By Jeremy Scahill, The Interception
ANY DEMOCRATS, LIBERALS, traditional conservatives, and even some leftists continue to tell themselves that the election of Joe Biden was the first step toward restoring U.S. standing in the world after the damage caused by Donald Trump. And in a variety of ways — many stylistic and some substantive — that perspective has merit. But when it comes to national security policy, the U.S. has been on a steady, hypermilitarized arc for decades. Taken broadly, U.S. policy has been largely consistent on “national security” and “counterterrorism” matters from 9/11 to the present.
The ascent of the charlatan businessman Trump to the presidency in 2016 was a logical — if somewhat on-the-nose — plot twist in the U.S. imperial saga that managed to distill many truths about this nation into a four-year televised and live-tweeted debacle.
The continued media drumbeat that Trump remains the gravest enduring threat to U.S. democracy is fueled by legitimate concerns over Trump’s frantic efforts to use the office of the presidency to overturn the election results, which came to a head with the violent demonstrations at the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021. These dangerous actions, taken in concert with ongoing Republican efforts at voter disenfranchisement and the peddling of false conspiracy theories, merit serious concern. The Trumpist movement, especially its members in Congress, poses a clear threat to the democratic process. But even in the face of this threat, the bipartisan imperial consensus was so strong that the Democrats continued to increase Trump’s national security powers throughout his presidency.