American intellectual and social critic Noam Chomsky took some time to reflect on President Donald Trump’s first 100 days thus far in a new interview with Truthout.
Chomsky has previously called Trump’s election victory a “literal threat to [human] survival,” arguing in particular that the president’s positions on climate change and nuclear weapons treaties (specifically the potential reversal of the Iran deal) pose a very real danger.
In his interview with Truthout, he further pushes that claim, explaining how the far right movement appears to be dedicated “to undermining our prospects for decent survival.”
Noting that “the clock was moved again to 2 ½ minutes to midnight” in just the first days of Trump’s term, Chomsky discussed environmental disaster, the rise of the far right, and the hope for the future.
“Trump and his allies … cheerily lead the race to environmental destruction,” Chomsky said, and pointed to coordinated effort between his cabinet and the “reactionary fringe of the Republican establishment” to enrich “the rich and powerful.”
According to Chomsky, the efforts within the Trump team, particular regarding the president and his Chief Strategist Steve Bannon, appear to be a planned “two-pronged operation.”
They “have the task of dominating TV and headlines with one wild performance after another, the assumption apparently being that [Trump’s] fabrications will quickly be forgotten as the next episode displaces them, and the base will be satisfied for a time, believing that their champion is standing up for them,” he said. But his rural and working-class constituency will feel the brunt of his policies.
Chomsky notes that Trump’s “ultra-right billionaire cabinet and other appointees, [were] selected very carefully to destroy whatever within their domains might be helpful to mere humans, but not to the chosen few of extreme wealth and power.”
This is already very clear when looking at the president’s budget proposals. “Expand the military and lavish gifts on the rich and powerful, while the rest are somehow to fend for themselves,” said Chomsky.
When it comes to the repeated campaign promises of bringing back jobs, Chomsky deflated that idea with a reminder that in US political discourse, the term “jobs” really only means “profits.”
If that seems bleak, he notes that there is still hope for the future and a shift in the US social and political landscape. He pointed to the support behind former Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, particularly among young Americans — not that Sanders is the answer for the future, but that his calls for “political revolution” and even his use of the word “socialism” signal a looming change.