By Jason Taylor
I never bought into the strategic brilliance of Trump’s team. Master strategists don’t lose key advisors one after the other. They don’t leave behind such sloppy trails of evidence.
This administration is desperately lacking both leadership and a foreign strategy. First, we have Trump going out of his way to placate Putin, even disagreeing with his own intelligence officials as to the involvement of Russia in the election. Then we have Tillerson saying it’s up to the Syrian people to deal with Assad and two days later Asaad takes that head-fake and launches a chemical weapons attack using weapons that had supposedly been destroyed under the supervision of Russia. Then we have a complete reversal on Syria with the administration launching a missile strike on Assad.
This is the Mr. Magoo presidency. The blind stumbling from one mess to another.
And today we have Trump sending an aircraft carrier to N. Korea where he says “we’ll go it alone if needed” in dealing with the N. Koreans. WHAT? This man is going to start WWIII because of his stupidity. And this morning, on cue, Trump fires off some tweets directed at North Korea and China.
I explained to the President of China that a trade deal with the U.S. will be far better for them if they solve the North Korean problem!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 11, 2017
North Korea is looking for trouble. If China decides to help, that would be great. If not, we will solve the problem without them! U.S.A.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 11, 2017
It’s quite obvious that Trump’s foreign policy exists, not on paper, nor in a general consensus among his administration, but on his Twitter Timeline.
We have Kushner and Bannon clashing over ideology with a completely dysfunctional Whitehouse. We have Secretary of State Tillerson and National Security Advisor McMaster stating the missile attack on Syria was only to prevent the further use of chemical weapons. And then you have the U.N. Ambassador Haley publicly advocating regime change in Syria. Then you add the Muslim ban that floundered in the courts and the ever popular repeal of the ACA that didn’t happen. Can’t seem to find anyone qualified to staff the 100’s of senior positions in the different agencies. Signed an executive order to weaken ethics firewall (really needed that one). This list goes on ad nauseam.
I am not convinced at all that Rex Tillerson knows what he is doing or even comfortable in his new job. Tillerson may be good at glad-handing and schmoozing like a businessman, but he is out of his league as a Secretary of State and it feels like amateur hour with him. I still think he would rather be retired as he had planned, sitting dark smoky barroom with a big glass of bourbon in front of him and a camel cigarette burning in the ashtray.
Our U. N. Ambassador apparently didn’t get the memo that it’s okay for Assad to keep killing people as long as chemical weapons are not involved, and even then we might just lob a few more missiles to let Assad know we won’t stand idly by, but in any case Assad can stay until the Syrians hold “elections.” Well, I don’t fault Nikki Haley for that, if we had a State Department with staff maybe somebody would have thought to shoot off a memo to keep her in the know.
I think Putin is smiling and rubbing his hands together with glee. Putin knew where Obama stood on stuff because, like him or not, Obama was pretty clear on where he stood. Now we have the shapeshifting administration with no staff and nobody being consistent about anything, and a president who is happy to drop a few bombs whenever he feels like it without talking to Congress.
I don’t believe for even one moment that Trump’s Secretary of State tempered saber rattling is grounded in Trump’s real intention. I’d even go so far (in my utter paranoia and distaste for Trump) to say that the reason our missiles purposely were impotent & avoided damaging the runways- was the result of a behind-the-scenes agreement w/Putin. I’ve envisioned it as a play acted scenario of so called ‘aggressive’ US action -thus mitigating what most of us know…that Putin has plenty to blackmail Trump on.
This administration has zero credibility. A one-time missile strike that did little damage to Assad’s bombing capabilities, followed up by this Kabuki show between Putin’s mouthpieces and the Trump media machine, only furthers the impression that this is only a distraction from the myriad of investigations into this administration’s Russian connection and profiteering.
Once again this feels like the Bush era saber rattling in order to trigger military actions in order to obfuscate rampant profiteering by administration cronies. Tough talk in front of the cameras still don’t quell the fact that there is still a $300 billion Exxon deal on the table with Russia (which I’m sure he won’t be a benefactor at all it’s not like he doesn’t own $100 million in Exxon shares).
I think Trump and co. are so obtuse that Putin was able to play them like a fiddle, and I think the GOP was so craven and/or desperate for power that they were willing to betray the country and allow, maybe abet the interference to win the White House.
I think what we may be seeing now really is the marginalization of Trump’s nuttier advisors and the reassertion of traditional Republican policy goals. Maybe Trump is already exhausted and slowly accepting his inability to blow up the system, in which case the GOP’s strategy — not Russia’s — has come out on top, and the Republican elite — not Putin — are now Trump’s puppeteers.