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Obama built the foundations for Trump's Muslim ban

  • 02 February 2017


Let's just say it in the open — the new Trump administration's immigration policies have nothing to do with terrorism, just as their Australian equivalents have nothing to do with people smuggling. 

As the Sydney Morning Herald noted, the spectre of the new 'Muslim Ban' is likely to increase, rather than reduce, the incentive for radical extremists claiming to operate under the banner of Islam.

Trump's executive order halting refugee resettlement and banning nationals of seven countries from entry to the US will only serve as a rallying point for ISIS and their kin, reinforcing their propaganda that Islam and the governments of the West are incompatible. The equal and opposite religious extremisms of the US National Security State and the radical Salafists of the Middle East need and feed off each other.

Aside from the counterproductive nature of the sanctions, if they were aimed at alleged terrorists, they are spectacularly misdirected. No US lives have been lost to terror in America inflicted by Iranians or Iraqis. In addition, countries whose citizens have been alleged to have been involved in jihadi attacks on the US have conspicuously not been sanctioned (e.g. Saudi Arabia and Egypt).

So if it is not about terrorism, it is worth asking ourselves what is really at stake here. In my view, the answers are vital to understanding why and how people are manipulated into supporting their own disempowerment — a dangerous thing in a democracy.

It is worth noticing that even insiders in the Trump administration seem to agree that bigotry, rather than national security, is what they had in mind. Rudy Giuliani has already said that the (deliberately?) vague executive order — administered shambolically — was the product of his commission from Trump to design a lawful 'Muslim ban'.

That said, the right wingers who support the cruel and criminal madness of stripping people — even those in the air — of their visas, and separating families in the process, also have a point when they say that the US government is not beginning a new persecution, but merely continuing and deepening the persecutions of their predecessors.

While previous administrations were more subtle in their actions than Trump's, it is undoubtedly true that the nationals now picked for sanction were those who were already targeted for visa penalties in the Obama years (and were mostly citizens of countries being bombed or sanctioned by the US government).


"What we are seeing is a