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Exit, Stage ‘Left’ — How Brazil invited impeachment into its parliament

Dilma Rousseff’s impeachment shows how a political movement that aspires to socialism in Latin America can never achieve its objectives by practising liberal reformism.

Haneul Na'avi

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On 31st August 2016 the ‘B’ in BRICS finally succumbed to a 14 year-long battle with opportunism.  

Following Lower House Speaker Jose Eduardo Cardozo’s annulment of its majority vote, head of Senate Renan Calheiros defiantly continued the impeachment process. As Sputnik reported 

“Following a three day debate, a majority of 61 senators voted definitively to remove Rousseff from the presidency. 20 senators voted against; there were no abstentions.”

Responding to the impeachment, Rousseff dejectedly addressed her supporters.

“The will of 61 senators has replaced that of 54,5 million people who voted for me.”

The bitter irony is that these ’54.5 million Brazilians’—many whom depend on former president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva’s Borsa Familia conditional cash transfer (CCT) programmes—could only watch as Brazilian Democratic Party Movement (PMDB) leader, Michel Temer, was officially sworn in on 1st September 2016.

Shortly after receiving the news, three countries—Venezuela, Ecuador, and Bolivia—recalled their embassies and denounced the new leadership.  As Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa explained

“Never will we condone these practices, which recall the darkest hours of our America.”

Unsurprisingly, the United States, the godfather of colour revolutions, hurriedly expressed its solidarity with Temer.   In the well-crafted Duckspeak of US State Department spokesman James Kirby declared

“[…] the Brazilian Senate in accordance with Brazil’s constitutional framework has voted to remove President Rousseff from office.  We’re confident that we will continue the strong bilateral relationship that exists between our two countries as the two largest democracies and economies in the hemisphere.”

Latin America’s far-right parroted the State Department. Argentina’s Foreign Ministry, in banal political jargon, declared

“[The] Argentine government expresses its respect for the institutional process [and] its willingness to continue on the path of a real and effective integration in the framework of absolute respect for Human rights, democratic institutions and International Law.”

Latin America is no stranger to Western contortions of ‘human rights, democratic institutions, and international law’, where in November 2015, acting Argentinian President Mauricio Macri beta tested Temer’s privatisation scheme after defeating leftist Daniel Scioli in elections, and like a despotic oncologist, followed up with a cocktail of media blackouts, budget cuts, privatisations and deepening ties to the US State Department to remove as many traces of Kirchnerismo as possible.

As expected, Pro-Rousseff demonstrators flooded the streets across Brazil. RT reported

“The greatest act of civil disobedience took place in Sao Paulo, where protesters clashed with police on Agenda Paulista, in the downtown area; in Rio de Janeiro, where activists gathered in Cinelandia square; and in Brasilia, where activists rallied in the Praca dos Tres Poderes square.”

Despite the public’s legitimate concerns, the Worker’s Party has squandered its ‘revolution’.  Nevertheless, hindsight is 20-20, but Brazil’s future stands at 50-50, and the chagrin of Rousseff’s adamant supporters may not be enough to reinstate her in power due to an uncomfortable truth: the Worker’s Party’s immature understanding of socialism was its primary shortcoming.

Several prominent member states of the Boliviarian Alliance for the Peoples of our Americas (ALBA) such as Venezuela, Cuba, Ecuador, and Bolivia, have struggled almost unabatedly with foreign interference and have won, at least temporarily, by uniting under a common framework which is politically, economically, and socially Marxist in nature.

Since its foundation in 2004, when United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) founder Hugo Chavez increased bilateral agreements with Cuba, the ALBA has expanded from 2 to 11 countries, serving as a model for Latin American self-determination and not simply an Economist quick fix of common market and trade associations.   Brazil however was only partially involved.

A Latin American Bureau article highlighted this

“[…] the most serious disappointment of all was the PT’s failure to develop a strategy for political reform, the only way of breaking the right’s stranglehold over the country’s political institutions, particularly Congress, and of curbing the insidious impact of massive electoral financing by the country’s economic elite.”

Yet, even this only flaccidly represents the truth. Brazil needed political revolution, not reforms, in order to purge the very opportunists now in power.

