Jul 24th 2022

The Most Damning Hearing Yet

by Alon Ben-Meir

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.

The House Select Committee investigating the January 6 attack on the Capitol held another hearing yesterday which was, no less than all the previous hearings, of historic significance. These are among the most important hearings in our nation’s history, for they detail the unprecedented depravity and dishonor of an American president, and they are crucial to exposing the existential danger that his political presence still represents.

Thursday’s hearing focused on what must be the darkest and most morally outrageous three hours in the annals of the American presidency: the 187 minutes in which Trump refused to take any action whatsoever to quell a violent insurrectionary mob as it stormed the Capitol building, thwarting the peaceful transfer of power and seeking to kill the Vice President of the United States, who took shelter just feet away from his would-be assassins. The Committee revealed that Pence’s security detail believed that the mob was likely to discover their location and that they were not going to survive its violent onslaught – so much so that some were making calls to say goodbye to family members in the event they did not make it home alive.

For three hours Trump watched the television as violence consumed the Capitol; and in all that time he did not make a single call to the Secretary of Defense, to the Attorney General, to the Secretary of Homeland Security, or to the Vice President for that matter. For three hours, against the unequivocal advice of his counsel, friends, and family, Trump purposefully and steadfastly declined to give the mob he had summoned any signal to disperse, to exit the building peacefully, or to simply cease threatening the life of his vice president or other members of Congress. The president knew full well, and better than anyone, that his mob of supporters were hanging on every word he said or tweeted; he knew beyond any doubt that had he told them to leave the Capitol they would have complied – but he would not do so for the simple reason that he wanted the attack to continue.

Trump would not take any action to halt the insurrection because the attack served his unscrupulous designs: for while the mob held the Capitol, the Senate could not reconvene to certify the election result, and had the vice president been maimed or murdered then he would no longer be in a position to preside over the proceedings as specified in the Constitution. Indeed, after Trump knew the Capitol had been breached, he sent out a tweet at 2:24pm which served only to pour gasoline over the conflagration he had already ignited, describing Mike Pence as lacking the courage to do Trump’s bidding; immediately following that disgraceful message to his fanatical followers the mob swelled in size, and grew more enraged and emboldened.

Trump’s inaction during those three pivotal hours was not merely a dereliction of duty: it was a deliberate, indefensible decision on his part to allow the mob to continue its desecration of the Capitol, its assault on our democracy, and its unbridled effort to impede the transfer of executive authority, all so that Trump could maintain power. Only after it became clear that the insurrectionists would not be successful did the president finally stand before the TV cameras and tell the mob to leave the Capitol and return home. He did not condemn the violence, he did not issue any reprimand to those who had defiled the Capitol, he did not express a single word of support for those who valiantly fought against the insurrection and sought to protect this Republic from being overthrown by a violent swarm of his deluded supporters. Instead, he praised the mob as patriots and told them how much he loves them.

The former President of the United States, Donald Trump, betrayed this country and the American people – both Republicans and Democrats – in a manner so despicable and outrageous that the misdeeds of all his forty-four predecessors pale by comparison. He is the very embodiment of demagoguery: his lies are poisonous and his hollow vanity boundless. He has brought this Republic to the brink of dissolution with his contempt for the rule of law and the institutions of democracy. He forfeited the public trust when he determined that his hold on power was more important than the oath he took before the country and before God to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States, more important than honoring the sacrifice of countless Americans who gave their life so that the Republic could survive, more important than the very continuation of this noble experiment in popular government.

If he should ever hold office again, then the shame will be on our heads – for no one can say now that they did not know what this man was, or what he was capable of doing. Trump’s lust for power is insatiable and as we have witnessed, he resorted to any means, however illegal, to stay in power regardless of the unimaginable damage he inflicts on the country.

Trump is corrupt to the core, a traitor who deserves nothing but contempt and to spend the rest of his life behind bars because he remains a menace to this country and an existential threat to our democratic institutions.

____________
Dr. Alon Ben-Meir is a retired professor of international relations at the Center for Global Affairs at NYU. He taught courses on international negotiation and Middle Eastern studies for over 20 years.


alon@alonben-meir.com  Web: www.alonben-meir.com

For media inquiries, contact Kim Hurley at 212.600.4267 or at kimberlee@alonben-meir.com.

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Dec 5th 2022
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Dec 3rd 2022
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Dec 3rd 2022
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Nov 24th 2022
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Nov 24th 2022
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Nov 13th 2022
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Nov 9th 2022
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Nov 1st 2022
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Oct 25th 2022
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Oct 8th 2022
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Oct 7th 2022
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Oct 3rd 2022
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Sep 29th 2022
EXTRACTS "Ever since she became a prominent political figure 12 years ago, Truss has been a shapeshifter. She started as a Liberal Democrat before becoming a Conservative, and she voted to remain in the European Union before championing Brexit. As a minister, it is hard to think of anything she accomplished. She signed a few EU trade deals as Secretary of State for International Trade, but most of those were rollovers." --- "But if until recently it seemed that Truss was driven solely by political ambition, her government’s 'mini-budget' proposal sheds light on her deeper ideological affinities."
Sep 20th 2022
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Sep 20th 2022
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Sep 8th 2022
EXTRACT: "In 1950, a team of sociologists, including the philosopher Theodor Adorno, conducted an empirical study, later published as The Authoritarian Personality, which ....... “If a potentially fascistic individual exists, what, precisely, is he like? What goes to make up antidemocratic thought? What are the organizing forces within the person?... what have been the determinants and what is the course of his development?”
Aug 29th 2022
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Aug 25th 2022
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Aug 23rd 2022
EXTRACTS: "Less widely noted, however, is that the prices of many commodities fell this summer. The price of oil decreased by about 30% between early June and mid-August. The politically sensitive price of gasoline in the United States fell by 20% over the same period, from $5 per gallon to $4 per gallon. The overall index fell 12%." ---- "There are two macroeconomic reasons to think that commodity prices in general will fall further. The level of economic activity is a self-evidently important determinant of demand for commodities and therefore of their prices. Less obviously, the real interest rate is another key factor. And the current outlook for both global growth and real interest rates suggests a downward path for commodity prices."
Aug 22nd 2022
EXTRACT: "How Trump planned to use the classified documents remains a question that investigators presumably have made a high priority. Depending on the answer and the resulting charges, if any, one thing is certain: Trump will play hardball, including by amplifying his claims of victimhood at the hands of the fictional Deep State, and denying any wrongdoing in purloining the documents. His lies and hyperbole, however, don’t preclude seeking a plea deal. In his previous tangles with the law, such as his Trump University scam, he agreed to compensate the victims (in that case $25 million) after his prevarications were exhausted."