Monday, April 10, 2017

Trump Escalates

Trump must have enjoyed the adulatory media coverage he received on Friday and Saturday in wake of his "wag the dog" cruise missile attack on Syria because by Sunday his administration had reversed a key campaign pledge -- to work with Russia to destroy the caliphate in Iraq and Syria -- and was essentially walking around Obama administration talking points on regime change.

Less than three months after his "America First" inaugural speech, Trump is now basking in the limelight as champion of the "deep state."

As Trump eviscerates his base, and his legislative agenda disappears in a puff of smoke -- GOP efforts to reanimate the corpse of Trumpcare have already failed; John Kelly, secretary of homeland security, testified in the Senate last week that the great border wall with Mexico will not be built; Krugman says Trump has zero infrastructure plan; the tough talk about cracking down on China's unfair trade advantage has been reduced to promises of anti-dumping duties on Chinese steel, something that the Obama administration did -- it is important to remember that when an imperial president feels blocked domestically, he usually flexes his muscles abroad.

The danger of muscle-flexing now is that it risks dangerous escalation.

Trump is already there in Syria. The Russians, in response to attack on Al Shayrat airfield, have turned off the de-confliction  hotline. More "accidents" are bound to result.

Rerouting the USS Carl Vinson carrier strike group to Korea will elicit some sort of hostile reaction from Kim Jong-un.

If elite, "deep state" opinion is that Trump is a lying, incompetent, blowhard, why would having him at the helm of a bellicose foreign policy suddenly be a cause for celebration?

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