Trump’s Fascist Weakness Mars Poland Diatribe

By Juan Cole | (Informed Comment) | – –

Donald Trump’s speech in Poland may have attempted to camouflage its Fascist undertones with some Nazi-bashing, but no one will be fooled. The speech was probably shaped by alt-Neo-Nazi Steve Bannon, White House strategist and enabler of the white supremacist roll of toilet paper known as Breitbart.

Like all Fascist speeches, it configured the Fatherland as weak and a laughingstock, threatened imminently with being wiped out. It is this paranoia and poor self-image that drives Fascist aggression. So Trump said,

“We have to remember that our defense is not just a commitment of money, it is a commitment of will. Because as the Polish experience reminds us, the defense of the West ultimately rests not only on means but also on the will of its people to prevail and be successful and get what you have to have. The fundamental question of our time is whether the West has the will to survive. Do we have the confidence in our values to defend them at any cost? Do we have enough respect for our citizens to protect our borders? Do we have the desire and the courage to preserve our civilization in the face of those who would subvert and destroy it?”

What this paragraph means by values is not the same as what Americans mean by values. We mean the Bill of Rights. Trump means the Religious Right. We mean a decent life for everyone, with health care a basic human right. Trump means plutocracy, an America of, by and for the multi-millionaires and billionaires. We mean tolerance and pluralism. Trump means racism against brown and black people. He again defended his Muslim ban, even though no one from any of the 6 Muslim-majority countries on his boycott list has launched a terrorist operation here in the twenty-first century. He is lauding Poles not because of their cultural achievements but because this are configured as the achievements of white people.

The irony that is papered over by the phrase “our civilization” is that the biggest enemies of Polish nationalism have been other Western states–Sweden, Germany and Russia (and no, not just National Socialism and Bolshevikism. Poland at one point was made to disappear by Germans and Russians who had never heard of either. And Polish Jews, a major component of the population, are no longer there because of virulent white nationalism.

As for Muslims, the lurking bad guys in Trump’s “Heil West” screed, they have been an important part of Polish history. Tatar Muslims served Poland militarily for centuries, and right into the twentieth century. In 1590 some 200,000 Lipka Tatars dwelled in the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth, serviced by at least 100 mosques. A unit of Tatar Muslims serving Jan Sobieski fought the Muslim Ottoman Empire at Vienna in the 1600s, helping preserve Europe from Ottoman rule. One of the direst threats to Polish Muslims was the Nazis, who attacked their mosque in the 1940s. There is still a small Polish Muslim population.

“Our civilization” has all along included Muslims and Jews and Africans and Arabs.

Trump papers over these ambiguities in favor of large-scale racial stereotyping.

Trump’s so-called health care bill will kill 22,000 people, far more than terrorists of any kind ever have.

Above all, Trump upholds the values of fear, timidity and paranoia. A small radical fringe in the Muslim world cannot menace America’s civilization. But a far right white nationalist president with serious mental issues can.

Related video:

David Pakman: “Supporters Bused Into Snowflake Trump’s Poland Speech

Posted in Featured | 21 Responses | Print |

21 Responses

      • It was a historical comment. Nowadays Muslims in Poland have dwindled but at one point they were not insignificant.

      • The title was probably rewarded by Moslem community leaders for a specific favorable act, in the same way that Henry VIII got the exact same title from the Pope for some small favor he did. These titles are made up by flatterers, like “Empress of India”. I would recommend that they hand the same title to Trump to influence his behavior, but considering what Henry did to the Catholic Church after receiving that title, flattery is no guarantee of gratitude.

        • But up here in 2017, the Muslim population in Poland is miniscule. Currently, Catholic 87.2% (includes Roman Catholic 86.9% and Greek Catholic, Armenian Catholic, and Byzantine-Slavic Catholic .3%), Orthodox 1.3% (almost all are Polish Autocephalous Orthodox), Protestant 0.4% (mainly Augsburg Evangelical and Pentacostal), other 0.4% (includes Jehovah’s Witness, Buddhist, Hare Krishna, Gaudiya Vaishnavism, Muslim, Jewish, Mormon).

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  1. Either actors are paid to attend a Trump event, maybe bused as in this case, or Trump sees the largest crowd ever that did not exist. Reality show hosts love to deceive to show popularity that is not there. Surely there are far more important matters to be worried about?

