Tales from the Geopolitical Crypt: Seven Deadly Scenarios by Andrew Krepinevich

Seven Deadly Scenarios can be read and enjoyed almost as a collection of near future science fiction stories, though unlike sci-fi writers, who typically unveil the imagined course of future events elliptically, piece by piece, thus to keep the reader puzzling, author Andrew Krepinevich attacks the shape of things to come straight on, and the implied test is persuasiveness, not literary or entertainment value.  Anyone who delights in scaring friends, family, and internet acquaintances with prophecies of doom will therefore want to order a copy, but Krepinevich, a longtime defense insider, wants to reach people who have more serious uses for such material.  In this respect it’s possible that he succeeds too well as a writer, and is more likely to induce dread, resignation, or denial, where he means to motivate policymakers and citizens to demand better preparation and planning – that is, better leadership.

Each deadly scenario puts the American military and national command authority in disastrously untenable situations just a few to several years from now, and each would be world-historical (not in a good way):

  • collapse in Pakistan involving the U.S. in a nuclearized and Islamicized regional war
  • politically and economically de-stabilizing pandemic plague
  • a series of nuclear attacks in the American homeland brought off by an effectively unidentifiable (and therefore un-targetable) sponsor
  • a 1914-like Middle East outbreak of war, centered on Israel
  • Chinese moves on Taiwan forcing a choice between global war and the loss of the Pacific Rim (and more)
  • systematic Islamist assault on global resource and supply chains leading to economic catastrophe
  • civil war in an abandoned Iraq leading to a re-alignment in the Gulf:  the U.S. on the outside; China, Russia, and Iran on the inside

In short, 7 American catastrophes – and each entailing blows not just to our abstract “interests,” but to the very concrete counterparts of those interests:   our lives and our way of life.

Now consider further that there’s nothing preventing two or more of these or similar scenarios arising concurrently.  Read more ›

Posted in Books, Future History, War Tagged with: ,

On the Surge to the Exits (To the President's Right on Afghanistan #5)

Anyone who’s been interested in American military adventures and misadventures over the last couple of decades has probably seen Anthony Cordesman on TV at some point offering his highly professional, well-researched, crisply presented, carefully hedged, and almost invariably pessimistic assessments on whatever invasion, intervention, expedition, arms negotiation, or other military matter happens to be in question.

Now on the inside looking out, as an adviser on the Afghan surge, Cordesman can be found turning his customary skepticism on the skeptics, as in the following video (especially after the midway point ca. 2:30):

If Cordesman weren’t on the inside, I suspect he’d be sounding a lot more like the Anthony Cordesman who gave the Iraq surge a “less than even” chance of success, or like the Anthony Cordesman who has consistently downgraded any prospects for Israeli action against Iran. Over the years, such Cordesman assessments, though hedged and guarded on their own terms, have frequently been seized upon by anti-war activists, pundits, and politicians, and I tend to believe that the same pattern would be repeating itself if he was again on the outside looking in.

I think Cordesman would in fact be sounding more like the British military historian Max Hastings, whose nuanced take on the Afghanistan enterprise – “Obama’s Afghan Surge Is Not About Winning the War, but Managing Our Looming Failure” – falls squarely within the pessimist camp, though with decidedly more understanding and sympathy for the President and his predicament than shown by American critics like George Will, Andy McCarthy, or Ralph Peters. At the same time, it’s not far from the worst-case/acceptable trade-off position implicitly acknowledged, but rarely advertised, by those who hold out greater hope for eventual success, but remain aware of significant obstacles between where we are and some final victory – with the uncertain, ever-receding, in-the-eye-of-the-beholder quality of unconventional “victories” not least among those obstacles.

Read more ›

Posted in Uncategorized Tagged with:

On the Surge to the Exits (To the President's Right on Afghanistan #5)

Anyone who’s been interested in American military adventures and misadventures over the last couple of decades has probably seen Anthony Cordesman on TV at some point offering his highly professional, well-researched, crisply presented, carefully hedged, and almost invariably pessimistic assessments on whatever invasion, intervention, expedition, arms negotiation, or other military matter happens to be in question.