Secondly, Lulism, the theory behind Lula da Silva’s politics, was impossible under its coalition-based parliamentary system.  Furthermore, Lula wrongly assumed that creating an ‘alternative’ to Latin America’s Boliviarian and Chavism movements, instead of fully integrating with them, would yield better results. Dan La Botz asserts that

“during [Lula’s] first term, rather than leading the working class forward in struggle against the country’s capitalists and politicians as many expected, he made peace with them.”

The PT simply pandered to Brazil’s class contradictions instead of dissolving them.  For example, the PT relied on Petrobras oil sales and government coffers, but forged partnerships with the World Bank to monitor payouts.

Dubbed the “Quiet Revolution”, Brazil’s Borsa Familia programme created a welfare state dependent on capital from the Washington-funded InterAmerican Development Bank (IADB). Brazil even initiated the IADB partnership and sought financing for its pacing of disbursements programme (SWAp components).  As a World Bank report highlighted

“[They] requested the World Bank to partner the BFP in the context of longstanding Bank support for its social agenda under the Policy Sector Reform framework.  The Bank’s four-year project loan, excluding counterpart funds, is expected to be US$572.2 million.”

The World Bank is the economic muscle of US imperialism, created to financially restructure post-War (and coup) countries, ensuring US dollar dominance.   When Rousseff challenged this by shifting to Iran to trade in Brazilian Reals, this infuriated the State Department, which later commanded its ‘assets’ to overthrow Rousseff and privatise Brazil’s pre-salt oil deposits.

Conversely, Brazil’s neighbours remained vigilant. President Nicholas Maduro, although not as politically graceful as Chavez, still defended socialism by expanding it across South America in defiance of US-led sanctions, colour revolutions, falling oil prices, and ongoing parliamentary coup.

In fact, Boliviarianism, the unifying ideology of the ALBA nations, is to combat Western imperialism and liberal democracy.   As a FRIDE report puts it

“[…] the emergence of Chavism and other populist leaders can be explained by the limited results of liberal democracy and the neo-liberal politics designed in Europe and Washington.”

In international relations, Brazil and Venezuela both see the Islamic Republic of Iran as a strategically; however, Venezuela has expanded ties since the Ahmedinejad administration as a measure of solidarity, not trade.  As FRIDE says

“Both [Iran and Venezuela] are strongly committed to creating a bilateral alliance based on common oil interests, military cooperation, ideological affinities between the presidents and open hostility against the United States and its allies.”

Going against public ‘opinion’, former MERCOSUR leader Rodolfo Nin Novoa (Uruguay) chose Venezuela as the bloc’s new leader, ignoring protests from Argentina, Paraguay, and Brazil’s reactionary leadership.

To combat these advancements, the State Department currently uses neoliberal parliaments and colour revolutions as weapons against the ruling party.  However, where Venezuela has preserved its autonomy as the centrepiece of ALBA and MERCOSUR, Argentina and Brazil succumbed to their American creditors via regime change, failing to counteract them.  

One such example—rather than becoming victimised by bogus indictments and legislative skullduggery, Maduro wielded them both to crush the colour revolutions of Popular Will leaders Leopolo Lopez and Lester Toledo; well-documented State Department assets.  As reported by Venezuela Analysis

“Minister of Domestic Affairs, Justice and Peace, General Néstor Reverol […] has issued an arrest warrant for opposition leader Lester Toledo of the Popular Will Party (VP) in Zulia state for allegedly ‘financing terrorism’. This comes after President Nicolás Maduro also said on Tuesday that he will consider stripping all Venezuelan politicians of immunity in order to permit courtprosecutions for suspected coup-plotters.”

ALBA members fully understand that the ‘moderate opposition’, just like Islamic State, is a loose confederation of dog-eat-dog extremists used to overthrow democratic governments.   The CEPR think-tank outlines

“The U.S. government has been funding the Venezuelan opposition for at least 12 years, including, […] some of the people and organisations involved in the 2002 military coup [to] get rid of the Chávez government and replace it with something more to their liking.  The outside pressure for unity […] has been a serious problem for the Venezuelan opposition. The cables also show that this is a serious concern for the U.S. government.”

Rousseff could have followed Venezuela’s example by creating an executive order, citing threats to the public ownership (privatisation) by any foreign government assets as an act of treason, jailing all congressmen—59% whom are suspected of corruption—and preemptively ending their chicanery.

