Wednesday, June 13, 2018

flip-flopping attitudes


We've seen this with both the left's and the right's attitude toward Russia. Anyone remember when Hillary Clinton had her plastic "reset" button with the misspelled Russian on it? That was an era of warm-fuzzy feelings toward Russia, all emanating from the left. In that same period, Barack Obama, during his debate with Mitt Romney, scoffed at Romney's claim that Russia represented a looming threat to America's interests. "The 1980s are now calling to ask for their foreign policy back," Obama mocked. So what on Earth happened to cause both sides to flip-flop so radically? Trump happened, is what. Rejecting the hawkish approach toward Russia, Trump advocated constructive, peaceful overtures that threw both the left and the right into chaos. As the 2016 election campaign ground on, Democrats went from declaring absolute trust in the electoral process (back when they were sure Hillary Clinton would win) to raving that the entire process had been compromised by Russia (after HRC lost), and that Trump had somehow colluded with the Russians. The right, meanwhile, did its awkward best to choke down Trump's new, pacifistic line, and now the roles are reversed. This is why Styx, in his videos, has been calling the "corporate" left the true warmongers in this ongoing discussion. Hillary has openly expressed a willingness to retaliate militarily against Russia should it be proven that Russia has conducted cyber-warfare against the US. She has also, along with John McCain, declared a willingness to bomb Iran for perceived aggressions. The tables have turned, indeed, and one wonders whether labels like "liberal" and "conservative." "left" and "right," have any meaning anymore.*

No one knows quite what to think these days, but if nothing else, the very presence of Donald Trump is causing many to out their inner hypocrites, as the above link shows.

*As I've noted before, in quoting those wiser than me, the paradigm seems to have shifted away from left versus right to nationalism/populism versus globalism/corporatism. This new dichotomy retains some of the flavor of the old, but it's not the same thing by any means. For instance, the idea of transnational progressivism has been around since the time when the left/right distinction was both operative and meaningful. We see it at work in the European Union, which is governed by a transnational body located in Brussels. That whole phenomenon is leftist to the core, and it dovetails with globalist interests while opposing nationalist ones. But at the same time, Trump's nationalism violates certain long-held conservative principles, like the advocacy of free trade. According to the old way of looking at things, a conservative Republican should be pro-free trade. Trump, by contrast, is anti-free trade and protectionist in a way that old-school Democrats would have loved. His attitude makes sense in the new paradigm; it makes no sense in the old. Like Democrat-voting union workers, Trump is fighting for the rights of American workers to produce products and not be sidelined by cheap labor from Africa, China, and India. So, yes: we live in realigning times, and realigning times, like it or not, require new labels.

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