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Trump, Bush Performing ‘Fake Debate’ on Economic Agenda

© REUTERS / Joshua RobertsUS President Donald Trump claps before speaking at the Heritage Foundation’s President’s Club Meeting in Washington, US, October 17, 2017.
US President Donald Trump claps before speaking at the Heritage Foundation’s President’s Club Meeting in Washington, US, October 17, 2017. - Sputnik International
US presidents past and present took a few verbal potshots at one another this week, but some of the ostensible points of dispute simply amount to a “fake debate,” Vijay Prashad, professor of international studies at Trinity University, told Radio Sputnik’s Loud & Clear Friday.

Speaking at the Bush Institute, former US President George W. Bush said while "we should not be blind to the economic and social dislocations caused by globalization… we can't wish globalization away, any more than we could wish away the agricultural revolution or the industrial revolution."

However, US President Donald Trump's promise to the nation has been summed up in the phrase, "Make America Great Again," and the policy prescription naturally flowing from this mantra is to put "America first" on issues by turning away immigrants and engaging in protectionist trade policies.

"We've seen nationalism distorted into nativism," Bush chided, "forgotten the dynamism that immigration has always brought to America. We see a fading confidence in the value of free markets and international trade — forgetting that conflict, instability and poverty follow in the wake of protectionism."

​According to Prashad, though, this does not represent a true discussion within the Republican Party on economic issues. Bush indeed stood for "free market globalization, open borders for capital, and so on. And the statement being made is that Trump is against that, when we very well know Trump is in favor of free market globalization."

"Politically," however, Trump "doesn't say so," Prashad explained to Loud & Clear. In his public persona, Trump "likes to gesture to his base that he's against free market globalization, and he would prefer to blame immigrants for the problem of joblessness."

"There is no indication that Trump is going to roll back on free market globalization. This is a fake debate," Prashad noted.

Former U.S. president Barack Obama, right, and former U.S. president George W. Bush (File) - Sputnik International
Diplomatic Graces? Obama, Bush Slam US Politics Without Naming Trump

This week, Trump took his own jabs at former presidents when asked if he had reached out the families of US military service members who have been slain during his presidency. "If you look at President [Barack] Obama and other presidents, most of them didn't make calls — a lot of them didn't make calls. I like to make calls when it's appropriate."

Former Obama White House foreign policy adviser Ben Rhodes exclaimed that Trump's remark was an "outrageous and disrespectful lie." Former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, retired Gen. Martin Dempsey, said Obama and Bush "cared deeply, worked tirelessly for the serving, the fallen, and their families. Not politics. Sacred trust."

Meanwhile, at least nine of the 43 families who have lost a loved one serving in the military during the Trump administration told the Associated Press Thursday they have not heard a word from the president. 

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