Other self-proclaimed ‘democracies’ love executive orders; especially the United States.  

Instead, the PT crawled into bed with every single opponent to its democracy, and even the US intelligentsia noted this.  As even a 2011 Brookings Institute report explained

“Contrary to the consensus among scholars and political analysts, unified government in the multiparty [coalition]-based presidential regime might not necessarily lead to an easier life for the newly-elected Brazilian president, Dilma Rousseff-PT, in regard to her relations with the Brazilian Congress.” 

The report continues, predicting her demise:

“With regard to power sharing, she will also be tempted to follow the same path of her political “guru” given that she will be under great pressure to preserve several PT internal factions in power.  […] Thus, disproportionally treating the PMDB and other coalition partners (like PL and PSB) with a small number of cabinet positions and other coalition currencies, as did Lula, might generate growing dissatisfaction within an already fragmented and regionally based key coalition partner.”

These predictions were evident in Temer’s 2015 letter to Rousseff.  Rousseff’s ‘socialist’ government only succeeded in forming a coalition with hardcore capitalists devoid of any profit (and power) motive.

It goes without saying that members of the ALBA rightfully denounced the coup, which mirrored the one that ousted then-President João Goulart in 1964, after his Basic Reforms Plan socialised corporate profits, provoking the anger of US assets within the Brazilian military.

Any amateur socialist who has fumbled through a copy of The State and Revolution understands that the state apparatus, in every government, is used to repress those hostile to it, and Brazil’s true state power wielded that authority on 31st August 2016.

Brazil created a welfare state similar to the British Labour Party, where former PM Clement Attlee attempted to build socialism in the vacuum of capitalism; there is nothing revolutionary about that.

Without ownership of the means of production, a common ideology, strong international  friendships, an effective defence of public capital, and worker representation, there can be no socialism.

Simply put, revolutions have no business in bourgeois hands.  With Rousseff gone and protesters at the mercy of unbridled privatisation, Brazil should recall former Uruguayan president Jose Murcia’s words as he entrusted Venezuela with MERCOSUR:

“Politics must prevail over law and legality”.

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May Forces Brexit Betrayal to its Crisis Point

We’re 29 months later and the U.K. is no closer to being out of the EU than the day of the vote. 

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Authored by Tom Luongo:


The only words that were left out of Theresa May’s announcement of achieving Cabinet approval over her Brexit deal were Mission Accomplished.

Theresa May was put in charge of the U.K. to betray Brexit from the beginning.  She always represented the interests of the European Union and those in British Parliament that backed remaining in the EU.

No one in British ‘high society’ wanted Brexit to pass.   No. One.

No one in Europe’s power elite wanted Brexit to pass.  No. One.

No one in the U.S.’s power elite wanted Brexit to pass.  No. One.

When it did pass The Davos Crowd began the process of sabotaging it.  The fear mongering has done nothing but intensify.  And May has done nothing but waffle back and forth, walking the political tight rope to remain in power while trying to sell EU slavery to the both sides in British Parliament.

We’re 29 months later and the U.K. is no closer to being out of the EU than the day of the vote.  Why?

Because Theresa May’s 585 page ‘deal’ is the worst of all possible outcomes.  If it passes it will leave the EU with near full control over British trade and tax policy while the British people and government have no say or vote in the matter.

It’s punishment for the people getting uppity about their future and wanting something different than what had been planned for them.

Mr. Juncker and his replacement will never have to suffer another one of Nigel Farage’s vicious farragoes detailing their venality ever again.  YouTube will get a whole lot less interesting.

It’s almost like this whole charade was designed this way.

Because it was.

May has tried to run out the clock and scare everyone into accepting a deal that is worse than the situation pre-Brexit because somehow a terrible deal is better than no deal.  But, that’s the opposite of the truth.

And she knows it.  She’s always known it but she’s gone into these negotiations like the fragile wisp of a thing she truly is.

There’s a reason I call her “The Gypsum Lady.” She’s simply the opposite of Margaret Thatcher who always knew what the EU was about and fought to her last political breath to avoid the trap the U.K. is now caught in.

