Washington at War: The Target is Donald Trump

American Herald Tribune | Daniel Haiphong: Washington is the headquarters of imperialism and war. It is the foremost institution that does the bidding of the monopolies and the banks. Politicians, administrators, and appointees in Washington are hired for one purpose only: to maintain the profits and hegemony of the capitalist class. The management of profit has required the US to endlessly wage war on every continent. Donald Trump’s election into the highest rank in Washington precipitated a new war, one of an internal nature.

Of course, war has always existed in the US as much as it does abroad. While the US sponsors proxy wars in Syria and the Middle East, US police forces murder and repress Black Americans on a daily basis. A deportation regime wages terror against undocumented immigrants with the same tools utilized to create instability in Central America, Latin America, and the Caribbean. The same technology used to create aerial drones deployed in places like Yemen is utilized to conduct mass surveillance on the US population. Whether in the US mainland or beyond its artificial borders, war is an integral component to the system of private property and profit that reigns supreme in Washington.

What is happening inside of Washington is markedly different than what is generally thought of as war. The target is Donald Trump. Trump is a billionaire capitalist and scam artist who derived his fortune off of the backs of the working class. Yet a large section of the ruling class is both embarrassed and enraged over his rise to President of the US. New allegations that Trump leaked classified information to Russia are certainly not without context. They come in the midst of a broader internal crisis inside of Washington itself.

Washington’s internal crisis was brought about by many factors. First, the decline of US imperialism in the world has paralleled a stagnating capitalist economy. Real unemployment is above twenty percent when discouraged workers as well as those stuck in informal forms of work are taken into account. The US capitalist economy has grown at a snail’s pace in GDP terms and remains far behind the number of jobs that were available before the 2008 crisis. A nation that once made up half of all the world’s GDP will soon be surpassed by China’s rapidly growing socialist economy.

Second, the causes of economic stagnation have laid the basis for political turmoil. Robotic automation and financial plunder has left millions of workers permanently unemployed and mired in numerous forms of debt. Yet the system continues to advance its productive capacity far beyond the reach of what workers can absorb into the economy. The result has been a permanent state of overproduction, inflation, and contraction. This has forced the ruling class to unite its two-party state machinery beginning in the 1980s around a common program of austerity, repression, and war.

The Democrats and the Republicans united on these agenda points for decades, creating a political vacuum too large to fill. The rise of Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump signaled that the vacuum had become unmanageable. Democratic Party operatives in the DNC destroyed the Sanders campaign but ended up losing the election anyway. The Republican Party was in no shape to take down Trump, which led to the most embarrassing Presidential election in US history. Since Trump’s victory, the neo-con and neo-liberal ruling classes have been using Russia as a scapegoat to weaken his administration.

The campaign started when Hillary Clinton accused Russia of meddling in the 2016 elections in favor of Trump. Trump was then placed under investigation by the FBI. After Trump became President, National Security Adviser Michael Flynn was dismissed for holding a conversation with a Russian Ambassador. What followed was a number of hearings held by the House and Senate intelligence committees into the question of Russian infiltration. No conclusive evidence of the Russia-Trump connection was found. Yet the corporate media continued to endlessly promote the story without question or critical inquiry.

Calls for impeachment from Democrats and Republicans in Congress finally began yielding results when Trump bombed Syria and Afghanistan in early April.  The Trump-Russia story lost traction for a short time after as the military-industrial complex celebrated its achievement. This changed after Trump decided to dismiss FBI Director James Comey from his position. Talk of impeachment resurfaced in the media. Now Trump is accused of revealing classified information to Russia.

After seven months, it should be clear that no evidence will ever surface about Trump’s connections to Russia. The most recent allegations against Trump fit neatly into the broader interests behind them. Anti-Russia stories about Trump were never about facts or protection from foreign interference. Scapegoating Russia was always about thwarting Trump’s campaign promise to ease relations with Russia. It also served as a distraction from the real reasons Donald Trump became President.

Washington is thus at war with itself because it needs war with Russia. Trump’s mere utterance of warmer US-Russian relations was enough to make him the least desired candidate in the general election. His position had to be neutralized, and the true causes of Clinton’s loss repressed. The fact that the neo-con and neo-liberal alliance embodied by Clinton represented the true face of Wall Street and war could not be allowed to remain exposed in popular discourse for too long. And Russia’s rise to independent political power in the world necessitates US military provocations, which was incompatible with Trump’s campaign positions.

Usually politicians who make promises to their constituents during US Presidential elections are willing to give up on them once the election season is over. The ruling class knew that Trump’s administration required a powerful narrative to reign in given the delicate balance of forces that propelled him into Washington. Trump not only had little support from the capitalist elite, but his candidacy was propelled by a disenchanted Republican base that was willing to throw out establishment Republicans in a moment’s notice. The same could happen to Trump. And it probably will in the midst of these attacks. But one thing is clear: Washington is at war with itself because the entire system of imperialism is crumbling. Trump is just the beginning.