Political Ignorance Or “Axis Of Adults”?

During the 2016 campaign I will admit that there were some issues that Trump voiced that I could get behind…not to the point that I would have ever considered voting for him…..but he did have a few stands that I liked…..such as staying out of Syria with ground forces…..a possible overhaul of NATO….and his idea to keep America safe without intervention.

The problem is when he got elected and began to put together a cabinet I was concerned because he was appointing many generals to positions of power.  Trump was avoiding the use of real diplomats in positions of diplomacy…to me this was a force of ignorance that would lead to a path of destruction……

The truth is the Trump was in no more position of knowledge than the last couple of presidents…but his predecessors at least attempted to find people with the knowledge to run the foreign policy of the US…Trump not so much…..

It is what we might call ‘the consensus judgment’ that President Trump is a deeply ignorant man and perhaps a profoundly ignorant President. But it is worth stepping back and considering just what this means, the different kinds of ignorance that exist and how they differ.

Without making a direct comparison, it is worth remembering that each of the last three Presidents came to office with a steep learning curve about the modalities of the presidency and many aspects of the challenges and issues they would face. Clinton, Bush and Obama were each, in different ways, pretty green. Bush’s father, since he had served in Congress, as head of the CIA and especially because he had served as a fairly active Vice President for the previous eight years, came in knowing quite a lot about the specifics of the Presidency.

Source: Trump and The Problem of Militant Ignorance

Then the Syrian situation presented itself and after a couple of missiles and a bomb the media is starting to take a more positive look at the foreign policy of Trump…..

There’s a new band in town that’s guiding national security by quietly tutoring the most powerful man in America. Never-Trump Republicans who’d been apprehensive about President Donald Trump are celebrating the trio’s influence, calling Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, and Homeland Secretary John Kelly the “Axis of Adults.”

Through near daily contact with the trio, as well as Trump’s National Security Adviser Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster and CIA director Mike Pompeo, Trump’s world view appears to be morphing more closely to match hawkish conservatives of the Bush administration.

Source: New Power Center in Trumpland: The ‘Axis of Adults’ – The Daily Beast

While the MSM may have a positive attitude toward Trump…I do not…..his reaction and those of his subordinates is nothing new…..his reaction to the situation was the same as Obama and Baby Bush…..the neocons win…..

Donald Trump won the 2016 nomination and general election largely because he was able to pose as a populist and anti-interventionist “America Firster.”

Barack Obama won the 2008 election in good part because he promised “hope and change” and because he gave a speech years earlier against the then-impending invasion of Iraq.

Short of disclosure of diaries or other documents from these politicians, we won’t know for certain if Obama and Trump planned on reversing much of what they promised or if the political establishment compelled them to change. Either way, they both perpetrated massive political fraud. And what is perhaps most striking is how quickly each of them backtracked on their winning core campaign messages, particularly since they were both proclaimed as representing “movements” meant to shake up the system.

Source: Deceivers in Chief: How Donald Trump and Barack Obama Are Alike – Truthdig

Amazing how all this works out….when it comes to foreign policy then campaign promises mean nothing.

Isolationism: What’s It Good For?

During the run up to the election of 2016 there was a call for the US to revert back to a policy of isolationism…..

But first let’s look at isolationism as it pertains to foreign policy….

National policy of avoiding political or economic entanglements with other countries. Isolationism has been a recurrent theme in U.S. history. It was given expression in the Farewell Address of Pres. George Washington and in the early 19th-century Monroe Doctrine. The term is most often applied to the political atmosphere in the U.S. in the 1930s. The failure of Pres. Woodrow Wilson’s internationalism, liberal opposition to war as an instrument of policy, and the rigours of the Great Depression were among the reasons for Americans’ reluctance to concern themselves with the growth of fascism in Europe. The Johnson Act (1934) and the Neutrality acts (1935) effectively prevented economic or military aid to any country involved in the European disputes that were to escalate into World War II. U.S. isolationism encouraged the British in their policy of appeasement and contributed to French paralysis in the face of the growing threat posed by Nazi Germany.

(britannica.com)

But those days are long one.  The US cannot revert into isolationism….not in the global economy we have today….it is a myth…..

