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Trump’s speech in Poland defending “Western civilization” from its enemies sounded less like Reagan’s Cold War–era speeches than white nationalist rhetoric.
By Jamelle Bouie
… Trump hammered home this idea in a subsequent line. “The fundamental question of our time is whether the West has the will to survive,” said the president, before posing a series of questions: “Do we have the confidence in our values to defend them at any cost? Do we have enough respect for our citizens to protect our borders?”
… But it’s clear Trump has something else in mind: immigration. …
Poland can’t be allowed to be Polish.
You might think that after all the Polish people have gone through since 1795, we could allow an exception in the case of Poland.
But, no, any mercy would be racist. Warsaw must be turned into Detroit in order to crush white nationalism.
Likewise, the prosaic warning that unnamed “forces” will sap the West of its will to defend itself recalls Bannon’s frequent references to the Camp of the Saints, an obscure French novel from 1973 that depicts a weak and tolerant Europe unable to defend itself from a flotilla of impoverished Indians …
You see, there was this evil novel back in 1973 that pretty accurately predicted what Chancellor Merkel would choose to do in 2015. Being right about the future is wrong. Making accurate predictions is bad. As punishment for spawning one novelist who was so vile as to grasp the future Europe was headed toward, we must make sure this dystopia comes true. Because you deserve it for being so despicable as to understand our intentions toward you.
For as much as parts of Trump’s speech fit comfortably in a larger tradition of presidential rhetoric, these passages are clear allusions to ideas and ideologies with wide currency on the white nationalist right. …
“What we have, what we inherited from our—and you know this better than anybody, and you see it today with this incredible group of people—what we’ve inherited from our ancestors has never existed to this extent before. And if we fail to preserve it, it will never, ever exist again.”
Those lines fit comfortably into a long history of white nationalist rhetoric.
Also conservationist / environmentalist / biodiversity rhetoric. Of course there was much overlap between, say, the founders of the National Park System and the opponents of unlimited immigration. The concepts of “stewardship” and “sustainability” are important links.