Last week, President Donald Trump’s “we should have taken the oil” comments surrounding the war on terror caught much well-deserved flack for its placing an insensitive and grossly irresponsible level of risk on American troops and interests abroad. Similarly, he is now on record as the newly inaugurated leader of the free world as having both mocked the Geneva Convention and pledged his firm-yet-unsubstantiated belief in outlawed torture methods.
Now, doubling-down on this brazen dogma, this past weekend’s events surrounding his “Muslim ban” has underscored an even more significant flaw in the new administration’s national security policies.
While the executive order purports to protect Americans from “foreign terrorist entry into the United States”, actual hard facts show that the order does not actually target a single terror-born nation in the Muslim world. Instead, it focuses on only 7 countries whose actual ties to terror attacks – here or abroad – are in the nonexistent realm.
And with specific regard to political refugees from, say, Syria, the ban creates a whole new class of disillusionment toward American ideals and values.
For decades now, rampant and evolving jihadist movements have been actively recruiting by convincing would-be followers that America is so anti-Muslim that it would altogether delegitimize the faith on a global scale. Trump’s weird, nonsensical travel ban – whether it be as a premature, poorly executed trial basis or a more permanent stature – simply strengthens this claim and emboldens the propagandic gospel of groups like ISIS.
In a break from party lines, even typical war-hawks like U.S. Senators John McCain (R-AZ) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) spoke out strongly against the order, citing its hasty enactment against refugees, green-card holders and military/diplomatic personnel despite “little to consultation with the Departments of State, Defense, Justice, and Homeland Security.”
“Ultimately, we fear this executive order will become a self-inflicted wound in the fight against terrorism,” the joint statement reads. “At this very moment, American troops are fighting side-by-side with our Iraqi partners to defeat ISIL. But this executive order bans Iraqi pilots from coming to military bases in Arizona to fight our common enemies. Our most important allies in the fight against ISIL are the vast majority of Muslims who reject its apocalyptic ideology of hatred. This executive order sends a signal, intended or not, that America does not want Muslims coming into our country. That is why we fear this executive order may do more to help terrorist recruitment than improve our security.”
There is a profound danger here, whereas reactionary and nativist politics – which tend to rear their ugly heads from the right’s rhetoric, specifically on campaign trails – attempt revisionary histories and faux realities. Or, to put more simply, “alternative facts.”
Which is no new thing, really; Trump’s campaign promises coupled with his inaugural fear-mongering over a “nation under carnage” have fueled this fire. As it stands, he does not need to be specific or exacting or even accurate in his policies toward Muslims so long as his supporting base rallies to his blanket disregard for proper judgment, no matter how misaligned with the supposed American ideal he is supposed to be defending.
His reactionist stances play to a regressive American point of view that places a disdain on both international opinion and global responsibility. It is this small-mindedness that has been given a tremendously booming voice on the global stage by his presidency, and our would-be enemies will no doubt hone in and exploit this to the best of their abilities despite the best efforts of the American peoples’ majority.
This executive order sends a signal, intended or not, that America does not want Muslims coming into our country. That is why we fear this executive order may do more to help terrorist recruitment than improve our security.
Sure, we activists can protest and march and win some, lose some. But to populations abroad and under the spell of a media embargo the likes of which the Trump administration is seemingly building day by day, the vision of a secure and inclusive America that we are all screaming to protect is dangerously fading.