Highly influential neoconservative ideologue Robert Kagan has doubled-down on the Donald Trump as Hitler meme with yet another screed in the Washington Post. Mr. Kagan – who was one of the founders of the defunct Project for the New American Century (PNAC) – knows the end of an era when he sees it and the door is rapidly closing on the spree of costly, taxpayer funded nation building at gun point that he and his ilk have championed. Now ensconced at the think tank the Brookings Institution, Kagan’s latest missive borders on hysteria.
Kagan’s WAPO is entitled “This is how fascism comes to America” and the author lays out his case:
The Republican Party’s attempt to treat Donald Trump as a normal political candidate would be laughable were it not so perilous to the republic. If only he would mouth the party’s “conservative” principles, all would be well.
But of course the entire Trump phenomenon has nothing to do with policy or ideology. It has nothing to do with the Republican Party, either, except in its historic role as incubator of this singular threat to our democracy. Trump has transcended the party that produced him. His growing army of supporters no longer cares about the party. Because it did not immediately and fully embrace Trump, because a dwindling number of its political and intellectual leaders still resist him, the party is regarded with suspicion and even hostility by his followers. Their allegiance is to him and him alone.
To understand how such movements take over a democracy, one only has to watch the Republican Party today. These movements play on all the fears, vanities, ambitions and insecurities that make up the human psyche. In democracies, at least for politicians, the only thing that matters is what the voters say they want — vox populi vox dei. A mass political movement is thus a powerful and, to those who would oppose it, frightening weapon. When controlled and directed by a single leader, it can be aimed at whomever the leader chooses. If someone criticizes or opposes the leader, it doesn’t matter how popular or admired that person has been. He might be a famous war hero, but if the leader derides and ridicules his heroism, the followers laugh and jeer. He might be the highest-ranking elected guardian of the party’s most cherished principles. But if he hesitates to support the leader, he faces political death.
What these people do not or will not see is that, once in power, Trump will owe them and their party nothing. He will have ridden to power despite the party, catapulted into the White House by a mass following devoted only to him. By then that following will have grown dramatically. Today, less than 5 percent of eligible voters have voted for Trump. But if he wins the election, his legions will comprise a majority of the nation. Imagine the power he would wield then. In addition to all that comes from being the leader of a mass following, he would also have the immense powers of the American presidency at his command: the Justice Department, the FBI, the intelligence services, the military. Who would dare to oppose him then? Certainly not a Republican Party that laid down before him even when he was comparatively weak. And is a man like Trump, with infinitely greater power in his hands, likely to become more humble, more judicious, more generous, less vengeful than he is today, than he has been his whole life? Does vast power un-corrupt?
I think all can see where he’s going with this so let’s cut to the chase:
This is how fascism comes to America, not with jackboots and salutes (although there have been salutes, and a whiff of violence) but with a television huckster, a phony billionaire, a textbook egomaniac “tapping into” popular resentments and insecurities, and with an entire national political party — out of ambition or blind party loyalty, or simply out of fear — falling into line behind him.
You have to hand it to the neocons, they are as predictable as they are wrong although the latest versions of the ‘new Hitler’ are usually foreign leaders on their ever-expanding hit list. Kagan is the husband of Victoria “fuck the EU” Nuland, the State Department broker of the coup that destabilized Ukraine and set the U.S. on the path to what could ultimately be a nuclear exchange with Russia, long the arch-enemy of the neocons. It was another addition to the collection of foreign policy catastrophes that can be laid at the feet of neocon dogma along with Iraq, Syria and Libya all of which are long-running bloody clusterfucks that are not in the best interests of America unless you are in the business of selling such wars. What Kagan fears far more than fascism though is the loss of his cushy think tank job as well as his ill-deserved reputation as an oracle of American foreign policy. If Trump successfully implements his “America First” policies Kagan’s phone may stop ringing and the invitations to all the right Beltway cocktail parties may cease to arrive in the mail.
Historically when revolution is in the air the elites responsible for the dismal state of affairs go into exile. This is also the case here and Kagan has already declared his intent to flee the Republican Party of Donald Trump into the welcoming arms of Hillary Clinton who will continue to give him the foreign wars upon which he feeds. Ironic in that the neoconservatives were originally Democrats and they will now be going home with Kagan leading the way. A damned good argument can be made that the country is already fascist after the 9/11 attacks provided the federal government and other interested parties with the great Rahm Emanuel moment of never letting a really good crisis go to waste. Since then we are less free and the presidency has turned into an out of control dictatorship with Congress having been rendered useless for anything outside of fundraising to keep it’s members in office. The NSA is conducting warrantless mass surveillance and storing all the info gathered on millions of law-abiding Americans for some vague future use, airports have turned into something out of the old Soviet Bloc with checkpoints, huge lines and citizens being made subject to arbitrary harassment by uniformed goons, the media is nothing more than a propaganda arm of the state and the police have been fully militarized. It’s really not the fascism that the neocons are opposed to, it’s their loss of prestige within the oppressive system that already exists in the Homeland.