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.



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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.
 

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Aug 5th 2020
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Aug 4th 2020
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Jul 29th 2020
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Jul 23rd 2020
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Jul 21st 2020
EXTRACT: "I cannot recommend strongly enough Anne Applebaum’s recent book Twilight of Democracy: The Failure of Politics and the Parting of Friends. Advancing her arguments with eloquence and personal testimony, Applebaum passionately decries the corrosion of liberal, open-society values in the last three decades. Her book is a practical reminder of what all democrats should have learned from reading Karl Popper’s magisterial The Open Society and Its Enemies, itself written in liberal democracy’s darkest hours during WWII."
Jul 19th 2020
EXTRACT: "Political motivations aside, Macron has said aloud what few others have acknowledged: NATO is experiencing “brain death,” owing to Trump’s dubious commitment to defend America’s allies. Given that the US drift away from NATO began well before Trump, there is little reason to believe that this trend will be reversed, though it may be slowed if he loses the November election. Unless Europe begins thinking of itself as a geopolitical power and takes responsibility for its own security, Macron argues, it will “no longer be in control of [its] destiny.”
Jul 18th 2020
EXTRACT: "Uighur women in China’s Xinjiang province who have more than the approved number of children are being forcibly sterilised, forced to have abortions or having intra-uterine contraceptive devices (IUDs) inserted without their consent, according to reports that have emerged in recent weeks. The birth rate for Uighurs, a predominantly Muslim minority, has decreased significantly, according to a recent research report. These alleged practices are egregious violations of the human rights of Uighur women, and in my opinion, constitute genocide of the Uighur people."
Jul 18th 2020
EXTRACT: "The genetic makeup or “genome” of SARS-CoV-2 has been sequenced and publicly shared thousands of times by scientists all over the world. If the virus had been genetically engineered in a lab there would be signs of manipulation in the genome data. This would include evidence of an existing viral sequence as the backbone for the new virus, and obvious, targeted inserted (or deleted) genetic elements. But no such evidence exists. It is very unlikely that any techniques used to genetically engineer the virus would not leave a genetic signature, like specific identifiable pieces of DNA code."
Jul 18th 2020
EXTRACT: "The greater lack of transparency that we can now expect will only serve to make Americans pay a greater price for the president’s worst characteristics. Trump has failed our country, utterly and contemptibly. He has spread lies and misinformation. He has displayed a stunning lack of empathy or concern. He has put his personal interests before those of the nation and has revealed an abject lack of leadership. "
Jul 15th 2020
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Jul 15th 2020
EXTRACT: ".........countries such as China and South Korea have been able to successfully battle the virus, and why Morocco, which just started doing the same, now has a reasonable chance of beating the virus down. America is capable of doing all this but the politicization of the virus and silly interpretations of what freedom of action means under the US Constitution have prevented us from following their example. Yes, you are free to take your own health and life into your own hands by being stupid and selfish, but you are not free to do the same with someone else’s health and life. And that is what the “live free or die” movement and conspiracy theory believers among us fail to acknowledge."
Jul 9th 2020
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Jul 7th 2020
EXTRACT: "So we are left with herd immunity and viable treatments as the world’s only realistic near term solution. Sweden has been roundly criticized and shunned by its neighbors for embracing herd immunity at the outset of the pandemic. It has paid a price for having done so based on accelerated infection and death rates. But while the jury will remain out for some time to come about the wisdom of having done so, Sweden may prove to have been ahead of the curve in its approach. Herd immunity is an option that should be seriously considered by the world’s governments, for a safe and effective vaccine could be many years away, and may not be achieved at all. PICTURE: Daniel Wagner.
Jul 5th 2020
EXTRACT: "The war on Yemen begun in 2015 by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates has been a failure militarily and a vast drain on resources that, in the age of Covid-19, neither country can any longer afford. Not only has the war been Saudi Arabia’s Vietnam, it has inflicted untold human damage on Yemenis. UNICEF has a new report out warning that millions of Yemeni children are on the brink of starvation. Yemen, with a population of about 28 million (think Texas), is one of the poorest countries in the world. Saudi Arabia, with a citizen population of some 21 million, is one of the richest. The United Arab Emirates, with a citizen population of a little over 1 million, is likewise very rich. Both have waged a high-tech air war on the indigenous Yemeni Houthis, but in the past year have pitched their Sunni proxies against one another."
Jun 25th 2020
EXTRACT: "The facts are clear: the wealthiest 0.54%, about 40 million people, are responsible for 14% of lifestyle-related greenhouse gas emissions, while the bottom 50% of income earners, almost 4 billion people, only emit around 10%. The world’s top 10% income earners are responsible for at least 25% and up to 43% of our environmental impact. Most people living in developed countries would fit into this category, meaning you don’t have to consider yourself rich in order to be globally affluent. Even many poorer people in wealthy countries have a disproportionately large and unsustainable resource footprint compared to the global average."
Jun 24th 2020
EXTRACT: "To be sure, the American Dream was always more aspiration than reality. Economic, social, and intergenerational mobility have always fallen short of what the myth of the self-made man or woman would lead one to expect. But with social mobility now declining as inequality rises, today’s young people are right to be angry."
Jun 19th 2020
EXTRACT: "There is only one way to repair America’s reputation, regain the trust of allies, and ensure that the US can act as an effective counterweight to China: address the root causes of the cracks that Trump’s disastrous presidency has exposed and widened. This is in line with the vision advanced in 2011 by two military strategists, Captain Wayne Porter and Colonel Mark Mykleby, using the pseudonym “Mr. Y.” Porter and Mykleby argued that national security depends not only on the capacity to respond to threats from foreign powers, but also – and perhaps more important – on the “application of credible influence and strength.” That influence, in turn, depends on America’s success in providing a “pathway of promise” for US citizens – and a model for the world."
Jun 14th 2020
EXTRACT: "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...............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...................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."
Jun 9th 2020
EXTRACT: " Governments can do nothing about the quotidian offenses of living as a black person in America – the empty taxis that refuse to stop, being mistaken for employees in supermarkets, the myriad intentional and unintentional insults. Many now in the streets won’t be satisfied unless the result of this national spasm is improved schools, health care, and job opportunities for minorities – a fair shake for black people. What will happen when America once again falls short of honoring its professed values?."
Jun 8th 2020
EXTRACT: "It should be apparent to most observers of international relations that the Chinese government wants the world to play by its own set of rules. Beijing appears to believe that China’s rise and its assumption of global leadership positions are an inevitable extension of earlier periods in its history, when it was the world’s most powerful country. This is often at odds with the global norms that have been established – with China’s participation, it is worth adding – since the 1940s. While this is clearly the Chinese century, few outside of China would agree that Beijing’s global leadership is either inevitable or necessarily desired – certainly not on the Chinese government’s terms."