Class Warfare Blog

August 6, 2017

Why Is Donald Trump Still So Horribly Witless About the World?

Filed under: Politics — Steve Ruis @ 12:01 pm
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The New Yorker magazine currently is running an article with the above title.

Here are a few representative quotes within that article that show the tenor of the article:

“Trump has an appalling ignorance of the current world, of history, of previous American engagement, of what former Presidents thought and did,” Geoffrey Kemp, who worked at the Pentagon during the Ford Administration and at the National Security Council during the Reagan Administration, reflected. “He has an almost studious rejection of the type of in-depth knowledge that virtually all of his predecessors eventually gained or had views on.”

“He’s impatient, decision-oriented, and prone to action. It’s all about the present tense. When he asks, ‘What the hell’s going on in Iraq?’ people around him have learned not to say, ‘Well, in 632 . . . ’ ” (That was the year when the Prophet Muhammad died, prompting the beginning of the Sunni-Shiite split.*)

“’The sheer scale of his lack of knowledge is what has astounded me—and I had low expectations to begin with,’” David Gordon, the director of the State Department’s policy-planning staff under Condoleezza Rice, during the Bush Administration….

The authors seem puzzled by the fact that Mr. Trump hasn’t gotten, well, better. (If one were to ask Mr. Trump that I wonder whether he would say he had gotten better as that would imply he had been worse at some point.)

This is not puzzling to me. If you or I were faced with an important foreign policy issue in such a position (gulp!) we would want to learn as much about the problem as we could because any solution we might create, or choose from those proffered, is bound to fail and possibly make things work if it doesn’t address the real problem, rather than the fictious one we have made up in its stead.

This is why most presidents got better and better at digesting the information they were given as their tenure proceeded.

Mr. Trump, on the other hand, does not think that way. His world is really quite small (as is his intellect, moral core, etc.). My guess is that he has very capable people on retainer and they are ordered to solve problems in the manner depicted above and if they do not, they are fired and another is given the chance. I have never heard Mr. Trump’s creativity lauded or his problem solving skills, etc. I suggest they are nonexistant.

When Mr. Trump is presented with a problem, the focus is on himself. How can this be turned to my advantage? How can this make me look good? His thoughts do not run toward solutions and information that may provide them, that is for minions to do. Mr. Trump is always taking the “big picture” and the largest element in that picture is “Mr. Trump.” To expect otherwise is inverted magical thinking.

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May 8, 2017

Twenty Questions—Plus Four

Filed under: Politics — Steve Ruis @ 9:14 am
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Remember the game of 20 Questions? Here are twenty-four commonsensical questions about our stance in the world that, if answered, would clarify our relationships with all other nations greatly.

I strongly recommend you read “Andrew Bacevich: What Obsessing About Trump Causes Us To Miss”.

July 6, 2016

Why Our War on ISIS is Wrong and Stupid

In a column on The Conversation, Paul Rogers, Professor of Peace Studies, University of Bradford, and author of “Irregular War: ISIS and the New Threats from the Margins” makes a couple of interesting points.

The first is this: “The air war of the last 23 months has been far more intense than reported, with at least 30,000 IS supporters killed so far and inroads being made into the group’s controlled territory, especially in Iraq but also in Libya. But to forecast any kind of victory in the near future is hugely dangerous.”

I find this interesting as when ISIS sprung up, its numbers were put at 10,000, then adjusted to 20,000, but certainly no more than 30,000. So, according to our government, we have killed 30,000 and the war is over, right? No? Why not?

Could it be that our drone happy administration sees someone they think is an ISIS participant, standing amongst 14 or 15 others, launches a missile, and declares 15 ISIS supporters dead? This is the administration, remember, that has kept a designation of any male of military age (14-80?) as being a “combatant.” Surely this is not a stretch.

The U.S. has become enamored of air power and think it can win wars for us. It cannot. It has been proven so on the battlefield. Yes, bombings have an impact, but air power does not win wars. Ask the Soviets, the bombed the shit out of Afghanistan, then fled with their tails between their legs, leaving behind a country in which a small part was still willing to take on the U.S., with no air power at all.

Professor Rogers hits the nail on the head, though, toward the end of his piece with: “Even 15 years after 9/11, Western strategists still fail to see al-Qaeda and IS for what they are: transnational revolutionary movements rooted in an eschatological outlook which sees this earthly life as just one part of the process. At root, IS wants and needs war with the West, and the West is giving it just what it wants. Until that fact is confronted, the war will go on.”

ISIS is not our problem. Sure we contributed to the problem even could be described as having created it, but we are not the solution. We are the problem. The only way out is to have the region take care of its own problems and to stop meddling. Being goaded to “take action” by people who make millions, if not billions, from weapons sales and graft is unbecoming for any government wanting the label of “good.”

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