Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Katehon — The Magnificent Seven: Trump’s Top 7 foreign policy advisers


Brief analysis of Trump's foreign policy team.

51 comments:

John said...

Some are fruitcakes, while the others are plain nuts, bananas or crackers. Is Trump going for some sort of meal here?

As usual, no one can tell whether he believes this stuff or is making a strategic party political decision in further tacking to the lunatic right. Trump presumably believes the electorate has moved so far to the right that there is no need to play to the right and then move back to the centre for the general election: he's going all out nativist and nationalist right. The full retard approach but with a twist.

If we are to take Trump at his word and assume that these advisors are representative of his foreign policy, then Trump is as dangerous as Hillary, something I never believed possible. On top of that he wants to load his cabinet with private equity and hedge fund managers, with Henry Kravis or Carl Icahn at treasury. This is a different politics, but not in the way we have been led to believe: the federal government should be like a hedge fund and a leveraged buy out operation. It does have the merit of originality - full retard originality, but originality all the same.

nivekvb said...

I agree, John.

Dave said...

The fact that he would accuse Bush of lying to get us into Iraq, and then hire people who were associated with covering up those lies, and torturing the innocent victims of those lies, is a sign that Drumpf is not the outsider he claims to be. Or he wants to be president so bad, he is willing to shift his position away from the bs he has been handing out in the primaries to make him seem more acceptable to the republican establishment. Again, as with any candidate, check his record of actions versus the actual rhetoric. Either way, this guy is dangerous because he will do or say anything to get what he wants. The rule of law means nothing to him.

Matt Franko said...

" The rule of law means nothing to him."

He's not a libertarian...

Dave said...

Your right, he's an authoritarian.

John said...

Dave, that is a really insightful point. Why hire some of the worst of Dubya's wrecking crew? There are plenty of sane "conservative" foreign policy and military analysts he could have approached. Was he rebuffed by every sane analyst, leaving him with a team of idiots, maniacs and misfits?

You wonder whether Trump is now trying to derail his own campaign with his carefree attitude and comments on nuclear proliferation: "It's going to happen anyway".

Dave: "Again, as with any candidate, check his record of actions versus the actual rhetoric."

That's the trouble. His very recent past indicates a man who is a very liberal democrat: he's Bill Clinton with a bad haircut. It is true people change their politics. But Trump's political turnaround is simply unprecedented. This is a Damascene conversion in reverse.

Dave said...

John I think Trump is apolitical. In New York, it was useful to him to support liberal causes because he was so invested in celebrity culture and entertainment. Like everything else with this guy, it's a smoke screen designed to create a story for consumption. He never believed in that celebrity liberal bs. But it was good for his brand. His brand has now changed, so he is changing.

Matt Franko said...

Here:

"I own buildings. I'm a builder; I know how to build. Nobody can build like I can build. Nobody. And the builders in New York will tell you that. I build the best product."


Read more at: http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/d/donaldtrum717773.html

He sees himself as a "builder"... he does whatever he has to do and deals with whoever he has to deal with to get his things built and put his name on them... he's not that complicated to figure out...

He wants to collapse the external deficit thru tariffs/taxes and use those $500B annual revenues to rebuild US domestic infrastructure and rebuild the military...

Its materialistic but that's what economics is all about... material systems.

Kristjan said...

"His very recent past indicates a man who is a very liberal democrat."

He is a liberal indeed.

The Rombach Report said...

In facial expressions and body language, Donald Trump reminds me a lot of Benito Mussolini... https://twitter.com/club_ed8/status/711693451188899840

John said...

Rombach, that's very good indeed! Trump does do the Mussolini air-of-superiority-but-based-on-phenomenal-ignorance posturing a helluva lot. He was born into extraordinary wealth, inherited a staggering fortune, which would be far greater if he simply indexed the inheritance (thus showing his business acumen is fraudulent in more ways than one, so the air of superiority and arrogance is to be expected. Ordinarily, people would be put up by this and would demand detailed policy, not casual, ill-thought-out answers and policies. The general election may be when this arrogant superiority and lack of knowledge may puncture the bubble he's living in.

