Friday, June 10, 2016

Read This And You Will See Why The Idea Of A President Trump Should Terrify You

Maybe it should be a rule, that if you want to understand something you listen to Barney Frank.  I hadn't read the article-interview by Jeffrey Goldberg, The Obama Doctrine, in the Atlantic Barney frank cited to speak of Barack Obama in such glowing terms,  So I read it, or, since it is so full of information, am rereading it for the second time.  It is, beyond doubt, the best article I've ever read on Barack Obama in the entire period since he first came to prominence.   And while I have serious misgivings about aspects of Barack Obama as president.* it does make me glad that we have someone who is a deep and serious thinker in that office, one who is not wedded to any DC insider point of view or the foreign-military policy and, especially, the DC think tank establishment.  That establishment, often in the employ of foreign powers whose narrow interests they promote, often the interests of some pretty awful dictatorial regimes, certainly not the welfare of even their own People or, more certainly, the welfare of The People of the United States.   I may, in days to come, go over some specific things in it.

I would certainly encourage everyone to read the first long section of the article which deals with one of the most controversial things Barack Obama did in foreign-military policy, ignoring his own "red line" on the use of chemical weapons by the Assad regime in Syria, or so it seemed at the time and not launching the promised attacks.

Barack Obama taking the heat for reconsidering both the information on which he drew that line and having the character to take a personal hit to his own reputation in order to save the United States and, no doubt, many other people in Syria and elsewhere, standing up to the think tank establishment, the military, foreign governments and the American media establishment is a real profile in courage of the kind they don't give out medals for in establishment-celebrity studded events as covered by C-Span.

Here is where that long discussion of Barack Obama's decision to not launch the threatened attacks on Syria ends up.

John Kerry today expresses no patience for those who argue, as he himself once did, that Obama should have bombed Assad-regime sites in order to buttress America’s deterrent capability. “You’d still have the weapons there, and you’d probably be fighting isil” for control of the weapons, he said, referring to the Islamic State, the terror group also known as isis. “It just doesn’t make sense. But I can’t deny to you that this notion about the red line being crossed and [Obama’s] not doing anything gained a life of its own.”

Obama understands that the decision he made to step back from air strikes, and to allow the violation of a red line he himself had drawn to go unpunished, will be interrogated mercilessly by historians. But today that decision is a source of deep satisfaction for him.

“I’m very proud of this moment,” he told me. “The overwhelming weight of conventional wisdom and the machinery of our national-security apparatus had gone fairly far. The perception was that my credibility was at stake, that America’s credibility was at stake. And so for me to press the pause button at that moment, I knew, would cost me politically. And the fact that I was able to pull back from the immediate pressures and think through in my own mind what was in America’s interest, not only with respect to Syria but also with respect to our democracy, was as tough a decision as I’ve made—and I believe ultimately it was the right decision to make.”

This was the moment the president believes he finally broke with what he calls, derisively, the “Washington playbook.”

“Where am I controversial? When it comes to the use of military power,” he said. “That is the source of the controversy. There’s a playbook in Washington that presidents are supposed to follow. It’s a playbook that comes out of the foreign-policy establishment. And the playbook prescribes responses to different events, and these responses tend to be militarized responses. Where America is directly threatened, the playbook works. But the playbook can also be a trap that can lead to bad decisions. In the midst of an international challenge like Syria, you get judged harshly if you don’t follow the playbook, even if there are good reasons why it does not apply.”

Reading how he got there makes any reservations I had for voting him over John McCain or Mitt Romney instead of throwing my vote away on some facilely lefty spouting idiot who will never have to face those kinds of decisions, play-lefty candidates such as Jill Stein disappear.  All American presidents are going to do lots of things that are awful, many that will be outrageous.  Even as he is slammed by those who cling to the "Washington playbook" and the moronic media who merely dump into the "news stream" whatever those on their speed-dial tell them, he is also slammed for things such as his use of drones in Yemen.  It is a guarantee that an American president is going to use military intervention and technology, if Bernie Sanders were elected, he would.   So would Jill Stein if she were elected.

And so will Donald Trump if he is elected.  Read Goldberg's article and consider the ignorance, the bullying bellicosity, the reality TV non-thinking, the thinking-with-his-gonads macho posturing of Donald Trump and what that would mean for the United States and the world.  Oh, yes, and don't forget to include Donald Trump's massive racism and ignorance of Muslims.   The same racism that got us involved in some of the worst military disasters in our history when George W. Bush and Dick Cheney were handed the presidency by the Supreme Court and the American media.   The prospect of him being president is as terrifying as having Sarah Palin one of John McCain's heartbeats away from the presidency.

The Republicans and the American media have dumbed everything down to the point where a president as impetuously insane as any of the worst of the Julio-Claudian emperors has a real chance of being President of the United States.  We have already had George W. Bush, and, really, Dick Cheney to pave the way to that, a choice imposed by the Supreme Court and the media.  And they do so in opposition to a president of the character of Barack Obama, a president who they have undermined and attacked - not least of all on the basis of his race.   Yesterday I talked about the media machine that has attacked Hillary Clinton in relation to its attacks on the Kennedys, they have also amplified every lie, from his birth certificate to his academic record to alleged associations to Bill Ayers.   That media created Donald Trump and the forces that put him within reach of the White House.  If the country makes the disastrous choice of Donald Trump after Barack Obama, it will be the American media that has produced that catastrophic mistake.

It is the emblematic free-speech absolutist, Nat Hentoff's 91th birthday today, a man who might serve as a poster boy for the idiocy of both the establishment media and the pseudo-lefty media.   A man who is working under the Cato Institute these days,  writing stupid pieces such as one calling for Barack Obama's Nobel for Peace to be withdrawn.  Well, giving a peace prize to any American president or any other politician is going to generate ironies.  I'm not convinced that the Nobel committee which did that was doing Obama any favors by doing it.  But this article shows that if he had not deserved a Peace Prize for any other reason, Obama did for what he did in the hit to his reputation  he took for making a better decision in this matter.

I am also happy to vote for Hillary Clinton, who, though criticized in the course of the article has, I'm sure, learned a lot from this little discussed event. I would rather take a chance on someone who knows what happened, intimately, than someone who spent the same period chatting on cabloid talk-shows and working in "reality" TV.

Post Script:  As I'm re-reading this I'm hearing NPR interviewing Bob Dole on his endorsement of that reality TV star. He is giving his reason as his loyalty to the Republican Party.  And Bob Dole is held up by the DC media and establishment as the most credible of voices.  And he's endorsing Donald Trump. Yeah, I'm glad Bill Clinton won in 1996 and that Jimmy Carter won in 1976, as well. The Republican Party and its media wing - pretty much the entire electronic media - is the vehicle for imperial decadence in 2016.

*  Anyone who doesn't have misgivings about anyone who has been or will be President of the United States is being willfully blind or are too superficial or stupid to have an important opinion about them.

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