Friday, April 7, 2017

Trump's "Beautiful Babies" and the Profiteering Geopolitics of Death

"Beautiful little babies," he said.

It might be tempting to think that confronted with the carnage left of children's bodies by al Assad in Syria, President Trump has somehow grown into an adult, or emerged from his endless campaigning a decent human being capable of caring for some entity other than himself.

But this would be a grave mistake, and I fervently encourage my readers to resist this invitation to amnesia.

Indeed, we forget just what kind of self-absorbed reprobate Trump is at the cost of our own claim to moral agency.

And we need to remember that he is directly responsible for at least 261 deaths in  Yemin. 

Did the U.S. have a moral duty to respond to the likely chemical warfare attack?


Should it have been through bombing an airfield?

Absolutely not.

This is so for at least three reasons:

1. This action will escalate the violence in Syria. al Assad will respond. It will be with violence. People will die. And we all know it.

2. The choice of action--cratering an air base near the scene of al Assad's act of atrocity--was a political calculation. And while this does not mean necessarily that it cannot have been an act of righteous retribution, the fact that there were and are far better alternative responses (see below) makes plain that this bombing was a calculated message to Putin--but far far more important to Xi Jinping of China  whose armies are far larger, and whose influence is far greater.

Indeed, were I vulnerable to conspiracy theories (and I'm not), I'd wonder about the incredibly fortuitous timing of the Chinese Premier's visit and the opportunity to flex this military muscle. To be clear--this isn't to suggest that Trump knew about al Assad's plans, but it is to suggest that the decision to engage in military action of any kind was surely even more attractive with Xi Jinping at the swanky Mar-a-Lago dinner table. 

That any of then could eat should give us pause.

But we'll set this aside.

3. Here's the alternative: 

Provide countries like Jordan the financial capacity and expertise to accommodate more refugees. Pursue this humanitarian objective aggressively and very publicly.

Announce immediately that the United States is prepared to take at least 100,000 Syrian refugees--particularly, but not exclusively, from the war torn regions of that benighted country.

Announce immediately that the Muslim travel ban has been rescinded.
 Establish a humanitarian aid arm of the president's cabinet devoted to helping refugees resettle in whatever country they have chosen.

Announce a new U.S. policy that the United States no longer bombs civilian populations--especially in Yemin, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Syria.

Announce the abandonment of drone strikes.
Announce a re-invigorated U.S. commitment to the reduction of greenhouse gases in light of the indisputable fact that one of the major factors in the Syrian Civil War was climate change accelerated drought.

It's an easy--easy--thing to clench our fists and denounce the killing of "beautiful babies." It's another to actually stand for decency, compassion, and justice. 

The courageous thing to do is to refuse to participate in perpetuating the very geopolitical violence that always demands an equally violent response.

The courageous thing to see is the global economic system and its multinational corporate kleptocrats that thrive on war.

But we're not going to open our eyes that wide. Why?

Because behind all the hand-wringing about "little babies" are the oligarchs, the nationalists, the white supremacists, and the kleptocrats--including Trump--who are poised like the vampires they really are to convert the bodies of the dead into the blood-money upon which they feed.

"Beautiful babies"?

Don't be fooled. Trump's response is no more about compassion--much less justice--than the response of his analogues in Syria and Russia.

What it is about is that collective psychosis of masculinity for whom torturous death offers the great aphrodesiac. 

What it's about are multinational money interests--weapons manufacture, fossil fuel extraction and transport, surveillance firms, communication technologies, the privatizing of clean water, the control of food security, the engineering of subjugation. These are the vampires surely salivating at their own Mar-a-Lagos over the capital conquest only geopolitical implosions of violence can offer.

"Beautiful babies"?

Hardly. Beautiful power. Beautiful profits. 
Beautiful perpetual war.

Wendy Lynne Lee

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