Meanwhile, Trump's faux-anti-politics politics is going from strength to strength. I've certainly underestimated his campaign and the support out there for this weird charlatan but highly effective simpleton: that's why the Mussolini comparison has resonance. The genuine grievances and injustices faced by a huge swathe of the population is being channelled into the Trump campaign, and Trump is feeding off this misdirected anger.

Dave said...

This is a liberal?

http://www.politico.com/blogs/2016-gop-primary-live-updates-and-results/2016/03/donald-trump-illegal-abortions-punish-women-221391

Dave said...

John your 100 percent right about him feeding off the anger. He has also benefitted from his perceived outsider status, which is why his incredible lack of coherence comes across as a positive. His use of "word salads" and NLP persuasion resonate deeply with the fears, frustrations, and anger of a largely white male audience that feels, rightly so, that the neo liberal establishment has screwed them royally and they want revenge. Unfortunately, Trump is an incredibly damaged human being who will disappoint many of these voters. Also, even if he wins, he cannot possibly do all the things he claims he will be able to do.

Trump is not an outsider. However, he is a deeply damaged individual, who has great grievances with his former insider friends, and is using his campaign to get revenge. That is why the revenge angle plays so well with his audience, it's very authentic. It is an open question whether he ever really wanted to be president or just stir up the shit. Too late, he's the front runner. What I find fascinating is that now that he is the front runner, he has been trying to turn back to the insiders and run a more balanced campaign. But he just CANT. He had to attack Cruzs wife, talk about putting women in prison for having an abortion, and he HAD to blame Michelle Fields for Lewandowskis outrageous behavior. The man has serious issues with women. And they will punish him for it at the ballot box.

Politics is not like business. In business, you operate in a hierarchical command structure. If you sit at the top of that command structure, as long as you are profitable, then everyone has to obey you, especially in Trumps business structure which are mostly sole proprietorships and partnerships. Politics is about building constituencies, and appealing to a wide range of people. The politician has to make you feel that he/ she is reasonable, rational, thoughtful,and balanced, even if he/she is not. Trumps damaged personality will never allow him to do this, because he can never be wrong. Thats a huge problem in the general election. Most people will not want him in charge of the largest security/military/surveillance structure in the universe. Too scary.



Matt Franko said...

Well he's almost my ideal candidate.... Only fault is he comes up a bit short wrt understanding macro...

Dave said...

Matt I totally get why. I think if he could get some psychological counseling, I don't know anger management, go on a vision quest, he could reign in that humongous ego of his. However, I think that whatever good ideas this guy has will be squashed as the wheels come off his campaign, it's already beginning.

Bob said...

Trump will come in and go out like a wrecking ball.

Matt Franko said...

Dave its not anger with him its his "get even!" approach... this is the #1 thing he says he tells young college graduates at commencement addresses he's done... #1 thing: "get even!"...

So its not anger... its more like double entry accounting... if you screw him then he will screw you... "eye for an eye" type thing...

He may make it yet.... looks like tptb are still thinking about pulling something off at convention... imo it will depend on polls... if he is polling competitive with Hillary and bringing in millions of new people then I think they will let him go for it...

But these guys who are attacking him in this primary process, if they think he'll just react like the usual pol and once the primary is over, then go back to being all buddy-buddy if he wins .... I dont think they understand how strong this "get even" thing is operating within him...

Dave said...

Agreed Matt. It is entertaining to see him absolutely expose the corruption, hypocrisy, and banality of the republican establishment. And he is shedding a light on the neo-liberal death machine. And your right, he will not go away into that good night. The Republican party will not survive this. I wonder when its the democrats turn?

John said...

Dave, superb points. This is the time to show he can unify and build relationships and all the rest of it. But as you say, he goes full retard on all kinds of stuff that are not only irrelevant but will come back and haunt him at the general election. At this rate, the crazy psycho bitch Hillary won't even need to call him a woman hater. It'll be obvious, and frankly his attitude towards women is highly suspect.

