Wagging the Dog 2020
The news networks were all abuzz about the assassination of Qassem Soleimani, particularly regarding “What is Trump’s strategy?” in this matter. Really? We’re within shouting distance of Election Day 2020, we have been watching the Liar-in-Chief for THREE FULL YEARS, and these twits are wondering “What’s Trump’s strategy?”
Let’s remember how this President operates. For him, each day is a new episode of The Presidential Apprentice and HE needs to be the “hero” of the day’s plot. After a month of being pounded with daily impeachment news, portraying the hero being dragged through the mud, how do we shift the narrative to put the hero into a positive light with his audience? Simple: “We took action last night to stop a War….”. Really? Has ANY evidence been provided that proves this statement? (In fact, NO) Pompeo says there was an “imminent threat.” The imminent threat, dear reader, was Nancy Pelosi.
It seems pretty clear that Donald J. Trump felt a need to grab the 2020 headlines by pursuing a strategy of Wagging the Dog and provoking a war with Iran (Clinton did a similar thing, which led to the Hoffman/DeNiro film). What we do keep hearing is that Iran plays chess while Trump has barely mastered Checkers. “What is Trump’s strategy?” Simple: Get the headlines off the impeachment. Neither members of Congress nor Allies were informed about this action. After leaving the Nuclear Agreement with Iran upon taking office (remember, this Administration’s Prime Directive is: “If Obama did it, we have to un-do it!”), this action may well provoke that nation accelerating its work to develop nuclear arms!
Both H.W. Bush & Obama had opportunities to take Soleimani out and decided against it because the repercussions might be too severe. What this unilateral action by Trump was aimed at was simple: Friday night’s headlines (and the weekend news programs) were NOT about the Impeachment. Trump gets to play “Commander-in-Chief,”. Mr. Tough Guy, etc. —- rather than everyone being reminded he is a common criminal, a fraud, a tax cheat, a serial sexual predator, and a compulsive liar.
Trump is a huge National Security Liability…….inviting a foreign nation to interfere in our elections is one thing (and a crime!) but frivolously assassinating a high-profile and politically powerful Iranian general simply because he needed to end the week (and start the New Year?) with a “positive” headline speaks to the runaway malignant narcissism of this President. That the Republican Senate —- McConnell and Graham (and Cornyn and Cruz and Johnson and Kennedy and…and…and) —- falls into lockstep behind this sub-literate, bloviating egomaniac speaks to just how deeply Trump has decimated our institutions. Several 2019 year-end reviews noted how the Weimar Republic in 1920s/1930s Germany was destroyed by Hitler and his National Socialists, with some clear parallels to what we’re seeing with Trump’s ascendancy.
I know there is a knee-jerk reaction to that notion (“It can’t happen here. Not in the United States.”) but Germans were not lining up behind Adolf at first, either. The poisonous White Supremacist philosophy (borrowing liberally from America’s Jim Crow model and adding a healthy dose of fallacious eugenics) crept in at first, but gathered momentum, particularly as the economy turned down. Scapegoating and targeting Jews became more and more acceptable (have you read about the spike in anti-Semitic attacks in the U.S. in the last 6 months? Or the incredible stats about the increase in hate-crime violence in cities after a Trump “campaign rally?). Of course, there’s also the “strategy” of artificially boosting the economy by kicking into “war” mode!
Citizens of the United States love their mythology. Trump is playing into an old, established strain of that mythology; one that appeals to white people who now believe they have been victimized and are suffering because the “libtard, snowflake” government (the “Deep State”) has sold their birthright as the people who built this country (white, Protestant men), the people who made this country “great“ to all those “Others” —- the Blacks, the “illegals,” the Latinos, and so on. There is a need to be vigilant and activist in protecting our democratic institutions. Germans slept, or sleep-walked, for too long and when they finally woke up, Hitler had power. In our present situation, with a complicit and complacent Senate, Trump is allowed to unlawfully assassinate an enemy; he is allowed to solicit aid from foreign powers to help fix another election, he is encouraged (by McConnell & Graham) to cover-up his crimes. We know he will pardon all the members of his Administration who are already doing (or almost doing) jail time (Manafort, Stone, Flynn). A man who has pilfered student money through a phony university and personally spent the money his Foundation collected (as a “charity”), who only cares about his personal “Brand,” and accumulating as much personal wealth as possible (remember that emoluments clause?), will stop at nothing to destroy the historic Institutions of the United States for his own purposes.
It’s a bleak picture, I know. But I think we are at the point where we are kidding ourselves if we don’t accept that Trump is dangerous and the Republican Party is complicit in all his crimes —- they are accomplices. And that’s how we may well lose our democracy and all the institutions associated with it. I would like to believe I am wrong and, come November 2020, see Donald Trump suffer an electoral loss that is epic in its landslide proportions. I’d love to believe that. But I can’t say I’m confident it will happen. In some ways it looks (to me) as if we are too far down the Trump Rabbit Hole to find our way home.
I hope I’m wrong.