He campaigned on promises to ‘drain the swamp’ and radically alter the United States’ course in the world, but not even a week has passed and President Donald Trump has already made it clear that he’ll be following a very familiar agenda.
by Whitney Webb
On the campaign trail, Donald Trump successfully wooed many Americans desperate for an end to Obama’s brand of neoliberalism. However, his nationalist “maverick” persona has quickly unraveled as his allegiance to the country’s real decision makers has become more evident with each passing day of his young presidency.
Within his first week, Trump has announced plans to build a missile defense system to guard against attacks from Iran and North Korea and entered into the early stages of moving the U.S. Embassy in Israel to East Jerusalem from Tel Aviv. He’s made clear departures from his promises of anti-interventionism and neutrality in the Israel/Palestine conflict, among other things.
Despite some positive moves, like calling for peace with Russia and removing the United States from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a deeper look at Trump’s policies reveals a continuation of policies that suit the political elite.
While Trump’s about-face on some issues may come as a disappointment to his supporters, it is not altogether surprising given that the vast majority of past U.S. presidents have conformed to the same general strategy of ensuring the continuity of American imperialism regardless of political party affiliation or campaign trail promises. The most recent example of such a drastic turnaround was Barack Obama’s rejection of his own campaign rhetoric: His promises to bring change and reform to Washington ultimately fell flat as he expanded the drone war, brought catastrophe to the Middle East, and launched a chilling crackdown on whistleblowers and journalists.
This uniform, over-arching agenda is and has been set by the same handful of powerful American oligarchs who rose to unprecedented prominence on the heels of industrialization. Many of these titans of industry and their descendents went on to establish influential foundations and organizations that continue to guide U.S. political consensus. Their hold over not just U.S. politics, but global politics, grew following the formation of oligarch-owned central banks and private international financial institutions such as the World Bank and International Monetary Fund.
While these institutions claim to work for the benefit of all humanity, their actions are directed by a handful of “economic and political heavyweights” who use loans, debt, and other financial tools to force the hands of governments throughout the world. As the chief vehicle for manifesting this imperialist agenda, the United States is no exception. Indeed, private banking interests have had a stranglehold on the American economy since the formation of the Federal Reserve in the early 20th century.
It should come as no surprise that Trump has surrounded himself with Bush-era neoconservatives, including several architects of the Iraq War and signatories of the highly imperialist and pro-war Project for a New American Century. These individuals, John Bolton, Bill Bennett, and James Woolsey among them, consistently proved their dedication to the advancement of U.S. corporate and “deep state” interests during the Bush years. Far from “draining the swamp,” Trump’s actually filling it with an administration that promises to allow the nation’s wealthiest inhabitants to continue to dominate political decision-making.
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