The following exchange was taken from a 2002 interview with Gore Vidal on Doug Henwood’s WBAI radio show, after Henwood brought it to Vidal’s attention that Tom Metzger was offering videos of one of Vidal’s lectures for sale on his website.
Doug Henwood: There is this long-standing, kind of right-leaning nativist critique of Empire and centralizing power. What affinities or lack of affinities
do you feel in that?
Gore Vidal: Well, look at Pat Buchanan, who borrowed a great deal from me, for “A Republic, Not an Empire.” That is what I’ve been saying for half a
century, that we’re not in the Empire business, or we should not be in
the Empire business, because we’re not very good at it, and we have so
much wrong in our own country. So there is a moment, I would suspect,
that the far-right has to have something positive to talk about, instead
of worrying about getting rid of the inferior breeds, or what they think
of as the inferior breeds. So, the anti-imperial is an interesting
thing for them to take up, ’cause I’d think they’d be on the other
side. But as many people want to join that, why not?
As Trump’s schizophrenic rhetoric continues to erratically oscillate between blunt statements in support of non-interventionist principles and random threats to attack other countries under dubious pretenses, it all seems rather surreal. One begins to wonder whether it is even possible to convince our government to act in America’s interests in any meaningful capacity. Perhaps not, but who cares? We specialize in unlikely alliances and the stubborn exploration of far-fetched possibilities here, so let’s go for one more.
As Trump contemplates engaging in further military action in Syria (and who knows where else,) I would love to see a joint AltRight / far left war protest event. The sight of people who typically spend all day trashing each other on twitter (and occasionally even physically battle each other in the streets) come together for a day of solidarity against war, would send a striking message. Instead of “Unite the Right,” or “Bash the Fash,” a rally should be held called “United Against War” or maybe even “People Who Hate Each Other Against the War.”
Many on the right would reflexively point out that the anti-war left (what remains of it) despises the AltRight with such visceral ferocity, that they could never partner with them on anything, even for a moment. “Nazis” (a term which has expanded in recent years to such an extent that it could now include just about any non self-hating white person,) we are told, are to be punched, attacked, not spoken to, and certainly not courted as allies. For their part, the far right is just as much of an obstacle to any kind of cooperation, given their inability to coordinate (even with one another) except when satirizing / ironically sniping at their own movement, usually from the anonymous peanut gallery. In my observations, the far right in the US contains a significant number of people who just cannot seem to restrain themselves in any way from being aggressive assholes, even when it comes to casual conversation. It’s also worth noting in the case of Syria, much of the AltRight is less motivated by general non-interventionist ideals. Their opposition to US involvement is rooted in their admiration of Putin and Assad as leaders. They don’t wish to stay out of the war because it’s none of our business and a waste of time. Rather, they oppose it because Russia and Syria are the “good guys” fighting our enemies (ISIS, ) while Assad “protects Christians,” “is a family man,” etc. Many AltRighters would be more than eager to launch full scale Conquistadorian invasions of sovereign countries under other circumstances. The fact remains though, a lot of people who hate each other agree that we should stay out of Syria.
Given the levels of polarization among dissidents and the divergence in motivations, you might still be asking, “What’s the point in even trying to work together on this? Why bother?” Well, because in this particular instance, it would be worth it. Getting involved in another pointless and misguided war is such a terrible idea, that it is worth preventing at almost any cost. In fact, the only way supporting wars like these make any sense at all is from the accelerationist perspective, since every new catastrophic US policy blunder serves to speed up the collapse of the US from its own weight, potentially making room for something new and improved to replace it that much sooner. I won’t support the war on that basis though, even as cynical as I am. After all, this isn’t just about us. There are other countries’ fates at stake, other people’s lives being needlessly jeopardized. Instead, I’ll keep the accelerationist contingency provision in my pocket as a cheap consolation prize, a souvenir to be admired in the eventuality of yet another misadventure.
On a mildly encouraging note, there does appear to be an emerging market for unlikely alliances against increased intervention in Syria. Glenn Greenwald appeared on Tucker Carlson and both seemed broadly in agreement of their skepticism of the need for the US to escalate our involvement. Cenk Uygur of The Young Turks seems to be firmly against beating the War drums for military action in Syria, as is his paranoid AltLite nemesis, Alex Jones. Could a genuine AltRight figure like Richard Spencer share a stage with a far left personality, even an Antifa or prominent SJW, to denounce the war, without the spectacle turning into a total shitshow? Would anyone agree to be part of any of it? Probably not. You never know though until you put the offer out there and see what happens. To borrow a quote from the Lawgiver’s scene in Battle for the Planet of the Apes: Who knows about the future of US foreign policy? Perhaps, only the dead.