Translated by Greg Johnson
The US presidential election is fast approaching. Personally, do you want Donald Trump to be re-elected? Would a second term of this president please you, if only to see the faces of his opponents, American and European?
Alain de Benoist: I would like his re-election, but by default, for lack of something better. As you know, this character doesn’t thrill me that much. I am not so much bothered by what he is usually reproached for (his style, his brutality, his vulgarity), because, on the contrary, I think that’s what many Americans like about him, which we refuse to understand on this side of the Atlantic. Rather, it is that his project seems nebulous to me, his foreign policy is in my opinion execrable, and the man is not suitable to lead what still remains (at least temporarily) the world’s leading power. There are basically only three real heads of state in today’s world: Vladimir Putin, heir to the former Russian Empire; Xi Jinping, heir to the former Chinese Empire; and Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who seeks to recreate the old Ottoman Empire. Donald Trump may have qualities, but he does not have the stature of a statesman.
Why support him, then? Because Joe Biden is a hundred times worse. Not because of his bland and boring personality, but because of everything he represents: the Establishment, the Deep State, submission to the dominant ideology, immigrationism, progressivism, deterritorialized capitalism, the politically correct, Black Lives Matter, the mainstream media, in short, this abominable New Class, which the witch Hillary Clinton represented four years ago. To block Joe Biden and his running mate Kamala Harris (who would have a good chance of succeeding him during his four years), I would even vote for Mickey Mouse!
But does Trump still have a chance to win?
Alain de Benoist: I believe so. I have often said we should distinguish between Donald Trump the man and the Trumpist phenomenon, which is above all a populist reflex to challenge everything that the Establishment stands for. Trump is questionable, but Trumpism is another matter. All things considered, we could compare it to what we call here “peripheral France.” Americans are extremely different from Europeans (much more than the latter believe), but the basic pattern is the same: the popular classes vs. the globalized elites, the settled vs. the mobile, the people vs. the citizens of the world, the bottom vs. the top.
In the United States today, this opposition has crystallized into two blocs that no longer even speak to each other. On both sides, they no longer want to just win the elections, but to destroy their opponents. Do you want a revealing, even staggering number? 15% of Republicans and 20% of Democrats believe America would be better off if their rivals “died.” Unprecedented. Politics has changed. Politicians in the United States no longer run for office touting their skills, but as women, as gays, as African Americans, as Hispanics, etc. Identity politics, fueled by political correctness, has taken over everything. Which means that political issues are now subordinated to cultural and anthropological issues.
This is why, contrary to what happened in the past (when the programs of the Republicans and the Democrats could seem more or less indistinguishable, especially to us), all the polls show that this presidential election is seen by Americans as exceptionally important (87% speak of an irreversible tipping point), and in particular there are very few undecided among them. This is the reason why the two candidates do not seek so much to poach supporters of their opponents as to consolidate their respective camps. And this is also why the first Trump-Biden debate ended in an exchange of insults, of (verbal) violence still unthinkable over here. Whether it is Trumpism or the New Class that wins, different worldviews are at stake.
What lessons can we draw from these four years of Trumpism? Would his re-election be good news for the United States and, more importantly, for France and for Europe?
Alain de Benoist: The lessons are difficult to assess. Trump is arguably better than his opponents say, but worse than his supporters say. As Trump spent a considerable amount of time escaping the traps his enemies set for him, and did so only by shuttling between “advisers” from opposing camps, it is, furthermore, difficult to know which initiatives are truly his.
Regarding his foreign policy — the only thing that should interest us — the record is frankly bad. Trump obviously dislikes Europe, which distinguishes him from his predecessors only in that he does not hide it. At first he tried to get closer to Russia in the hope of turning her away from a Chinese alliance, but he waivered because he has been repeatedly accused of being “in the service of the Russians.” His main enemy is China. He favors the Washington-Riyadh-Tel Aviv axis, which satisfies neoconservatives as well as evangelicals, but is completely contrary to European interests. But with Joe Biden, that would also be even worse. Remember what François Mitterrand confided to Georges-Marc Benamou: “They are tough, the Americans; they are voracious; they want unchallenged power over the world. France does not know it, but we are at war with America. Yes, a permanent war, a vital war, an economic war, a war apparently without death and yet a war to the death.”
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