Jun 14th 2020

The Republicans’ Treasonous Betrayal Of The American People

by Alon Ben-Meier

Dr. Alon Ben-Meir is an expert on Middle East politics and affairs, specializing in peace negotiations between Israel and the Arab states. For the past twenty five years, Dr. Ben-Meir has been directly involved in various negotiations and has operated as a liaison between top Arab and Israeli officials. Dr. Ben-Meir serves as senior fellow at New York University's School of Global Affairs where he has been teaching courses on the Middle East and negotiations for 18 years. He is also a Senior Fellow and the Middle Eastern Studies Project Director at the World Policy Institute. Dr. Ben-Meir hosts "Global Leaders: Conversations with Alon Ben-Meir," a series of debates and conversations with top policy-makers around the world. He also regularly holds briefings at the US State Department for international visitors. Dr. Ben-Meir writes frequently and has appeared in numerous newspapers, magazines and websites including the Middle East Times, the Christian Science Monitor, Le Monde, American Chronicle, the Week, the Political Quarterly, Israel Policy Forum, Gulf Times, the Peninsula, The Jerusalem Post, and the Huffington Post. He also makes regular television and radio appearances, and has been featured on networks such as CNN, FOX, PBS, ABC, al Jazeera (English and Arabic), and NPR. He has authored six books related to Middle East policy and is currently working on a book about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Dr. Ben-Meir holds a masters degree in philosophy and a doctorate in international relations from Oxford University. He is fluent in English, Arabic, and Hebrew.



There is nothing that Trump says or does that will surprise me anymore, no matter how shocking or outrageous. After three and a half years in office, he has ushered America to the brink of anarchy, a political condition that I now believe he has sought all along. But what is even more treacherous than Trump’s behavior is the way the Republican Party has followed him, worrisomely akin to blind sheep following a lost shepherd grazing in the meadows of national outrage. I wonder how many Republican governors and members of Congress look themselves in the mirror and ask: ‘why I am supporting a president who has sacrificed the country’s well-being on the altar of his ego, a man with a dangerous authoritarian instinct, a man who has divided rather than united the country, and one who will stoop to any low or ignore any law to satisfy his lust for power and personal gain?’

There is hardly a Republican leader who can answer this question publicly with honesty, because if they were honest, they would have raised their voices in defiance of Trump’s alarming behavior long ago. We would have heard them publicly stating – without fear of reprisal – where they stand, or watched them quitting the Republican party, or resigning from office in protest, or refusing to run again as long as Trump remains in power.

Sadly, such actions by Republican leaders have been exceptionally rare, allowing Trump to do essentially whatever he wants. The most critical question then is not how far Trump will go to promote his treasonous agenda, but for how long Republican leaders will silently accept and subserviently enable Trump to destroy the basic moral tenets and values on which this Union was founded, and which they swore to uphold and protect.

Republican leaders excuse their willfully blind support for Trump in a variety of ways that appear to relieve them of any sense of guilt, shame, or responsibility. They often pretend to have not heard or analyzed Trump’s acts or statements at issue. Indeed, at other times they claim it is not their place to comment, when in fact, it is their voices America needs to hear from most of all.

Unfortunately, those Republicans who stand for reelection dare not oppose Trump on any ground, fearing his wrath and vindictiveness. It has become abundantly clear that Republican leaders’ concerns about the well-being of the country are secondary to their political survival and hunger for power. They lie to themselves—and to us—perhaps thinking they can still do some good for the country, even while it is tearing apart in front of their eyes.

There are other Republican leaders who truly believe in their party’s conservative platform, and that as long as Trump backs their legislative scheme, they will support him regardless of his mischiefs, misconduct, and delinquency. Notwithstanding the harm to the country, they believe that what is good for the party is good for the nation, and those who disagree are simply uninformed and shortsighted. They view bipartisanship on any issue as a necessary evil as long as they can continue to promote the policies they espouse.

