Monday, October 16, 2017

What's More Flawed? The Iran Nuclear Agreement, American Korean Policy Or Señor Trumpanzee?


The video above from CNN's Reliable Sources is important to watch even though it isn't what this post is about. It's context, important contest, FCC commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel explaining the despite Trumpanzee's blustering and threatening media licenses are not in jeopardy and that the FCC is more interested in the First Amendment than in Trump's fascist instincts to force the media to support his authoritarian approach. "The agency," she said, "will not revoke a broadcast license simply because the president is dissatisfied with the licensee's coverage."

A new poll for CBS News from YouGov, released yesterday, shows more dissatisfaction on the part of most Americans with Trump, including with the cavalier and careless way Trump is handling foreign policy.
[W]orries about global conflict are widespread, beyond the ranks of the president's strongest backers. Many Americans-- and most of the president's opponents-- feel like the U.S. could be on the path towards another world war. Among Americans overall, 30 percent feel the nation is, and another 48 percent say maybe, so together, three in four feel it's at least a possibility. Just two in 10 say the U.S. is not headed towards another global conflict. The Nation Tracker has looked at the groups of President Trump's supporters and non-supporters since the start of his term. A majority of all groups feel the prospect of another world war rates at least a maybe, and his stronger opponents are the most likely to feel it is.

...In a stark reminder of how differently supporters and detractors see the world, those who rate things as going great or good for the Administration say that the president's policy achievements are a big part of why. Those who say things are bad say he hasn't gotten enough done, and list things the president says and how he handles himself as a big part of why they think things are going badly.

On North Korea in particular, Americans today continue to think North Korea is a threat that can be contained by the U.S. and its allies. Six in 10 think so, compared to less than one-third that thinks North Korea requires military action soon. Similarly, six in 10 think that war with North Korea is still avoidable rather than inevitable.

There are big differences in views of the president's approach, depending on levels of support for him generally. Most of his strongest supporters want him to threaten North Korea, and almost all of them say they're willing to at least tolerate his doing so. Those supporting him more conditionally are more apt to describe themselves as willing to tolerate that, though they don't really want him to threaten the North.  In contrast, Americans who do not support President Trump stand strongly against his making threats to North Korea. Americans are also mixed on what the president should do with the Iran deal. Three in ten say they want him to redo it, and almost as many describe themselves as are willing to tolerate it if he does, though they don't really want him to. Four in 10 do not want him to redo the deal.

I hope you read Nick Kristof's NY Times column yesterday about his 5-day trip to North Korea. "The only way into North Korea," he wrote, "is on daily flights from Beijing on creaky Russian planes. The in-flight entertainment is a video of a North Korean military orchestra playing classical music, interspersed with scenes of missiles being launched... North Korea is the most rigidly controlled country in the world, with no open dissent, no religion and no civil society, and there is zero chance that anyone will express dissatisfaction with the government."

Being on the ground in a country lets you see things and absorb their power: the speaker on the walls of homes to feed propaganda; the pins that every adult wears with portraits of members of the Kim family; the daily power outages, but also signs that the economy is growing despite international sanctions; the Confucian emphasis on dignity that makes officials particularly resent Trump’s personal attacks on Kim; the hardening of attitudes since my last visit, in 2005; and the bizarre confidence that North Korea can not only survive a nuclear war with the U.S. but also emerge as victor.

At one factory, we came upon workers doing their “political study.” North Koreans explained that they have political study for two hours a day, plus most of the day on Saturday, so I asked what they focused on these days. “We must fight against the Americans!” one woman answered earnestly. And then the North Koreans in the room dissolved into laughter, perhaps because of the oddness of saying this to Americans.

A visit humanizes North Koreans, who outside the country sometimes come across as robots. In person, you are reminded that they laugh, flirt, worry, love and yearn to impress.

