By Javad Heirannia

Trump has no political philosophy: Askari

June 21, 2018

TEHRAN – Professor Hossein Askari, an expert on Saudi Arabia who also teaches international business at the George Washington University, strongly believes that “Trump is full of contradictions. He has no political philosophy.”

Hossein Askari, who teaches at George Washington University, tells the Tehran Times that “Trump is not a traditional Republican—the Party of Lincoln. He has destroyed the Republican Party as we have known it. He has used the party to promote his own personal agenda.”

Following is the text of the interview:

Q: Is "Trumpism" a school of thought in the United States? Can the current president of the United States produce a political or philosophical thought in the field of American social and foreign policy?

A: Trumpism is not a school of thought and never will be. It is a combination of destroying American institutions, dividing Americans, dividing families, encouraging anarchy, catering to misinformed and angry white men, re-enforcing racism, spouting empty slogans that appear to put America “first” but in reality promote Trump and his family in their quest to secure more wealth. When Americans finally wake up from what has just happened, Trumpism will be relegated to the trash heap of history.

Q: Trump has repeatedly stated that he is not a Republican. In your opinion, what is the current political affiliation of Trump?

A: Trump is not a traditional Republican—the Party of Lincoln. He has destroyed the Republican Party as we have known it. He has used the party to promote his own personal agenda. It will take decades for the party to become a shadow of itself.

Q: The president of the United States has used his own cabinet of neoconservatives, such as John Bolton. This is while he previously described himself as George W. Bush's sharp opponents. How do you evaluate this contradiction?

A: Trump is full of contradictions. He has no political philosophy. He uses Bolton, a neocon hawk, in his attempt to convey a tough guy image to Americans. A great deal of bluster.”

Q: If we think of Trump as a Republican, which spectrum of the Republican Party is closer his conception of the Republican Party? (T-party, Neoconservatives or Traditional Republicans)

A: 75% T-party and 25% Neocon.

Q: Is it Trump's protective approach to the economy or his special emphasis on "American values" that can be the source of his influence on a particular economic and political school (thought)?

A: Trump does not represent American values. He is attempting to destroy America’s justice system, he is creating greater inequality, he is depriving many poor American children of one hot meal a day at school, he is tarnishing America’s international image by breaking America’s word as is the case in the JCPOA, he is bullying America’s adversaries as well as its friends, and maybe worst of all he lies all the time. What he does and says are not reflective of American values, they are instead the behavior of a neighborhood bully.

He garners some influence because he appeals to ignorant beliefs that he can bring back more jobs to the United States and win trade wars or that he can make coal a growing source of energy. These are short-term and counterproductive policies, which in the end will harm those who they are supposed to help.
One of the many problems with Trump is that he cannot see the full picture on any issue. He perceives everything in isolation and sees no linkages to other developments.

Q: Is the election of Trump as the president of the United States in 2016, a symbol of American tendency towards populism? Otherwise, how can such a phenomenon be interpreted?

A: I think it is first and foremost a result of the fact that many Americans, especially younger Americans, don’t bother to vote. But there were many other factors at work. Hilary Clinton was a flawed candidate and hugely unpopular among a vast number of Americans. Clinton ran a bad campaign, she came across as entitled and arrogant. Many Americans were and are fed up with the corruption with lobbying and Trump promised change—that he would “drain the swamp,” but he has made the swamp even bigger! Trump promised a lot and Americans believed him! FBI Director Comey’s statement about the Clinton emails was the icing on the cake. Let me make final point about the Trump Strategy. Trump promised many, many things, with some even contradicting others. Given that many Americans are one issue voters—such as abortion—he garnered many votes from people who were focused on only one issue and paid no attention to the dozens of other things he promised that were not in their interest.
 

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