  2. Do not lose sight of this:
    Trump said in Warsaw, “[T]he United States has demonstrated — not merely with its words but with its actions — that we stand firmly behind Article 5….”

    The ONE time the United States has acted on NATO’s mutual defense clause was after 9/11 when President Bush II (The Whelp) invoked it in order to bring other NATO countries on board.

    America has NEVER used Article 5 as a basis for acting in another country’s behalf.

  3. “Trump’s so-called health care bill will kill 22,000 people…” I think you mean 22 million people

  4. Notice how many times Trump used the word “will” in his speech. Is it just a coincidence that maybe the most famous propaganda film of all time which extolled Hitler, by Leni Riefenstahl, was called Triumph of the Will? While Trump probably doesn’t know enough to realize the significance, I’m sure Bannon does.

    • Yes, “will” is the key to unlocking his tortured lexicon.

      Will means “the ends justify the means.” It is not to be applied to actual threats, because it really doesn’t take much to push the button when thousands of tanks are bearing down on your cities. It is a code for pre-emptive action based on fantasies and phantoms.

      It is, in practice, the opposite of “process of law,” or “reasonable suspicion”, or “deliberate action.”

  5. The speech was simply foreplay and masturbatory verbiage for a specially deluded and naive “nationalistic” right that has no authentic, i.e. even remotely scientific, sense of history; as I wrote some time ago:

    “The nihilism of the super-rich, which threatens to dehumanize the rest (truly the former live as if on a planet apart, where the “gravity” of their actions is visited with almost scientific regularity not on themselves, but externalized till it falls crushingly on the majority “other”). The strategy of the Democrats, especially the Clinton Democrats, was to serve as forceful secret apologists for the aforesaid super-rich, especially those represented by the banking and other post-industrial sectors while publicly espousing a strategically virtuous, i.e. in reality virtual, discourse of incremental but ultimately positively unidirectional progress (“The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice.”) But, as stated, this ethic was preponderantly more virtual, in the actually occurring substrata of economic and geopolitical reality, than it was “virtuous” (pace “America is great because America is good”). In any case, the strategy obviously aimed to mask over the nihilism of the oligarchic system (its inherent valuelessness outside the power conferred by wealth, the wealth conferred by power), while remaining–in fact, protected from being by their own apologism for the same–never more than superficially “fillable.” The insurgent nationalist “Trumpian” Republicans, intellectually defined and spearheaded by Stephen Bannon, offer a topically diametric strategy for filling, or rather again masking over, the aforesaid nihilism of the super-rich controlled system (celebrated by Hayek as the most advanced, indeed revolutionary, form of human individualism), in this case, with a nostalgic espousal of Christian nationalism circa the late 19th and early 20th centuries in the West. Case in point,: a neoliberalism aestheticized by the discourse of political correctness abhors criticism of any major religion per se, Islam manifestly included, even as it, via the embodying figure of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, advocated nationally destructive and exceedingly deadly wars in Libya, Syria, as well as abetting Israeli and Saudi war crimes in Palestine and Yemen respectively–however Islam itself is symbolically, ostentatiously on principle, defended, even while the Western, e.g. NATO, war machine simultaneously devastated entire Muslim-majority nations as apparently part of the process of global progress(?).

    “The Trumpian “Judeo-Christian” (Bannon’s self-definition) revival would apparently replace the increasingly self-invalidating contradictions of a war crime-enabling politically correct discourse of human rights and R2P with the classic nativism-cum-chauvinism redolent of an earlier, ostensibly more glorious (and supposedly thoroughly non-nihilist) age of American history, wherein one could supposedly be a plutocrat, a non-hypocritical Christian, and a convinced chauvinist without experiencing the slightest conflict or non-coincidence of identities–at least in theory, for, in practice, of course, quite likely the purpose, most certainly the effect, is simply that of another strategy of oligarchic apologism, the very kind that inevitably masks over the dehumanizing nihilism of the same by way of an essentially jingoistic, as opposed to an exclusively (and exclusionarily) politically correct, popularly-directed discourse.”

  6. “….[a]nd Polish Jews, a major component of the population, are no longer there….”

    It was the Communist Party leader Wladislaw Gomulka who in 1968 initiated a purge of Jews in Warsaw that resulted in all but 5,000 leaving the country – most of these left remaining in the Polish capital were to old to emigrate.