The American Conservative had a brilliant take on this issue……

For reasons unknown, and if revealed unlikely to be reassuring, my hometown newspaper, the Boston Globe, regularly provides space on its opinion page to the novelist Richard North Patterson. As a manufacturer of pulp fiction, Patterson has achieved spectacular success, churning out bestsellers with titles like The Devil’s Light and Loss of Innocence. If my own books sold a tenth as many copies, I’d retire to a baronial estate in Scotland and spend my remaining days fishing for trout, sipping single-malt whiskey, and reading potboilers by the likes of Richard North Patterson.

So as a spinner of fictional yarns, Patterson is a master of his craft. Unfortunately, when commenting on events of the day, that penchant for fiction persists.

Source: The Fiction of U.S. Isolationism | The American Conservative

The US cannot hide within its borders…..it must engage the world….but through the use of force is not the way to engage.  Diplomacy is a better weapon than a bomb.

Closing Thought–07Apr17

The Chinese Are Coming!

For the last couple of days the Chinese leader and Pres. Trump have had a head to head meeting in Florida….at the “Southern” White House, Mar-A-Lago.

My guess is after a round of golf and a Big Mac the two leaders will sit down and meet on trade, North Korea and South China Sea situation…..

U.S.-China presidential summits are always important, but this one comes at a particularly sensitive time. Under the Obama administration, China proved to be a valuable U.S. partner on climate change, Iranian nuclear nonproliferation, and other areas of common interest. Where U.S. and Chinese interests diverge, however, Beijing has shown an increasing willingness to act in ways that directly undermine the United States. From a U.S. perspective, the negatives are beginning to undermine the positives, and it is time for a change in course.

At Mar-a-Lago, Americans need the Trump administration to show up with a coherent strategy for dealing with high-priority issues, such as trade and North Korea, without needlessly sacrificing positive progress in other areas.

There are some important issues that need attention……

  • Framing the complex mix of cooperation and competition in U.S.-China relations
  • Taking serous action on the North Korean nuclear threat
  • Addressing the lack of reciprocity in U.S.-China trade and investment relations
  • Finding positive anchors for the relationship
  • Stopping the bleeding on Taiwan

I know that Trump is a fan of the false flag “news” outlet run by nut case Alex Jones, Infowars…..let’s hope Trump steers clear of something Jones had to say about China…..

Jones said, Democrats and Republicans alike are trying to undercut Trump, including California Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff. Repeating his homophobic comments about Schiff, the “InfoWars” broadcaster said “scumbags” like Schiff are hurting the country: “You think having all those fairies and pansies over there with their little chicken necks running around attacking our president all day makes us look strong? It makes us look weak!”

“So if China keeps pushing,” he added, “the only option is full commitment to hit China preemptively. That’s the only way to survive this nuclear war and Trump knows it. And Russia has already been told they better stand down. The United States is preparing to nuke China so get ready assholes! All of you wanted it, you’re gonna get it!”

Our weekend will be a good one the weather is typical Spring….warm days cool nights….I will enjoy my days hope you all do too…and thanx everyone for your visits and participation in IST…you guys make it all worth while.

What The Hell Is Going On At State?

As a degree holder in international relations and conflict management I am always interested in the doings at the State department…..since it is suppose to be the diplomatic arm of the US government it gives us wonks a scale by which we judge the actions globally of this country.

Since Pres. Trump nominated Rex Tillerson we have been struggling to get a grip on his attitudes to his new position of power.  So far I am NOT impressed.  This man is an amateur…I do not care how many companies he ran and how many trips he has made overseas….he is an amateur and needs replacing with someone with experience.

For instance. he has decided not to go to the FM meeting at NATO instead he will travel to Russia.  Russia?  Why?

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s travel plans aren’t sitting well with his counterparts in Europe. Tillerson will skip a NATO meeting early next month, the first time in more than a decade a secretary of state has done so, reports Reuters. On top of that, Tillerson will travel to Russia later in the month. “No matter how you spin it, this is unfortunate symbolism,” a veteran European diplomat tells Reuters, referring to the perception that the Trump White House is anti-NATO and pro-Russia. The State Department didn’t provide an official reason for Tillerson’s decision to skip the April 5-6 meeting in Brussels, notes CNN, but it appears he’s opting instead to be in Florida for Trump’s meeting with Chinese leader Xi Jinping on April 6-7.

