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Trump's Dangerous Thirst for a Clash of Civilizations


Trump's Dangerous Thirst for a Clash of Civilizations

Eugene Robinson

“A little learning is a dangerous thing,” wrote the poet Alexander Pope. Three centuries later, Pope’s aphorism perfectly — and dangerously — describes President Trump’s understanding of history as a zero-sum clash of civilizations in which “the West” can triumph by imposing its will.


Hitler started out by stating that he would rebuild Germany, [Make Germany Great Again?] providing jobs for all and ending poverty and want.

  • I could give you a few pages on how that turned out, but I’ll just say that there was quite a change when he became Reichskanzler.


When I talk to conservatives, it is only the west that has ever had a civilization. They have no knowledge of the civilizations that came long before europe arose from the dark ages. Only white people made contributions to the rise of power of the west according to them. They have no clue as to the history of the world nor do they want to know. If you try to tell them, it is all lies about china, india, arabia and others that gave their knowledge to western europe as europe was struggling from primitive conditions.
Trump is like those people, unwilling to learn about history and reality.


I scoff at the idea that Trump even knows who Winston Churchill was. Perhaps Bannon had his own sanitized version of Churchill in mind when he wrote the speech, but even his version of Churchill is probably at variance with the actual historical figure.

In fact, what unites Bannon and Trump is that they are both ahistorical actors. Trump’s problem is mere ignorance. Bannon is a consciously ahistorical propagandist at heart and is playing Trump as surely as does Putin.