Muslim Press has conducted an interview with Robert Huzinker. In this interview, Mr Huzinker speaks about Hillary Clinton, the rise of Donald Trump, and US policies in the Middle East.
Here's the full text of the interview:
MP: What’s your take on the leaked emails that show DNC had favored Hillary Clinton?
Robert Hunziker: Democrat insiders have known about, and supported, DNC favoritism for Hillary for over one year. Clearly, the party leadership, i.e., the Super Delegates (unique to the Democratic Party nominating process), made the decision to nominate her in 2015. Having said that, the case should be made to do away with Super Delegates, which are beholden to establishment candidates, not a fair and equitable electioneering process for Democrat voters.
As for the leaked emails, it is disgraceful that the DNC, which holds itself out to be all-inclusive, conspired behind the scenes against a legitimate candidate. Bernie’s delegates have a right to protest and have done so at the convention.
MP: How do you explain the rise of Donald Trump?
Robert Hunziker: Donald Trump represents American frustration, anger, and disappointment with socio-politico-economic neoliberalism policies that increasingly leave the middle class choking on dust.
Because of neoliberal policies like NAFTA, real wage growth and job opportunities have literally crashed for average Americans. People are fed up and looking for scapegoats to vent frustration. The logical scapegoat is establishment politicians, the elites that formulate trade policies that undercut unions and workers rights.
The solution to their frustration is an outsider, a leader who denigrates the establishment. Trump is very good at this. Essentially, Donald Trump is a release valve for decades of pent-up frustration by America’s working/middle class as well as some in the professional class.
When people are frustrated or mad, they look for a “mad voice.” Donald Trump is the epitome of a mad voice. His mannerisms and speaking depict a madman. Thereby, he’s a natural outlet for frustrated/mad people.
Interestingly, Bernie Sanders has a mad message, but not a mean-spirited mad voice like Trump. By all appearances, America’s electorate is out for blood. Trump fits the bill!
The past 40 years has served as a setup for a quasi-fascist candidate like Trump. This setup commenced in the 1980s, which is essentially a reversion to 19th century frontier anti-intellectual, anti-immigrant, rugged individualistic, praise-the-Lord politics. This strain of politics has a long history in America; for example, the great American historian Richard Hofstadter traced anti-intellectualism back to the beginning of America. He discusses evangelical religion and big business in that context.
That old dogma in combination with neoliberalism feasts on destruction of nation-state public welfare, obliterates public welfare programs in favor of privatization for profit, and it is a reversion to feudalism when lords and kings ruled the domain, reinforced by an intellectual strain throughout society that favors a mean-spirited leadership that protects the “domain” from outsiders, e.g., the Trump Wall.
MP: How does his success relate to the spread of anti-establishment sentiments?
Robert Hunziker: Trump’s message (even though he is in the 1%) is all about anti-establishment sentiments. After all, it’s the establishment that set the socio-economic course that only works for the establishment. The “One Percent” is one of the most powerful, telling slogans since liberté, égalité, fraternité for the French Revolution in the 18th century. The French Revolution was entirely 100% anti-establishment.
Back then they killed priests, monarchs, and aristocrats by the thousands, beheaded. They destroyed the establishment. That’s as anti-establishment as one can get.
Today, thus far, no guillotines have been erected and nobody is calling for brutal physical harm of the establishment. They are, however, doing the next sure thing, which is to destroy the establishment’s politics.
Thus and therefore, it is possible that Hillary will lose because of this fervent anti-establishment sentiment throughout America. She is, after all, pure establishment.
Mussolini and Hitler won elections via anti-establishment sentiment. Back then, people felt abused and left out of the system, similar to today. Back then, people looked for a “mad voice.”
MP: Why do Republicans deny climate change?
Robert Hunziker: They deny climate change because (1) it is very profitable for them to deny it, and (2) they hate change, and (3) they fear big governmental programs that upstage private enterprise. Each of these three reasons requires further elaboration.
Regarding the “profitable” aspect, Republicans are the primary recipients of fossil fuel political fund raising. Also, several Republican politicians have made a lot of personal money in fossil fuel investments. Thus, the financial reward in rejection of climate change is considerable.
Secondly, the Republican Party hates change. They have never been progressive, never insightful. Whereas, if they admit to the destruction caused by climate change, it is tantamount to endorsing a lot of change in a very big way to fix the problem.
Because admitting to climate change would be admitting to the destructive capacity of fossil fuels, which, in turn, would be admitting to the necessity for a radical transformation of energy sources to renewables. This, in turn, would eliminate trillions of dollars of fossil fuel infrastructure and eliminate one of the biggest monetary enriching bonanzas of all times, i.e., energy producers, who essentially suck the earth dry of hydrocarbons for free, making tons of money off the back of nature.