The U.K. has had all of the leverage in Brexit talks but May has gone out of her way to not use any of it while the feckless and evil vampires in Europe purposefully complicate issues which are the height of irrelevancy.

She has caved on every issue to the point of further eroding what’s left of British sovereignty.  This deal leaves the U.K. at the mercy of Latvia or Greece in negotiating any trade agreement with Canada.  Because for a deal between member states to be approved, all members have to approve of it.

So, yeah, great job Mrs. May.  Mission Accomplished.  They are popping champagne corks in Brussels now.

But, this is a Brexit people can be proud of.

Orwell would be proud of Theresa May for this one.

You people are leaving.  Let the EU worry about controlling their borders.  And if Ireland doesn’t like the diktats coming from Brussels than they can decide for themselves if staying in the EU is worth the trouble.

The entire Irish border issue is simply not May’s problem to solve.  Neither is the customs union or any of the other stuff.  These are the EU’s problems.   They are the ones who don’t want the Brits to leave.

Let them figure out how they are going to trade with the U.K.  It is so obvious that this entire Brexit ‘negotiation’ is about protecting the European project as a proxy for the right of German automakers to export their cars at advantageous exchange rates to the U.K. at everyone’s expense.

Same as it was in the days of The Iron Lady.

If all of this wasn’t so predictable it would be comical.

Because the only people more useless than Theresa May are the Tories who care only about keeping their current level of the perks of office.

The biggest takeaway from this Brexit fiasco is that even more people will check out of the political system. They will see it even more clearly for what it is, an irredeemable miasma of pelf and privilege that has zero interest in protecting the rights of its citizens or the value of their labor.

It doesn’t matter if it’s voter fraud in the U.S. or a drawn out betrayal of a binding referendum. There comes a point where those not at the political fringes look behind the veil and realize changing the nameplate above the door doesn’t change the policy.

And once they realize that confidence fails and systems collapse.

Brexit was the last gasp of a dying empire to assert its national relevancy.  Even if this deal is rejected by parliament the process has sown deep divisions which will lead to the next trap and the next and the next and the next.

By then Theresa May will be a distant memory, being properly rewarded by her masters for a job very well done.


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The DOJ Is Preparing To Indict Julian Assange

Ecuador’s relationship with Assange has deteriorated considerably with the election of President Lenin Moreno.

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Via Zerohedge…


The US Justice Department is preparing to indict WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange which, after sensitive international negotiations, would likely trigger his extradition to the United States to stand trial, according to the Wall Street Journalciting people in Washington familiar with the matter.

Over the past year, U.S. prosecutors have discussed several types of charges they could potentially bring against Mr. Assange, the people said. Mr. Assange has lived in the Ecuadorean embassy in London since receiving political asylum from the South American country in 2012.

The people familiar with the case wouldn’t describe whether discussions were under way with the U.K. or Ecuador about Mr. Assange, but said they were encouraged by recent developments.

The exact charges Justice Department might pursue remain unclear, but they may involve the Espionage Act, which criminalizes the disclosure of national defense-related information. –WSJ

In short, the DOJ doesn’t appear to have a clear charge against Assange yet. Then there’s the optics of dragging Assange out of Ecuador’s London Embassy and into the United States, then prosecuting him, and if successful – jailing him.

Prosecuting someone for publishing truthful information would set a terrible and dangerous precedent,” said Assange lawyer Barry Pollack – who says he hasn’t heard anything about a US prosecution.

“We have heard nothing from authorities suggesting that a criminal case against Mr. Assange is imminent,” he added.

Moreover, assuming that even if the DOJ could mount a case, they would be required to prove that Russia was the source of a trove of emails damaging to Hillary Clinton that WikiLeaks released in the last few months of the 2016 election.

An indictment from special counsel Robert Mueller that portrayed WikiLeaks as a tool of Russian intelligence for releasing thousands of hacked Democratic emails during the 2016 presidential campaign has made it more difficult for Mr. Assange to mount a defense as a journalist. Public opinion of Mr. Assange in the U.S. has dropped since the campaign.

