As a few days have now passed since the boom boom flash bang look over there strike on Syria, some are reflecting on the danger posed by a beleaguered, inept regime, in the midst of major staff infighting and turnover, suddenly dropping into a Middle Eastern quagmire with no plan or exit strategy. All the while, clueless media provide exactly the wrong incentives to a narcissistic nitwit who's constantly looking for approval and validation. Here's some worthwhile Monday reading along those lines.
It took Donald Trump 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles to buy himself one day of kind coverage at the end of another otherwise terrible week. But what the president himself described as an impulsive reaction to heartrending photos of Syrian children gassed by Assad on his watch isn’t a coherent strategy to punish Assad for using chemical weapons.
Even supporters who hoped the strike would show Trump as a he-man leader willing to grasp the saber of state in his tiny hands and rattle it firmly, it failed to paper over the political crisis consuming his White House as his staff and family have become warring factions seeking his favor so that the story has become not about the president’s goals, policies, or accomplishments, but a group of people around him who make the Borgias look like the Brady Bunch.
Trump is faced with terrible options when it comes to rearranging the deck chairs on the SS White House, and those of us who warned you this was inevitable are ordering popcorn. The cancer in the presidency isn’t his staff—though they reflect his shoddy intellect, his shallow impulsiveness, his loose grasp of reality, and Chinese-menu ideology. The problem is Trump himself, and nothing and no one can change that. (our emphasis)Another #NeverTrumper, neo- con David Frum takes us through "Seven Lessons From Trump's Syria Strike," also focusing on the ad hoc, impetuous nature of Rump's boom boom distraction:
But here’s one thing we already know: There can have been no proper interagency process before the strike, because none of the relevant agencies of government other than the Department of Defense is properly staffed to join such a process. You can’t have a deputies’ meeting without deputies.
Every decision presents risks and costs, and any responsible decision maker insists on a detailed itemization of those risks and those costs. That cannot have happened here. Trump has walked into a military confrontation that implicates regional and global security with only the haziest notion of what might go wrong. One friend of mine has warned: “If it were good foreign policy, Trump wouldn’t be doing it.” Foreign policy is hard, and even the best process does not guarantee good outcomes. Sometimes you get lucky, and can escape the consequences of a bad process. But the odds are the odds. Ninety-nine times out of one hundred, bad processes lead to ugly results. (our emphasis)Paul Krugman takes aim at the Rump regime's lack of policy coherence before taking this shot at our shallow, shiny- object- obsessed media:
Mr. Trump may like to claim that the media are biased against him, but the truth is that they’ve bent over backward in his favor. They want to seem balanced, even when there is no balance; they have been desperate for excuses to ignore the dubious circumstances of his election and his erratic behavior in office, and start treating him as a normal president.
You may recall how, a month and a half ago, pundits eagerly declared that Mr. Trump “became the president of the United States today” because he managed to read a speech off a teleprompter without going off script. Then he started tweeting again.
One might have expected that experience to serve as a lesson. But no: The U.S. fired off some missiles, and once again Mr. Trump “became president.” Aside from everything else, think about the incentives this creates. The Trump administration now knows that it can always crowd out reporting about its scandals and failures by bombing someone. (our emphasis)All of these analyses are worth the read. In the meantime, stay focused and Resist.
(Photo: "Plan? My only plan is to drag the country down with me if I have to.")