By Mohammad Mazhari 

Trump dealt a great blow to U.S. soft power: Lebanese researcher

June 15, 2021 - 17:49

TEHRAN - A Lebanese political researcher is of the opinion that former U.S. President Donald Trump lifted the veil on U.S. democracy and gave a powerful slap in the face to the American soft power. 

"Though Trump was the worst example of a politician, but he has to be given credit for showing the world the true ugly face of the so-called U.S. democracy," Ali Mourad tells the Tehran Times. 
"His behavior inside and outside the U.S. gave a powerful slap in the face to the so-called "U.S. soft power," he notes.

After Biden's victory in the November 2020 presidential elections, Trump spent months claiming allegations of election fraud that have been amplified by loyalists and conservative media outlets. 

Before the election, Trump's foreign policy discredited the U.S., especially Washington's withdrawal from international agreements, such as the 2015 Iran nuclear deal and the Paris climate agreement.

"The way he treated U.S. allies worldwide, and the way he dealt with minorities and people of color inside the U.S. actually expressed the real mentality of the U.S.," the Lebanese political expert points out.
 Following is the text of the interview:

Q:  American leaders always address the challenges facing democracy around the world, yet neglecting the immediate threat to U.S. democracy. Is the U.S. a yardstick to assess democracy in other countries?

A: When American leaders preach about democracy, they try to express the sense of exclusivity, that they are the first nation that experienced this democracy after the so-called U.S. Revolution. They present their experience as the reference that all other nations of the world should follow or adopt. But as a matter of fact, their democracy has many defects and anomalies. Regarding elections, for instance, they got "Voter Suppression" that they called "Gerrymandering", that's being practiced since 1789, and it's still practiced by both Republican and Democratic parties, but at the same time they preach about the legality and authenticity of other nations' elections. Also, they got the political money that plays a decisive role in delivering who wins a seat in Congress, and after the election, lobbying money spent by U.S. corporations shapes legislations and bills in both chambers of Congress. Interest groups manipulate the U.S. democratic process in a way that declassifies the American democratic model as a universal standard for other nations. Thus, American leaders should be faced with such anomalies in the democratic practice inside the U.S. every time they try to preach and judge elections or democratic practice in nations like Iran or Venezuela or Russia or Syria or any other country.

Q: Do you think the American founders were seeking to establish a real democracy? If this is so, why did they endorse displacement of indigenous peoples in the Americas?

A: The so-called "Founding Fathers" created a bourgeois democracy that suits capitalists and slave owners in the late 18th century, and it remained so after the civil war of 1860. It was a democracy that refused to answer the rights of black people to be treated as citizens, and before that, it made sure to continue the process of extermination of the original owners of the land, who they named "Red Indians". Most of the "Founding Fathers" had tens and sometimes hundreds of slaves, and by the time the "Bill of Rights" was being written by Thomas Jefferson, he was raping one of his 600 slaves whom he had children from her and refused to recognize as his own children. And what's ironic is that today's U.S. leaders still quote those founders as beacons for democracy and the rule of law that respects human rights and equality.

Q: Why does the U.S. which makes claims of democracy supports tyrannical Arab states? Are you hopeful that the U.S. disapprove of undemocratic states in the future?

A: The U.S. has always made exceptions when dealing with countries worldwide based on what they call "U.S. National Interests". They supported and still tyrannical regimes in the Persian Gulf Arab states due to their interests in oil and regional hegemony. That's a clear example that they hypocritically claim caring for democratic practices in their foreign policy while what really matters for them is to maintain their own interests. The Biden administration declared that human rights and democracy would be at the core of its foreign policy, but that will not be the case with autocratic regimes like Saudi Arabia and the UAE, for example, or even in countries that discriminate against religions and ethnicity like India for example. So, it has always been about interests for capitalist America, and it will always be so.

Q: How do you evaluate what U.S. leaders call democratization in West Asia? Were they successful in exporting democracy to Iraq, for instance?

A: When the U.S. invaded Iraq in 2003, it made sure to demolish the institutions necessary for the rule of law, which was important to build upon for a successful democratic practice. The Iraqi experience tells us that the U.S. came to Iraq to spread chaos and prevent any try to have a successful transition from a tyrannical Saddam regime to an enduring democratic system that would meet the needs of the Iraqis. And this American practice explains the true intentions of the U.S.: a loose and divided Middle East (West Asia) for the sake of the Zionist regime. America wants to keep the region in chaos and wars so that the divided Arab states would be more divided into other sectarian and ethnic groups so that Israel would prevail and rule the region. So, all the claims Washington made about exporting democracy and freedom to Iraq were all lies and deceptions made to justify their hegemonic policies in the region.

Q:  What can we learn from the Trump era and the problems he created for U.S. democracy?

A: Though Trump was the worst example of a politician, but he has to be given credit for showing the world the true ugly face of the so-called U.S. democracy. His behavior inside and outside the U.S. gave a powerful slap in the face to the so-called "U.S. Soft Power". The way he treated U.S. allies worldwide and the way he dealt with minorities and people of color inside the U.S. actually expressed the real mentality of the U.S. White Anglo-Saxon bloc, that considers citizens of color as second-class citizens that shouldn't have any equal rights with White citizens, and that's a contradictory thing while preaching about democratic practice. 

Q: Do you make a distinction between Democrats and Republicans when it comes to protection of U.S. democracy?

A: Both mainstream Republicans and Democrats know the importance of guarding the image of their democracy worldwide, as they both know its importance in gaining influence. Democrats know exactly the deficiencies in their democracy, but they keep on whitewashing it so that they keep fooling nations worldwide, as a means of soft power, while Republicans lately, after the emergence of Trump and the current he resembles tend to act in a popular isolationist way due to economic and social fears, thus creating an exception to rule that the mainstream current in both parties is fighting to keep. In the end, billions of people worldwide, especially those who were taken by the magic of the U.S. propaganda of the so-called "American Dream", now know that America has changed and it has shown its real face when it comes to protecting democracy and human rights, and it's going to be hard for U.S. diplomacy to restore the pre-Trump era when they used to fool nations with their hypocrisy about democracy.

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