Sunday, July 31, 2016

Would You Trust Trump With National Security Secrets? Should Obama?


There are a lot of Americans nervous about the prospect of the Trumpanzee getting national security briefings. Harry Reid even suggested that the intelligence services prepare "fake" briefings for him so that if he sells them to the Russians or whomever else, it doesn't endanger the country's security. Carl Bildt, the former Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Sweden, a country Trump used to routinely-- and falsely-- claim as part of his ancestry, tweeted last week that he "never thought a serious candidate for US President could be a serious threat against the security of the West. But that’s where we are." He wasn't referring to Hillary.

David Cicilline (D-RI), a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, wrote President Obama a letter urging him to deny the briefings to Trump, who, he wrote "urged Russian intelligence services to conduct cyber espionage operations into the correspondence of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton... [a] call for hostile foreign action represents a step beyond mere partisan politics and represents a threat to the Republic itself... With this in mind, I respectfully ask that you withhold the intelligence briefing to Mr. Trump in the interests of national security."

Trump is due to start receiving briefings as soon as today. His campaign manager-- or whatever title Paul Manafort holds-- was a longtime political operative for Ukraine's bandit-preseident (and Putin puppet) Victor Yanukovych, and several close Trump associates, as well as his own Trump Organization, are heavily in financial hock to Putin.

Is it feasible to prevent Trump from getting the briefings from James Clapper, Director of National Intelligence? Technically, yes. It's just a courtesy and a tradition started by Harry Truman, not a law or rule. It would, however, be exceedingly awkward for Obama and there's no reason to think Obama has the stomach for a fight with the Trumpanzee over this. Reid's idea of "fake" briefings are patently absurd but there's no reason Clapper couldn't give intelligence-lite briefings that don't compromise national security or give Trump access to any sensitive national secrets. Remember, we're talking about this guy:

A newly released Pew survey from May of 10 European countries, Canada and 4 Asia-Pacific powers, shows Obama and Clinton with high ratings and Trump with extremely low ratings across the board.
European attitudes toward President Barack Obama remain very positive. Across the 10 EU nations polled, a median of 77% have confidence in Obama to do the right thing in world affairs, including more than eight-in-ten in Sweden, the Netherlands, Germany and France.

Europeans are somewhat less enthusiastic about Hillary Clinton, although her ratings are still mostly positive: A median of 59% have confidence in her. In contrast, ratings for Donald Trump are overwhelmingly negative. A median of just 9% trust the wealthy real estate developer to do the right thing in world affairs; 85% lack confidence in him.

In the four Asia-Pacific nations surveyed-- Australia, China, India and Japan-- Obama also receives relatively positive marks. Most Australians and Japanese give Clinton a positive rating and Trump a negative one. The major party nominees are less well-known in China and India.

...People surveyed in Europe and Asia generally have a negative opinion of Russian President Vladimir Putin. This includes more than eight-in-ten in Spain (88%), Sweden (87%), Poland (86%) and the Netherlands (84%), which have little or no confidence in the Russian leader’s handling of international affairs. Likewise, Putin is mistrusted by most in Australia (70% no confidence), Japan and Canada (both 65%).

Only in Greece and China (both 53%) do more than half have a positive impression of Putin’s role on the world stage.

...Having served as secretary of state from 2009 to early 2013, U.S. presidential candidate Hillary Clinton receives positive support in most of the countries surveyed in Europe and Asia. This includes 83% in Sweden who have confidence in her ability to deal with world affairs and 79% who say this in Germany. Overall, half or more in seven of the 10 EU countries surveyed have confidence in Clinton, although many in Hungary and Poland express no opinion. Clinton receives her worst marks from Greece, where 78% have little or no confidence in her ability to handle world affairs.

Clinton also gets positive marks from Canadians (60% confidence) and Australians (70%), as well as from the Japanese (70%). Views of her among the Chinese are mixed, with 37% saying they have confidence in her, 35% saying they do not have confidence and 28% with no opinion. And in India, a majority (56%) has no opinion of the former secretary of state.

...Less than a quarter of people across all 15 countries surveyed express confidence in Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee for U.S. president. In fact, overwhelming majorities in most of the countries surveyed have little or no confidence in his ability to handle international affairs. This includes 92% of Swedes, 89% of Germans, 88% of Dutch and 85% of both the French and British. This distaste is especially strong in Sweden, where 82% have no confidence at all in him.

Among people in Poland and Hungary, views of Trump also tend to be negative, although many people do not offer an opinion in these countries.

Most Australians (87%), Canadians (80%) and Japanese (82%) also lack confidence in Trump. In China, there is a split between those who have no confidence in Trump (40%) and those who do not offer an opinion (39%). And in India, 67% do not offer an opinion.

In Europe, positive opinions about Trump vary by political party support in many nations. For example, in Italy, supporters of Forza Italia, a center-right party founded by former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi (who, like Trump, is independently wealthy), show more confidence in Trump (31% confidence) than do followers of the country’s Democratic Party (15%). Trump also receives greater support among those Italians who have a favorable view of the anti-immigrant and Euroskeptic Lega Nord party.

And in the UK, followers of the Euroskeptic, anti-immigrant party UKIP are also much more likely to voice confidence in Trump (30%) than those who follow the Conservative (13%) or Labour (8%) parties. However, it should be noted that while confidence for Trump is higher among these groups, it still represents very low levels of confidence in the presumptive GOP candidate.

Higher levels of confidence in Trump among Euroskeptic and anti-immigrant parties extend to other countries as well. In Germany, for example, people who have a favorable view of Alternative for Germany (AfD), a right-wing and increasingly anti-immigrant party, are more likely to have confidence in Trump (19%), compared with those Germans with an unfavorable view of AfD (3%). And in Hungary, people who have a favorable view of Jobbik, a far-right nationalist party, are more likely to have confidence in Trump (28%) compared with those who have an unfavorable opinion of Jobbik (17%).

Additionally, positive views of Trump are tied to confidence in another international leader tested: Russian President Vladimir Putin. In all the countries surveyed with a large enough sample size to permit analysis, people who have confidence in Putin are more likely to express confidence in Trump. For instance, among those in Italy who have confidence in Putin to handle world affairs, 44% express confidence in Donald Trump. Meanwhile, among Italians who express little or no confidence in Putin, only 12% have confidence in Trump.

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At 12:44 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a predicament, trusting Clapper to deal with Trump!

I'd suggest Obama pay more attention to the development in Turkey where thousands of Turkish army troops have surrounded the Incirlik airbase (about 500 miles from the Russian border) at which are stored the most US nuclear warheads outside of the US.

As for " ... Ukraine's bandit-preseident (and Putin puppet) Victor Yanukovych ... " I suggest that American's are much more threatened by its would be bandit president, Generalisssima Clinton (re Clinton Foundation) who is a Goldman Sachs puppet.

John Puma

At 6:41 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for turning the spotlight onto Trump. Today's dent page of the New York Times has an article on Manaforte, Trumps campaign manager, I hope it gets the attention it deserves. Regarding the above comment, I agree with the danger of Hillary, but Trump is significantly worse. We can protest Hillary once she is in. If Trump gets in, progressives will be muzzled.


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