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Two Contrasting Views of Trump’s Ideology

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Date: Sunday, 25 February 2024

Two Contrasting Views of Trump’s Ideology

Eric Zuesse (blogs at

On February 8th Russia’s RT News headlined “Glenn Diesen: Biden vs Trump has profound implications for the world order” and presented the following on Trump’s ideology:

Trump’s global governance: ‘America First’ and great power pragmatism

Trump seeks to restore American greatness by reducing the costs of alliance systems and hegemony. He sees alliances against strategic rivals as undesirable if they involve a transfer of relative economic power to allies. Trump believes that NATO is an “obsolete” relic of the Cold War because Western Europeans should contribute more to their own security. In his view, the US should perhaps reduce its presence in the Middle East and allies should pay America for their security in some way. Economic agreements such as the North American Free Trade Agreement and the Trans-Pacific Partnership would have promoted US leadership, but under Trump, they have been abandoned because of the transfer of economic benefits to allies. Trump does not reject US imperialism, but wants to make it sustainable by ensuring a higher return on investment.

Less tied to the alliance system and unencumbered by ideological dogma, Trump can take a more pragmatic approach to other great powers. Trump is able to make political deals with adversaries, use friendly and diplomatic language when talking to Putin and Xi, and even perhaps make a diplomatic visit to North Korea. While Biden’s division of the world into liberal democracies and authoritarian states makes Russia an adversary, Trump’s view of the world as nationalists/patriots versus cosmopolitans/globalists makes Russia a potential ally. This ideological view complements the pragmatic consideration of not pushing Russia into the arms of China, the main rival of the US.

Global governance will be utilitarian in this case, and the main goal of the US will be to regain a competitive advantage over China. Trump is fundamentally inclined to blame China excessively for America’s economic problems. Economic pressure on China is intended to restore US technological/industrial dominance and protect domestic jobs. Economic nationalist ideas reflect the ideas of the 19th-century American system, where economic policy is based on fair trade rather than free trade. Trump appears to view the entire post-Cold War security system in Europe as a costly attempt to subsidize Western Europe’s declining importance. 

By contrast, here is my view of Trump’s ideology:

There are only two actual ideologies. One, which is publicly known as supremacism, or “Might makes right,” or (internationally-speaking) imperialism, believes that the superior should rule over the inferiors; and the opposite ideology is progressivism — which is that everyone has the same rights as everyone else does — and it rejects supremacism (regardless of how that is being labelled). Adolf Hitler was a famous example of a supremacist, and Albert Einstein was a famous example of a progressive.

Trump, just like Biden and most people, is a supremacist. He believes in might-makes-right. He admires people who are successful, and despises people who are not. In that sense, he is a conservative. Another way of thinking of this is that a conservative takes the existing power-structure as being correct so that it ought to continue, because this hierarchy isn’t merely a hierarchy of power but ALSO a hierarchy of GOODNESS. It takes might-makes-right and extends that to all competitions, in which there are ONLY winners and losers, in order to select ‘the best’ and discard the rest. In that view, every competition is also a selection of BETTER over WORSE, and not MERELY a selection of WINNER over LOSER. The mathematical model of supremacism is zero-sum games: there is no equality — not of rights nor of anything else, because in any competition (and all of life is considered to be a competiton), there is a winner and there are also the losers. Cooperative games, which are positive-sum games (mutual benefit: + + for the two sides, instead of + - for them as in zero-sum games), are viewed as being, instead, merely one gang cooperating together against another gang cooperating together; and, so, as being ONLY a particular TYPE of zero-sum games. In the conservative or might-makes-right view, cooperation is always a cooperation against, and never a cooperation for. Everything is war. And war is everything. They think that there are no real + + (positive-sum; i.e., cooperative) games (+ + games that aren’t merely PARTS of a zero-sum game). (A + + game is the progressive’s ideal but the conservative’s curse — since a conservative denies that it is realistic, simply presumes that it is impossible.) And the right side in any war is the side for the extension of the status-quo. THAT is conservatism. Conservatism argues for supremacism on the basis of ‘natural law’ from ‘God’ or ‘Providence’: to challenge it is not only to challenge what is, but to challenge what ought to be. Such a challenge is felt to be blasphemous, evil, wrong, unnatural.

Diesen says that “Trump seeks to restore American greatness by reducing the costs of alliance systems and hegemony. He sees alliances against strategic rivals as undesirable if they involve a transfer of relative economic power to allies.” And, “Trump appears to view the entire post-Cold War security system in Europe as a costly attempt to subsidize Western Europe’s declining importance.” But, as I and others have documented, Biden’s policies such as the economic sanctions against Russia have been weakening Germany and other U.S. colonies (‘allies’) by increasing their costs-of-energy and by subsidizing the transfer of manufacturing capacity from Europe (where energy has thus — and especially by blowing up the Nordstream pipelines — become extremely expensive, and taxes on business-investment and regulations on businesses are both very high) to America (where all of those costs are far lower). Furthermore: Biden’s demand that its ‘allies’ (colonies) decrease the proportion of their Governments’ expenses that go toward education and other non-military purposes, and increase the expenses into military purposes instead, to further enrich the owners of stocks such as in Lockheed Martin — increasing these ‘allies’ ‘defense’ costs at the expense of cutting all expenditures into their win-win Governmental Departments — is having yet further impact to weaken the economies of America’s colonies; so, why is Trump promising to intensify those Biden policies, other than for Trump to fool fools? (Of course: in Trump’s view, he is better than the people he fools, because he wins and they lose.)

Biden’s policies (including even his lying about them) are all might-makes-right; and, so, his differences from Trump are vastly smaller in reality than is their political rhetoric — all of which icing-on-the-cake differences are just to continue virtually unchanged the existing political game — a nearly 100% lose-lose game, not only for America in world affairs, but also for the American people ourselves, and which losing game benefits above all else the mega-investors in ‘defense’ stocks (but other billionaires too, such as the mega-investors in extraction-firms such as ExxonMobil).


Investigative historian Eric Zuesse’s latest book, AMERICA’S EMPIRE OF EVIL: Hitler’s Posthumous Victory, and Why the Social Sciences Need to Change, is about how America took over the world after World War II in order to enslave it to U.S.-and-allied billionaires. Their cartels extract the world’s wealth by control of not only their ‘news’ media but the social ‘sciences’ — duping the public.

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