Now on the inside looking out, as an adviser on the Afghan surge, Cordesman can be found turning his customary skepticism on the skeptics, as in the following video (especially after the midway point ca. 2:30):

If Cordesman weren’t on the inside, I suspect he’d be sounding a lot more like the Anthony Cordesman who gave the Iraq surge a “less than even” chance of success, or like the Anthony Cordesman who has consistently downgraded any prospects for Israeli action against Iran. Over the years, such Cordesman assessments, though hedged and guarded on their own terms, have frequently been seized upon by anti-war activists, pundits, and politicians, and I tend to believe that the same pattern would be repeating itself if he was again on the outside looking in.

I think Cordesman would in fact be sounding more like the British military historian Max Hastings, whose nuanced take on the Afghanistan enterprise – “Obama’s Afghan Surge Is Not About Winning the War, but Managing Our Looming Failure” – falls squarely within the pessimist camp, though with decidedly more understanding and sympathy for the President and his predicament than shown by American critics like George Will, Andy McCarthy, or Ralph Peters. At the same time, it’s not far from the worst-case/acceptable trade-off position implicitly acknowledged, but rarely advertised, by those who hold out greater hope for eventual success, but remain aware of significant obstacles between where we are and some final victory – with the uncertain, ever-receding, in-the-eye-of-the-beholder quality of unconventional “victories” not least among those obstacles.

Read more ›

Posted in Miscellany Tagged with: ,

Portrait of a Failed Presidency: "What the Heck Are You Up To, Mr. President?" by Kevin Mattson

The fall in Barack Hussein Obama’s poll numbers, the difficulties he and his program have faced, naturally prompt comparisons to that emblematic Democratic presidential failure James Earl Carter.

Enter “Obama Carter” into a popular search engine, and you’ll find commentaries like this one from Seth Leibsohn at the National Review, reflecting on the President’s recently completed visit to Asia:

This is reminiscent of the Jimmy Carter years — the last time the U.S. was seen as weak — unable to move and coax other countries, unable to reassure dependent allies, unable to have the respect of the world and, of course, unable to move the mullocracy of Iran.

Already in July, Matt Welch and Nick Gillespie were invoking Carter in the op-ed pages of the Washington Post:

Barely six months into his presidency, Barack Obama seems to be driving south into that political speed trap known as Carter Country: a sad-sack landscape in which every major initiative meets not just with failure but with scorn from political allies and foes alike.

Carter 2.0, Carter^2, worse even than Jimmy Carter…  We’re still only in year one of the Age of Obama, but, if the bloggers and pundits are right about our man, if he doesn’t halt and reverse his decline soon, historian Kevin Mattson’s “What the Heck Are You Up To, Mr. President?” – the story of the third year of the Carter presidency, organized around the famous “malaise speech” – may be a sketch of things to come: not just one or two grand catastrophes, but one botch of a fiasco of a screw-up after another…

Read more ›

Posted in Books, Featured, US History Tagged with:

If At First You Don’t Succeed… – WORLD WAR ONE – a Short History by Norman Stone


For the unhappy many on the front lines of the Great War, after no one much remembered why they were fighting, one last recourse was gallows humor, implicitly at the expense of their leaders. “We’re here because we’re here because we’re here because we’re here,” they came to say. Many, of course, are still there – because they are – and there is no disrespect in recognizing that we honor them because we honor them because we honor them. That’s more than reason enough. We don’t really need to fear the Kaiser, remember Zimmerman, or rage against unrestricted submarine warfare.

For Norman Stone, World War I was a 4-year period in which the world “went from 1870 to 1940.” Rendering the whole story of this hyper-accelerated epoch in a mere 190 pages, when others have managed to illuminate much less while working at much greater length, Stone dramatically re-compresses time all over again, tracing the broad outlines of strategy, diplomacy, and personal and mass psychology, and yet he never seems too rushed for a witty turn of phrase, a memorable detail, or a colorfully absurd footnote.

