Rep. Tulsi Gabbard was in the news last week, as she traveled to Syria to meet with genocidal dictator Bashar Assad, part of an entourage that included unsavory figures from the fascistic Syrian Social Nationalist Party. The right-wing Liberty Conservative defends the trip, writing: “Why Tulsi Gabbard’s Visit To Syria Was The Right Thing To Do.” The Observer, owned by Trump’s top advisor and son-in-law Jared Kushner, also cheers on the Gabbard-Assad meet, under a headline that could be lifted from just about any lefty anti-war website: “War Hawks Jump on Progressives to Push for Intervention in Syria.” Likewise providing gushy coverage of Tulsi’s lovefest with the accused war criminal are Russian state propaganda organ RT, which hails her for sparking “outrage” in the DC “establishment,” and the borderline fake news sites popular on the “left,” MintPress and Global Research.
With the recent appointment of Steve Bannon to the National Security Council, it was recalled that this icon of the white-nationalist far right was named as the man who arranged Gabbard’s meeting with Donald Trump in the wake of November’s election. The Hill quoted an anonymous source who was privy to the arrangements: “She would fit perfectly too [in the Trump administration]. She gets the foreign policy stuff, the Islamic terrorism stuff.”
Chillingly, despite all this, the Hawaii Democrat who is in bed with the extreme Islamophobe right continues to have credibility on the “anti-war” left.
And this is hardly an isolated anomaly, but part of a wider pattern. The Donald himself practically sounded like Noam Chomsky this week when he said in an interview with Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly that he “respects” his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin. “But he’s a killer,” O’Reilly said to Trump. The president’s response: “There are a lot of killers. We’ve got a lot of killers. What do you think? Our country’s so innocent?” (WP)
Our point here is not that Trump was wrong. Of course, he was right. The point is that both Trump and large sectors of the “left” share the attitude that every ghastly atrocity committed by US imperialism deposits karmic funds into a cosmic bank account from which Russia is then entitled to make a withdrawal.
Some more recent examples… BuzzFeed provides the transcript of a speech and Q&A session given by Bannon to a 2014 conference at the Vatican which is said to reveal “How Steve Bannon Sees The Entire World.” It is a strange amalgam of Islamopbia, cultural-conservatism and anti-capitalist rhetoric—recalling the pseudo-socialist postures of Hitler and Mussolini during their respective climbs to total power. Bannon says the West is facing a “crisis of capitalism” after losing its “Judeo-Christian foundation,” and he blasts “crony capitalists” in Washington for failing to prosecute bank executives over the financial crisis.
Marine Le Pen, leading light of the French xenophobe right, in an interview with CNN’s Christiane Amanpour defends Putin’s illegal aggression in Ukraine like some naive peacenik, saying Crimea “has always been Russian” (ahistorical bullshit, of course) and that the sanctions against Moscow are “completely stupid.” This is the identical line being spewed by idiot-left sectors. Is it odd to find them in the same camp as Le Pen, who (along with Trump) inspired the Quebec mosque massacre—and who was another visitor to the Trump Tower in the wake of the November election?
Face it. Gabbard’s shcmoozing with Trump and Assad points to an incipient alliance between Trump-Putin fascism and elements of the left, an American version of Europe’s sinister “Red-Brown” politics. At this critical moment, with the US poised at the edge of an actual dictatorship, it is urgent that progressives not take this toxic bait.