A military officer greeted me with a bone-crushing handshake, and I asked if that was meant to intimidate and convey to the Yankee imperialists that North Koreans are muscular supermen. He laughed in embarrassment, and when we ended the interview, he was much gentler.

I left North Korea fearing that we are far too complacent about the risk of a cataclysmic war that could kill millions. And that’s why reporting from within North Korea is crucial: There simply is no substitute for being in a place. It’s a lesson we should have learned from the run-up to the Iraq war, when the reporting was too often from the Washington echo chamber rather than the field. When the stakes are millions of lives and official communications channels are nonexistent, then journalism can sometimes serve as a bridge-- and as a warning.

...I have a sinking feeling in my gut, just as I had on the eve of the Iraq war, that our president may be careening blindly toward war. In that case, the job of journalists is to go out and report, however imperfectly, and try to ring alarm bells in the night.
How about over Iran? Another sinking feeling in the gut? This one is getting really confused. Was that T-Rex on State of the Union yesterday saying he wants the nuclear treaty with Iran to stay in place? Watch:

The Washington Post analysis of Trump's Iran move points to "a widening chasm of mutual disdain between the United States and its traditional allies. Trump sees them as self-interested freeloaders who must be reminded of U.S. power. They see him as an erratic force who must be managed as he squanders American leadership."
Last spring, as Trump prepared for his first overseas trip in May, White House aides outlined his game plan to assume the mantle of global primacy.

“One thing he has the ability to do is really bring people together and galvanize people around a common set of goals,” a senior adviser said in describing objectives for the 10-day tour that took Trump to Saudi Arabia, Israel, Rome, Brussels and a G-20 meeting in Sicily.

Rather than a liability, Trump’s “unpredictability . . . is a real asset,” said the adviser, who spoke on the condition of anonymity under White House ground rules. The new president, he said, was “sending one big message, which is America is ready to lead in the world again.”

Yet instead of leading, Trump’s “my way or the highway” approach has been a detour from the multilateral road the United States has traveled since World War II. And as Trump has left behind, or threatened to, the premier international agreements of this century, from the Paris climate accord to global trade alliances and now the Iran nuclear deal, he has not had many willing followers.

Among the exceptions, governments in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates joined Israel in praising what Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called Trump’s “courageous” decision on Iran.

Yet even those who have proclaimed him as a leader have sometimes not felt bound by his demands. Early in his administration, Trump gently chastised Israel for its West Bank settlements, saying that they “don’t help the process” and were not “a good thing for peace.” He has remained silent, however, as Netanyahu’s government, including as recently as last week, has approved additional settlements, leading some perplexed Israeli commentators to speculate on whether he made a “secret” deal with Netanyahu.
Worse yet, almost half (46%) the people self-identifying as Republicans actually want a preemptive war with North Korea, perhaps unable to comprehend what a nuclear bomb does. Or maybe just not caring. 77% of Democrats and 67% of independents oppose a preemptive war against North Korea. The same Quinnipiac poll shows that 40% of voters have confidence in the way Trump in handling North Korea; 57% do not, including 60% of independent voters.

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At 6:16 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nothing is more perfectly flawed than the pantload in chief. The same needs to be said about all his supporters.

As usually happens, when delusions reach absolute fundamentalism, humans end up becoming that which they refuse to admit in themselves, that which they fear... pure evil.
Religions who are the most fundamentalist tend to become their own devils... and all their horrible sins become sanctified by their purely evil god, which is simply a manifestation of the worst, basest instincts in themselves. It's irony. It's delusion. It's pure evil.

As everyone should realize (but few do), god is created in man's image.

Trump is the political manifestation of this human flaw. Pure incompetence and evil that is a reflection of the electorate.

At 8:02 PM, Blogger Bill Michtom said...

"There simply is no substitute for being in a place. It’s a lesson we should have learned from the run-up to the Iraq war"--Kristof

Kristof forgets that millions in the US & around the world knew the Iraq war was unnecessary and based on lies.

Why couldn't the press tell that truth?


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