Donald Trump’s Shakedown of the American Dream
Three years ago, I sat in a crowded Texas office with a 24-year-old refugee. He had fled Uzbekistan, an authoritarian state, after forming a civic organization to teach young people about environmental problems. His organization violated no law and conveyed no political content, but in Uzbekistan – as another dissident once told me – “suspicious is the same as guilty.” The young man had been deemed “suspicious” and was now targeted by state security services, so he fled to the United States for political asylum.
I served as his expert witness. My job was to tell the judge about Uzbekistan: a country ruled by a dictator who abuses executive power to obtain personal wealth, threatens independent media and protesters, spies on real and perceived enemies, packs his administration with lackeys and relatives, refuses to disclose his financial holdings, moulds public opinion through media domination, persecutes innocent Muslims under the pretext of fighting terrorism, and distracts the citizenry with pageants and spectacle, often proclaiming that he is making Uzbekistan great again.