By Finian Cunningham
June 08, 2020 "Information
Clearing House" - The United States
seems hopelessly driven with division, as the mass
protests over the police killing of African-American
man George Floyd reveal.
Protesters are calling for police forces accused
of systematic racism to be defunded and disbanded.
While opponents – many of whom seem to be supporters
of President Trump – are calling for a tough
law-and-order response to what they view as rioters
The sharp tensions have even torn through the
offices of the New York Times. Journalists at the
paper are in open revolt after it published an
opinion piece by Republican Senator Tom Cotton who
endorsed Trump’s threat to send in troops to quell
street demonstrations. Such a presidential move has
been condemned as violating the US constitution.
Trump warned that he would deploy army units if
states did not bring mass protests under control.
Critics say he is using relatively minor incidents
of rioting and looting as a cover for invoking
federal military powers. There is even the
suggestion of Trump angling for some kind of
presidential dictatorship, as he overrides the
autonomy of individual states.
The president and his supporters accuse
Democrat-run states of using the protests as a way
to mount sedition against his administration.
This is an echo of earlier claims by the
Republican occupant of the White House who has
slammed Democrat states for allegedly using the
Covid-19 pandemic lockdown as a means to sabotage
the economy and therefore his presidency.
Trump’s call for “liberating” states has sailed
close to the wind on being perceived as fomenting
Again Trump got into constitutional trouble
by threatening to pull rank on individual states
over their lockdown policy with federal decree. This
conflict between Washington and the governing rights
of individual states harks to the US Civil War more
than a century-and-a-half ago.
Trump supporters like radio host Rush
Limbaugh are warning that the country is heading
towards another “veritable civil war” especially as
the presidential election in November approaches.
Trump has himself predicted a “civil war” breaking
out if he is cheated out of re-election. Given the
increasingly toxic political atmosphere in the US,
it wouldn’t be hard for Trump supporters to construe
political skulduggery even if it didn’t occur.
But the divisions in the US are not merely
along Republican-Democrat lines. It’s more complex
and chaotic than that. There’s no good guy versus
bad guy scenario either. All sides are steeped in
conspiracy theorizing of malign plots.
Republicans claim the protests sparked by
the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis on May 25
revolutions” to overthrow Trump. Some Democrats
claim that Russia is stoking unrest in order to sow
division in American society in a reprise of the
Russia collusion nonsense which they say helped
Trump win the White House in 2016.
Now we have Republican party figures coming
out to repudiate a Republican president. People like
former President GW Bush and one-time White House
candidate Mitt Romney.
Former military leaders have recently also
broken with political tradition not to publicly
lambast a sitting president. In an extraordinary
interview, Four-Star General and former Secretary of
State Colin Powell excoriated Trump for “lying all
the time”. Other senior military figures, including
retired Marine General James Mattis and Navy Admiral
William McRaven, have also in the last week deplored
Trump as being unfit for office.
Powell – a former senior Republican
government official – went as far as saying
he would vote for presumed Democrat candidate Joe
Biden in the November elections.
Such unprecedented outspoken opposition
to Trump from public figures associated with the
Pentagon may be taken as evidence by supporters of
the president that the “deep state” is manoeuvring
against him and trying to manipulate the electoral
There may be a grain of truth in that.
Trump’s demagoguery and the uncouth manner in
dealing with domestic and international politics
have no doubt agitated the political establishment
to get rid of him for a more plausible
commander-in-chief; perhaps someone like Biden who
is every bit an imperialist puppet as Trump is but
one who can convey the semblance of a unifying