190823 US President Donald Trump
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The issue of terrorism of the extreme right in the United States has returned to the forefront of global events and concerns. The dangerous idea espoused by far-right and racist extremists, wherever they are, is that the nation-state, which governs itself, must get rid of the ‘foreign’ elements that ‘weaken’ it from within. This is important, they believe, to provide justice to the ‘natural’ citizens, specifically the white, who are the targets of an external ‘enemy’ that consist of coloured refugees and migrants. In other words, the belief of white nationalism is based on a scenario of fear of the white race annihilation, mainly because of the arrival of ‘other’ strangers and their social and economic rise within society itself. White nationalists argue that the threat is so great that intense violence against this ‘presumed enemy’ is not only justified, but required, to eliminate what they see as an existential threat.

More on the issue

US president Donald Trump is seen by many as one of the most active global drivers of the far right today. Recent events have shown how a fanatical group once seen as marginal within the US is resurrected. In this regard, it is not surprising that the US recently witnessed three mass killing where dozens were killed. According to the Gun Violence Archive — GVA group association, the first two bloody incidents are numbered 250 and 251 in the list of mass shootings in America during 2019 alone. The afore-mentioned non-governmental association said the mass shootings “have become commonplace in the United States.” It pointed out that the United States “witnessed 33,000 incidents related to armed violence and possession of weapons during the current year alone”. Accordingly, some authoritative observers believe that over the past years, official domestic strategies to combat US extremism have ignored the growing ultra-right or white nationalist groups’ threat. In this climate of apathy, US security services have failed to see the danger posed by far-right groups or white nationalist groups.

Simplifying the phenomenon, the US president considered mental illness as the main cause of the new mass killings in the US and elsewhere. He said that these American criminals suffer from a very serious mental illness and continue to face the same problem “for years”. Although he condemned, for the first time, “white supremacy, extremism and racism” calling for the speedy execution of mass killers, he diverted the whole subject towards mental illness and hatred and the ugly “horrific videos”. Ignoring the proliferation of weapons he said: “Mental illness and hatred are the ones that pushed the trigger”, meaning the problem does not lay in the abundance of weapons. To say that mental illness, hatred, and videos alone are responsible for mass shootings is clearly wrong. So why, as observers ask, are these frequent and horrible killings taking place mostly in the US?

Real and present danger

In the midst of a renewed debate, the chairman of the House of Representatives Intelligence Committee, California Rep. Adam Schiff, said: “Terrorism by white extremists is a real danger. We don’t have to live like this. We don’t want to let our American brothers die like this. The ugly fact is that the terror of white supremacists is a real and present danger.”

Mary McCord, former US Department of Justice national security official believes the armed violence in the United States is a “moral problem”. She said that “US public agencies and law enforcement agencies do not deal with internal mass attacks, including those related to racism and anti-Semitism, with the same attention and perception with which they deal with attacks by foreigners.” She concluded: “Americans tend to associate terrorism with Islamic extremism, and do not try to associate it with white supremacy groups, which they must do”.

The American right has shown the extent of its fanaticism, the high degree of its organisational mobility and its support for the white sovereignty in the US. But it remains unclear how the country will handle the relentless march of white supremacy. However, it was reassuring that a report on NBC News indicated: “We already know that this is a real and growing phenomenon”. It added: “FBI Director Christopher Wray confirmed to Congress last year that for the first time the agency has been investigating a large number of extremist right-wing-related terrorist cases, which originated from within, like those of extremist cases in Islamic countries”.

— Professor As’ad Abdul Rahman is the chairman of the Palestinian Encyclopaedia.