M D Nalapat
THOSE close to the Hillary Rodham Clinton 2016
Presidential campaign say that the lady was of the
view that Donald J Trump would be easy to defeat. The fear within the Clinton camp was that a candidate such as Marco Rubio would clinch the Republican Party nomination. Rubio was young, unlike both Clinton and Trump, and he would have had as much of a lock on the swelling Latino vote as Barack Obama had on African-American turnout. It was with some relief, therefore, that the Clinton campaign got the news that Trump had prevailed over all sixteen of his adversaries within the Republican Party and was now the party nominee for the Nov 08 polls.
Soon afterwards, individuals in the media with strong connections to the Clintons got released a stink bomb against Candidate Trump in the form of the Access Hollywood tapes. They even ensured that the hapless journalist who was accompanying Trump on the bus in which he made some tasteless remarks got fired to add to the gravity of the story, even though all he was doing was his job: keeping the star happy, this time by pretending to appreciate the references of the older man to his success in ensuring that women did his bidding. Hillary Clinton was certain that publication of the Access Hollywood tapes would finish off support for Trump among women voters, which she needed in overwhelming numbers to offset her unpopularity with white male voters, especially those with limited or non-existent education.
Led by John Podesta, who usually kept his activities (if not his sanitized views) under the radar, the Clinton campaign used its reach into the US media to ensure that Trump’s sexual boasts were broadcast over and over again, an overkill that probably damaged their effectiveness as a “Trump repellent”. To Hillary’s shock, Candidate Trump not only suffered only negligible political damage from the tapes, but his retaliatory focus on a serial seducer of women, William Jefferson Clinton, brought back memories of the way in which Hillary had stood by her husband.
The media prizes access, that telephone call from a Head of Government in the early hours of the morning asking for advice, that one-on-one meeting every now and then in the great man’s office, so that the whole world would know that the journalist in question had access to the top, the price for which was silence over the indiscretions of the leader. Both Clinton and Kennedy gave that sort of access to the journalists they knew would be loyal to them. While the US President would get gushing copy from select scribes while in office, the journalists themselves could secure from them information about the inner workings of government sufficient to fill the front pages for days. Within the Washington Beltway, Bill and Hillary Clinton have long been the most powerful couple in the capital of the US after the President of the day (and for four years while Barack Obama occupied the White House, until Hillary Clinton resigned as Secretary of State in order to launch a campaign to succeed Obama in the White House, which she hoped to occupy in 2017 together with First Man Bill Clinton. They both are generous to their supporters and vindictive to those who oppose them, and since her defeat in the US Presidential elections, Hillary Clinton has been devoting a substantial degree of attention towards making President Trump toxic to Big Media in the US.
The result is that the only large media group that supports Trump is the chain of media outlets controlled by Rupert Murdoch and his sons. Time Warner, in particular, has been carrying out a vicious campaign against the 45th US Head of State since his inauguration. Its news channel, CNN, has been carrying on a continuous campaign designed to ensure that President Trump get impeached, and has been portraying the White House under Trump as being a nest of the Federal Security Bureau of Russia. Every day they are looking to Special Investigator Robert Mueller to justify the faith of the Clintons in him by coming up with evidence that could be manipulated in a way that could lead to the impeachment of the President and his replacement with Vice-President Mike Pence, whom the Clintons believe lack the charisma and the ruthlessness needed to ensure that the Republican Party continue to hold its present position of primacy within the political establishment, a situation largely created by the unexpectedly strong hold of Donald J Trump on the imagination of large swathes of US voters.
However, the campaign against Trump is moving into the ridiculous. Time has carried a handsomely paid essay by Karl Vick, which claims ( and not as a joke either) that the American Century has been single-handedly brought to a close by the election of Trump as US President. That 2017 has seen the end of US primacy, a position of superiority based ( according to Vick, who must occasionally be delusional as a consequence of certain items of consumption) on the superior morality of the US, a champion of “ freedom and free markets, progress and human rights”. The essayist forgot about the way in which President Truman sought to preserve the French colonial empire in Vietnam, or how Richard Nixon encouraged Henry Kissinger to use clandestine methods to ensure that AT & T retain its South American monopoly. Vick seems never to have heard of the dictatorships that the US has backed – and is still backing – across the globe.
Or the quagmire in Iraq and Afghanistan, followed by the mess in the Middle East ( especially Libya) that was caused by Time Warner’s favourite couple, the Clintons. Or the 2008 financial collapse, that shattered confidence in the money management of the US. To him, writing a sponsored article for TIME, it is Trump and Trump alone who is responsible for every catastrophe and failure of US domestic and foreign policy. Just as ( to him) it was only the US (and not mistakes made by a geriatric and sclerotic Politbureau of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union) Union) which caused the fall of the Soviets. Not to mention the revelation ( especially to the Chinese) that it was the US and not Deng Xiaoping that steered China towards economic superpower status. Both CNN and TIME are expending considerable effort seeking to discredit President Trump. Instead, they are making themselves an object of ridicule.
—The writer is Vice-Chair, Manipal Advanced Research Group, UNESCO Peace Chair & Professor of Geopolitics, Manipal University, Haryana State, India.
M D Nalapat