Of course, I don't mean his candidacy as such. To the extent that Trump has expressed consistent positions on specific issues, they are mostly bad--trade, immigration, free speech, torture, etc. But even so, Trump has made a powerful contribution to American politics by breaking the hold of neoconservatism over the Republican Party--and possibly destroying the party altogether.
The neoconservative movement is a group that has dominated American foreign policy circles since at least the reign of George W. Bush. It has been the leading proponent of all of our recent wars, and basically sees no problem that can't be solved by American military power. Amongst other horrible ideas, the neoconservatives have been highly influential in supporting the following:
- Expanding NATO, which inevitably led to colder relations with Russia.
- In line with the above, strongly supporting the US-backed coup in Ukraine in 2014.
- Overthrowing the Taliban regime and occupying Afghanistan after 9/11 (apologies for the crazed stream-of-consciousness block text in that link)
- Lying to the American people to justify invading Iraq in 2003
- Bombing Iran, which reached a fever pitch around 2007
- America's torture program (and not prosecuting any of the perpetrators)
- America's massive NSA spying apparatus, and prosecuting whistleblower Edward Snowden
- Military intervention in Libya in 2011
- US intervention in Syria to overthrow Bashar al Assad (by backing jihadist groups)
- Opposing the Iran nuclear negotiations
- Supporting Israel's occupation of Palestine under all circumstances
- Hatred of Muslims generally
So while that list isn't quite everything that's wrong in the world, it's a good start.
In any case. what's unique about Donald Trump is that he is a leading presidential candidate, and he is not owned by them. As best as anyone can tell, he doesn't appear to hold that many of their core views. In recent debates, for example, he made explicit statements that don't usually appear in a Republican Presidential debate:
- Supporting an even-handed approach to the Israel-Palestine question
- Accusing the second Bush Administration of knowingly going to war with Iraq on a false pretense
- Saying the world would be better if the US had not overthrown Saddam Hussein in Iraq and Muammar Qaddafi in Libya
Whether Trump actually takes these views to heart or not is irrelevant. The point is that he made these arguments and still managed to dominate the competition on Super Tuesday. And so the spell of neoconservatism appears to have been broken. Whatever you think of Trump in general, this is a service to humanity.
With that, we'll let Justin Raimondo elaborate on this theme at Antiwar.com. I don't share all of Raimondo's optimism for what a Trump Presidency would look like in practice, but his survey of Trump's impact on the neoconservative movement is delightful. Here's the piece: