Donald Trump did a phone interview with the New York Times on Thursday. The transcripts of the conversation reveal a man who knows little about foreign policy and cares less about the consequences of his pronouncements.
- Trump promised to stop buying Saudi Arabian oil unless the Saudis put troops in Syria to fight ISIS.
- Military bases around the world make no sense to Trump.
- Despite decades of effort to slow nuclear proliferation, Trump has decided that he’ll modify our treaties with Japan. If they don’t want to pay more for our protection, they can build their own nukes.
- He’s no fan of NATO.
- Trump thinks American companies are free to trade with Iran, despite the sanctions preventing such trade.
- He doesn’t worry about the expansion of Putin’s power, claiming that no one in that part of the world is asking for our help.
- Building a wall across the southern border is still high on Trump’s list and he still think he can make Mexico foot the bill.
- Everything is about forcing allies to pay us more money, according to Trump.
Toward the end of the interview, the Times asked when American power was at its peak. Here’s his answer directly from the transcript: “No if you really look at it, it was the turn of the century, that’s when we were a great, when we were really starting to go robust. But if you look back, it really was, there was a period of time when we were developing at the turn of the century which was a pretty wild time for this country and pretty wild in terms of building that machine, that machine was really based on entrepreneurship etc, etc.”
So, Donald Trump loves 1900. And, why not? This was the Age of Robber Barons.
- 75% of America’s wealth was controlled by 10% of the population.
- Workers had no protection.
- Over 35,000 men, women, and children died each year in industrial accidents.
- Almost 2 million kids under the age of 16 toiled in factories and mills.
- Most workers put in 10 hour days/ 6 days a week.
- The annual income was $400-$500 while the actual cost of living was $600.
- When workers tried to organize, the government supported businesses with court injunctions and troops to put down strikes.
- Women could not vote.
- African Americans had no rights.
- Over 16% of infants died at birth or before their first birthday.
Best of all, for folks like Trump, the government was tiny, there was no IRS, and no one paid income taxes. Oh, yeah! Those were the good ole days.
Donald Trump has company in loving the 1900s.
The founder of the John Birch Society, Robert Welch, who wrote extensively about American history (his version of it), heralded the 1900s as the golden days of the United States. “The spirit of growth, of adventure, and of opportunity permeated the very atmosphere which everybody breathed,” he wrote.
He went on: “The spirit of growth, of adventure, and of opportunity permeated the very atmosphere which everybody breathed,” Welch wrote. “There was still plenty of poverty in many areas, of course. But, it was a healthy kind of poverty, where every man took for granted that relief from dire want was entirely his own problem and responsibility. . . . And, even the poverty was thus offset by the enormous blessing of freedom.” (John Birch Society Bulletin, July 1976).
Welch did admit that there were necessities of life. “While food, shelter, and clothing are necessities for an individual in a civilized community, the guarantee that he will always have them is not (a necessity).”
For the last three years, I’ve been told — by too many well-meaning liberals — that the old radical right is long gone. Their ideas are just as dead as their bodies. I so wish this were true.
Donald Trump let the cat out of the bag. He’s just as radical, just as backward looking, and just as dangerous as the old John Birchers who stoked extremism in the 1960s and 70s.
Let’s not be fooled. The radical right is back and they are one election away from controlling the country.