And then he adds to it with all this unnecessary stuff about Cruz's wife and abortion, which most women support. We all know he's an alpha-male with a supersized ego, and for some that's part of the attraction, but this increasingly looks like settling heaven knows how many vendettas. We know he blows a gasket when people say he's got small fingers! Does this sound normal? Trump is this century's Nixon. No matter what alleged qualities he has, they're going to be dwarfed by his difficult personality and just demanding things. Trump drones on about what a good negotiator he is. I very much doubt he is a good negotiator or has ever really had to negotiate with comparably powerful people. In his line of work and the amount of money at his disposal, he got what he demanded, and if he didn't, he'd just buy the relevant person. That isn't the kind of negotiation style you'll need when you're dealing with grave international matters.

I'm not counting him out completely. He's nothing if not surprising, and happenstance may find a way of derailing the Hillary juggernaut. There is still a route for him to be POTUS, although it's getting more and more difficult the more often Trump tries to settle petty scores rather than focusing on the ultimate prize. Where anybody else would tune out the noise and fix their sights on the Oval Office (like an Obama), Trump wants to kick in the teeth of someone who upset him twenty years ago. That is unusual and highly illuminating behaviour, to say the least.

John said...

Matt,

I don't know the intricacies of the GOP's convention and its history. What are the chances of an establishment stitch-up, and who would be most likely to get the establishment's backing? But then again who would want such a tainted anyone-but-Trump nomination? The GOP has to find someone who can beat Hillary. Our species depends on it. James Garfield deserves consideration. As does William Henry Harrison, America's greatest ever president.

Dave said...

Full retard. I like that. Anderson Cooper called him a five year old after he claimed that he went after Cruzs wife because " he started it." I sometimes think he is a classic case of arrested development, like he was frozen at the age of 10. Didn't he get shipped off to military school around that age?

Malmo's Ghost said...

If you actually take the time to listen to Trump yourselves (especially when interviewed one on one) instead of listing through Establishment filters, he's very pro 99% (you and me and thee), which is what this election is all about. The sideshow the media is obsessed with is obviously bias driven, because Trump's anti-establishment platform threatens their lofty, elitist perches. Trump is certainly as much a Republican as Nelson Rockefeller was. But Rockefeller was a liberal Republican so I guess that means he's persona non grata to the tools leading that party today.

I do get why liberals despise him, because most American liberals are as thick as lead. They are wimpy, dumbed down, PC driven lightweights, who see anyone disagreeing with their cluttered authoritarian views as being racist, sexist, and bigoted.

John said...

Dave, full retard, if you've never come across it, is from the film Tropic Thunder: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Y3FzVQi-R8

Malmo,

I do listen to Trump. I never stop listening to him! Some of his "policies" are excellent, some are average and typically bad Republican policies, and some are frankly batshit crazy. As much as I hate Obama, he wasn't/isn't batshit crazy. He's extreme, but he's not batshit crazy.

I don't disagree that Trump is considered by the GOP establishment as a threat, but for the life of me I don't know why. Someone explain to me why he is considered such a threat? Other than national health care, which he won't be able to pass, and a few meaningless friendly nods, not too dissimilar to Dubya's, on Russia, what do they have to fear? Is that the reason he chose this demented, bloodthirsty team of foreign policy advisers, so as to ingratiate himself to the establishment?

It is unfortunate but true that American liberals are a horrid bunch, but not for the reasons you give. Anyway, political correctness is nothing more than a synonym for politeness and good manners. Thankfully I'm not a liberal as such, nor am I an American (although if Matt and you give me good character references, I'd be happy to join the "melting pot" party and teach you cricket), so my libertarian social democratic politics passes your test.

Dave said...

Unfortunately Malmo I have been somewhat consumed with Trump. To my detriment.

Malmo's Ghost said...

John,

What are Trump's "batshit crazy" policies?


