The latest terrorist attack in Germany shows that anything can happen during the holiday season. The so-called Islamic State (IS) has claimed credit for the Berlin atrocity, in which a large truck intentionally plowed into a very popular outdoor Christmas market, killing at least 12 people and injuring dozens more.
New Year’s Eve there was another attack happened in Istanbul, Turkey when terrorists entered a nightclub and up to 37 were killed.
SYRIA AND RUSSIA
Meanwhile, in Syria, President-elect Donald Trump’s new ally, Vladimir Putin, has aided dictator Bashar Assad’s decimation of the city of Aleppo. While thousands of abused civilians have been permitted to leave in the last several days, hundreds had already been killed by Syrian, Iranian as well as Russian forces, according to human rights groups. (Yes, Putin has long been an ally of Iran, a country the United States considers one of its most worrisome adversaries. That adds to the irony of Trump’s relationship with Putin.)
RIVAL MUSLIM GROUPS
There is little that we can do to crush the bitter conflicts between rival Muslim groups, Sunni and Shia, that dates back thousands of years, or to stop the fire that portends the total Middle East. President George W. Bush’s invasion of Iraq only made matters worse, setting up the circumstances that led to the rise of the Islamic State group.
FORCES OF DARKNESS
But the United States, which proudly declares itself the leader of the free world, should certainly not be aiding the forces of darkness. Not only has Trump allied himself with Putin, but he has also spread anti-Islamic bigotry that adds energy to the fires of a crash of civilizations.
After the Berlin attack, the president-elect referred to his campaign pledge to ban all Muslims from entering the country: “You know my plans. All along, I’ve been proven to be right. One hundred percent correct.”
Actually, that’s 100 percent wrong. It’s abuse of the spirit of the Founding Fathers, who planned a multicultural republic free of the religious wars that had burned through Western Europe. Further, it aids the Islamic State that can point to Trump’s ban as proof that the United States is waging war on Islam. It’s a powerful recruiting tool for jihadists.
WAR ON THE MODERN WORLD
At its heart, IS ideology is a war on modernity — a vicious and nihilist battle against religious pluralism, liberal democracy and women’s rights. In response, the United States ought to be doing everything possible to shore up the very values that the IS hates
JUST THE OPPOSITE
Trump is doing just the opposite. He is waging his own nonviolent, but nevertheless destructive, battle against religious pluralism, liberal democracy and women’s rights.
While his misogyny is by now well known, Trump’s assaults on the foundations that underlie liberal democracy may do more lasting damage. His repeated lies about democratic processes, insisting, that the last presidential election was marked by massive voter fraud. It was not. That untruth was apparently meant to explain away his considerable loss of the popular vote. He seems to have backed away from his pledge, made during a debate, to send Hillary Clinton to jail when he became president — the sort of move that is popular among Third World dictators. But he is touchy enough and erratic enough to use the powers of his office to silence his rivals.
ADVICE OF EXPERTS
He spurns the advice of experts such as the intelligence consultants who ought to be giving him daily briefings, if he would accept them. Indeed, he is assembling a Cabinet full of leaders who are either completely ignorant of the offices they should lead (Ben Carson as secretary of Housing and Urban Development) or hostile to them (Rick Perry for Energy).
MAINSTREAM NEWS MEDIA
Trump blasts the mainstream news media, one of the fundamental institution of a free state, as rigged against him, and he will likely challenge their function. And, in spite of his pledge to “drain the swamp” in Washington of influence-dealers, he seems to be building a crooked kleptocracy, allowing his adult children to use the Oval Office to assist his business interests.
BEACON OF THE WORLD
The United States has stood as a beacon to the world — a “shining city on a hill” — because of the values we represent. Trump’s oppressive views are the opposite of what this great nation has stood for. He is a better friend to the IS than he knows.