Better Late Than Never
by Deacon Blues
"What was said was very important for the national security of South Korea. If that was a lie, then during Trump’s term, South Korea will not trust whatever Trump says."
--A leading political figure in South Korea telling us that Trump's BS matters.
You’ll recall that last week, Trump beat his chest that he was sending an “armada” towards North Korea. It turns out that not only was he blowing smoke, but NSA McMaster and Defense Secretary Mattis also spewed this nonsense as well. In fact, at the time that all three of them and Sean Spicer asserted that we were making a show of force to the North Koreans by sending the Carl Vinson and its supporting vessels towards the peninsula, the carrier battle group was steaming away from North Korea towards the Indian Ocean. The battle group didn’t even start heading towards North Korea until yesterday, after their BS was revealed publicly. And of course the White House, now busted, denies it misled anyone.
Lyin' Hillary indeed.
It’s bad enough that the credibility of people like Mattis and McMaster is now in the toilet from this pathetic deceit, but why would our allies Japan and South Korea believe anything the Trump administration says from this point on if we were so willing to lie publicly like this? And more seriously, if Pyongyang can't take our threats seriously anymore (or even Iran), then miscalculation is inevitable.
As for Mattis and McMaster themselves, their judgment has repeatedly been called into question over the last several weeks, whether it be the Syrian pinprick (bombing), the useless (over)bombing in Afghanistan that did nothing to stop ISIS, and now this.
Ah Yes, Those Jobs & Wages
In these long dark nights of insomnia and worry as the Trump presidency catastrophe batters the nation one phenomena keeps regularly occurring to provide some relief: the mordant chuckle. The latest episode happened in a grimly humorous Washington Post article where Republican leaders counseled patience in reacting to all the Trump horrors.
“People voted for change,” said David Winston, a GOP pollster. “They’re looking for two basic outcomes: more jobs and higher wages. It’s pretty straightforward.”Continue reading "Ah Yes, Those Jobs & Wages"
Can't Overcome the DNA
by Deacon Blues
Nobody said Donald Trump wasn’t a quick learner. One thing he’s learned over the last two weeks is that a commander in chief has much greater freedom of movement in foreign affairs than a president does on domestic affairs.
For better or worse, Trump has learned through the Syrian missile strike and his face-to-face encounters with China and NATO that he can satisfy his impulses and be the Decider-in-Chief on foreign policy without Congress, which I think explains his recent flip-flops on several campaign promises or positions. He can size up a person or opportunity and pivot easily based on new information or exposure to people he previously had not encountered, whereas inside the Beltway he has institutional constraints that are exacerbated by his failings as an administrator in setting up his government.Continue reading "Can't Overcome the DNA"
The Limited Trump Payoff
It isn’t often truth of high purity emits from Republican leadership, so it should be noted the rare event occurred with one Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who stated the confirmation of Neil Gorsuch was a prime factor of the election of President Trump.
As this catastrophe roils and seethes over the country how in the holy hell did this happen will always be a vitally good question, evading the truth leaves open the good possibility it could happen again. Racism, sexism, nationalism, economic insecurity/apathy, rank journalism failure and a stupid American democracy mechanism, all have their rightful place in the answer, but the tribal political identity that delivered the Republican vote 100% for Trump is very prominent among them.1Continue reading "The Limited Trump Payoff"
Wag the Dog Indeed
In the aftermath of Trump’s missile attack upon Syria, I was initially inclined to give the man credit. Everything he said about Obama leaving this mess to him was true, regardless of whether liberals want to hear that or not. Obama left the Middle East in worse shape than he found it through his single-minded focus on his campaign promises and his total aversion to any new entanglements. However, “leading from the rear” and “Don’t do stupid shit” is a pathetic foreign policy that we are now paying the price for.
But immediately things didn’t add up for me. For example, how can 59 Tomahawk missiles not destroy a smallish Syrian airbase, unless of course the attack was only meant to "send a message" and not actually impair Assad’s ability to slaughter more countrymen?
Why would you only send a message, unless this wasn’t a military action and instead simply a political one?
Why was the White House so quick to assert that all 59 hit their intended targets, and yet that airbase is already back in use today sending more Syrian fighter jets to attack the same city that suffered last week’s chemical attack?
And why did Vladimir Putin not activate the local Russian-supplied anti-missile system to knock down our Tomahawks, even when given advance notice that our missiles were coming?
The reason is clear: the only purpose for this attack was to push the Trump/Russian narrative out of the news cycles, and not to make a military statement. If we were making a military statement, that airbase would have been destroyed if in fact it was the home base of the jets that dropped chemical weapons on Homs. Instead, Trump gave Assad a pinprick with Putin's full support.