Off the top of my head liberals I like: Camille Paglia, Bob Black (anarchist, sort of), Bernie Sanders (except for his wimpy side), John Zerzan, George McGovern, Bobby Kennedy, JFK, Michael Harrington, Angela Davis.

Malmo's Ghost said...

Dave,

Trump is obviously no slick, polished politician. That's a plus by the way.

Dave said...

Agreed Malmo. I am not sure why you turn this into a liberal versus _______ argument though. Not sure I get your reasoning.

Malmo's Ghost said...

Dave,

I know it's more than liberal v conservative, although with America's myopic left (not right)it's precisely that narrative.

To my mind it is Establishment v outsider/populist.

Malmo's Ghost said...

...BTW, I don't think Trump is going to get the nomination anyway. He simply is not savvy enough politically, and the money thing (lack thereof) is now going to hurt him. I see Cruz getting the nomination and I see Hillary winning it easily in the general (she wouldn't beat Trump, however).

Dave said...

Malmo if you have read my posts you know I agree Trump is riding a wave of revolution. So is Sanders. He has some good points, and he is an incredibly gifted persuader. He also has an almost supernatural ability to read the emotions of large groups of people and control them. My concern is with Trumps odious personality, his lying, his overtures towards world domination, and his simplistic answers to complex social problems. And, bully's piss me off, especially when they go after women. The more you allow them to gain power, the more difficult everyone's life becomes. Don't try to tell me he will be reasonable as president because I won't believe you until he proves he can take criticism with grace, and respond like an adult. Until then, he is a despot in training as far as I am concerned.

Malmo's Ghost said...

Dave,

No need to worry. He isn't going to win. Won't even get to the finals.

Dave said...

It's starting to look that way after this week. However, Hillary? Yikes. I hope Bernie pulls off a miracle.

Malmo's Ghost said...

If it weren't for super delegates, Sanders would be toe to toe with Clinton.

John said...

Malmo,

Trump won't get the nomination? How is that even possible? I asked elsewhere how he could be stopped so as to allow a more amenable candidate to beat the insane Hillary. This super delegates stuff smells rotten as it stands, but to do this at the RNC would be absolutely extraordinary. If it can be done, which just blows my mind, someone like Kasich would be a better POTUS than Hillary. I'd vote Kasich over Hillary. There are many Republicans who would be attractive enough to beat Hillary.

John said...

Malmo,

I'll only include what he claims he will in fact do as POTUS, not the many offhand remarks that, quite frankly, make him look ludicrous (for example, that he'd like to fuck his own daughter but unfortunately she is his daughter).

1. Should I even bring up the wall? It makes everybody hot under the collar.

Unless you militarise the wall to an unfeasible degree (mining the perimeter of the wall and drone attacks, for instance), it's not going to be effective. Let's solely concentrate on whether it would physically be effective. Let's be generous and say his administration built a fifty foot wall (not the thirty foot wall he's proposed) within a year of taking office. What do we in fact know. Over half the illegal migrants come in through ports, yet we don't hear Trump banging on about the ports. As Trump himself accepted, if you have a thirty foot wall, a thirty-one foot rope will see you over. Actually, you'd need more than that, but he accepts, as a point of logic, that the wall can be fairly easily traversed. Apparently vehicles are now sporting ladders that double as ramps to get over the wall. Who needs a rope when you have a customised vehicle that will get you over before you can say sarsaparilla? Then there are the tunnels that will be built by organised criminal gangs for trafficking people. The coast guard will have to get significantly bigger because people will instead use boats. Many, many more border guards will be needed because there will then be a thriving trade in people being smuggled in vehicles in authorised ports of entry. This isn't a wall, it's swiss cheese. There's also the interesting point that of the suspected eleven million illegal immigrants in the US, none would ever go back to Mexico, if they ever thought there was a chance they couldn't get back in. They may not risk going back to Mexico, but it won't deter Mexicans still in Mexico trying to get in. The point is that people who understand immigration say it won't work. So why build it?

