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Robert Reich: Trump Is America’s Most Dangerous Export – OpEd

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Donald Trump is not only undermining democracy here at home, but he’s also emboldening dangerous authoritarian movements around the world. Trump’s presidency has become America’s most dangerous export.

FIRST: Trump has provided cover for authoritarian leaders around the world who are actively attacking the media and suppressing the truth to entrench their power.

He congratulated Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán on his electoral victory, despite Orban’s efforts to undermine democracy and stifle freedom of the press.

On Twitter, Trump vowed to join with Polish president Andrzej Duda to “fight the fake news”. Duda has placed media outlets under strict government control.

Trump welcomed to the White House the Egyptian President, Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, who has locked up tens of thousands of his political opponents and decimated the human-rights community there.

Trump reached out to Philippine leader Rodrigo Duterte, who has invoked Hitler’s mass extermination of Jews as a model for how he would like to dispose of drug dealers and addicts.

He has courted Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who has imprisoned critics and human-rights activists, caused thousands of civilian deaths in Yemen, and – evidence increasingly suggests – is responsible for the gruesome death of Washington Post journalist and U.S. resident Jamal Khashoggi.

And, of course, Trump infamously made excuses for Vladimir Putin when asked about the murder of Russian journalists.

SECOND: Trump’s anti-immigrant policies and rhetoric have lent legitimacy to racist and xenophobic political parties across Europe. His success playing on racial fears and stoking nationalist sentiment has been a model for their efforts.

Look at Italy’s new deputy prime minister, Matteo Salvini, who campaigned on mass deportations and has evoked the language of Benito Mussolini.

And Austria’s far-right Freedom Party has demanded tighter border security, expedited deportations, and financial “sanctions” on immigrants.

Close behind them, although not yet in power, are France’s Marine Le Pen and Britain’s Nigel Farage, who Trump has complimented on Twitter.

THIRD:  Trump has undermined the international institutions committed to protecting human rights and defending democracy.

Unlike former U.S. presidents, Trump doesn’t publicly mention human rights.

In a break with decades of U.S. foreign policy, Trump has attacked NATO, weakening the alliance as Putin threatens to undermine democracies in Western Europe.

He has also called the European Union a “foe,” playing into nationalist movements.

As in the 1930s, economic strains are fueling the rise of demagogues who direct anger and resentment toward scapegoats such as immigrants and minorities – lying about them with impunity.

But the truth is still getting through to most people, and democracy is still alive. Yet in sharp contrast to the 1930s when the president of the United States defended our democratic ideals, Trump is now helping lead the charge against them.


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Robert Reich

Robert Reich

Robert B. Reich is Chancellor's Professor of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley and Senior Fellow at the Blum Center for Developing Economies. He served as Secretary of Labor in the Clinton administration, for which Time Magazine named him one of the ten most effective cabinet secretaries of the twentieth century. He has written fifteen books, including the best sellers "Aftershock", "The Work of Nations," and"Beyond Outrage," and, his most recent, "The Common Good," which is available in bookstores now. He is also a founding editor of the American Prospect magazine, chairman of Common Cause, a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and co-creator of the award-winning documentary, "Inequality For All." He's co-creator of the Netflix original documentary "Saving Capitalism," which is streaming now.

One thought on “Robert Reich: Trump Is America’s Most Dangerous Export – OpEd

  • October 17, 2018 at 5:37 pm
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    If by ‘democracy’ you mean mob rule, then, dear fellow, you are correct: POTUS Trump is “undermining democracy here at home, . . . ” and it is welcomed by all except the socio/communists which you speak for.
    And, your observation that POTUS Trump’s foreign relationships are the export of an unidentified evil belie a severe reliance on gossip and whispered foolishness: all doxa, no epistos.
    Implied is a possibility that foreign press is somehow exempt from the bias exhibited by our own opinion factories is ill taken. Only the 1st Amendment permits claptrap to be disguised as news here at home.
    POTUS Trump, being characterized as the source of racism and the fountain of anti-immigrant rhetoric is stupidity incarnate. He has attempted to reverse the Commyomommy Obommy practice and policy concerning illegal immigration to no avail as Congress continues to luxuriate in the votes it gleams by using the issue as a capstone for their electoral pronouncements. I’m amazed you did cite the worn-out line concerning separating children from their families (an activity Commyomommy promoted but was not reported in our wonderful press).
    Undermining ‘human rights’ is not in the Trump playbook. Of course, your definition of ‘human rights’ is on the far side of reality; the far-left side. If stopping an influx of opportunists playing the system along with criminals and terrorists to cross our borders illegally is insensitive, then not enjoying the destruction and intimidation promoted by Antifa freaks is anti-human rights as well.
    Your fiction may resonate in Bezerkly and among your University of Commyfornia colleagues, it is simply that, fallacious crap to the rest of the world.
    Roberto, mental midget that your are:
    WE WON; you lost, and don’t you forget it.

    Reply

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