Edward Luce misses two things: America First & Containment, a comment by Political Reporter

There is much to agree with in Mr. Luce’s essay, much that resonates with many Americans. Mr. Trump manages, in his long winded way, to highlight American discontent with its global role as the singular world power, now being supplanted by the rise of China, India and Iran or even the reinvigorated role of Russia. The Failure of The Elites, the foreign policy and economic policy technocrats, who have brought disaster in their vaunted areas of expertise over time – Mr. Luce issues a resounding rebuke across the stunted American political spectrum. The Failure of that Elite is perhaps the twin of the Financial Times’ political party line of The Rebellion Against the Elites, Trump and Sanders being its two dramatis personae, in the American political context.

Mr. Luce in his polemic misses two salient points of Mr. Trump’s rambling foreign policy chatter: America First and Containment.

America First Committee as described by a Wikipedia entry:

The America First Committee (AFC) was the foremost non-interventionist pressure group against the American entry into World War II. Peaking at 800,000 paid members in 450 chapters, it was one of the largest anti-war organizations in American history.[1][2] Started on September 4, 1940, it was dissolved on December 10, 1941, three days after the attack on Pearl Harbor had brought the war to America.


Charles A. Lindbergh  was its spokesman, and it had many prominent supporters, yet its historical reputation is disreputable at best. This dubiousness attaches itself to Trump as a function of the use of the title. Call it historical baggage.

Containment was a theory first articulated by George F. Kennan in the Long Telegram, later published in the ‘July 1947 issue of Foreign Affairs with the pseudonym “X”, entitled “The Sources of Soviet Conduct” ‘


The Sources of Soviet Conduct:


Walter Lippmann criticizes the Containment theory here:


Even Kennan repudiated his theory later in his career. So what we as readers are confronted with in Trump’s Foreign Policy address is an exercise in dubious, even unwitting political nostalgia for two failed ideas/practices: America First and Containment, due to willful historical ignorance, nothing new when it comes to Trump. As I recall Trump said to an audience, give me your vote I’ll know what to do.

The failure of those policy technocrats is here amplified with this news from Iraq:

BAGHDAD (Reuters) – Hundreds of supporters of Shi’ite Muslim cleric Moqtada al-Sadr stormed into Baghdad’s Green Zone on Saturday and set up tents beside parliament after Sadr denounced politicians’ failure to reform a political quota system blamed for rampant corruption.

The protesters, who had gathered outside the heavily fortified district housing government buildings and many foreign embassies, crossed a bridge over the Tigris River chanting: “The cowards ran away!” in apparent reference to departing lawmakers.

The initial breach was mostly peaceful, but around sunset security forces fired teargas and bullets into the air in an effort to stop more protesters from entering. Around a dozen people were wounded, police sources said.


Political Reporter



About stephenkmacksd

Rootless cosmopolitan,down at heels intellectual;would be writer. 'Polemic is a discourse of conflict, whose effect depends on a delicate balance between the requirements of truth and the enticements of anger, the duty to argue and the zest to inflame. Its rhetoric allows, even enforces, a certain figurative licence. Like epitaphs in Johnson’s adage, it is not under oath.' https://www.lrb.co.uk/v15/n20/perry-anderson/diary
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