Fall of Journalism: Washington Post holds forum to push Trump-as-authoritarian narrative

The Washington Post hosted a forum Wednesday morning to decry the “rise in authoritarianism” in the United States and the world with the moderator prodding the Left-wing and neocon panelists to attack President Donald Trump.

“How does the United States combat authoritarianism at a time when many people, at home and abroad, believe the United States has a somewhat authoritarian president right here in Washington, D.C.?” moderator David Ignatius, a columnist and associate editor for the Washington Post, asked Gen. John Allen (ret.).

Hiatt pushed the issue further in a follow-up question, asking Allen whether he believed this period of rising authoritarianism in the United States was destined to be “short-lived.”

But he didn’t stop there. The first question from a Twitter user, which Ignatius read off a card, was: “How can we address and stop the growing authoritarianism in the United States?”

The forum was based on a long opinion piece by uber-neocon Robert Kagan, published in the Washington Post on March 14, warning of the resurgence of authoritarianism, calling it the “greatest challenge facing the liberal democratic world” and painting a picture of a return to a world in which people are “imprisoned by the rigid hierarchies of traditional society — maintained by brute force when necessary — that locked them into the station to which they were born.”

Kagan, who led the chorus of support in Washington for the invasion of Iraq after 9/11, seemed determined to lay the groundwork for a U.S.-led war on Russia, writing:

“Just as during the 1930s, when realists such as Robert Taft assured Americans that their lives would be undisturbed by the collapse of democracy in Europe and the triumph of authoritarianism in Asia, so we have realists today insisting that we pull back from confronting the great authoritarian powers rising in Eurasia.” — Robert Kagan

Allen, now head of the Brookings Institution, called communist China a “peer competitor” but called Russia, which is no longer communist, a “hostile competitor.” He also said that the rise in authoritarian leaders around the world “threatens the very social fabric of the United States, and of America in particular..”

But the focus was brought back to Trump by the moderator’s prodding, and Allen said he was glad that Congress was “beginning to twist a bit” on addressing “drifts” toward authoritarianism.

Author and former naval intelligence officer Malcolm Nance, another panelist, embraced Hiatt’s anti-Trump theme with gusto, saying the United States and the whole world is under attack by the White House.

“We are at a point where I’m afraid to say, and I’m going to sound much like Robert Kagan when I’m done here, that it’s time for a second Cold War. I’m afraid to say that, Democracy must be defended, right now. We have been under attack, and now we have that attack occurring within our own institutions, coming from, I’m sorry to say it, our own White House is now attacking the 233-year tradition that has maintained the balance, is attacking everything that has been built since World War II…” – Malcolm Nance, author

Robert Kagan, who seemed to carefully avoid mentioning Trump, is a neoconservative and former Republican who left the Republican Party in 2016 after Trump was elected. He is the co-founder of the Project for a New American Century and a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution. He is also the husband of Victoria Nuland, who as Assistant Secretary of State in charge of Europe and Asia, served as “mastermind” of the regime-change coup in the Ukraine that forced democratically elected president Viktor Yanukovych from office in 2014, according to reporting by Robert Parry of Consortium News.

Kagan’s essay failed to ignite much interest on Twitter, with only a small handful of people retweeting and comments on Washington Post Opinion tweets promoting the essay and the forum.

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