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Member since: Thu May 7, 2009, 11:59 PM
Number of posts: 16,355

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Ezra Klein - Trumps foreign policy is dangerously impulsive


The cruise missile strikes President Donald Trump launched in reprisal for Bashar al-Assadís chemical weapon attack in Syria are well within the norms of American foreign policy. But they fall far outside the stated boundaries of Trumpís foreign policy, and reflect an administration bereft of a consistent, considered approach to the world ó an approach that would make Americaís actions predictable to both our friends and enemies, and guide the commitments weíre willing to make in the event of escalation or reprisal.

What we are seeing, instead, is a foreign policy based on Trumpís gut reactions to the images flashing before him on cable news. And thatís dangerous.

Last week, despite Assadís horrific, ongoing slaughter of his own people, the Trump administration was comfortable seeing him retain power. In March, Nikki Haley, Trumpís ambassador to the United Nations, said, ďOur priority is no longer to sit there and focus on getting Assad out.Ē

This was consistent with Trumpís long-held view on Syria, which was that America should stay the hell away. Unlike many Republicans, his criticism of President Barack Obama wasnít for failing to follow through on infamous ďred lineĒ comments but for making them at all.

Foreign Policy Review (2016) - Trumps Syria Strategy Would Be a Disaster - Precient

While Trump does his best to blame President Obama, will the media note that candidate Trump was a big fan of Assad's regime and wanted to partner with Assad:


The president-elect wants to ally with Assad and Russia to fight the Islamic State Ė but heís going to end up empowering extremists and causing chaos across the Middle East.

Late last week, President-elect Donald Trump explained for the first time since his election victory his position on the crisis in Syria. In his remarks, he laid out his determination to ramp up the fight against the Islamic State and to cease support to those fighting President Bashar al-Assadís regime:

Iíve had an opposite view of many people regarding Syria.Ö My attitude was youíre fighting Syria; Syria is fighting ISIS; and you have to get rid of ISIS. Russia is now totally aligned with Syria, and now you have Iran, which is becoming powerful, because of us, is aligned with Syria.Ö Now weíre backing rebels against Syria, and we have no idea who these people are.

This is an extraordinary simplification of a highly complex crisis. But the president-electís views on Syria do evince some consistency ó just not the consistency he apparently intends. Trump says he wants to focus on destroying the Islamic State. The main effect of the policies he describes, however, would be to eliminate the moderate opposition to the Assad regime and to empower extremism.

Before considering all the disastrous effects of Trumpís policy, we should examine why even his stated justification for it doesnít hold water. A brief history lesson should suffice to demonstrate the Assad regimeís lack of counterterrorism qualifications. This is the government whose intelligence apparatus methodically built al Qaeda in Iraq, and then the Islamic State in Iraq, into a formidable terrorist force to fight U.S. troops in that country from 2003 to 2010. Hundreds of American soldiers would probably still be alive today if it had not been for Assadís state-backed support to the Islamic Stateís direct predecessors.

The 'Greenwald Left' Continues to Deny the Russiagate Story

While Trump and his minions on the right attack media attack stories regarding Trump's connection to Russia as Fake news, Glenn Greenwalfd, Ed Schultz and the TYT runs interference on the left. Of course, these talking points are the same as those made by Trump and his allies even though they come from folks who claim to be progressives.


1) The "conspiracy theory" theory.

Despite the volumes of persistent and thorough reporting from The New York Times, The Washington Post, BBC, McClatchy, NBC News (Engel, Maddow, O'Donnell, Hayes), CNN and open source outlets like Pro Publica, not to mention concurrent investigations by the FBI, CIA, NSA, and the pro-Trump Congress, there are quite a few liberals claiming Russiagate is merely an unproved conspiracy theory.

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2) The "we're mean, too, and we totally deserve it" theory.

This is a very typical Greenwaldian attitude: America meddles in other elections, so we had it coming. Okay, would these same people excuse or even forgive a foreign invasion and the installation of a hostile regime in Washington just because we've engaged in regime change and nation-building? I would hope not, but probably. Indeed, Putin appears to be working on that one. No amount of harm inflicted upon the United States is unacceptable to this crowd, as long as they can point to something similar in our national history. It's nearsighted deflection at its worst.

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3) The "we never had a democracy in the first place" theory.

This is perhaps the most uniquely liberal reaction so far. Lacking anything of substance to say by way of either disproving or counterpointing the Russiagate reporting, these people would rather just go for the trite, overplayed, crowd-pleasing zinger. Is our election system in danger from gerrymandering, voter ID and voter purges? Hell yes. Are democratic elections a thing of the past? No way -- unless Putin and Trump did what many reputable experts believe they did. If these liberals were so concerned about democracy, they'd be completely on board with sussing out this story and its myriad repercussions. Instead, they're merely blowing it off with quick and mostly meaningless nods to their personal cynicism.

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Bottom line: it's absolutely this level of defiant ignorance that allowed Putin to so-easily infiltrate our social media and news cycles in the first place, with his pervasive disinformation campaign and hacked documents. Every single one of these commenters proved the point of my article by illustrating how Putin was able to turn unwitting Americans into his personal invading army: each one sharing, "liking" and retweeting his message, willingly, enthusiastically, while stubbornly refusing to accept they were suckered by the largest scale foreign invasion on U.S. soil since the war of 1812.

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