Steve Walt suspects Trump is motivated by a Clash of Civilizations world view

Trump and some of his advisors (most notably Stephen Bannon) may be operating from a broad, Huntingtonian “clash of civilizations” framework that informs both their aversion to multiculturalism at home and their identification of friends and foes abroad. In this essentially cultural, borderline racialist worldview, the (mostly white) Judeo-Christian world is under siege from various “other” forces, especially Muslims. From this perspective, the ideal allies are not liberals who prize tolerance, diversity, and an open society, but rather hard-core blood-and-soil nationalists who like walls, borders, strong leaders, the suppression or marginalization of anyone who’s different (including atheists and gay people, of course) and the promotion of a narrow and fairly traditional set of cultural values.

For people who see the world this way, Putin is a natural ally. He declares Mother Russia to be the main defender of Christianity and he likes to stress the dangers from Islam. European leaders like Marine Le Pen of France, Nigel Farage of Great Britain, and Geert Wilders of the Netherlands are Trump’s kind of people, too, and on this dimension so are the right-wingers in the Israeli government. And if Islam is the real source of danger, and we are in the middle of a decades-long clash of civilizations, who cares about the balance of power in Asia? [link]

Don’t take that arc of justice or march of progress for granted

Eric Foner writes:

Reconstruction poses a challenge to Americans’ historical understanding because we prefer stories with happy endings. Unfortunately, the overthrow of the South’s biracial governments, accomplished in part by terrorist violence, was followed by a long period of legally enforced white supremacy. Yet this itself offers a timely lesson – that there is nothing inevitable or predetermined in the onward march of freedom and equality. Reconstruction and its aftermath remind us that rights in the Constitution are not self-enforcing, and that our liberties can never be taken for granted. [link]

Old wine in new bottles: why the alt right are just neo-Nazis

Last year, during the Presidential campaign, Osita Nwanevu wrote:

In 2012, Alternative Right ran an essay called “Is Black Genocide Right?” by Colin Liddell. “Instead of asking how we can make reparations for slavery, colonialism, and Apartheid or how we can equalize academic scores and incomes,” he wrote, “we should instead be asking questions like, ‘Does human civilization actually need the Black race?’ ‘Is Black genocide right?’ and, if it is, ‘What would be the best and easiest way to dispose of them?’” [link]

Advice from the past

[Pay close attention to the date. This and the video are meant ironically]

“Half of the people have been very sure that if he were elected the country would come to an end, if the world did not. But we are inclined to believe that the Union will last a little longer, and that we shall have some good times yet, in time to come. It has been said that a “special Providence watches over children, drunkards, and the United States.” They make so many blunders, and yet live through them, it must be that they are cared for, for they take very little care of themselves. So we are disposed to trust Providence, and not to worry.”

— Editor’s Drawer” column in the December 1856 issue of Harper’s New Monthly Magazine Volume 14.