President Donald Trump’s efforts to advance the U.S. capitalist rulers’ interests in relation to their competitors — in Asia, Europe and the Middle East — have drawn a hysterical furor from the liberal media bosses, Democrats, some Republicans and the middle-class left. Most put their “resistance” campaign to oust Trump as the cornerstone of how they approach all politics.
As the administration continues to seek stability to promote Washington’s economic and political interests — steps that involve ratcheting down the threat of more combat — his opponents have increasingly taken on the role of the war party. Regardless of their past criticism of the U.S.-rulers’ assault on Vietnam, or rejection of the “excesses” of the J. Edgar Hoover FBI, today they call Trump a “treasonous traitor” for questioning any actions of U.S. intelligence agencies and demand he step up war threats against Moscow.
Meeting in Helsinki, Finland, July 16, President Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin addressed key world questions. Trump told the press that they agreed on efforts to press for steps to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula. The day before the summit the administration resumed negotiations with the North Korean government to search for remains of U.S. soldiers killed during the 1950-53 Korean War. Pyongyang is pushing Washington for a joint declaration to end that war.
Both Putin and Trump said they would try to work for cooperation in Syria. Trump said he stressed the importance of putting pressure on Tehran to pull its forces back from there.
But none of this got any coverage in the liberal press. Instead, Trump was attacked for not trying to focus the meeting on demands that Putin take responsibility for meddling in the 2016 election. “Donald Trump’s press conference performance in Helsinki rises to and exceeds the threshold of ‘high crimes and misdemeanors,’” former CIA Director John Brennan said July 16.
The day before the summit, liberal New York Times pundit Charles Blow wrote a column titled “Trump, Treasonous Traitor,” saying the U.S. president was “committing an unbelievable and unforgivable crime against this country.” The editors of the Washington Post accused him of “openly colluding with the criminal leader of a hostile power.”
For the liberal press, Trump casting doubt on U.S. spy agencies is verboten, proof of foreign control of the U.S. government. But the FBI and CIA are the deadly enemies of the working class, at home and abroad. They spy, lie, disrupt and kill.
Even the Times has had to admit U.S. spooks do bad things. A “news analysis” column in February titled “Russia Isn’t the Only One Meddling in Elections. We Do It, Too,” quotes Loch Johnson, who they call “the dean of American intelligence scholars.” Referring to Washington’s spy agencies, he said, “We’ve been doing this kind of thing since the C.I.A was created in 1947. We’ve used posters, pamphlets, mailers, banners — you name it.” He added, “We’ve used what the British call ‘King George’s cavalry’: suitcases of cash.”
The article’s author, Scott Shane, tells more: “The C.I.A. helped overthrow elected leaders in Iran and Guatemala in the 1950s and backed violent coups in several other countries in the 1960s. It plotted assassinations and supported brutal anti-Communist governments in Latin America, Africa and Asia.”
The Socialist Workers Party has decades of experience with FBI spying, wiretaps, “dirty tricks” and its Cointelpro disruption program. As do unionists, anti-war fighters, Black rights protesters and other opponents of the U.S. rulers.
But for the “resistance,” those who attack Trump are heroes, like Brennan and former FBI heads Robert Mueller — special prosecutor appointed to run the witch hunt against Trump — and James Comey, who tried to win the 2016 election for Hillary Clinton and now calls for everyone to vote Democrat in 2018.
None of these liberal scribes can acknowledge that it wasn’t “Russian interference” but the anger of tens of millions of working people in the U.S. — determined to find a way to say “no” to the impact of the capitalist crisis on their lives and to “drain the swamp” of capitalist politicians — that led to Trump’s election.
They increasingly write about the danger of Trump’s “base.” They argue about different ways to limit the influence of angry workers on U.S. politics, to chip away at political rights working people have won.
Trump is a real estate magnate seeking to rule in the interests of the U.S. ruling class against the working class here and around the world. But he believes the policies, outlook and wars pushed by the last few administrations have weakened the U.S. rulers. On July 15 his administration proposed direct talks with the Taliban in Afghanistan, which has been fighting to overturn the government there since the U.S.-led imperialist invasion of that country ousted them from power. The 17-year war there continues to have a devastating impact on the toiling population.
Before Helsinki, President Trump worked to advance the U.S. rulers’ interests against Washington’s competitors in the NATO military alliance at its Brussels summit. Trump described NATO — which has been a key structure in the U.S. rulers’ domination over the world capitalist order for decades — as “obsolete” shortly after his 2016 election. He has steadily upped pressure on the rulers of other countries in the alliance to increase their military outlay since then. While U.S. world power is in decline, he has highlighted the much sharper declining weight of the French, German and U.K. rulers, and their utter dependence on Washington’s armed might. He lambasted the German government during the get-together and got increased spending commitments from it by the meeting’s end.
This too brought howls from the liberals, who claimed he was dissing “our allies.”
These developments reflect far-reaching changes in the institutions and relations that have marked U.S. dominance since its victory in the second imperialist world war.