    Gomullka was removed as the leader of Poland following the workers’ uprising in Gdansk in 1970 and replaced with Edward Gierek, another Communist Party member.

    When the Solidarity independent trade union was formed, Lech Walesa proclaimed that the union was honored by the fact that a delegate to its ruling congress was Dr. Marek Edelman, the sole surviving member of the five Jewish commanders of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising. Dr. Edelman would eventually receive the Polish government’s highest award and lived in Lodz until his death a few years ago.

    • And several years later, the selfsame Walesa blamed the problems in Poland’s Thatcher/Reagan/Bush/Yeltsin-inspired capitalism on whom but the Jews. He had to be reminded there were none left.

      As for Edelman, he was merely what every Jew-hating regime needs: a “good Jew.”

  7. I am of the opinion that Trump’s speech to the like-minded right-wingers in Poland was lifted almost verbatim from the archive of speeches by Hitler and Goebbels. In that speech against whomever, Trump used the same language and made the same arguments as the Nazis did to justify their aggressions against countries like Czechoslovakia and Poland. A previous comment touched on how Trump tipped his hand when he wasted no time in using the word “will” as a noun three times within two lines of text. Riefenstahl’s film pretty much patented the Fascists’ use of that word in that way.

    If you look back at the arguments that the Germans made at the outset of World War 1 to justify their murderous invasion of Belgium so as to more easily hit France from the flank, it would seem that Hitler and Goebbels in turn lifted their treacherous untruths from Kaiser Wilhelm’s sanctimonious generals. Barbara W. Tuchman tells about this in her “The Guns of August.”

    Meanwhile how can there be Polish right-wingers like Duda and his party at all? The Polish people can’t have forgotten how their neighbors to the east, Germany and Russia, in former days right-wingers all despite what they called themselves, worked to wipe poor Poland almost off the map, as Professor Cole pointed out. What gives?

  8. On my twitter feed on July 8 was a link to CIA comparison with Soviet Propaganda published last week on MuckRock. And on that page was a second article published 2 days ago on the CIA.

    When will the American people no longer fall for the excuse of “National Security” to justify state secrets. Many years ago in the Obama administration, 94 million documents were classified in one year.

    Read the CIA’s 1951 listicle comparing U.S and Soviet Propaganda
    Agency memo found 33 similarities between Voice of America and its USSR counterparts

    and yesterday this article was posted

    CIA came up with 126 reasons to deny your FOIA request
    Agency’s list of ways to censor information because it’s classified has been censored because it’s classified

  9. I think it’s useful, and very easy, to translate Trump’s speech into a form that can be understood the way his supporters understood it.

    All you have to do is take every instance of the world “Western” and substitute the word “White.”

    For example:

    “Because as the Polish experience reminds us, the defense of the West ultimately rests not only on means but also on the will of its people to prevail”

    Should be read as:

    “Because as the Polish experience reminds us, the defense of the Whites ultimately rests not only on means but also on the will of White people to prevail over dark people.”

    And, further:

    “The fundamental question of our time is whether the West has the will to survive. ” should actually read:

    “The fundamental question of our time is whether whites have the will to survive. ”

    All you have do to confirm this is what he meant is read the accolades for the speech coming from Fox, Breitbart, and the usual white supremacist sources. They don’t have any confusion about what “West” he meant.

    He didn’t mean “Western Civilization” in the sense we understand it.

    He meant “Western Civilization” in the sense that Jefferson Davis would have understood it. That is to say, white.

  10. I read that the speech was written by Stephen Miller, the one photographed in the White House making the White Power sign with his hands.

  11. Good post.
    Trumpist must have loved Poland. all those white faces. the speech was more than I could handle. Concluded it might well have been written by Bannon. going to Poland for Trumpister was a “good decision”. He’d be welcomed there.

    In the 20th century Poland was not so welcoming of Jews, and Bannon’s attack on Muslims is simply another way of attacking Jews. Attacking Jews is just not on, but attacking Muslims they can get away with. As a result there is a negative impact on all minorities.

    during the uprising of the Warsaw Ghetto, the Poles did not support the Jews, such was the dislike for them, so its reasonable to conclude not much has changed there.

    Just Trumpster out there rallying his fascist troops and getting a good dose of adoration before he has to face reality in Germany. I’m sure he and Bannon are happy.

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