Prosecutors have considered publicly indicting Mr. Assange to try to trigger his removal from the embassy, the people said, because a detailed explanation of the evidence against Mr. Assange could give Ecuadorean authorities a reason to turn him over. –WSJ

It’s no secret that Assange and Hillary Clinton aren’t exactly exchanging Christmas cards, however would WikiLeaks’ release of damaging information that was hacked (or copied locally on a thumb drive by a well-meaning American), be illegal for Assange as a publisher?

Despite scant clues as to how the DOJ will prosecute Assange aside from rumors that it has to do with the Espionage Act, the US Government is cooking on something. John Demers – head of the DOJ’s national security division, said last week regarding an Assange case: “On that, I’ll just say, we’ll see.”

The U.S. hasn’t publicly commented on whether it has made, or plans to make, any extradition request. Any extradition request from the U.S. would likely go to British authorities, who have an outstanding arrest warrant for Mr. Assange related to a Swedish sexual assault case. Sweden has since dropped the probe, but the arrest warrant stands.

Any extradition and prosecution would involve multiple sensitive negotiations within the U.S. government and with other countries. –WSJ

Beginning in 2010, the Department of Justice beginning under the Obama administration has drawn a distinction between WikiLeaks and other news organizations – with former Attorney General Eric Holder insisting that Assange’s organization does not deserve the same first amendment protections during the Chelsea Manning case in which the former Army intelligence analyst was found guilty at a court-martial of leaking thousands of classified Afghan War Reports.

US officials have given mixed messages over Assange, with President Trump having said during the 2016 election “I love WikiLeaks,” only to have his former CIA Director, Mike Pompeo label WikiLeaks akin to a foreign “hostile intelligence service” and a US adversary. Former Attorney General Jeff Sessions has said that Assange’s arrest is a “priority.”

Ecuador’s relationship with Assange, meanwhile, has deteriorated considerably with the election of President Lenin Moreno – who called the WikiLeaks founder a “stone in our shoe,” adding that Assange’s stay at the London embassy is unsustainable.

Ecuador has been looking to improve relations with the U.S., hosting Vice President Mike Pence in 2018 amid interest in increasing trade.

Ecuador’s Foreign Relations Ministry declined to comment. This month, Foreign Relations Minister José Valencia told a radio station the government hadn’t received an extradition request for Mr. Assange.

Mr. Assange has clashed with his Ecuadorean hosts in over internet access, visitors, his cat and other issues. Last month, he sued Ecuador over the conditions of his confinement. At a hearing last month, at which a judge rejected Mr. Assange’s claims, Mr. Assange said he expected to be forced out of the embassy soon.  –WSJ

Assange and Ecuador seem to have worked things out for the time being; with his months-long communication blackout mostly lifted (with strict rules against Assange participating in political activities that would affect Ecuador’s international relations). Assange is now allowed Wi-Fi, but has to foot the bill for his own phone calls and other communication.

In October, a judge threw out a lawsuit Assange filed against Ecuador from implementing the stricter rules,.

“Ecuador hasn’t violated the rights of anyone,” Attorney General Íñigo Salvador said after the court ruling. “It has provided asylum to Mr. Assange, and he should comply with the rules to live harmoniously inside Ecuador’s public installations in London.”Assange’s attorneys say he will appeal the ruling – however it may be a moot point if he’s dragged into a US courtroom sooner than later.

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Trump Understands The Important Difference Between Nationalism And Globalism

President Trump’s nationalism heralds a return to the old U.S. doctrine of non-intervention.

The Duran

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Authored by Raheem Kassam, op-ed via The Daily Caller:


President Macron’s protests against nationalism this weekend stand in stark contrast with the words of France’s WWII resistance leader and the man who would then become president: General Charles de Gaulle.

Speaking to his men in 1913, de Gaulle reminded them:

“He who does not love his mother more than other mothers, and his fatherland more than other fatherlands, loves neither his mother nor his fatherland.”

This unquestionable invocation of nationalism reveals how far France has come in its pursuit of globalist goals, which de Gaulle described later in that same speech as the “appetite of vice.”

While this weekend the media have been sharpening their knives on Macron’s words, for use against President Trump, very few have taken the time to understand what really created the conditions for the wars of the 20th century. It was globalism’s grandfather: imperialism, not nationalism.

This appears to have been understood at least until the 1980s, though forgotten now. With historical revisionism applied to nationalism and the great wars, it is much harder to understand what President Trump means when he calls himself a “nationalist.” Though the fault is with us, not him.

