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On Trump, McCarthyism, and the Russia Hacking Charges

Chief Counsel for the Army Joseph Welch (left) being questioned by Wisconsin Senator Joseph McCarthy during the McCarthy-Army hearings in 1954. credit - Wikimedia Commons / US Senate // The Nation

  • One legacy of the McCarthy era is the cloud of suspicion that still hangs over anything connected with the former Soviet Union. If Trump or his associates were indeed guilty of collaborating with the Russians by interfering in the American election, then they broke the law and should be held accountable. But in a world threatened by nuclear weapons, ISIS, and climate change, it seems to me more important than ever that we talk to our adversaries and work toward détente.
  • Related: If We’re Gonna Impeach Trump, Let’s Make Sure We’re Clear on A Couple Points.

Victor Navasky, The Nation / Portside*ruwNn1LCyLKCeXOXpxVH-g.jpegApril 6, 2017 | So Peter Beinart in The Atlantic writes an article on “The New McCarthyism of Donald Trump.” Simon Jenkins in The Guardian informs us that “Donald Trump on terror is just McCarthyism for a new age.” Jonathan Chait in New York magazine argues forcefully that “Donald Trump Is the Perpetrator of McCarthyism, Not the Victim of It,” and Trump himself famously tweets, “Terrible! I just found out that Obama had my ‘wires tapped’ in Trump Tower just before the victory. Nothing found. This is McCarthyism!” Even the Russians chime in, with Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov observing that the uproar over Jeff Sessions “strongly resembles a witch hunt or the times of McCarthyism, which we thought were long over in the United States as a civilized country.”

The charges of McCarthyism are important because (a) McCarthyism indeed had such a profound impact on our country, our culture, and beyond; and (b) because some of its consequences may still be with us.

Victor Navasky has served as editor, publisher and now publisher emeritus of The Nation. He teaches at the Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism, where he chairs the Columbia Journalism Review.

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If We’re Gonna Impeach Trump, Let’s Make Sure We’re Clear on A Couple Points, Thugz n Kisses, Medium 

We should be careful what we wish for.