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On Eve Of French Election, Trump (And Putin) Still Pushing ‘Nationalism’

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On Eve Of French Election, Trump (And Putin) Still Pushing ‘Nationalism’

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Hold the exhalations of relief about the newfound “moderation” of Donald Trump and the supposed downsizing of Steve Bannon, his official extremist ideologue. With his all-but-explicit endorsement of Marine LePen, the French neo-fascist presidential candidate, it is now clear that Trump remains allied with foreign “nationalists.”

Specifcally, within hours after this week’s Paris terror attack — mounted by ISIS to line up frightened French voters behind its preferred candidate LePen — Trump issued a series of messages that played directly into that strategy. On Twitter he wrote: “Another terrorist attack in Paris… The people of France will not take much more of this…Will have a big effect on presidential election!” Then only hours later, the president — who customarily avoids endorsing foreign candidates — told the Associated Press that he expected the attack to bolster LePen because she is “strongest on borders and she’s the strongest on what’s been going on in France.”

In backing the leader of France’s neo-fascist party, Trump also resumed his role as the Western political stalking horse for Vladimir Putin. Having received LePen in Moscow, where she denounced sanctions and sucked up to Putin, Russia’s authoritarian president has mobilized his entire propaganda apparatus to influence the French election. Indeed, Putin has been preparing this moment for a long time. Three years ago, LePen’s party received a $10 million loan from a Moscow-affiliated bank.

Kremlin support for the French ultra-rightist is only one instance of a far broader Russian outreach toward fascistic elements across Europe, extending from the neo-Nazi Golden Dawn party in Greece and the Northern League in Italy to the anti-Semitic nationalist Jobbik Party in Hungary and neo-Nazi gangs in Norway. Sometimes blatant, sometimes secretive, and sometimes outsourced to local groups, these provocations may or may not reflect Putin’s own ideology. But their purpose is obvious enough — to disrupt and disorganize the democratic West, which still dares to criticize Russian human rights abuses and imperial ambitions.

So Marine LePen, like every neo-fascist politician subsidized by the Kremlin, opposes the Western alliance in all its forms. She would remove France from the European Union and from NATO — the ultimate target of Putin’s scheming.

Now any normal American administration would regard Putin’s promotion of neo-fascism in Europe as a danger to U.S. national security interests. But the Trump administration is anything but normal, expressing support for the very elements that are undermining our traditional alliances, on behalf of our traditional adversaries. Lately Trump has given lip service to NATO, presumably under pressure from his defense secretary James Mattis and his national security adviser H.R. McMaster. But his blatant boosting of LePen proves that his NATO turnaround earlier this year was hollow.

Fascist themes have emanated from Trump and his circle almost from the beginning of his presidential campaign. His chief strategist Bannon is drawn to fascist ideologues such as the late Julius Evola and Putin’s Alexander Dugin, who has cemented Russian ties with Golden Dawn and other Nazified Europeans and declared that “American liberalism [i.e., democracy] must be destroyed.” Among Trump’s national security aides is a former Jobbik politician, the Hungarian émigré Sebastian Gorka, who has sported the insignia of a Nazi Hungarian militia.

In short, there is an obvious reason why the Trumpists would feel affinity toward the Kremlin, whose political think-tanks, intelligence agencies, and foreign propaganda machinery went so far to help elect Donald Trump last year. The stakes of the investigation into that illegal interference with the 2016 election keep getting higher, and may rise again with the French election. Nobody should maintain any illusions about who Trump and his cronies are, what interests they serve, and what kind of threat they pose to the future of the democratic world.

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Joe Conason

A highly experienced journalist, author and editor, Joe Conason is the editor-in-chief of The National Memo, founded in July 2011. He was formerly the executive editor of the New York Observer, where he wrote a popular political column for many years. His columns are distributed by Creators Syndicate and his reporting and writing have appeared in many publications around the world, including the New York Times, the Washington Post, The New Yorker, The New Republic, The Nation, and Harpers.

Since November 2006, he has served as editor of The Investigative Fund, a nonprofit journalism center, where he has assigned and edited dozens of award-winning articles and broadcasts. He is also the author of two New York Times bestselling books, The Hunting of the President (St. Martins Press, 2000) and Big Lies: The Right-Wing Propaganda Machine and How It Distorts the Truth (St. Martins Press, 2003).

Currently he is working on a new book about former President Bill Clinton's life and work since leaving the White House in 2001. He is a frequent guest on radio and television, including MSNBC's Morning Joe, and lives in New York City with his wife and two children.