Thirdly, if they concede to fossil fuel’s disastrous impact on climate change, the country would be forced to ramp up renewable energy on the scale of a Manhattan Project, which would involve major governmental involvement. Republicans are anti-big government involvement.
MP: Do they deny climate change because they are ignorant or do they protect their interests by denying the facts?
Robert Hunziker: They are not ignorant. They are smart as foxes by confusing the climate change issue, saying nobody can really be sure if anthropogenic climate change is real, after all, they claim the “climate always changes.”
This denial posture by Republicans puts the entire planet at risk of ecosystem collapse because the U.S. is viewed as the leader of the free world, yet America has a horrible climate change containment record. Congress won’t hear of it.
Obviously, they also protect their money interests by denying the facts of climate change. This is very important to them.
MP: How do you explain American interventionism in Middle Eastern countries?
Robert Hunziker: It is a result of American Exceptionalism, which entails several elements, meaning firstly, that the U.S. has a different historical precedent than other countries, liberty, egalitarianism, individualism, and democracy.
And secondly, the U.S. has a unique mission to transform the world into its likeness.
And thirdly,because of the perceived uniqueness, the U.S. is superior to other countries and cultures.
Those are the three primary characteristics of American Exceptionalism.
This American Exceptionalism increasingly manifests via interventionism wherever and whenever America decides its in its national interests.
One reason behind American interventionism is the military industrial complex, which is always looking for trouble, and often times finds it on a whim. After all, this diffuse complex mass-produces weaponry, and whenever nation/states are dedicated to producing weaponry, it comes natural to put weapons to use.
Another reason for American interventionism is the control over natural resources, especially oil, which is the hub of worldwide industry and commerce. America will always fight to control oil.
And finally, America has become the “bully” of the world. In part, this is the result of the end of the Cold War with Russia. And in part, this represents the interests of the Deep State, which is largely apolitical and interconnected by similarity of neocon viewpoints behind the scenes.
The wonderful TV series X-Files (1993-2002) had “The Syndicate,” villains which worked behind the scenes to gain advantage. That TV representation has similarities to the Deep State in America today where decisions affecting the nation are not public decisions, but rather deviously devilishly self-promoted behind the scenes sans moral scruples.
MP: What countries have suffered from American interventionism?
Robert Hunziker: It is likely that all Western democracies have suffered, immeasurably.
America’s interventionism has spawned anger and hatred throughout the Middle East. The result is a splintering of nation/states, a breakdown of ancient cultures, and the rise of terrorism as a final result.
When people no longer have anything to lose, they fight. American interventionism has pressed too many people up against immovable walls whereby they have nowhere to turn but fight back, which spawns terrorism.
All Western Democracies that have participated with America suffer. Look at France.
But, mostly the countries of the Middle East suffer with countless deaths, destroyed infrastructure, loss of innocence, and wandering migrant families, lost souls. These are people losing their history.
MP: What course of action should the US take over the conflicts in the Middle East?
Robert Hunziker: The U.S. should back out completely.
Put the shoe on the other foot: How would the U.S. react if Syria, Lebanon, Israel, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, or the UAE sent troops to America to “police” the American police? After all, American police are killing people in cold blood, captured in videos. This is a telltale sign, an early warning of a failed nation/state, a sign of moral degradation of a society.
When people innocently walking the streets become targets for trigger-happy law enforcement fully trained officers, it is a signal of moral collapse of society, especially if it does not spark outrage and drastic overnight changes in policy by the highest of authorities, the elite, of the nation/state.
Nevertheless, America is not universally outraged about street killings as much as it is universally outraged by loss of opportunities in the workplace and in society at large. This signals a total breakdown of moral values throughout society. It’s when people turn to madmen for answers!
Trump is merely a reflection of pent-up anger and frustration amongst the American public. As such, the upcoming November election may very well be one of the most significant turning points in American political and social history. It likely marks the beginning of the end of American Empire, similar to the end of the Roman Empire as society degenerated, losing its moral compass.
On a fiscal basis, on a moral basis, on a socio-economic basis, on a political basis, America becomes increasingly bankrupt with each election cycle. This is comparable to a slow-moving spiral downward into a pit of despair, the Roman Empire redux.
Robert Hunziker (MA, economic history, DePaul University) is a freelance writer and environmental journalist whose articles have been translated into foreign languages and appeared in over 50 journals, magazines, and sites worldwide, like Z magazine, European Project on Ocean Acidification, Ecosocialism Canada, Climate Himalaya, Counterpunch, Dissident Voice, Comite Valmy, and UK Progressive. He has been interviewed about climate change on Pacifica Radio, KPFK, FM90.7, Indymedia On Air and World View Show/UK.