It's official: the outgoing president of the United States is akin to the late leader of the Third Reich. It's all over the news even in the lands between the Black and Baltic seas.
Observing the Intermarium news media, one has a sense of a deja vu. With some exceptions, TV, digital and paper news in the lands between Baltic, Black, and Adriatic seas sound eerily similar to their American counterparts, sometimes channeled via EU, particularly German, information organizations.
Hungarian and Polish public TV, and some internet alternative national internet streaming shows do buck the trend. However, in perhaps most cases, the reader/viewer receives the usual liberal pablum except not in English, but in Polish, Hungarian, Czech, Slovak, Bulgarian, Croat, Serb, Romanian, Estonian, Latvian, Lithuanian, and Ukrainian.
Repulsed by CNN-inspired local media bias one cannot easily find relief in mendacious offers of the post-Communist Kremlin chimes, the organs of Minsk, the arabesque of Al-Jazira, or the propaganda tubes of China. Despite competition, it is hands down the liberal American paradigm that dominates the media narrative in the Intermarium. Thus, one is left to one's own devices to interpret information overload which is the new fog of war.
What on Earth is going on in America? That is a standard question I field with increasing frequency from my Intermarium friends.
Nothing stands out better as an example of this incestuous relationship than the case of Donald Trump. The press and TV denounce him in a Pavlovian dog unison as a would-be dictator and the evil mastermind behind a failed coup. The incumbent American president and his supporters are obviously "like" Nazis. By drawing on flawed historical parallels, they paint with broad strokes a picture of a Hitler and his alleged MAGA stormtroopers.
This shocking message reverberates through the Intermarium media, just like in the United States. Most leftists and liberals in the Three Seas region buy it mindlessly of course; most rightists reject it angrily. However, the folks in the Three Seas region are confused. Trump as Hitler? That does not make any sense.
Hitler's Germany left in its wake tens of millions of dead, including about 6 million Jews. Belarus probably had the highest casualty rate per capita in the region. Poland lost over 3 million of its Jews and up to 3 million of its Christians. Millions more perished in Ukraine, and in the Balkans, Serbia in particular.
Hitler created one great graveyard in the Intermarium, and Stalin augmented it before, during, and after the Second World War. No one calls another person Hitler lightly there. So what gives?
This is how I sort things out for my friends. First I tell them about the broad background, and then I explain the particularities.
First, President Donald Trump has been targeted by black propaganda. It is a tool of statecraft. This particular genre is called "character assassination" (Rufmord). This method has been around since antiquity. The success of the tool was predicated on the success in spreading poisonous gossip, swapping tasteless jokes, and sharing scandalous images.
Let us remember that humor is perhaps the most refined means of aggression. The Communist International (Komintern) refined Rufmord to perfection. In our times the effectiveness of this particular genre is amplified by the ubiquity of corporate and social media. One needs only to release the paradigm of the smear; the agentura feeds the main lines into the mainstream; and the useful idiots replicate them endlessly.
Second, the late Professor Leo Strauss taught that the left uses the device of the reducing to Hitler (reductio ad Hitlerum) when it lacks any solid arguments, when it wants to besmirch the object of its hate, and when it wishes to delegitimize an object of its hatred.
Smears such as "fascist" or "Nazi" work the same way. Renowned mid-20th century British author Evelyn Waugh recalled that back in the '20s to put someone down it was enough to call him "Bolshy" – Bolshevik. No discussion was needed.
Then Stalin and his Komintern introduced the concept of "fascist." Anyone who disagreed with Stalin was "fascist," or something similar. Thus, social democrats became "social fascists," and Trotsky and his followers: "Hitlero-Fascists."
That is precisely the propaganda paradigm that the legacy media have deployed against President Trump. Their message reverberates throughout the world, including the European Union and its neighborhood.
And now let us look at the particulars. First, a celebrity former California governor compared Donald Trump, his MAGA followers, and the storming of the Capitol to Kristallnacht – The Night of the Broken Glass.
On the night of November 9-10, 1938, Adolf Hitler and his government of Nazi Germany organized an anti-Jewish pogrom. On explicit orders in a pre-planned manner organized Nazi thugs attacked synagogues, homes, and businesses. At least 108 people died.
Yet, the mob anger and the raid on the House of Congress was a spontaneous reaction. The rioters were not after the Jewish people or any ethnicity in particular. They targeted lawmakers who, they believed, "stole" the last presidential election. The analogy to Kristallnacht is thus false. This is simply a variation of the reductio ad Hitlerum trick.
Further, the claim that the MAGA rioters. desecration of the "temple of the American democracy," as Pat Buchanan himself put it, was analogous to the Reichstag Fire is equally mistaken. The Reichstag Fire of February 17, 1933, was a Nazi provocation, prepared by the secret police on Hitler's orders, which involved implicating the Communists in the burning of the German Parliament so that Der Führer could implement extraordinary legal measures giving him dictatorial powers.
The so-called "Enabling Act" paved the way to the total supremacy of the Nazis and triggered a wave of persecution of Jews and other enemies of the Third Reich.
In distinction, the MAGA riot was a spontaneous act from below. It was neither organized by the FBI nor directed from above by the White House. Also, the United States Congress did not pass any special legislation giving Trump dictatorial powers. Instead, America has witnessed a "Disabling Act" by the social media after Facebook and Twitter banned Trump, Twitter for life.
Liberals purvey a noxious story that the storming of the Capitol was a "white supremacy" moment reflecting all Republicans and conservatives at large, thus delegitimizing any form of dissent from leftist fantasies. Employers fire people for attending pro-Trump demonstrations, and even for posting disagreeable conservative messages on line.
And the Democrats are using their own version of the "Enabling Act" to remake America in their woke image. Finally, they threaten to treat all MAGA folks as terrorists. Who is totalitarian now?
So much for Trump as Hitler, I told the Intermarium folks who interviewed me.
Marek Jan Chodakiewicz is Professor of History at the Institute of World Politics, a graduate school of statecraft in Washington D.C.; expert on East-Central Europe's Three Seas region; author, among others, of "Intermarium: The Land Between The Baltic and Black Seas." Read Marek Jan Chodakiewicz's Reports — More Here.
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