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10 Comments

  1. Dominick Vila April 22, 2017

    What is becoming evident after learning that several senior members of the Trump team met with Russian spies, delivered speeches in Russia (as opposed to Wall Street, which would have been evil), and some got paid for services rendered to the Kremlin or promises made to facilitate the Exxon-Rosnet multi billion dollar deal; to three of the most popular candidates for President in France openly admitting pro-Russian preferences, anti-American feelings, anti-EU, anti-NATO, nationalist themes, including Le Pen’s meeting with Putin and getting a 12 million euro donation for her campaign from Russian oligarchs; what is becoming readily apparent is that Putin and the Kremlin are seeing their dreams come true…without firing a shot. The icing on the cake is hearing a U.S. President express his admiration for Putin, defend Putin’s decision to annex the Crimea, and attack the Ukraine and Chechnya.
    The explanations we hear about Trump learning on the job may be true. Unfortunately for us, electing an apprentice when an experienced expert was needed is likely to produce consequences the likes of which we have never seen before.

    Reply
    1. Nancytdelgado April 23, 2017

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  2. Eleanore Whitaker April 22, 2017

    USA Today’s journalists spent months trying to uncover how many businesses Trump actually owns. A lot of these businesses are LLCs that are “covers” for Trump Organization owership. This smacks of massive conflict of interest that is a violation of the Constitution.

    Whenever Trump meets in secret at Mar-a-Lago, a resort that costs an initital fee of $200,000 to become a member of, he is making a profit while he is president.

    Trump isn’t supporting “nationalism.” He is supporting “corporate dictatorship” he hopes will be the model for other countries of the world.

    Trump’s only claim to fame was as a real estate mogul whose original thrust was to beat out his Daddy, Fred, in the real estate games. Now, he has the option of using his presidential influence whenever he sells a prime piece of real estate to foreign oligarchs, clearly making a profiti outside of his job as president. How is that NOT conflict of interest?

    Reply
  3. Wolfesgang April 22, 2017

    One cannot repeat it often enough: Putin and his gang have nothing promising to offer to the ‘West’. They thrive on dictatorship, destruction, and disinformation. Let’s hope the French voters have enough sense to give Le Pen and her neo-fascists a good whacking. Putin’s plotting and scheming will suffer a very serious setback if this year Le Pen loses in France and Merkel comes out on top again in Germany. That’s why Putin is trying to raise hell on the Internet in Europe — comes with any amount of BS about rape committed by migrants, Nato soldiers, etc., or fake news about Emmanuel Macron’s sexual leanings, etc.

    Reply
    1. Dominick Vila April 22, 2017

      The best choice for France, and the EU, is Emmanuel Macron. In addition to supporting a stronger, more efficient EU, his focus is on modernizing the French industry and strengthening France’s economy. He is a centrist, more interested in what is best for the French people – and for Europe – than what Putin or Trump want. If he and Le Pen face each other on a second round, as seems likely, expect Putin-Wikileaks to drop the equivalent to what we call an October surprise.

  4. Theodora30 April 23, 2017

    For years Republicans have been undermining our democracy with their deeply dishonest propaganda. Now Republican leaders are shocked by Trump? What did they think would happen by creating their own reality as Karl Rove so famously bragged?
    I urge everyone to watch the documentary “Brainwashing my Dad” (available from Amazon) to see just how corrosive right wing TV and radio has been. Democrats need to figure out how to break through the wall of lies. At least the family of the man in the film was able to manage to do so.

    Reply
  5. Dr. Samuel Taddesse April 23, 2017

    I hope the French people make the right choice with the knowledgeable of the danger of fragmented Europe. That will mean war and conflict within Europe. And Russia will not hesitate to expand its territory. Livelihood of millions of French families will be devastated and we will have millions of displaced people from European countries and don’t know where they will go, repeating the experiences of World wars I & II. I hope Putin’s puppets fail on their face.

