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Trump Abroad: America First and the End of Human Rights
Bard College
Fall 2018

Description

America First and the End of Human Rights




Syllabus

Trump Abroad


America First and the End of Human Rights

Human Rights 262 / Fall 2018 / Thurs 6 & Fri 3:10 / Olin 101

Mark Danner


Before our eyes Donald J. Trump is demolishing a seven-decade-long consensus on US foreign policy and seeking to impose in its place his own America First vision. Trump has moved quickly to undermine the alliances that have anchored US foreign policy and brushed aside the  In this seminar we will take an unsparing look at this momentous real-time phenomenon and follow it where it leads. We will examine Trump's vision -- its roots and evolution -- and analyze his efforts to impose it, with special attention to the fate of the US human rights agenda.



Class Requirements This seminar will be a mixture of lectures and discussion, backed up by a large amount of reading. The most important requirements are that students


*Attend all class sessions

*Keep up with reading assignments

*Participate in discussions

*Deliver at least one presentation to the class


A student’s record of attendance and participation in class discussion will determine the success of our class and contribute the better part of the grade.


Schedule Note that classes will meet Thursdays at 6 pm and Fridays at 3:10 pm on the following days: September 13 and 14, October 18 and 19, November 15 and 16, and December 13 and 14. All class sessions will be in Olin 101.


Reading Our primary reading will draw largely from a number of books of foreign reporting, classic and contemporary. They are listed below. Those marked with an asterisk are required. I strongly urge you to obtain these books in your own copies and in the edition specified, either from Bard bookstore, local bookstores or from online suppliers, so that you will be able to highlight and annotate them.


Tracking the News A significant part of the class will be given over to tracking the doings of the Trump Administration, particularly as they relate to foreign policy. Following these events closely in various publications, beginning with the New York Times, the Washington Post, and various cable news stations, including MSNBC and Fox News, is essential. Even if you are not a habitual newspaper reader or news watcher you must become one for this class.


Presentations Each student will make a presentation in class on some aspect of the Trump Administration – ideally, some aspect not covered in the class but that interests you. Use of multimedia and social media during the presentation is strongly encouraged.



Writing Depending on response to the reading there may be an occasional in-class quiz.

    To bolster the clarity and vigor of your English prose, I strongly suggest studying two works: George Orwell’s essay, “Politics and the English Language,” which can be readily found on the web, and Strunk and White’s little manual, The Elements of Style.




Office Hours I will count on meeting with each of you individually at least once during the course of the term. We will make these appointments on an ad hoc basis. I am best reached via email, at mark@markdanner.com. My office is Aspinwall 110. My writing, speaking and other information can be found at my website, markdanner.com.



Grading Students will be graded on their preparedness and their participation in class, the strength of their presentations and the quality of their written work, as follows:


Attendance            25 percent

Participation          25 percent

Presentation          25 percent

Writing                 25 percent


Because of the unusual format of this class – and its small number of sessions – students should miss no class sessions, unless in a case of real emergency.


Texts


(titles marked with an asterisk (*) are required)


Wayne Barrett, Trump: The Greatest Show On Earth (Regan, 2018 [1992])


*Hal Brands, American Grand Strategy in the Age of Trump (Brookings, 2018)


James Comey, A Higher Loyalty (Flatiron, 2018)


David Frum, Trumpocracy: The Corruption of the American Republic (Harper, 2018)


*Newt Gingerich, Trump’s America (Center Street, 2018)


Seth Hettena, Trump/Russia: A Definitive History (Melville House, 2018)


*Michael Isikoff and David Corn, Russian Roulette: The Inside Story of Putin’s War on America and the Election of Donald Trump (Twelve, 2018)


*Brian Klaas, The Despot’s Apprentice (Hot, 2017)


*Mike Lofgren, The Deep State (Penguin, 2016)


Michael Nelson, Trump’s First Year (Virginia, 2018)


*Caitriona Perry, In America: Tales From Trump Country (Gill, 2018)


*Joseph E. Stiglitz, Globalization and Its Discontents Revisited (Norton, 2017)


*Donald J. Trump and Tony Schwartz, Trump: The Art of the Deal (Ballantine, 2015 [1987])


*Donald J. Trump, Great Again: How To Fix Our Crippled America (Threshold, 2016)


*Stephen M. Walt, The Hell of Good Intentions: America’s Foreign Policy Elite and the Decline of U.S. Primacy (Farrar Straus, 2018)


Michael Wolfe, Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House (LittleBrown, 2018)




Tentative Syllabus


Thursday, September 13 (6 pm) Donald J. Trump and Tony Schwartz, Trump: The Art of the Deal (Ballantine, 2015 [1987])


Donald J. Trump, Great Again: How To Fix Our Crippled America (Threshold, 2016)


Friday, September 14 (310 pm) Caitriona Perry, In America: Tales From Trump Country (Gill, 2018)


Thursday, October 18 (6 pm) Joseph E. Stiglitz, Globalization and Its Discontents Revisited (Norton, 2017)