Tillerson will, however, see foreign ministers from NATO in Washington on Wednesday in a meeting about the Islamic State, notes Politico. The semiannual planning session in Brussels will be more focused on NATO itself, and Tillerson will be represented there by Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Tom Shannon, who served under President Obama. After the China meeting in Florida, Tillerson will attend a G7 summit in Italy on April 10-11, and the State Department says he’ll visit Moscow after that. Democrats were quick to pounce on the decision—”a grave error,” says one House lawmaker—and ABC News rounds up their criticisms.

Then there was his visit to China…..BTW he blew off part of his South Korea visit because he needed a nap……and his words while there were at best confusing…..

“You said that China-US relations can only be friendly,” Chinese President Xi Jinping said to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Sunday. “I express my appreciation for this.”

Beijing could not be more pleased with Tillerson’s choice of words. Chinese state media is now crowing because the American diplomat, who seemed resolute in Tokyo and Seoul, appears to have turned deferential in Beijing—perhaps unwittingly. In the Chinese capital, he repeated in public the preferred Chinese formulation of relations between the two powers. On the preceding day at a press conference with his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi, Tillerson said ties between the two countries were guided by “non-conflict, non-confrontation, mutual respect, and win-win cooperation.”

Source: Tillerson’s Deference to Beijing or Unfortunate Rookie Mistake? | World Affairs Journal

Since Trump has decided that diplomacy is not important I am guessing that the various desks with State are vacant and this leads to moronic words and actions….

His impotent tenure so far is nothing but amateur hour at the cost of the nation’s reputation…..if he is not so good at this job then why would he want to do it?

As the old saying goes: Behind every successful man there stands a woman … making him become the United States’ secretary of state. At least that’s how the adage was apparently interpreted in Rex Tillerson’s household, per an interview with Tillerson that appeared Tuesday in the International Journal Review. “I didn’t want this job. I didn’t seek this job,” says the secretary, who IJR notes seems to have a “relative disinterest in the pomp and circumstance” of the job he now holds. In fact, Tillerson reveals that pre-2017, he’d been planning on retiring this month and heading off to hang out with his grandchildren at his Texas ranch. So what changed his mind? A little finger-wagging from his wife, Renda St. Clair.

“My wife told me I’m supposed to do this,” Tillerson tells IJR, noting that St. Clair exclaimed, “I told you God’s not through with you!” when he came home “stunned” after meeting with Donald Trump post-election and finding out the then-president-elect wanted him to run the State Department. Not that Tillerson, who turns 65 on Thursday, hasn’t since come around. “She was right. I’m supposed to do this,” he says, adding he’ll stick around “at the pleasure of the president.” Read the rest of the interview—including his take on how diplomacy mixes with the “America First” concept, and how an aide says he and Defense Secretary James Mattis “get along like gin and vermouth”—at IJR.

My wife told me I wanted the job….well maybe she should have got the nod and left hubby to screw with the oil industry.
This is not the person we need as pilot of American foreign policy…..time for Trump to see the writing on the wall and replace this toad before his does some real damage….but then that may have been the plan all along.
Further reading:

Closing Time–20Mar17

Nap Time For Bonzo!

The big story of the day is the Comey testimony and Brady’s Super Bowl jersey has been found…one is news the other mindless garbage….you decide.

Ever since Trump nominated and then was approved Rex Tillerson for the position of SecState I have been a critic….I did not think that this guy has material to handle the diplomacy of this country…..

He holds few news briefings and travels with no reporters that will report on his screw ups.

Recent I read that Tillerson skipped a meeting with a prominent diplomat in DC because he was fatigued and needed a nap.  Being an old fart I understand the need for a power nap every now and then….but sometimes it is not the best time.

If you have been watching the news or even listening to the ramblings of some alt-Right asswad then you will know that we are having a bit of a problem with the North Korean situation.  So much so that Tillerson went to the region for meetings with Japan, China and South Korea…I am guessing that they were holding meetings on North Korea.

