Dept. of Tedious Analogies: Trump-as-Milošević

The Left generally hates the past and revels in its commitment to a so-called “progress.” However, they do recur to the past when it suits their ideological purposes. One of the ways they use it is to compare every sitting Republican president to a dictator from a distant past. At the top of the list is, of course, Hitler, followed closely by Mussolini, though barely ever by Stalin. Mao never makes the cut, most likely because parts of the Left admire Mao and so attacking him or Communism, more generally, seems ill-advised.

But when it comes to Democrats using unsavory historical figures to malign Republicans, President Trump, has been a particularly rich target. He is usually compared to Hitler, which is absurd enough. But in a recent article in The Observer, John Schindler warns the world that the dark days are ahead because Trump is practically a carbon copy of Slobodan Milošević, a Serbian dictator partly responsible for the wars in former Yugoslavia in the 1990s.

Having survived the war in Bosnia, I laughed at this. Schindler’s article has two major problems. First, he provides a rather shallow, cursory, confusing, and perhaps deliberately vague history of the former Yugoslavia, its dissolution, and the subsequent war. Second, he uses the word nationalism to signal doom, and attributes it to Trump.

Part of the problem is Schindler reduces the history of the former Yugoslavia to a few newspaper headlines. The result is an overly simplistic account of the war in Bosnia and Croatia. But then again, understanding does not appear to be Schindler’s intent. Lacking objectivity, he is more concerned with how to draw bold and indisputable lines between Milošević and Trump.

“Milošević, like Trump, casually used people, even his closest friends, and discarded them when they were no longer needed (at the end of his regime, Milošević had his former best friend and mentor assassinated),” Schindler writes.  “[L]oyalty with both is a one-way street.” How does one even address such a claim? Not only does Schindler not provide any actual evidence that Trump “casually used people,” the insinuation that Trump, like Milošević, might kill off his close associates or “discard” them is borderline libelous.

According to Schindler, Serbs were continuously neglected in the political set up of Yugoslavia. Milošević heard the cry of the people and incited supposedly just anger that gave rise to Serb nationalism with calls such as “Make Serbia Great Again.” “You can understand the remarkable rise of Donald Trump in 2015-16,” writes Schindler, “by simply exchanging ‘Serbian nationalism’ for ‘white nationalism’: the parallels are eerie and disturbing. Trump, who never had shown the slightest interest in the plight of the white working class while he built his flimflam empire of gauche condos and casinos, suddenly reinvented himself as their champion.”

How easy and simple things are in Schindler’s Weltanschauung! And how untrue. Trump never made those color distinctions. He spoke to the people who were concerned about the future of American founding principles, which certainly included the economy.

Schindler acts as if he has a crystal ball or is himself an oracle, a prophet of the doom. “The bad news,” he writes, “is that Donald Trump has opened the same can of ethno-nationalist worms that Slobodan Milošević did, and if he keeps stoking those fires while doing nothing for his angry and alienated base, America could yet wind up resembling Yugoslavia a lot more than anybody sane should want.”

Throwing terms around like “ethnonationalism” doesn’t help his so-called arguments. Does Schindler mean there will be war? Genocide? If so, who will wage it and against whom? This is one of the greatest defects in the Left’s rhetoric against Trump. They misunderstand what a truly American nationalism would entail. Undoubtedly, nationalism always has the potential to turn into a subjugation of one group over the other. It can be borne out of prejudices and hatred, but this is not the case with Trump. In fact, “nationalism” doesn’t really begin to describe Trump’s intentions. He is simply an American, a practical man, who wants to see America as a nation of successful people. That is what “Make America Great Again” means.

Trump is interested in protecting America’s sovereignty. Thanks to the Left’s overwhelming support of globalism, any mention of one nation’s sovereignty is deemed reprehensible. But this is especially true when we speak of America’s sovereignty. Whereas Trump sees America as a land of proper and authentic diversity, the Left sees it as an imperialist nation, whose sins are far too numerous to list. As such, it must be destroyed or at the very least, its strength eroded so that it can no longer be so arrogant as to call itself exceptional.

