The US Presidency 2020

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Brad Sallows

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>With Iran becoming a nuclear power, Syria still at civil war, ISIS re-establishing itself, and Turkey turning away from NATO

A list of problems that previous presidents created and/or failed to solve isn't necessarily evidence of Trump's incompetence; it's evidence of their collective incompetence or merely that those problems are beyond the abilities of US presidents to solve, or to avoid the temptation to create.  If the understanding is that the predecessors did a lot more damage to a lot more countries and lives than Trump, I agree.  What's the exchange rate for "starting new wars and getting embroiled in others' conflicts" to "insulting Tweets" ?

Too many people focus on Trump's activity and overlook the consequences of his inactivity.
 

Colin Parkinson

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Navy_Pete said:
With Iran becoming a nuclear power, Syria still at civil war, ISIS re-establishing itself, and Turkey turning away from NATO, the middle east is arguably more volatile now as a direct result of his unilateral decisions and being buddy buddy with dictators. US diplomatic influence was set back worldwide by his arbitrary personal attacks on world leaders and mindless tariffs, and he manages to piss on NATO allies repeatedly with all kinds of false claims that derive from a basic lack of understanding of how the alliance works.

The guy is a lot of things, but an effective deal maker isn't one of them. The ones he signed were pretty meaningless ego boosters, and the Israel/Palestine proposal was a straight up shady real estate deal attempt. If he didn't have the leverage of the US military behind him, most countries would just tell him to pound sand.

You can also argue he was hamstrung by the moves made by previous administrations as well. That's a reality for every POTUS, the Iranian deal was really bad news and gave the Iranians the money and political room to support their proxy wars. Turkey had already driven off the cliff by the time Trump arrived. Trump was handed a sh*tsandwhich in the ME and he did not make it worse, it got better and he avoided most tit for tat and certainly didn't pull a Libya.
 

dapaterson

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Yes, things are certainly better in the ME.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Assassination_of_Jamal_Khashoggi
 

SeaKingTacco

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dapaterson said:
Yes, things are certainly better in the ME.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Assassination_of_Jamal_Khashoggi

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-54151712

Arguably, they are. The Gulf Arabs and the Israelis have finally figured out that they are on the same team.

How much of a hand Trump had in that, I do not know. But, this is a positive development.
 

CBH99

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dapaterson said:
Yes, things are certainly better in the ME.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Assassination_of_Jamal_Khashoggi


To be fair, that happened to a journalist inside an embassy - which is sovereign territory of whatever nation's embassy it is.

That could have happened anywhere.  We have to remember they dismembered him and removed his body in pieces to cover up the crime - aka no body, and I imagine they could have just 'had the cameras down for maintenance' that day if they chose to.


The primary reason this crime was detected and ultimately uncovered was because his wife happened to be in the car outside, waiting for him.  Once word got out, US intelligence assets reviewed their monitoring of the communications coming/going from the embassy, and got the ball rolling.

Otherwise, he'd probably end up a 'missing person'.



**I don't disagree with you dapaterson, I'm just saying that technically could have happened at any Saudi embassy in the world.
 

dapaterson

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CBH99 said:
To be fair, that happened to a journalist inside an embassy - which is sovereign territory of whatever nation's embassy it is.

That could have happened anywhere.  We have to remember they dismembered him and removed his body in pieces to cover up the crime - aka no body, and I imagine they could have just 'had the cameras down for maintenance' that day if they chose to.


The primary reason this crime was detected and ultimately uncovered was because his wife happened to be in the car outside, waiting for him.  Once word got out, US intelligence assets reviewed their monitoring of the communications coming/going from the embassy, and got the ball rolling.

Otherwise, he'd probably end up a 'missing person'.



**I don't disagree with you dapaterson, I'm just saying that technically could have happened at any Saudi embassy in the world.

That the nation that provided the majority of the 9/11 hijackers now feels that they can murder and dismember (probably not in that order) with impunity does not speak to a transformed region.
 

CBH99

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dapaterson said:
That the nation that provided the majority of the 9/11 hijackers now feels that they can murder and dismember (probably not in that order) with impunity does not speak to a transformed region.


Fair point
 

Colin Parkinson

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The peace deals are going to have a major effect, because the cage around Israel is broken, the fact three deals happen on the watch of two "despised leaders" is noteworthy and a hell of a lot more substance than Obama ever achieved. Trump for his faults was willing to take diplomatic risks and push people.
 

SeaKingTacco

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dapaterson said:
That the nation that provided the majority of the 9/11 hijackers now feels that they can murder and dismember (probably not in that order) with impunity does not speak to a transformed region.

Agreed. I have experience in the region and my distaste for the Saudis and the way they do business is at least as great as my distaste for the Iranian regime.
 