And then there are those bigot rejectionist Republicans who always see eye-to-eye with Trump; they defy, detest, and degrade any democratic initiative, regardless of how well-meaning or how well it might serve the country. For them, Trump is the savior who has been ordained by a higher authority to ‘drain the swamps that Obama left in his wake.’

One of those Republicans is the fascist Senator Tom Cotton, who in a New York Times editorial advocated that the Army should quell demonstrations. He and other degenerate Republicans represent the intransigent constituency, the so-called base—narrow-minded evangelicals, zealous conservatives, and white supremacists, who stick to and hail Trump because he is anti-Democrat, sufficiently conservative, and racist.

There exists a symbiotic relationship between Trump and the Republican leadership. Republican leaders want Trump to sign-off on their highly conservative agenda, including opposing new gun control laws, appointing conservative judges, rejecting women’s reproductive rights, denying climate change and promoting environmental deregulation, passing tax cuts mostly for the rich, drilling and fracking for oil and gas, privatizing healthcare, and, in principle, rejecting any initiative Democrats propose.

Although Trump is far more opportunist than political, he is willing to coddle the party as long as Republican leaders accommodate his tendencies and enable him to pursue his self-indulgent agenda. They have swallowed his 19,000 (and growing) lies and misrepresentations, his profiteering, bigotry, misuse of power, indecency, mendacity, meanness, rancorous nature, and perhaps most of all, his divisive policies pitting American against American.

No Republican has criticized Trump for his tragic mishandling of the coronavirus pandemic that still ravages the country, his defunct foreign policy toward our allies and adversaries alike, his disjointed immigration policies, his nepotism, his threat to deploy the military to “defend the life and property of their [city and state] residents”, and his parading of military hardware in Washington, DC.

During the ongoing historic pandemic outbreak and the widespread protests throughout the country, Senate Republicans blocked a Democratic resolution condemning Trump for using tear gas and rubber bullets on peaceful protesters near the White House. Senate Majority Leader McConnell objected, saying “It just indulges in a myopic obsession with President Trump that has come to define the Democratic side.”

Only a handful of Republicans leaders spoke, though feebly, against Trump’s actions regarding the protests: “He needs to make more unifying comments.” “The country is looking for healing and calm. And I think the president needs to project that in his tone.” “The president should help to heal the racial divisions.” “I do think some of his tweets have not been helpful…”

Of course, shame on us if we continue to be surprised by Republicans’ continuing silence, because as we all know, even when presented with overwhelming evidence that Trump committed crimes against the American people, Trump’s Republican stooges in the Senate exonerated him following impeachment almost unanimously.

Although Trump deserves much of the blame for the calamitous state of the nation, many of his transgressions and disastrous domestic and foreign policies could have been avoided had Republican leaders actually acted like leaders, stood their ground, protected the Constitution, and refused to bow to Trump’s whims. Their collective failure has caused the country immeasurable and perhaps irreparable damage, for which the American people must hold Republican Party accountable.

The Republican leadership, to be sure, has made its bed. It has committed moral suicide. History will judge them harshly for their treason and betrayal of the nation, including all of those who have lived and died throughout our history to foster and protect our safety, integrity, and freedom.



____________
Dr. Alon Ben-Meir is a professor of international relations at the Center for Global Affairs at NYU. He teaches courses on international negotiation and Middle Eastern studies.
 