2. "All persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside." That's the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution guaranteeing "birthright citizenship". Trump's policy is to deny people born in the United States citizenship if they are born to illegal immigrants. Has he mentioned that he wants to amend the constitution? No, he hasn't. Either he is unaware of this constitutional amendment or he wants to disregard it, which would make for some interesting court cases.

John said...

3. "You go into a department store, when was the last time you saw Merry Christmas? You don’t see it any more. You hardly see anything. You see a wall that’s painted red. Oh, great, that’s wonderful. They want to be politically correct. If I’m president, you’re going to see Merry Christmas in department stores, believe me, you’re going to see it. We’re going to be saying Merry Christmas again."

He's going to force people to say "Merry Christmas"? Has he heard of the Bill of Rights? Why would Trump claim that he would or could as POTUS enforce such a nonsense? And what would happen if someone refused or forgot to say it? Or what would happen to the person who wanted to say it but was asked not to say it by a customer?

4. "One of the first things I do, in terms of executive order if I win, will be to sign a strong, strong statement that will go out to the country -- out to the world -- that anybody killing a policeman, policewoman, a police officer -- anybody killing a police officer, the death penalty. It's going to happen, OK?"

As far as I am aware, a President cannot issue such an executive order or force states to make it "happen". Perhaps he is simply unaware of the powers of the presidency? And what does he do when he finds out he can't enforce this because it's unconstitutional? Stand there and say "Sorry, folks!" In any case, why make this a job specific death penalty? Why not firemen helping people at the scene of an emergency and murdered in the course of saving lives? Why not a doctor/nurse murdered in a hospital by a gunman? How about a teacher murdered in the course of saving her kindergarten class from a gunman? How about a border guard murdered by a human trafficker?

5. His policy of assassinating the families of terrorists. A retired Air Force JAG put it diplomatically: "You don’t want the military thinking it has to constantly question and second-guess the legality of every order being given by the commander-in-chief." That is to say, the military couldn't possibly obey such an order and would in future forever be questioning his judgement. They're professional soldiers, and they're not going to assassinate, say, a child or an infirm grandmother because the big man tells them to. Trump, however, thinks he knows better: “If I say do it, they’re gonna do it. That’s what leadership is all about.”

John said...

Angela Davis is a communist. Michael Harrington was a socialist. John Zerzan is an anarchist. Bernie says he's a "democratic socialist". These aren't liberals, and that's why you like them! Can't imagine why you like the Kennedys. They're worse than the Clintons.

Malmo's Ghost said...

Of course they're liberals, John. Only their shades differ. And Bobby and JFK are not worse than the Clinton's. Not even close.

Tom Hickey said...

Trump declared to the crowd, “The problem is we have the Geneva Conventions, all sorts of rules and regulations, so the soldiers are afraid to fight!”
source

Malmo's Ghost said...

None of what you listed above is "batshit crazy". You just don't like what he says. So what? Might not be prudent to articulate #5 though. Lie about it like all other world leaders do. And trump has walked #5 back anyway.

Malmo's Ghost said...

I know, Tom, Trump is the next Hitler or Mussolini. Once in power he's going to become a dictator and circumvent the Constitution.

Malmo's Ghost said...

BTW, I like Zerzan (by any metric he is liberal even though he hates professional leftists) because he is anti authoritarian--he equally despises left and right autocrats. He doesn't romanticize communism either, which doesn't make him anti liberal. Nor does he care for Democrats, which also doesn't make him anti liberal.

Malmo's Ghost said...

John,

Are you a dirty old man? Trump didn't say he'd fuck his daughter. He said he'd date her flippantly.

Tom Hickey said...

To a lot of people, advocating torture and war crimes looks bat-shit crazy, but not so much to the many Republicans that favor it, that is, those to whom Trump is playing on this issue.

On the pro-life front, Trump was forced to quickly walk back his view that women should be punished for having abortions if abortion were made illegal. Even Scott Adams, who has always found a positive were most have seen gaffes, couldn't justify this other than as a mistake that was not fatal. And he already had a problem with female voters.