    Reply
  6. ivory69690@yahoo.com April 23, 2017

    i was watching The Shawshank Redemption DONNY DUMP fits the warden in that movie . he will get caught the POS . he is now trying to run the government the same way as his business bury it and then putting the country into a form of his FAV. bankrupt place . all his BS is was and always will be the same . as the DUMPSTER rants and rage’s how much he has gotten done up to this date in the house . saying he has done so much but his list seems to always starts and ends at ONE THING a judge was put into office ( even that was done in the form of a GOP gang of pinheads cheating form . what he has done a lot is sign his name on too many things . and that is worthless as he is . all he is and has is all only on paper . if one go’s though the papers thy can see and find out how worthless the DUMPSTER CLOWN truly is . a life of fraud ,con & scamming every one and anyone that falls into the scum balls trap . the DUMPSTER knocks NATO if one looks at what NATO is and dose and when it was formed the can see and understand that it was formed to combat Russia in taking over all of Europe back after WW2 . the DONNY DUMP EGO and personality is so full of lies and made up in his own PEA brain the DUMPSTER has brain dead fools thinking he some kind of a Hitler or something . Hitler is a child of inbreeding . mother and father were cousins . might be in the DUMPSTER’s family tree also . would explain a lot . like Hitler did spent a lot of time in his Bear Cave during the WW2 war always with his 20 to 25 year old younger and or who knows maybe even younger girls then him . like the DONNY DUMP CLOWN Hiller lied all the time about the women and or girls he was with (same as DONNY DUMP ) the DUMPSTER had to do more of sexual assaulting the women that wanted nothing to do with that slim ball of BULL . he go’s to Fl. Mar a largo that’s his cave where one can bet more go’s on there then meets the eye where he can play his sneaky snaky BUUL SHIfTING games . as the warden of The Shawshank Redemption met his faith so im sure the DONNY DUMP CLOWN will also fitting ending to a deranged clown . me I think its too good for the DUMPSTER CLOWN let him rot in jail till his thank full to the world end then the rest of time sit next to his daddy burning in hell (still too good for him )

    Reply
  7. Aaron_of_Portsmouth April 26, 2017

    Nationalism, like Racialism and Communsim, are the 3 “false gods” as outlined by one of the Central Figures of The Baha’ Faith.

    In one of his sweeping assessments of world affairs, in the early 20th Century, Shoghi Effendi would list these 3 debilitating deadening philosophies as a major source of the World’s turmoil—this pronouncement of Shoghi Effendi’s was written in one of his letters/book entitles “The Promised Day is Come”, written in 1941 from his residence in Palestine, from where he saw to his responsibility to lead and guide a nascent Religion, The Baha’i Faith—a Religion which had its inception in 1863, and whose Author and Prophet-Founder is Baha’u’llah(birth name, Mirza Husayn Ali.

    As a youth, my dad had recently become a Baha’i in Jackson, Miss. during the height of the Civil Rights Movement. One day, he placed some Baha’i Books on the coffee table. I was in the 10th grade and was pretty upset and angry about the murders in Mississippi, Alabama, and elsewhere, angry because of the strictures of Jim Crow on me, my mom and dad, and other members of the black community. But I was suspicious and hesitant about this new-found Religion my dad had accepted. I picked up the book, and was immediately struck by the style of the English language, of his literary skills, and of the scope of his assessment of world affairs—affairs which mirrored what was happening in the 1960’s South.

    I digress, but the excerpt from the text that describes these “false gods” is the following, taken from pg 113, where he is speaking about the contribution of the decline of Religion to the chaos gripping humanity:
    ——————————————————————————————————————-
    “…This vital force is dying out, this mighty agency has been scorned, this radiant light obscured, this impregnable stronghold abandoned, this beauteous robe discarded. God Himself has indeed been dethroned from the hearts of men, and an idolatrous world passionately and clamorously hails and worships the false gods which its own idle fancies have fatuously created, and its misguided hands so impiously exalted. The chief idols in the desecrated temple of mankind are none other than the triple gods of Nationalism, Racialism and Communism, at whose altars governments and peoples, whether democratic or totalitarian, at peace or at war, of the East or of the West, Christian or Islamic, are, in various forms and in different degrees, now worshiping. Their high priests are the politicians and the worldly-wise, the so-called sages of the age; their sacrifice, the flesh and blood of the slaughtered multitudes; their incantations outworn shibboleths and insidious and irreverent formulas; their incense, the smoke of anguish that ascends from the lacerated hearts of the bereaved, the maimed, and the homeless. ….”
    ——————————————————————————————————————

    Does this not speak to what Putin, Trump, La Pen, and other nationalist, racialist, and communist entities are proposing??

    Reply
  8. dpaano May 18, 2017

    It’s great to see that Putin and Trump’s actions did nothing for the French election since Marcon won and Le Pen did NOT win the election. So much for their efforts!!!

    Reply

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