12:18 GMT26 January 2020
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    According to the media reports, polling data shows that Democrats' support for foreign wars has jumped under Trump. Sputnik spoke about it to commentator and analyst of Middle East geopolitics Sharmine Narwani and journalist, University Lecturer, political commentator and writer Marwa Osman.

    Sputnik: According to polls among 2016 Trump voters, there is massive support for withdrawal from Syria: 76 percent to 14 percent. Clinton voters, however, oppose the removal of troops from Syria by a margin of 59 percent to 26 percent in favour. Why do the Democrats who always tend to be anti-war appear to be supporting war?

    Sharmine Narwani: Given the worsening political polarization in the United States over the past few years, it isn't surprising that an opposing political party ferociously objects to actions taken by a sitting president, particularly one as controversial as Donald Trump. Did Democrats not display contempt for George W. Bush? Did Republicans not return that sentiment with Barack Obama? So in some sense, the recent poll results that show 44% more Republicans than Democrats supporting Trump's US troop withdrawal from Syria, is because Republicans are backing their president, while Democrats will happily take a hammer to any position advocated by Trump.

    I happen to disagree, however, that Democrats are new to this 'warmongering' role. From Bill Clinton to Obama, Democrats have supported devastatingly destructive wars framed as 'humanitarian interventions' — aggressive regime-change operations that have killed hundreds of thousands of innocent people across the world. We need to break through the self-serving language that frames the two main US political parties — there's barely any difference in their foreign policies, at least until recently.

    Because in the past few years, global populations have begun to perceive their political interests differently. Republicans and Democrats, alike, have gravitated into two distinct camps — those who cling to establishment views and the old status quo, and those who reject the sustainability of stale policies and who now demand systemic change. So, in fact, we are seeing anti-war politicians emerge in both political parties — in opposition to the neoconservative and neoliberal types still clinging to their fraying reins.

    In short, Democrats haven't suddenly become pro-war, they are merely determined to scuttle any and all Trump initiatives, including the troop withdrawal from Syria and any talk of military disengagement in Afghanistan, Iraq and other hotspots. Likewise, Republicans haven't suddenly become anti-war, they merely have a leader who won his election based on this new trend, which is to chuck out unsustainable policies that waste American money.

    Marwa Osman: The numbers are truly stark. When Obama ran in 2008 on a pledge to end the war in Afghanistan and bring all troops home, the huge majorities of Democrats favoured a withdrawal of all troops from Afghanistan. However, with Trump rather than Obama now advocating troop withdrawal from Syria and Afghanistan, all has changed with the Democrats. A blatant attitude of the so-called "anti-Trump Resistance" has become militarism, chauvinism, and neo-conservatism. Trump is frequently being attacked by Democrats, who now claim that Trump is insufficiently aggressive with US enemies and that he's willing to allow the "bad countries" to take over by bringing home US soldiers.

    Democrats have taken an approach where anything against Trump's policies is their defensive line. They now portray all his efforts to establish less hostile relations with adversary countries as an indication of weakness or even treason just like neocons believe. Indeed, it seems that President Trump has been a great unifier of neoliberal Democrats and neoconservative Republicans, who have come to see only Russian plots against America at every turn. At the centre of this unity is not just a mutual antipathy for President Trump but a hostility towards Russia that recalls the paranoid years of the Cold War.

    READ MORE: Prof Explains Why US Pull-Out From Syria Will Go on Longer Than Expected

    Sputnik: This is not the first time that Democratic voters have shifted their beliefs based on the person sitting in the Oval Office. For example: Bush during his presidency was accused of keeping Guantanamo Bay open as well as using drones to assassinate terrorists. But the same policy had broad public support, including from the left wing of the Democratic Party during Obama days. What is your opinion on democratic bias, especially in media?

    Sharmine Narwani: US journalists have become so shamefully partisan that they think nothing of flaunting their views to serve their own self-interests. Double standards abound in the mostly liberal and neoliberal media who, for instance, had no problem with Obama's unprecedented arms sales to Saudi Arabia, but who now find Trump's arms sales to that country abhorrent. Today, these same journalists who kept silent for two years about the Obama-Saudi-UAE war in Yemen are suddenly outraged about the poor Yemeni victims.

    You know, it is Bill Clinton who first built a wall on the US-Mexican border, yet I've never seen the US mainstream media refer to that fact. Obama deported more immigrants than any other president and Clinton incarcerated black American males in unprecedented numbers, but it is Trump who is cast as the 'racist.' Obama won a Nobel Peace Prize before he even became president, such was the general media intoxication with his potential — yet he initiated half a dozen wars which killed thousands, and reignited a Cold War with Russia and China.

    But Trump is an 'irrational hawk' for trying to wind down these confrontations, resolve those differences and remove US troops from endless conflicts. Yes, the US liberal media is biased. But these double standards are now punching a hole in the credibility of mainstream journalists who back establishment positions unquestioningly. 'Fake news,' as many now call it.

    Marwa Osman:  The Democratic establishment's apparent shift to the right on foreign policy, along with its newly formed alliance with Republican hawks, is part of an overall trend that reveals how out of touch the party elite have become with the base. Americans care much less about the Russia scandal than the political establishment does, add to that the current Dem's brand of neoliberalism is politically toxic. In that light, the Democratic establishment's current strategy has become reckless and extremely shortsighted by embracing the centre and aligning with neoconservatives to "secure democracy" against any state that Trump tries to establish less hostile relations with.

    Take the Russophobia, for example, this Dem's interventionist ideology swung into the Republican party in the seventies and eighties, and now it's swung almost all the way back, and it's somehow managed to infect most of the Democratic party in the process. The creeping toward "humanitarian" regime change with Syria, the senseless escalations with a nuclear superpower in Russia, all to the cheerleading of Hillary Clinton's Libya disaster and other top Democrats' call for keeping US troops in Syria, means there's no reason to not call the democrats anything other than what they are, neoconservatives.

    The views expressed in this article are those of the speakers and do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.

    The views and opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.


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