US harasses Venezuela in the midst of the pandemic, just as it’s been doing to Iran

The US under Trump no longer pays lip service to ideals like “freedom” and “democracy” and “human rights,” as always had been done at once to justify and mask even—or especially—the most brutal US policies and practices, from slavery and Indian removal to the war in Vietnam, the absolute support for Israel since 1967, the “war on terror,” the destruction of Libya, the regime-changes in Honduras and Ukraine, the attempted toppling of Assad, and so on. (Obama was especially given to such pieties.)

What Trump does now is something else—the sort of in-your-face, fuck-you-if-you-don’t-like-it bullying that he performed on The Apprentice, and that recalls the Bad Guy in pro wrestling. In this there is a kind of honesty completely lacking from such psychopaths as Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden, among other Democrats, and that could be regarded as a benefit; but in it there’s the danger of disabling any condemnation of such practices on moral grounds—as (say) Frederick Douglass did in nailing the hypocrisy of most American churches in the face of slavery, and as did MLK and many other critics of the war in Vietnam. (On the danger of brute power unmasked by any idealistic ideology, see “Baby with the bathwater” in T.W. Adorno’s Minima Moralia.)


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