Trump's favorable rating

My view is that it is going to be very difficult for DT to get the GOP nomination if he arrives with only a plurality and not a clear majority, which it doesn't look like he is going get. Then the argument will be that the majority of the party prefers some other candidate ("anyone but Trump").

Right now, Public Policy Polling indicates a Dem victory in the presidential. Dems favored to take the Senate back, too. But it is way to early to tell. The race is not going to start to firm up until after the nominations are in.

John said...

Malmo,

I guess we have different appreciations of crazy. Fair enough. It's not just that I don't like what he says. His policies are - I'll use something different - not feasible, knowingly unfeasible, yet articulated as if he'll somehow enforce the saying of "Merry Christmas" and refuse to obey the constitution, although he has just taken an oath to "preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States". This is, to be kind, KNOWINGLY unfeasible. Why promise it?

The strangest thing about Trump is that if he just toned it down ever so slightly, he'd have the presidency sewn up. He's be POTUS 44, no need for an election. If from now to the RNC, he just said inane mom and apple pie stuff, he'd probably make it. But no, he has this uncontrollable urge to unleash his inner Trump!

The only reason that I say anything about Trump is because stuff about him keeps getting posted. Hillary doesn't get mentioned much here. When she is, I'm not kind to her, and surely you must know that, right? All things considered, I think Bernie is the best candidate, but he's not going to be the next president. So it's going to be Hillary or Trump. And that almost certainly means President Hillary. In my eyes, that's not a good outcome.

Malmo's Ghost said...

Tom,

Trump says obviously dumb things, especially at his rallies. He's much more measured at sitdown interviews. He's also the most accessible candidate I've ever witnessed. That is a good thing on balance, but being a neophyte politically it has hurt him. He wears too much of who he is on his shirtsleeve, doesn't keep it close to the vest. Still, he doesn't frighten me if he'd somehow become president. He'd learn real fast how the cow ate the cabbage and would fall in line I'm sure. I don't think he's going to win, however. If he did get the nomination he'd clean Clinton's clock.

John said...

Malmo: "Trump says obviously dumb things, especially at his rallies. He's much more measured at sitdown interviews. He's also the most accessible candidate I've ever witnessed. That is a good thing on balance, but being a neophyte politically it has hurt him. He wears too much of who he is on his shirtsleeve, doesn't keep it close to the vest. Still, he doesn't frighten me if he'd somehow become president. He'd learn real fast how the cow ate the cabbage and would fall in line I'm sure."

Why are we always arguing then? He says dumb things. That's pretty much all I've ever said about him. I don't know why he says these things. The presidency is his for the taking if he stopped being so hyperactive. I kinda like you, and this is putting undue stress on our friendship.

Malmo: "I don't think he's going to win, however. If he did get the nomination he'd clean Clinton's clock."

He's going to win. HE IS GOING TO WIN. Then Clinton is going to wipe the floor with him, and I don't say that with any joy.

Malmo's Ghost said...

John,

I like you too.

I don't love Trump either, but I like that he confounds the establishment, even more than Bernie does. A vote for either is a vote against the 99% haters.

Trump will beat Clinton. Honest: well he's the only Republican that can beat her. An establishment hack stands no chance. A religious zealot like Cruz stands even a lesser chance.

Malmo's Ghost said...

John,

I'm sort of a dirty old man I've been told. Maybe I was projecting when I asked if you are one :)

John said...

What is it about MNE, huh?

First, I find out that Tom is a Vietnam veteran. Second, I find out "nivekb" is "retired". Now, Malmo is an "old man".

What is this, the fountain of youth? Or is it the activism that keeps you all sounding young? Weird happenings.



Malmo's Ghost said...

John,

I'm an oddball recalcitrant. I simultaneously like and hate many entrenched entities and people. For the most part, in my everyday rubbing of elbows with people, I don't give a damn about their politics, religion, or sexual proclivities. I'm an atheist, but most religions bother me little--save a few, which I'm sure you can guess :), and even they don't bother me beyond bitching about them on certain internet sites.