Browse articles by author

More Current Affairs

Apr 17th 2021
EXTRACT: "The new report on 2020 by the International Renewable Energy Agency reveals that the world’s renewable energy generation capacity increased by an astonishing 10.3% in 2020 despite the global economic slowdown during the coronavirus pandemic." .... "In 2020, the global net increase in renewables was 261 gigawatts (GW). That is the nameplate capacity of some 300 nuclear power plants! There are actually only 440 nuclear power plants in the whole world, with a generation capacity of 390 gigwatts. So let’s just underline this point. The world put in 2/3s as much renewable energy in one year as is produced by all the existing nuclear plants!"
Apr 16th 2021
EXTRACT: "When we examined the development of nations worldwide since 1820, we found that among rich Western countries like the United States, the Netherlands and France, improvements in income, education, safety and health tracked or even outpaced rising gross domestic product for over a century. But in the 1950s, even as economic growth accelerated after World War II, well-being in these countries lagged.
Apr 11th 2021
EXTRACT: "Some presidents indulge in the “Mount Rushmore syndrome” making an obvious effort to achieve greatness. Normally soft-spoken and apparently modest Biden is making his own bid for immortality."
Apr 9th 2021
EXTRACT: "New ways of thinking about the role of government are as important as new priorities. Many commentators have framed Biden’s infrastructure plan as a return to big government. But the package is spread over eight years, will raise public spending by only one percentage point of GDP, and is projected to pay for itself eventually. A boost in public investment in infrastructure, the green transition, and job creation is long overdue."
Apr 7th 2021
EXTRACT: " One can, and perhaps should, take the optimistic view that moral panics in the US blow over; reason will once again prevail. It could be that the Biden era will take the sting out of Trumpism, and the tolerance for which American intellectual life has often been admired will be reinvigorated. This might even happen while the noxious effects of American influence still rage in other countries. For the sake of America and the world, one can only hope it happens soon.  "
Mar 28th 2021
EXTRACT: "By refusing (despite having some good reasons) to end electoral gerrymandering, Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr., has directly enabled the paralyzing hyper-partisanship that reached its nadir during Donald Trump’s presidency. By striking down all limits on corporate spending on political campaigns in the infamous 2010 Citizens United decision, he has helped to entrench dark money in US politics. And by gutting the 1965 Voting Rights Act in Shelby County v. Holder, Roberts has facilitated the racist voter-suppression tactics now being pursued in many Republican-controlled states."
Mar 24th 2021
EXTRACT: "the UK’s tough choices accumulate, and the problems lurking around the corner look menacing. Britain will have to make the best of Brexit. But it will be a long, hard struggle, all the more so with an evasive fabulist in charge."
Mar 15th 2021
EXTRACT: "Over the years, the approach of most American policymakers toward the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has been Israel-centric with near total disregard for the suffering endured by the Palestinian people. The architects of policy in successive US administrations have discussed the conflict as if the fate of only one party (Israel) really mattered. Israelis were treated as full human beings with hopes and fears, while Palestinians were reduced to a problem that needed to be solved so that Israelis could live in peace and security.  ..... It is not just that Israelis and Palestinians haven’t been viewed with an equal measure of concern. It’s worse than that. It appears that Palestinians were judged as less ​human than Israelis, and were, therefore, not entitled to make demands to have their rights recognized and protected."
Mar 8th 2021
EXTRACTS: "XThere’s a global shortage in semiconductors, and it’s becoming increasingly serious." ...... "The automotive sector has been worst affected by the drought, in an era where microchips now form the backbone of most cars. Ford is predicting a 20% slump in production and Tesla shut down its model 3 assembly line for two weeks. In the UK, Honda was forced to temporarily shut its plant as well." ..... " As much as 70% of the world’s semiconductors are manufactured by just two companies, Taiwan Semiconductor (TSMC) and Samsung."
Mar 5th 2021
EXTRACT: "Back in 1992, Lawrence H. Summers, then the chief economist at the World Bank, and I warned that pushing the US Federal Reserve’s annual inflation target down from 4% to 2% risked causing big problems. Not only was the 4% target not producing any discontent, but a 2% target would increase the risk of the Fed’s interest-rate policy hitting the zero lower bound. Our objections went unheeded. Fed Chair Alan Greenspan reduced the inflation target to 2%, and we have been paying for it ever since. I have long thought that many of our economic problems would go away if we could rejigger asset markets in such a way as to make a 5% federal funds rate consistent with full employment in the late stage of a business cycle."
