The Smell of Bull
I've been reading with interest the news dump generated about Donald Trump's decision to take Syria across his knee. (Checking if I need to start building my nuclear bunker yet.) The feed is full of people looking for reasons, giving reasons or denying them.
One senator has said he doesn't think it's a coincidence a suspected chemical weapons attack in Syria occurred shortly after a Trump aide suggested Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad could remain in power. So, Trump feels responsible in some small way for the images of those dead Muslim children. Yeah, right.
Some argue it's to do with a shake up in White House affairs. The rise of Trump's son-in-law and daughter Ivanka, who support a more (white) global view, against previous advisers whose nationalist and isolationist views opened the door to the White House, seem to have changed the trajectory of Trump's term for the near future. Even though Islam is a hard Skittle to swallow, Ivanka is so proud of her pussy grabbin' Daddy for bitch slapping Syria. Mmhm. Sure.
Others say there has been a slow evolution of Trump towards a change in foreign policy, and that he can't be held to what he said about military intervention previously. Trump's perspective is different as president. This is just an example of the man now acting as American presidents have traditionally done for decades.
CNN host Fareed Zakaria went so far as to say President Trump's missile strike in Syria shows him displaying the same qualities as America's past leaders. (I feel the need to add an exclamation mark in brackets here for some reason. Fuck it, here's two !!) This was Trump's big presidential moment, according to Zakaria, who had called Trump a bullshit artist during the election.
On the flip(flop) side, right-wing populist supporters at home and abroad are criticising their movement's Daddy and distancing themselves from him. Perhaps it's just because they deal in bullshit so much they have become experts at smelling it out. Right-wing commentator Ann Coulter, who campaigned for Trump, wrote on Twitter: "Trump campaigned on not getting involved in Mideast. Said it always helps our enemies & creates more refugees. Then he saw a picture on TV".neo-Nazi caricature) Milo Yiannopoulos, who recently resigned in disgrace over comments that appeared to defend pedophilia, wrote on Twitter, "There comes a day in every child's life when his Daddy bitterly disappoints him".
And for anyone who doesn't believe populism is just another name for Christianism, listen to long-term Trump ally and English (semi) politician Nigel Farage having a bash at Trump for donning the policeman's hat and truncheon, arguing that in a region driven by Islamic extremism, "whatever Assad's sins, he is secular".
Farage naturally expressed pain over the images of dead babies coming from Syria. You want to go in and help, you want to save those children, but what if your intervention ends up killing more of your children? Because those Muslim kids will grow up to be - well, Muslims. Besides
military Christianisation humanitarian intervention didn't work in Afghanistan or Iraq, who can say it will work in Syria?
What has Trump's missile strike achieved? Syria has hit the site of the chemical attack again, while North Korea says it "proves a million times over" that it was right to strengthen its nuclear programme. It doesn't seem to have worked as a deterrent.
And while much of the rest of the world applaudes Trump's retaliation, Russia, China and Iran would agree with Farage over the decision to strike a Syrian airbase being a bad one. For my part, the Farage view seems less hypocritical. I mean, is it okay to murder children as long as you don't use chemicals? And before we all start blaming Russia, it wasn't Moscow who sold Syria the sarin in the eighties used in the recent chemical weapons attack against its civilians.
It highlights the point about the reality of Syria, and as anti-populist as I am (I'm the wrong colour for starters, politically and generally speaking), and for all of Yiannopoulos, Farage and Coulter et al., acting like BDSM Nazi caricatures out of the BBC sitcom 'Allo 'Allo, at least they own their fucked up shit.
In the same vein, let's cut through the bull: Both sides are full of it. No matter what I read in the news, Trump didn't order an attack on Syria because he suddenly lost or gained a pair of balls. He did it because he failed to stick it to Obamacare and because his illicit bromance with Putin was hindering him getting his "next win". Had he gotten his own way at home he wouldn't have attacked Syria.
Trump is being exactly Trump. Completely unstable and unpredictable, who will do anything for the next win. He will do whatever that takes, including using the images of a few dead Muslim babies. The only thing that stirred in Trump when he saw those images was his businessman's acumen. He has turned the national conversation away from the Russia scandal, White House infighting and challenges to his credibility and cheered himself up in the process by striking a Syrian airfield.
If more evidence was needed that we need to pamper the looney in the White House for fear of what he may do in a sulk, many congressional Republicans who came out in praise of President Trump's decision to strike are the same ones who were opposed to President Obama's request to approve a similar action against Syria in August of 2013. When Assad used chemical weapons in a similar scenario against people in the Syrian city of Ghouta, Obama requested congressional permission to launch air strikes against the Assad regime.
Many Republicans opposed his request. One of the most prominent was Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who on Friday tweeted out his support for Trump's strike, writing, "This was a clear signal from America that Bashar al Assad can no longer use chemical weapons against his own people with impunity".
Oh, so now it's different. Trump enjoys playing the "when all else fails blame the black guy" game, too, but the truth was many of Obama's inadequacies were because of Republicans on the Hill. Syria, Obamacare (which really isn't because Republicans changed so much of it that it's anything but) and immigration were all issues that had Obama's hands tied by partisan bullshit. It was frustrating, but it was democracy. You see, that's what you do if you're a president and not a daddy dictator.
But perhaps all Obama needed was to open up a can of Pepsi and share it with Congress. That insightful Kendell Jenner-led ad is proof positive that people of colour will always be one step behind. Obama, Pepsi, the abhorrent way Muslim babies have been used in this recent Trump episode are all examples of how Western society places people of colour in a rigid box.
What it means to exist in non-white skin is constantly exploited or exoticised. It means never to know the privilege of being white, or means having people be so incensed at you for having a voice that their anger towards you becomes a populist movement.
What Trump's bull and the Pepsi commerical tells people of colour and different creeds is to take up less space, to remember their role, and to remain silent until their oppression gets its spotlight.
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