The problem is that the Leftist ideologues have co-opted the language that is being used in the public square in order to have a discussion about political issues. “No one is more tedious than the totally ideologized man, the man who forces every passing phenomenon into his ideological mold…,” wrote William F. Buckley, Jr. in Up From Liberalism. I couldn’t agree more.

But ideologues like Schindler are more than tedious. They write and indulge historical lies, which, given enough time, become facts in the minds of far too many people. If language becomes an existential foundation of human life rather than life itself, then it follows that the meaning of language can be changed and as such, lies can become truths.

About Emina Melonic

Originally from Bosnia, a survivor of the Bosnian war and its aftermath of refugee camps, Emina Melonic immigrated to the United States in 1996 and became an American citizen in 2003. She has a Ph.D. in comparative literature. Her writings have appeared in National Review, The Imaginative Conservative, New English Review, The New Criterion, Law and Liberty, The University Bookman, Claremont Review of Books, The American Mind, and Splice Today. She lives near Buffalo, N.Y.

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24 responses to “Dept. of Tedious Analogies: Trump-as-Milošević

  • Mr. Schindler should read “Black Lamb And Grey Falcon” (or at least skim it), and then Robert D. Kaplan’s “Balkan Ghosts.”

    The antipathies in the former Yugoslavia are more or less ancient, stemming largely from the unfortunate location of the nation (and its predecessor states) at the juncture of Western Christianity, Eastern Orthodoxy and Islam. What this has to do with Trump is simply beyond me. (His wife is from Slovenia? His first wife is also a Slav?) We are peacefully multiconfessional (just look at Trump’s family!), with no Jasenovacs (or Srebrenicas) in our recent past. It sounds like Schindler just wanted a random Bad Guy other than Hitler or Stalin to hit Trump over the head with, never mind how tortured the analogy is. He could have blorped up Karadzic or Hoxha or even Quisling, and the analogy would have been equally nonsensical.

    • You didn’t read Schindler’s article, did you? It wasn’t against the people, it was against Milosevic.

      • Really?

        “Given such economic turmoil, political ferment burst forth, and in multiethnic Yugoslavia, that inevitably took on nationalist coloration. Serbian nationalism, taboo for decades under Communism, emerged from under the ice in the mid-1980s with dangerous passion. It’s difficult to rationally see why Serbs felt aggrieved. They were by far Yugoslavia’s biggest ethnic group and by any accounting they dominated the country. Despite far-reaching Communist efforts at what we would term Affirmative Action (they called it the “ethnic key”), ensuring that minorities got proportional representation in jobs and sinecures, Serbs still held most of the big jobs in the Communist hierarchy and its institutions, and they dominated Yugoslavia’s military and security structures.

        Nevertheless, many average Serbs were angry by the mid-1980s, watching their economic security disappear as they faced demographic decline. This came to a head over Kosovo,..”

        Do tell.

        http://observer.com/2017/12/warning-donald-trump-is-americas-slobodan-milosevic/

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    • It does seem irrationally hysterical to compare Trump and Milosevic. All they really have in common is support for ethno-nationalism (albeit more implicitly in Trump’s case). One could use literally any nationalist as a comparison, most of whom are not cold-blooded murderers.

      • I don’t even go that far. Milosevic’s nationalism was not Yugo-nationalism, like Tito’s, but was Serbian (hence Eastern Orthodox) nationalism. Trump wants to improve a famously multiethnic and multiconfessional state; one need only look at his own family to confirm that. He doesn’t stand for German-Americans or Protestant Americans, but rather for Americans, period.

      • To be completely fair, Trump really seems to only be for the Americans who were for him. And those Americans are overwhelmingly white and or Protestant. In that sense he does at least appear to have an ethno-nationalistic disposition. Which, of course, is not to say he’s like Milosevic any more than he’s like Narendra Modi, Nawaz Sherif or Nigel Farage.

