Trump’s Muslim Ban Has Nothing to Do With National Security

The xenophobic policy must be understood within the context of the white nationalism that brought Trump to power.

Screenshot: YouTube
In a 5-to-4 vote, the U.S. Supreme Court has upheld the Trump administration’s ban on travel from five Muslim-majority countries (Syria, Iran, Yemen, Libya, and Somalia) and two countries that have been historically uncooperative with the American Empire (North Korea and Venezuela).

In her inspiring and heartfelt dissent, Justice Sonia Sotomayor compared the ban to Korematsu v. United States, the Supreme Court decision that justified the internment of more than 100,000 Japanese-Americans during World War II. Regarding the ruling, Trump’s White House stated, “It is the President’s sacred duty to take action to ensure that those seeking to enter our country will not harm the American people.”

However, as Muslim-American journalist Mehdi Hasan pointed out on a recent episode of Deconstructed, “the number of Americans killed on U.S. soil by citizens from countries on the banned list is exactly zero.”

One prominent Muslim country that didn’t quite make the list is Saudi Arabia. This oil-rich monarchy is not only the single largest exporter of the ultra-conservative Wahhabi ideology behind terrorist organizations like ISIS and al-Qaeda, but many Saudi individuals and organizations were also culpable in the largest terrorist attack on American soil. As Branko Marcetic of Jacobin explained:

“Fifteen of the nineteen [9/11] hijackers were Saudi nationals, and the attack was planned by a scion of one of the country’s wealthiest and politically connected families. The hijackers, we now know thanks to the release of twenty-eight previously classified pages from the 9/11 commission’s report, had ties to members of the Saudi government, including the Saudi ambassador to the United States, who also belongs to the country’s royal family. … Intelligence services suspect various Saudi charities of funding extremists, including the Al Haramain Islamic Foundation… Moreover, multiple members of the 9/11 commission have said they believe Saudi officials were involved in the attack.”

The Saudi government has also armed extremists in Syria and is currently conducting a large-scale bombing campaign against the defenseless, poverty-stricken population of Yemen. This is on top of the cholera epidemic that has recently ravaged the country, and some say this vicious military aggression may be reaching genocidal proportions

Based on clear threats posed from within its borders, you’d think Trump would be wary of the aforementioned Gulf monarchy, right? Think again. After the president’s gleeful little trip to Saudi Arabia last year, he proposed a $500 million weapons sale to the kingdom (part of a $110 billion package), which narrowly passed the Senate soon after his return.

The notion that Donald J. Trump cares about the safety and security of all Americans is laughable. With the corporate news media’s relentless barrage of Russiagate hysteria, it’s easy to forget the specifics of Trump’s rise to power.

For instance, Donald Trump kicked off his presidential campaign by announcing that Mexicans are rapists. He continued his reactionary and callous crusade by consistently advocating political violence (including thinly-veiled nods to assassination), mocking a disabled journalist, and insulting the family of a deceased Muslim-American veteran. He would later promote Islamophobic propaganda from the neo-fascist anti-immigrant organization known as “Britain First.”

Trump’s affinity for white supremacists and his endorsement of neo-Nazis emboldened the perpetrators of hate crimes. He has employed racistswhite nationalists, a probable Nazi, and was endorsed by the Ku Klux Klan. He even went on to devise an apparently Hitler-inspired program to document the supposed crimes of immigrants, leading to the further demonization of an already marginalized and oppressed demographic. In short, Trumpism was borne of white nationalism and “fear of diversity.”

A window into this vile worldview is the story of Steve Bannon and The Camp of the Saints. Bannon, Trump’s former chief strategist and architect of the Muslim travel ban, often used the aforementioned French novel as a metaphor for his geopolitical concerns. Bannon’s “alt-right” (i.e. white nationalist) news outlet Breitbart has also referenced the book, whose narrative involves hordes of Indian barbarians migrating to Europe to initiate the end of Western (i.e. white) civilization. As Paul Blumenthal and J.M. Rieger of Huffington Post explained:

“The white Christian world is on the brink of destruction, the novel suggests, because these black and brown people are more fertile and more numerous, while the West has lost that necessary belief in its own cultural and racial superiority.”

Stanford professor Cécile Alduy said the book is “racist in the literal sense of the term. It uses race as the main characterization of characters,” and Republican commentator Linda Chavez called it “shockingly racist.” The Camp of the Saints has been published various times in the U.S. and was often funded, promoted, and celebrated by the anti-immigration movement and even advocates of population control like the pro-eugenics Pioneer Fund.

Trump’s travel ban is a vicious and draconian policy based on racial hatred and xenophobia. It has nothing to do with national security and everything to do with banning religious and ethnic minorities. If we want to ban people, let’s start by banning racists from positions of power. Let’s ban white supremacists and fascists who put children in cages and fantasize about ethnic cleansing. Let’s abolish ICE, overturn this outrageous travel ban, and make bigotry an impeachable offense. The recent electoral victory of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is a beacon of hope in this time of darkness. Let’s flood Congress with true progressives and make America great for the first time.

Written by Matthew Dolezal

After receiving his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in 2007, Matthew Dolezal joined AmeriCorps and served as VISTA for one year. He moved to Austin, TX in 2015 with his fiancee, where he became a full-time coffee roaster and a member of Democratic Socialists of America. His work has also been published by The Hampton Institute. You can follow him on Twitter and find his work on Medium.

Matthew Dolezal is a Guest Contributor to Progressive Army.

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