Welcome back to Episode 7 of WDTLAY’s ongoing series to exposed the falsehoods and absurdities of Trump’s recent foreign policy speech. On April 27th Trump gave his first “important” speech, now that it looks like he is going to be the GOP candidate. The speech was scripted and read off of a teleprompter, making it all the more confusing that the speech was so, well, confusing.
About half way through the speech he began speaking on radical Islam. Trump has used the threat of terrorism as a boogeyman since Day One, and this speech is no exception. Perhaps in response to President Obama’s quote the day before that “we’re fortunate to be living in the most peaceful era in human history,” Trump said the following in his foreign policy speech:
“In this, we’re going to be working very closely with our allies in the Muslim world, all of which are at risk from radical Islamic violence, attacks and everything else. It is a dangerous world, more dangerous now than it has ever been.”
As it turns out, the world of 2016 is slightly more dangerous than 2008. With increasing violence in Ukraine, Tunisia and Syria/Iraq the relative low levels of war of 2008 have risen. However to call this moment “more dangerous than it has ever been” is farcical. World Wars I and II come to mind, as well as the Cold War and the Cuban Missile Crisis in particular. Hiroshima and Nagasaki? Attila the Hun? Fall of the Roman Empire?
Harvard professor Steven Pinker would also disagree. Author of ‘The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined’, he uses dozens of statistics to back up his claim. According to a paper by John Mueller and Mark Stewart “death caused by violence as a percentage of all deaths has declined dramatically over the centuries. Tribal warfare was nine times as deadly as war and genocide in the 20th century. Similarly, the murder rate of medieval Europe was over 30 times what it is today. And there are more chances of Americans dying in a bathtub (one in 950,000) than in a terror attack (one in 3.5 million).”
He also points out that it has been since World War II that two major powers have gone to war against each other. With the globalization of trade “we all owe each other too much money” to go to war.
Trump again uses the worst kind of fear mongering hyperbole to cajole the unwitting into seeing him as the answer to America’s problems. He mocks and criticizes anyone who would threaten his ascendancy, claiming that he is the only one that can save us. “Believe me, folks” indeed.