Infanteer

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Brad Sallows said:
What I rate as Trump's most significant direct achievement: shifting some of the historical voter allegiance patterns, and demonstrating that the Republican party can win without the guidance and influence of the neocon talking heads.  Trump is going away and taking those irrelevant whingers with him.  Awesome two-fer.

This is an important point.  Before hating Trump became en vogue, remember how detested George W Bush was?  The Never-Trumper Republicans were pining for those days, but do we remember guys like Chaney, Wolfowitz, and Rove?

I don't know if history will be kind to Bush 43 and the neo-cons, and nor do I think it should.  Iraq was a geo-political disaster of the highest order, and the world is still dealing with the after effects of a completely unnecessary regime change.  The 2008 recession seems to my limited understand to be directly attributable to slipshod fiscal policies of the Administration.

Even Michael Moore admitted his delight in watching Trump demolish the traditional Republican field in 2015 because many of them were cut from that neocon cloth.
 

Brad Sallows

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Yep.  I know I'm a broken record here about the (ex?-)neocons writing for The Bulwark and The Atlantic, or belonging to the "Lincoln Project", but they strike me as sore losers who are bitter that they've been cast out.

Exhibit A: Trump is going away, but they still want to deliver the GA senate run-offs to the Democrats (which would un-divide the government along just about the narrowest possible measure of 50%+1).  Apparently the Republican party is no good unless they are its priests, and the country must suffer extraordinary turmoil to make it so.
 

Journeyman

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For the self-congratulatory crowd, crowing about Trump's defeat, I'd suggest not being too hasty or complacent.

The Atlantic
America’s Next Authoritarian Will Be Much More Competent
Trump was ineffective and easily beaten. A future strongman won’t be.

Make no mistake: The attempt to harness Trumpism—without Trump, but with calculated, refined, and smarter political talent—is coming.
 

mariomike

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Journeyman said:
For the self-congratulatory crowd, crowing about Trump's defeat, I'd suggest not being too hasty or complacent.

The Atlantic

Interesting article. Thank-you for posting.

The Electoral College and especially the Senate are anti-majoritarian institutions, and they can be combined with other efforts to subvert majority rule. Leaders and parties can engage in voter suppression and break norms with some degree of bipartisan cooperation across the government. In combination, these features allow for players to engage in a hardball kind of minority rule: Remember that no Republican president has won the popular vote since 2004, and that the Senate is structurally prone to domination by a minority. Yet Republicans have tremendous power. This dynamic occurs at the local level, too, where gerrymandering allows Republicans to inflate their representation in state legislatures.


 

brihard

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Journeyman said:
For the self-congratulatory crowd, crowing about Trump's defeat, I'd suggest not being too hasty or complacent.

The Atlantic

Damn, you beat me to it. I saw that and was going to post it. It highlights real concerns based on real trends. The basic premise is 'America's next authoritarian will be more competent'.

Democracy can never be taken for granted.
 

Brad Sallows

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Depends on where you think the sympathies for authoritarianism lie.  If progressives are more inclined to go along with an authoritarianism of which they approve (a president who executes their favoured policies, Congress that does the president's bidding, courts that dutifully uphold the laws Congress passes and the rules the administration promulgates, federal agency employees who are in alignment with the policies of the president, media who put a polish on it all and suppress opposition), the path to authoritarianism lies through progressivism, and the path to progressivism already manifestly lies along majoritarian rule.

It isn't conservatives that are trying to tear down anti-majoritarian roadblocks to a permanent majority while test-driving totalitarian attitudes towards the separation of public discourse into "allowed" and "disallowed".
 

Remius

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The President has fired his Defense Secretary.


Perhaps the start of a purge?

 

GR66

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Remius said:
The President has fired his Defense Secretary.


Perhaps the start of a purge?

For not backing the planned coup???

;D



Just kidding in case anyone didn't take this as a joke!
 

The Bread Guy

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Here's your hat - what's your hurry? 

This from AP:
President Donald Trump has fired Defense Secretary Mark Esper, a stunning and unprecedented move at a time of national uncertainty about the outcome of Trump’s bid for a second term. The move could be seen as unsettling for the Pentagon and a source of concern for international allies and partners.

It is the first time in the modern era that a president seeking reelection has removed his Pentagon chief after Election Day.

Presidents who win reelection often replace Cabinet members, including the secretary of defense, but losing presidents have kept their Pentagon chiefs in place until Inauguration Day to preserve stability in the name of national security.

Esper’s strained relationship with Trump came close to collapse last summer during civil unrest that triggered a debate within the administration over the proper role of the military in combatting domestic unrest. Esper’s opposition to using active duty troops to help quell protests in Washington, D.C., infuriated Trump, and led to wide speculation that the defense chief was prepared to quit if faced with such an issue again ...
 

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brihard

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Well that was predictably and unnecessarily churlish.

In the coming weeks watch for presidential direction to not cooperate with transition preparation efforts...
 
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