While Tillerson was in South Korea he cut his visit short because he was fatigued and needed some rest……

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson warned of nuclear war with North Korea on Friday, a grim and alarming statement not to be taken lightly. But with the American media sidelined during Tillerson’s four-day visit to Asia, it has largely fallen on the South Korean press to report on the state of the negotiations, and how the U.S. and South Korea are planning to move forward together. It is through The Korea Herald, then, that it was revealed Tillerson cut short his meetings with South Korean leaders because he was too tired.

Source: Rex Tillerson reportedly cut short badly needed diplomatic consultations about North Korea because he was tired

Fatigued?  Too tired?  He does realize that there is a nuke program that needs attention?  But nap first?  Is that his plan?  I feel as if we are in good hands (sarcasm)

I think there are two options….one–fire this toad and find someone with foreign service experience….but if that is not on the list then I suggest a supply of Red Bull or any other energy drink to help him stay awake for important stuff.

Christ!  My dog could do a better job as SecState…I know she is smarter than Tillerson and she can stay awake long enough to do her duty.

Is State Department Being Phased Out?

No that is not a trick question.

Yes I am a foreign policy wonk and an antiwar activist…..there is nothing more important than what the US does on the international stage……and our state department is the diplomatic arm of our government…..and it has been inflicted with a cancerous tumor.

We live in a multi-polar world and diplomacy should be the cornerstone of our activities…..

Source: The Importance of Diplomacy – In Saner Thought

Since this country lost its collective mind and elected Trump it appears that his plan is to do just as the title suggests…..I first wrote about this in a recent post……..

Source: The Day Diplomacy Died – In Saner Thought

But the moves around our State Department has even some military people worried……

America’s generals are talking turkey. But we’re not talking about the well-known idiom for “speaking frankly” about a subject … although over 120 retired generals did just send a frank letter in response to a new State Department-slashing budget proposal by President Trump.

In that unusual military missive, a group of “former three- and four-star generals” led by “Retired Gen. David Petraeus, a former CIA director, and retired Adm. James Stavridis, the former NATO supreme allied commander,” pleaded with lawmakers and yet another general, new National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster, to preserve State Department funding.

Source: 120 U.S. Generals and Admirals Just Sent Trump a Dire Warning About Diplomacy | Alternet

Is this what a government geared to war looks like?

Our SecState is a no show at many diplomatic functions….plus there has been very little as far as briefings go….Tillerson’s silence speaks volumes for the plan of the Trump lackeys in the White House.

In the coming days and weeks I will be looking at the US responses around the world to armed conflict…..Syria is about to become an extension of our program of continuous war….more nation building….a concept that has NOT worked out well for the US and yet we still think we can do it.

The coming years will be hard on the nation and its soldiers…..diplomacy may the only thing that can save this country from more terrible plans of conquest…I mean you cannot sling a cat in the White House without hitting a general in the ass……..and Trump is doing all he can to kill that much needed diplomacy…..I weep if he is successful.

Closing Thought–09Mar17

Our Man In Moscow!

I have been waiting to see just who our presidente would choose as the ambassador to Russia….it would very telling…..

Now I do not need to fret any longer…he has made his choice….and it leaves me a bit scratching my head……

A White House official says former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr. is President Donald Trump’s choice to be the next US ambassador to Russia, the AP reports. Huntsman will be nominated for the diplomatic post as senior members of Trump’s administration face questions about their contacts with the Russian government. The White House official spoke on condition of anonymity ahead of a formal announcement.

Huntsman served as the ambassador to China during the Obama administration and speaks Mandarin. He had been considering a Senate run in 2018, a decision that would depend on whether Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, runs again. Huntsman in October called on Trump to drop out of the presidential race after the release of a recording on which Trump bragged about groping women.

By all accounts he was a good ambassador under Obama to China and now he heads to Moscow…..how did this person get two plum assignments for the State Department…the US two international rivals in all things….especially since Huntsman was so nasty to Trump during the campaigns…..Trump holds a grudge to the extreme yet not when it comes to Huntsman…

This is a bit suspicious to me…..there is more going on here than the placement of diplomats…me thinks.