The Trump presidency is itself a provocation. But is he the most dangerous president ever? Is he really so outside the norm of the policies of his predecessors? The short answer, when it comes to substance and policy, is: not yet.
There is a particular risk in erasing the line between horrible things Trump does with horrible things the U.S. has done for a long time and acting like it is all Trump. It’s a complicated conversation, but it is one we should have. It means exploring the roots of white supremacy in the U.S., the way American wars are constantly put through a laundering process to make them seem noble and brave, the way “real American” has been defined and continues to be defined in our society. For eight years, we had the first black president in U.S. history and now we have a reality TV host who spends a great deal of time tweeting and watching TV. So what is unique to Trump and what is embedded in the politics of empire in the U.S.?
Professor Nikhil Pal Singh has spent years studying trends in U.S. policies throughout history, domestically and internationally. He is professor of Social and Cultural Analysis and History at New York University. His latest book is “Race and America’s Long War.” He is unafraid to take on the golden calves of “American exceptionalism” and challenges us all to examine both the forrest and the trees of American Empire.