News Release

Could Movements Use Trump to Stop U.S. Wars?


DIANA JOHNSTONE, diana.johnstone [at]
Johnson just wrote the piece “After the Election: Don’t Panic, Think!” for CounterPunch, which states: “In 2016, the fundamentally undemocratic U.S. two-party system presented the public with the two most hated candidates in history. …

“The unexpected shock of Donald Trump’s victory created mass hysteria, with crowds in tears going into the streets to protest — an unprecedented reaction to an uncontested election. This hysterical opposition is not the best basis for building the new movement needed to oppose a widely rejected political establishment. …

“It is significant that the German defense minister Ursula von der Leyen wasted no time in demanding that Trump choose between friendship with [Russian President Vladimir] Putin on the one hand or NATO and ‘our shared values’ on the other. This is a sign that not only the U.S. war party but also the European NATO machine will be putting pressure on Trump to pursue the very same warlike policies favored by Hillary Clinton. And the disappointed Clintonite opposition is likely to be out in the streets not to oppose wars, but to oppose Trump’s opposition to wars, all in the name of our shared democratic humanitarian values and opposition to ‘dictators.’

“This is the danger of hysterical opposition to Trump. It would be a continuation of the worst aspects of this dreadful campaign, totally centered on denouncing individuals, and neglecting serious political questions. A progressive opposition should leave Clintonism behind and develop its own positions, starting with opposition to regime change wars — even if Trump is also against regime change wars. And indeed, it should push Trump to maintain that position, because he will be under strong pressure in Washington to give it up. The opposition should demand that Trump make good on his promise to avoid war, while opposing his reactionary domestic policies. Otherwise, we are heading for the worst of both worlds.”

Johnstone is author of Queen of Chaos: the Misadventures of Hillary Clinton and Fools’ Crusade: Yugoslavia, NATO, and Western Delusions.

Stephen Kinzer, a senior fellow at the Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs at Brown University, recently wrote the piece “Could Trump Reform U.S. Foreign Policy?” for the Boston Globe — which states: “The end of the Cold War obliged the United States to adopt a new foreign policy to deal with new realities. We never did. Instead we lashed out in ways that have weakened our security while wreaking havoc on unfortunate countries. Large numbers of Americans reject this aggressive approach to the world. They want us to concentrate on rebuilding our own declining country. It would be a delicious irony if Trump gives us the post-Cold War foreign policy that we should have adopted a generation ago.”

Correction: An initial version of this incorrectly identified Ursula von der Leyen as the German foreign minister — she is defense minister.