Mike Lofgren, The Deep State (Penguin, 2016)


Friday, October 19 (310 pm) Newt Gingerich, Trump’s America (Center Street, 2018)


Thursday, November 15 (6 pm) Hal Brands, American Grand Strategy in the Age of Trump (Brookings, 2018)


Friday, November 16 (310 pm) Stephen M. Walt, The Hell of Good Intentions: America’s Foreign Policy Elite and the Decline of U.S. Primacy (Farrar Straus, 2018)



Thursday, December 13 (6 pm) – Michael Isikoff and David Corn, Russian Roulette: The Inside Story of Putin’s War on America and the Election of Donald Trump (Twelve, 2018)


Friday, December 14 (310 pm) -- Brian Klaas, The Despot’s Apprentice (Hot, 2017)



Annotated Syllabus


Thursday, September 20 (6 pm Olin 101)

  • Donald J. Trump and Tony Schwartz, Trump: The Art of the Deal (Ballantine, 2015 [1987])

  • Donald J. Trump, Great Again: How To Fix Our Crippled America (Threshold, 2016)


(Notes: During this class we discussed different Media platforms and the importance of viewing media from different perspectives, Trump & his attacks on the press, Trump’s Deep States, Child Separation Events- was this illegal?, so much of how presidents act is tied up in Historical norms- not actually laws, Israel & Palestine conflict, Big Man & how Trump dominates our consciousness, we watched the Moon-Township Rally in PA, and how to understand Trump using The Art of the Deal and Great Again)

Class recording


Friday, September 21 (3:10 pm Olin 205)

  • Caitriona Perry, In America: Tales From Trump Country (Gill, 2018)


(Notes: The ‘Rust Belt’ Trump won shockingly, How did Trump win the Election?-where did those votes come from and what caused this, Palm Beach Florida Speech (2016) the rhetoric used here is reminiscent of that used in the 1930’s, Trump is a master at getting free media attention, his campaigning method was completely different, Trump thinks in terms of money, Trump’s Montana Speech (2018)-effective speaker due to his basic vocabulary and how broad his positions are, huge turnover of the Trump administration, He loves rallies and continues them throughout his presidency, Trumps uses a lot of fear tactics and places himself as the protector)


Class recording

Thursday, October 18 (6 pm)

  • Joseph E. Stiglitz, Globalization and Its Discontents Revisited (Norton, 2017)

  • Mike Lofgren, The Deep State (Penguin, 2016)


(Notes:  ‘Big Man’ tactics used by Trump and his need to constantly inhabit our minds, More people are politically engaged than ever before, Kavanaugh Hearings- a huge moment in the “Me Too” Movement and a horrible one- Trump using reverse victimization and claiming it as an injustice to Kavanaugh- “No man is safe” term from Trump used to scare males into voting for him. Voting & the upcoming election- a lot of push to have high voter turnout. There is no check on Trump and his actions, congress is not limiting his powers, gerrymandering, Khashoggi Murder- focus on Saudi Arabia and Trump seemingly ignoring the matter and claiming that because he was not an American citizen it is not important, Low point in Human Rights. How do we understand Trump’s appeal? And how do we understand how people believe his lies?. Immigration and Trade being linked politically. Globalization and Its Discontents by Stiglitz: Globalization is not the issue, what tariffs do, how the GI bill allowed for veterans to get a college education, Post WWII global economy was huge-Marshal Plan, Baby Boomer generation and doing better than your parents (no longer true), what happens when productivity goes up?, Fordism, economics becomes politics very quickly, big money shapes globalization, Necessary to invest into the people. Party attachments.


Class Recording

Friday, October 19 (3:10 pm)

  • Newt Gingerich, Trump’s America (Center Street, 2018)


(Notes: Video of Trump mocking Ford, How Trump takes energy from the Left and turns it into another narrative for the Right, Trump constantly changes his mind and is very good at reading TV, Trumps empathy towards the “poor vulnerable white man”- reverse victimization, Kavanaugh's excessive drinking was largely ignored, huge attachment to party and thinking of issues based on where your party stands, Racial ‘Dog Whistling’ is no longer just insinuations, not it is just openly racist rhetoric. Globalization and Its Discontents by Stiglitz: Republicans have become anti globalization and a huge focus on Patriotism. Trump started a trade war with China. Child Separation Policy: decided from the very top, very little oversight. The Deep State by Lofgren: the role of special interests and lobbyists, What does the ‘Deep State’ represent to Trump?: FBI, CIA, Clintons, George Soros, Obamas, google, etc.. Trump called the CIA the ‘Gestapo’... how do we deal with this?. Leaks: without consensus within the bearocracy, you get leaks.)


