Trump ‘State of Union’ talk touts jobs, hits ‘endless war,’ ‘socialists’

By Terry Evans
February 25, 2019

President Donald Trump scored gains against his opponents in both the Democratic and Republican parties with his Feb. 5 State of the Union address, touting the successes of his administration in both foreign and economic policy. In particular he aimed to skewer the Democrat’s new, more prominent “socialist” wing. 

“Great nations do not fight endless wars,” he said. He pointed to plans to remove U.S. troops from Syria and reduce them in Afghanistan — despite the recent censure of these moves by a 68-23 bipartisan vote in the Republican-controlled Senate. Mitch McConnell, Senate majority leader, sat in silence through Trump’s remarks on “endless wars,” as the president confirmed he would go ahead with the plans anyway. 

The president listed the numbers of U.S. soldiers killed in these wars and highlighted talks between U.S. officials and the Taliban to end the Afghan conflict — a step his opponents denounce as surrender. 

And he described his administration’s moves to reach an agreement with the leaders in North Korea for denuclearization and ratcheting down threats of confrontation there.

These moves are popular among working people, who are sick of decadeslong wars and what they do to the youth who are the rulers’ cannon fodder abroad.

Following the collapse of the Stalinist regime in the Soviet Union, the U.S. rulers boasted they had won the Cold War and launched failed efforts to enforce their will in wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, and elsewhere. Trump has broken with previous Democratic and Republican administrations, acknowledging that the U.S. rulers can’t win these conflicts, and should cut their losses. At the same time, he is boosting Washington’s military, seeking to hold off competition from Beijing and Moscow. And he is using economic pressure to curb the advance of the rulers in Iran. 

Trump also took credit for the current capitalist economic recovery, rise in employment and boost in some workers’ wages. He stressed that gains in employment and wages had especially benefited industrial workers, African-Americans, Latinos and women. 

He pointed to steps by his administration to reform prison sentencing laws that target working people, especially those that are Black. 

While his moves to lower taxes on capitalist bosses did give a small boost to the anemic cyclical upturn today, storm clouds from massive debt mean an economic downturn looms. And the broader economic and moral crisis confronting working people — millions forced to work two or three jobs, growing indebtedness, the opioid addiction epidemic and declining life expectancy — continues to bear down. 

Trump targets Democrats’ ‘socialism’

The president also said, “America will never be a socialist country.” He was addressing the “socialism” preached by a levy of Democrats elected in 2018.  

He was pointing to Democrats like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez who seek to build the Democratic Party through a program of top-down regulations and vastly expanded state bureaucracy to impose on working people measures that are “good for them,” whether they like it or not. Most workers agree with Trump that this would be a disaster. They want to get government off their backs, not make it bigger and stronger. 

A good example of the type of policies they are pushing is the “Green New Deal” they recently announced. Motivated in the name of fixing the environment, this “deal” would be a disaster for working people, much like French President Emmanuel Macron’s anti-working-class moves to jack up gas prices that led to the ongoing popular yellow vest protests.

The schema seeks to end all use of fossil fuels — and nuclear power — in 10 years, including the abolition of all air travel. People in the semicolonial world would be condemned to stagnation in the name of better conditions for the already developed. The measure even includes steps to eliminate cow farting, perhaps by eliminating cows. At the same time, Ocasio-Cortez isn’t in any hurry to take aim at U.S. imperialism’s military arsenal. She said she was the only member of the House to vote against the government budget, because it contains funds for the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement police. Otherwise, she said, she would have voted yes. That includes voting for all funds to build up the U.S. rulers’ military forces. 

Trump’s offensive against the “socialist” wing of the Democrats will press party leaders to take their distance from their “socialist” brethren. House Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi said she has no plan to put the Green New Deal up for debate. 

Counterposed to the pro-capitalist, anti-working-class big-government “socialism” of Ocasio-Cortez, the Socialist Workers Party points to the need for working people to organize and fight for their interests. And to chart a course to overturn capitalist rule, and run society in the interests of all.