Who Will Save America From Trump?
“We will go down in history either as the world’s greatest statesmen or its worst villains”
(Hermann Wilhelm Goering (1937) as quoted in “Great Powers and Outlaw States: Unequal Sovereigns in the International Legal Order (2004) by Gerry J. Simpson)
At the conclusion of the World War II in 1945, most of the Nazi henchmen who had not already committed suicide, or fled to South America, were swiftly rounded up by allied forces and shipped to the sleepy German town of Nuremberg to await trial for their various crimes against humanity. The trials were the first of its kind in human history.
Hence, in my considered opinion, and with the benefit of hindsight, the Americans can be forgiven for the various unorthodox steps they took to extract as much information as they could about the mindset of the Nazis even if they were immaterial to the actual trials.
Ahead of the trials, Gustave Gilbert, the Austrian-American psychologist with a Jewish ancestry who was also a commissioned officer arrived in Nuremberg and was granted unfettered access to the prisoners. Gilbert’s mission was made smoother because he also spoke fluent German. He was also later to act as translator when the trials eventually commenced.
In the process of his interaction with the prisoners Gilbert incredibly became close confidants with most of the incassarated Generals and top Nazi officials who were the top henchmen of Adolf Hitler. They included Hermann Goering, Joachim Von Ribbentrop as well as Wilhelm Keitel among others. It is a measure of how expertly Gilbert practiced his profession that he maintained the same chummy relationship with the imprisoned Nazi hierarchy even after he later informed them of his own Jewish ancestry.
On the evening of the 18th of April 1946, Gilbert found himself alone with Goering in his prison cell when the following conversation ensued. I have taken the liberty to reproduce the conversation in its exact detail because its theme is central to the remainder of today’s discourse. Please read on:
We got round to the subject of war again and I said that, contrary
to his attitude, I did not think that the common people are very
thankful to leaders for bringing them war and destruction.
Before the ‘quintessential bull in the China shop’ Donald Trump burst onto the political scene, the closest that America ever came to experiencing the sort of absurd xenophobic rhetoric that has become typical of the leading Republican candidate for the 2016 presidential election was during the tenure of George W. Bush with his emphasis on the invasion of Iraq and regime change that has left the entire Middle East in severe turmoil.
But even Bush was civil compared to Donald Trump and his uncouth language. What is even more disturbing is that Trump has the blond hair and apparent hair cut to go with Hitler’s illusionary perfect image of his preferred master and Aryan supremacy.
If Hitler’s xenophobic rhetoric and ideology was steeped in unbridled racism, Trump’s own version on its face value is shamelessly predicated on thinly disguised hatred for the Islamic faith and the billions who practice it across the globe.
Trump’s apparent strategy is to inject the fear of Islam into the average American and so far, it seems his methods are paying off bountifully. As the Iowa caucuses are set to begin, Trump is already miles ahead of his nearest challenger Ted Cruz, whom he alleges is not American enough, having been borne in neighboring Canada.
In many respects Trump can be considered to be a lucky man. He is not only a wealthy billionaire who relies less on fundraising; almost the entire world seems to be battling radical Islamic terrorism presently. The upsurge in refugees arising from the crisis in the Middle East has also played into his hands.
The fear of the consequential change in the demographic make-up of nations especially among extremist evangelists in Europe and across the Atlantic and the right-wing politicians ever willing to do their bidding has also helped Trump. His numbers are soaring but then, so are the fears of the more cultured Americans and the rest of the world.
It is more than six decades now since the Second World War ended, and history is abundant with its many lessons. We know how it all started with Hitler’s careless and xenophobic demagoguery especially against the Jews of Europe. Getting rid of the Jews was not the desired solution to all the problems Germany inherited after the unjust armistice imposed on it after the First World War.
Similarly, getting rid of Muslims cannot secure America or improve its economy. But Trump has conducted his campaignS as if getting rid of Muslims and Hispanics is the only solution to the myriad of problems America currently faces including its rampant gun culture. The world has moved on since 1939. This is the age of the internet coupled with globalization defined be seemingly invisible boundaries. We live in the age of ideas and opportunities exemplified by the exploits of Microsoft and Apple among others none of which would have had such a global impact if the world were a fragmented mess.
Unfortunately, what Trump and the increasing numbers of his gullible supporters are attempting to do is to return us back to 1939 with all its perils. I heard on CNN this morning that many undecided voters appear to be leaning in his direction as well. I hope that does not also include the Jewish Americans and their impressive lobby.
And that is because if truth must be told, it is not only Muslims and the world who have much to fear from Trump’s presidency. Surely, the Jews who fled Europe for America before, and during the Second World War can’t have forgotten their history so soon. To refresh their memory, they don’t only need to read the reprinted copies of “Mein Kampf”; they may also need to read Gustave Gilbert’s “Psychology of Dictatorship” which resulted from his lengthy sessions with prison inmates at Nuremberg.