(Haris Presentation:upending post 1945 world order)


Class recording

Thursday, November 15 (6 pm)

  • Hal Brands, American Grand Strategy in the Age of Trump (Brookings, 2018)


(Notes: The midterms had just happened and most of this class was spent discussing them: How do we respond to what happened? Was this a win? Voter Suppression! Races still continuing. Discussed the Rallies leading up to the midterms: Florida Rally, Missouri Rally, Georgia Rally, Ohio Rally, Montana Rally)


(Presentations: Angelo Chammah -midterms, Pippa Chadwick- Trump & Twitter, Timothy Matsakis- Environmental Policy)


Class recording

Friday, November 16 (3:10 pm)

  • Stephen M. Walt, The Hell of Good Intentions: America’s Foreign Policy Elite and the Decline of U.S. Primacy (Farrar Straus, 2018)


(Notes: WWI 100 years commemoration in Paris hosted by Macron, Trump arrives late and left early and seemed to be pouting the whole time- the whole event was surrounded around globalization and in complete opposition to nationalism. Arizona Midterms: Kyrsten Sinema won and was the first Dem. to be elected since 1988. Florida Midterms: ‘Broward Effect’-Trump’s call of attention towards the lack of transparency- voter suppression and corruption, Trump has taken a very active role in many of the elections openly denouncing women and democrats, USMCA replaces NAFTA. Trump just hates CNN, He only can think in terms of money and that hugely impacts his decisions abroad, Trump’s UN speech- just focused on America First and US Sovereignty- gets laughed at by world leaders.)


(Presentations: Renad Bdair- Palestine Israel conflict, Zayd Normand- Asian Foreign Policy, Olivia Mozdzierz- Current Trump Investigation)


Class recording

Thursday, December 13 (6 pm)

  • Michael Isikoff and David Corn, Russian Roulette: The Inside Story of Putin’s War on America and the Election of Donald Trump (Twelve, 2018)


(Notes: The oval office meeting with Trump, Nancy Pelosi, and Charles Schumer- Main topics were preventing the government shut down that Trump insinuates will happen and Border Security- Trump’s Wall. The Migrant caravan- why is it being looked at as a military invasion? Trump using the military for civilian function- this is not supposed to happen in the USA. Trumps beginning of a new reality- now the democrats will be playing a role due to their new majority in the house. How much does US foreign aid actually do- How can the US actually help El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala, and Mexico. Russia’s disinformation campaign- stirring up tensions in America via disinformation, information warfare on the internet, post-factual era. Despots Apprentice by Brian Klaas: the blurring of intentions and truths is very prevalent in Trump’s rhetoric. Michael Cohen-Trump’s personal Attorney, pleaded guilty in the Muller investigation Nov 29,2018, Dec 12, sentenced to three years and two million in penalties. Michael Flynn- National Security Advisor for 24 days, Dec 4, 2018 pleads leniency for misleading investigators during Muller investigation regarding Russian relations. Paul Manafort was the manager and chief strategist, convicted in August for five counts. Maria Butina involvement in infiltrating the republican party. Russian Roulette by Michael Isikoff and David Corn- Trump’s relationship with Russia and his real effort to build hotel in Russia during the election- collusion, obstruction, self-dealing. A new publicly stated point of opposition to Trump by the democrats and the heightened tensions due to all of the recent convictions. Pardoning- how will Trump use this? Impeaching Trump- majority vote 1 more than half, Impeachment is indictment. You need ? of votes in the Senate trial so conviction is unlikely but there is a possibility if his political backing from Republicans dropped, then he could be out. State of exception: living in a time of war.)


(Presentations: Tess Hamilton-Ward- Migrant Caravan, Charlotte Foreman-Russia’s disinformation Campaign via social media, Henry Berger- Russia the past two weeks )


Class recording


Friday, December 14 (3:10 pm) --

  • Brian Klaas, The Despot’s Apprentice (Hot, 2017)


(Notes: When the Democrats take control in January 3rd, the new phase of Trumpism will begin and the Trump reelection campaign will really gear up. What is the end game of Trump and will he get reelected? Trump as an authoritarian figure/leader: political polarization, gerrymandering and its detriment on democracy, the relative luxury the Americans live in brews complacency. Trump’s authoritarian habits: attacks on press, consistent mistruths, demonizing opponents, voter suppressions. Death of a democracy and Rise of Authoritarianism focused on the similarities between Erdogan and Trump: journalists at “enemies of the nation”. How Erdogan gained extensive power in Turkey. Moving forward- how do Trump’s current actions indicate his intention to gain more power- he is very opportunistic. The house will be very anti-Trump and in this political space, if a terrorist attack were to happen, how would he mobilize the fear- would he push for more power as Bush did post 9/11? -Overruling/Suspension of Habeas Corpus, attacks on press, deportation without court, more racist propaganda, state of emergency power. How does Trump want the government to run? We have not seen Trump make any deals… even as he has been deemed (by himself) as a great deal maker. Trump has filled in the blanks of this course and the reading has followed the discussion- what is the future of Trump? How will the new arrangement of Power impact him and who will a defensive Trump be? He will no longer be just the aggressor. Will any of his policy changing moving forward?)


(Presentations: Alya Toruner- Death of a democracy and Rise of Authoritarianism, Alex Lynch- Trump as an authoritarian figure)




© 2019 Mark Danner