those of Obama – it was Obama who started the war in Syria, Obama who intensified conflict with the DPRK, it was Obama who signed deal after deal with Israel and Saudi Arabia.
US imperialism is unchangeable, and we in Britain must make every effort to combat it’s imperialism, as well as that of our own government and every other imperialist government, regardless of which figure sits in the leadership role.