Mar 2nd 2021
EXTRACT: "Under these conditions, the Fed is probably worried that markets will instantly crash if it takes away the punch bowl. And with the increase in public and private debt preventing the eventual monetary normalization, the likelihood of stagflation in the medium term – and a hard landing for asset markets and economies – continues to increase."
Mar 1st 2021
EXTRACT: "Massive fiscal and monetary stimulus programs in the United States and other advanced economies are fueling a raging debate about whether higher inflation could be just around the corner. Ten-year US Treasury yields and mortgage rates are already climbing in anticipation that the US Federal Reserve – the de facto global central bank – will be forced to hike rates, potentially bursting asset-price bubbles around the world. But while markets are probably overstating short-term inflation risks for 2021, they do not yet fully appreciate the longer-term dangers."
Feb 28th 2021
EXTRACT: "To be sure, calls to “build back better” from the pandemic imply some awareness of the need for systemic change. But the transformation we need extends beyond constructing modern infrastructure or unlocking private investment in any one country. We need to re-orient – indeed, re-invent – global politics, so that countries can cooperate far more effectively in creating a better world."
Feb 23rd 2021
EXTRACT: "So, notwithstanding the predictable release of pent-up demand for consumer durables, face-to-face services show clear evidence – in terms of both consumer demand and employment – of permanent scarring. Consequently, with the snapback of pent-up demand for durables nearing its point of exhaustion, the recovery of the post-pandemic US economy is likely to fall well short of vaccine development’s “warp speed.” "
Feb 20th 2021
EXTRACT: "Human rights abuses under Erdogan are beyond the pale of inhumanity and moral decadence. The list of Erdogan’s violations and cruelty is too long to numerate. The detention and horrifying torture of thousands of innocent people for months and at times for years, without being charged, is hard to fathom. Many prisoners are left languishing in dark cells, often in solitary confinement. The detention of tens of thousands of men and hundreds of women, many with their children, especially following the 2016 failed coup, has become common. It is calculated to inflict horrendous pain and suffering to bring the prisoners to the breaking point, so that they confess to crimes they have never committed."
Feb 20th 2021
Courtyard of the Amsterdam Stock Exchange, circa 1670, (Job Adriaenszoon Berckheyde).
Feb 12th 2021
EXTRACT: "Global regulators will no doubt be concerned about a potential volatility spillover from digital asset prices into traditional capital markets. They may not permit what could quickly amount to effective proxy approval by the back door for companies holding large proportions of a volatile asset on their balance sheets."
Feb 11th 2021
EXTRACT: "Since Russians began protesting opposition leader Alexei Navalny’s imprisonment, the security forces have apparently had carte blanche to arrest demonstrators – and they have done so by the thousands. If Russians so much as honk their car horns in solidarity with the protesters, they risk personal repercussions. The official response to the protests goes beyond the Kremlin’s past repression. It is war."
Feb 6th 2021
EXTRACT: ".......like Biden, Roosevelt was certainly no revolutionary. His task was to save American capitalism. He was a repairer, a fixer. The New Deal was achieved not because of Roosevelt’s genius or heroism, but because enough people trusted him to act in good faith. That is precisely what people are expecting from Biden, too. He must save US democracy from the ravages of a political crisis. To do so, he must reestablish trust in the system. He has promised to make his country less polarized, and to restore civility and truth to political discourse. In this endeavor, his lack of charisma may turn out to be his greatest strength. For all that he lacks in grandeur, he makes up for by exuding an air of decency."
Feb 2nd 2021
EXTRACT: "Europe must not lose sight of the long game, which inevitably will center on China, not Russia or relations with post-Brexit Britain. China is already establishing a presence in Iran, and demonstrating that it has the capital, know-how, and technology to project power and influence beyond its borders. Should it succeed in turning the Belt and Road Initiative into a line of geopolitical stepping-stones, it might soon emerge at Europe’s southeastern border in a form that no one in the EU foresaw."