      • My entire block, save one or two, supports Trump, and there’s not a white Protestant among us. I’m about as Protestant as Mohandas Gandhi. Trump’s supporters include his Jewish daughter and son-in-law, and he appointed the daughter of Punjabi Sikhs as his ambassador to the UN.

      • Of course there will be exceptions, a token religious, ethnic or racial minority that he puts in his administration and some that do in fact support him. But the national statistics provide a clearer picture:
        Whites voters supported Trump by 58% to 37%
        Black voters supported Clinton by 88% to 8%
        White evangelical Protestants supported Trump by 81% to 16%
        Jewish Americans supported Clinton by 71% to 24%
        Mainline Christians supported Trump by 58% to 39%
        Catholics of all races/ ethnicities supported Trump by 52% to 45%
        White Catholics supported Trump by 60% to 37%
        Non-white Hispanic Catholics supported Clinton by 67% to 26%
        Religiously unaffiliated people supported Clinton by 68% to 26%
        People of “other” faiths supported Clinton by 62% to 29%

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  • So you begin the article with a lie about the Left, then keep lying about what the Left says, then lie about Schindler who’s not ON the Left (which anyone who knows the Observer knows), to make your fluff piece here.

    Tedious lies: yours. Good piece, tho, for showing how Russian propagandists like you, craft your lies.

    Russian propagandists are incompetent at just about everything. Anyone reading Schindler’s article then yours, knows you’re a Putin plant for Drumpf. Thanks for making it easy to explain how Russian trolls like you, operate.

    Your #ThirdRome tactics might work on #SevenMountains Trumpers in America and globally, but they don’t work on people who think, left OR right. God exposes y’all. Pity you love lying so much.

  • I was disgusted by Schindler’s article. Milosevic was a mass murderer. Neither nationalism nor internationalism dictate that result. Lenin was an internationalist. Lenin was a mass murderer. Trotsky likewise. Stalin, in principle, was the same and indeed, more so, because Lenin claimed to believe nationalities could secede, even though there was solidarity in the working class internationality. Stalin banned secession.

    Milosevic was a Communist internationalist until 1991.

    Hitler was arguably a nationalist, although he seems have been more of a racist, in terms of Pan-Germanism. He was also a mass murderer.

    Tony Blair is an internationalist. Unless you are wacky, he is not a mass murderer. Likewise Baroness Thatcher was a nationalist and unless you are wacky, she was not a mass murderess.

    Schindler’s “analysis” is valueless.

    E.G.: Hillary Clinton eats Chipotle. The President eats McDonald’s. They both eat fast food. You are what you eat. The President and the Secretary are therefore the same. QED

  • Schindler didn’t say they were the same person – or separated at birth.
    It was a compare/contrast type thing – and he made a compelling argument.
    But whoever wrote this blog is a half-wit.

  • So you begin the article with a lie about the Left, then keep lying about what the Left says, then lie about Schindler who’s not ON the Left (which anyone who knows the Observer knows), to make your fluff piece here.Tedious lies: yours. Good piece, tho, for showing how Russian propagandists like you, craft your lies

  • Mr. Schindler should read “Black Lamb And Grey Falcon” (or at least skim it), and then Robert D. Kaplan’s “Balkan Ghosts.”The antipathies in the former Yugoslavia are more or less ancient, stemming largely from the unfortunate location of the nation (and its predecessor states) at the juncture of Western Christianity, Eastern Orthodoxy and Islam

  • Interesting how Milosevic was never considered handsome until you put a picture of him next to Trump…

  • The war in Bosnia was started by a Muslim leader who was already in jail for Islamic supremacism in 1982. and who was a member of Nazi SS waffen groups in WW2.. That war was an attempt to genocide Serbs for the second time (in 90). Milosevic was not “responsible” for the war that Muslims of Bosnia started. The author here lies or is misinformed. That is the war this author survived.

    Canadian Ambassador. muslims started the war in Bosnia

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R1QL1M8zycE

    Both Neocon Schindler and this author here misrepresent Milosevic.
    Then Milosevic, real or from their respective imaginations, has nothing to do with Trump.

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