Patriotism is the exact opposite of nationalism: nationalism is a betrayal of patriotism … By pursuing our own interests first, with no regard to others,’ we erase the very thing that a nation holds most precious, that which gives it life and makes it great: its moral values,” President Macron declared from the pulpit of the Armistice 100 commemorations.

Had this been in reverse, there would no doubt have been shrieks of disgust aimed at Mr. Trump for “politicizing” such a somber occasion. No such shrieks for Mr. Macron, however, who languishes below 20 percent in national approval ratings in France.

With some context applied, it is remarkably easy to see how President Macron was being disingenuous.

Nationalism and patriotism are indeed distinct. But they are not opposites.

Nationalism is a philosophy of governance, or how human beings organize their affairs. Patriotism isn’t a governing philosophy. Sometimes viewed as subsidiary to the philosophy of nationalism, patriotism is better described as a form of devotion.

For all the grandstanding, Mr. Macron may as well have asserted that chicken is the opposite of hot sauce,so meaningless was the comparison.

Imperialism, we so quickly forget, was the order of the day heading into the 20th century. Humanity has known little else but empire since 2400 B.C. The advent of globalism, replete with its foreign power capitals and multi-national institutions is scarcely distinct.

Imperialism — as opposed to nationalism — seeks to impose a nation’s way of life, its currency, its traditions, its flags, its anthems, its demographics, and its rules and laws upon others wherever they may be.

Truly, President Trump’s nationalism heralds a return to the old U.S. doctrine of non-intervention, expounded by President George Washington in his farewell address of 1796:

” … It must be unwise in us to implicate ourselves, by artificial ties, in the ordinary vicissitudes of [Europe’s] politics, or the ordinary combinations and collisions of her friendships or enmities.”

It should not have to be pointed out that the great wars of the 20th century could not be considered “ordinary vicissitudes”, but rather, that imperialism had begun to run amok on the continent.

It was an imperialism rooted in nihilism, putting the totality of the state at its heart. Often using nationalism as nothing more than a method of appeal, socialism as a doctrine of governance, and Jews as a subject of derision and scapegoating.

Today’s imperialism is known as globalism.

It is what drives nations to project outward their will, usually with force; causes armies to cross borders in the hope of subjugating other human beings or the invaded nation’s natural resources; and defines a world, or region, or continent by its use of central authority and foreign capital control.

Instead of armies of soldiers, imperialists seek to dominate using armies of economists and bureaucrats. Instead of forced payments to a foreign capital, globalism figured out how to create economic reliance: first on sterling, then on the dollar, now for many on the Euro. This will soon be leapfrogged by China’s designs.

And while imperialism has served some good purposes throughout human history, it is only when grounded in something larger than man; whether that be natural law, God, or otherwise. But such things are scarcely long-lived.

While benevolent imperialism can create better conditions over a period of time, humanity’s instincts will always lean towards freedom and self-governance.

It is this fundamental distinction between the United States’ founding and that of the modern Republic of France that defines the two nations.

The people of France are “granted” their freedoms by the government, and the government creates the conditions and dictates the terms upon which those freedoms are exercised.

As Charles Kesler wrote for the Claremont Review of Books in May, “As a result, there are fewer and fewer levers by which the governed can make its consent count”.

France is the archetypal administrative state, while the United States was founded on natural law, a topic that scarcely gets enough attention anymore.

Nationalism – or nationism, if you will – therefore represents a break from the war-hungry norm of human history. Its presence in the 20th century has been rewritten and bastardized.

A nationalist has no intention of invading your country or changing your society. A nationalist cares just as much as anyone else about the plights of others around the world but believes putting one’s own country first is the way to progress. A nationalist would never seek to divide by race, gender, ethnicity, or sexual preference, or otherwise. This runs contrary to the idea of a united, contiguous nation at ease with itself.

Certainly nationalism’s could-be bastard child of chauvinism can give root to imperialistic tendencies. But if the nation can and indeed does look after its own, and says to the world around it, “these are our affairs, you may learn from them, you may seek advice, we may even assist if you so desperately need it and our affairs are in order,” then nationalism can be a great gift to the 21st century and beyond.

This is what President Trump understands.

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