When the so-called ‘neo-conservative’ movement took over much of the Republican party towards the end of the Cold War, the movement was generally defined by ultra-hawkish politicians, keenly desperate to maintain and expand US global hegemony while embracing much of the ‘big government’ policies typically associated with many in the Democratic party.
The neo-cons were big on ideology and possessed not an ounce of foreign policy pragmatism. They were more interested in war crimes than the culture wars, they were friendly to finance capitalism and big business, they were big on corporate driven free trade and spoke increasingly little about small business initiatives and middle class tax cuts.
The total failure of these policies as adopted by Republicans and copied by Democrats throughout the 1990s and early 21st century, helped get Donald Trump elected. He campaigned against neo-conservatism on both the domestic and foreign policy fronts.
Sadly, Trump has become co-opted and some would say brainwashed by the neo-cons who control much of Congress and the deep state. It seems that he’s more or less given up this battle. The swamp that he was meant to drain, increasingly looks as though it has drained him.
However, on the domestic front, Trump is still very much Trump.
Yesterday, he became the first sitting POTUS to address the National Riffle Association(NRA), following through on his campaign pledge to the stalwartly Republican group to protect the 2nd Amendment which grants Americans the right to bear arms.
This followed the announcements of wide-ranging tax cuts to middle and low earners and a simplification of the grossly unfair and complicated US Federal Tax Code. He has also called for the full elimination of Federal inheritance tax, a punitive tax which is best described as anti-family social engineering. Again, these were all conservative campaign promises that Donald Trump is sticking by.
In addition to simplifying the notorious odd US Federal tax brackets, Trump has also proposed measures to incentivise people to bring corporate earnings back to the US.
Because neo-cons generally care less about home grown issues than about big war, big finance and big globalism, it is as though they’ve allowed Trump to remain Donald Trump when it comes to the so-called meat and potatoes issues of US conservatism, but in turn, he has had to relinquish his campaign pledges on NATO, Russia, Syria, the wider Middle East, Asia and to an extent, also the Federal Reserve.
But something else is apparent in Donald Trump’s address before the NRA, he looked and sounded himself. He was lose, he was jovial and was spouting conservative catch phrases. He felt at home. It was very reminiscent of the excitement which permeated Trump campaign rallies during the long election.
By contrast, his recent foreign policy speeches have seemed stiff, highly scripted, uncomfortable and very un-Donald Trump.
The differences are quite staggering. If only Trump realised that peace could be good for business and that in the long term his middle class conservative base would benefit more from peace than from war in every sense, including economically. Trump himself campaigned on fixing American airports, roads, dams and bridges rather than rebuilding the Middle East. He was very much correct about that.
Most of Trump’s domestic conservative base are people who don’t have shares in Raytheon or Lockheed Martin. These people have never had dinner with the Rothschilds, these people don’t really know what the Yinon Plan is nor what the Tirana Platform is. They almost certainly don’t know the difference between Donbass and Lviv. But this really doesn’t matter. These people have lives to life and they put their own needs first. This is a normal situation.
If the deep state decided to do the same, then Trump could have perhaps continued with his America First policies which relate to both foreign affairs and domestic issues. But if that happened, the deep state wouldn’t be the deep state and America might become democratic and great again. That simply could not be allowed to happen.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Duran.