Monday, December 7, 2015

Trump Outdoes Himself Again

By now, you've probably heard of Trump's calls to ban all Muslims from entering the country. In his words, he wants to have a "complete and total shutdown". And as one might expect given Trump's crusade against nuance, this proposed ban would apply to everyone--apparently including US citizens that are on vacation. Here's a write-up on the subject from The Hill:

This is clearly a horrible development. But it must be said that this is a logical progression of the rhetoric we've seen from the Republican candidates throughout this campaign. It's true that Trump has been leading the way, calling Syrian refugees terrorists in waiting way before it was cool. But the others have not been far behind, what with open talk of religious tests from Bush and Cruz, and Carson's expressed belief that the President should not be a Muslim, to name a few of the highlights. So when we hear the other candidates rebuke Trump for these remarks, it's easy to think some of them are really just upset that they didn't think of this idea first.

Another thing worth pointing out is that it seems implausible that Trump would really follow through on this. It is not terribly important politically, but I find it difficult to imagine Trump really believes his own message. It seems far more likely that he is an entertainer attempting to placate his audience. And after 14 years of overt war against predominantly Muslim countries, with no end in sight and very little honest discussion of our impact in the region, this is what his audience wants. There are a lot of confused and scared people that are desperate to blame anything besides their own government. In many ways, Trump is just a charismatic reboot of Rudy Giuliani from 2008, but this time, there's no Ron Paul to set the record straight. Instead, we just have politicians on both sides competing to see who can have the most awful foreign policy (Trump and Hillary are winning that race so far, in case you were curious).

But even as we denounce the overtly awful policy suggestions on the Republican side, we must not grant a pass to the Democratic party. President Obama is still continuing to escalate the War on Terror (however slowly); Hillary Clinton is advocating for a no-fly zone in Syria since tensions with Russia aren't high enough; and Bernie Sanders thinks the repressive monarchy of Saudi Arabia that is currently bombing and blockading Yemen is the key to restoring order to the region and defeating ISIS. We have the Republicans to thank for the fact that these ideas are now seen as the moderate alternatives, but we should still recognize them for what they are. Appalling and destined to fail.

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