Sunday, April 7, 2024

America First: Allies Last


Scene from The Blitz--the bombing of London by the Nazis

On September 4, 1940, American Nazis led by Charles Lindbergh and Henry Ford formed the America First Committee.  Nazis had already held rallies--including a huge rally in Madison Square Garden.  But America First was formed specifically to abandon our ally the United Kingdom in the darkest hours of World War II.  

On the date the committee was formed, Nazi Germany had conquered Poland, France, Belgium, Norway, Denmark, The Netherlands and was rolling south through the Balkans and Greece.  The UK was surrounded, being bombed, and if the Republican Nazi sympathizers got their way, was going to be abandoned to the Nazis.  

In his book "The Plot Against America" Philip Roth imagines Lindbergh got the Republican nomination and beat FDR in the 1940 Presidential election.  America became a Nazi ally and Jewish persecution followed as soon as the Republicans took power. (The novel has a surprise ending.)

The Republicans had to back off their pro-Nazi stance after Pearl Harbor when Germany declared war on the US. But the isolation, pro-fascist Republicans remained committed to  America First through the war and ever since.  America First was implicit in the Republicans fight against the UN membership after WWII.  

With the ending of the Cold War in 1991, Pat Buchanan explicitly revived America First in his runs for the Presidency for more than a decade. Buchanan never got elected, but his ideas spread throughout the TEA Party Republican party and became the center of the Trump party.  

Trump threatened to take America out of NATO as soon as he took office 2017.  He sided with Putin against his own government in 2018. Later in the same year, he abandoned our allies the Kurds in Iraq and Syria after one phone call from Erdogan of Turkey. In his book The Empire and Five Kings Bernard-Henri Levy chronicles the betrayal of the Kurds in considerable detail. 

And now at Trump's whim, the Republican Party is blocking aid to Ukraine in its fight against the Republican's favorite dictator, Putin.  In a week I will be lobbying for aid to Ukraine in its fight against Putin. For that aid to be approved, it will have to go around all the Putin fan boys in the Republican party. 

In a week, I will be trying to convince some of those Republicans to stand with Ukraine.  I will be working against the America First trend chronicled so well in the new book America Last

Wish me luck.


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