The overall effect of this kind of history-writing is often exactly as diverting as it is ungraspably awful.  This feat of letters is possible not because Stone is desperate to crack a joke, but because his material cooperates and he has mastered it, as in the grandly and horrendously comedic set-up:

In 1914, to crowds of cheering people, the troops moved off, generals on horseback dreaming that they would have a statue in some square named after them. No war has ever begun with such a fundamental misunderstanding of its nature.

The philosopher Henri Bergson’s book Laughter (Le rire) had just three years earlier defined humor for the world as the imposition of the mechanical on the human.  Approaching a century later, it may not be too obscene to view the events of 1914-8, the industrialized mechanics of mass murder imposed on human scale expectations, as a test of Bergson’s proposition, its grim punchline – contradictory, unexpected, irrational, like most good jests.

Read more ›

Posted in Books, Featured, History, War Tagged with: ,

Just read: THE CAVALIER IN THE YELLOW DOUBLET

I won’t attempt a review of The Cavalier in the Yellow Doublet, the fifth book of Arturo Pérez-Reverte’s “Captain Alatriste” series, which is set during the decline of the Spanish Empire in the early 17th Century.  Instead, I’ll note in passing that I fully concur with the Amazon customer who says, “The only problem with the Captain Alatriste series is I end up gobbling up each new installment in two or three days and then have to wait another year and a half for the next to come,” and I’ll supply a passage that I think conveys the sense and atmosphere of the tale and of the whole series while underlining some possible relevance to the political interests that normally concern us here.

For some justification on the relevance claim, let me quote John Steele Gordon at Contentions from just last Monday:

Watching the United States go the way of 17th-century Spain, with its power to defend its interests crippled by debts it can’t pay and its enemies emboldened by its weakness, won’t be boring. It will, however, be tragic for all mankind.

The comparison is one I’ve found myself bringing up, too, though its timely appearance makes me wonder if Gordon isn’t also a Captain Alatriste fan who also just finished The Cavalier. (As for broad comparisons of 17th Century Spain’s predicament to that of 21st Century America, one place to start for background might be Wedgewood’s classic The Thirty Years War.)
Read more ›

Posted in Books, History Tagged with:

"Wiegala," by Ilse Weber

The song posted below is only two and a half minutes long, and, unless you’re a really bad sport, I don’t think you’ll find it too much of a strain to listen to.  It’s in German.  I wouldn’t be at all surprised if some of you already know quite a bit about it, but, for those of you who don’t, I think you might appreciate the opportunity to listen to it without pre-conceptions.  (Explanation after the jump…)

For those who like to follow along, these are the lyrics:

Wiegala, wiegala, weier,
der Wind spielt auf der Leier,

er spielt so süß im grünen Ried,

die Nachtigall, die singt ihr Lied.

Wiegala, wiegala, weier,

der Wind spielt auf der Leier.

Wiegala, wiegala, werne,
der Mond ist die Laterne,
er steht am dunklen Himmelszelt
und schaut hernieder auf die Welt.
Wiegala, wiegala, werne,
der Mond ist die Laterne,

Wiegala, wiegala, wille,
wie ist die Welt so stille!
Es stört kein Laut die süße Ruh,
schlaf mein Kindchen, schlaf auch du.
Wiegala, wiegala, wille,
wie ist die Welt so stille!

If you don’t read German, please trust me when I tell you that it’s a light confection of nonsense and numinous nursery rhyme images, expressed in stubbornly untranslatable idiom – wind playing sweetly on a lyre, on the green reeds – nightingale singing, the moon looking down, a lantern in the tent of the night sky – and then the final lines:  Viegala, viegala, vill:  now is the world so still!  No sound disturbs the sweet peace: sleep, my little child, you sleep, too… how still the world is…


Read more ›

Posted in Music

A Unique Take on Obama's Dual Crisis

George Friedman of STRATFOR has offered a unique take on what he refers to as a “dual crisis” – Afghanistan and Iran – awaiting action from the President.  To cut to the chase, his prescription for the President is as follows:

On pure logic, history or politics aside, the best course is to strike Iran and withdraw from Afghanistan. That would demonstrate will in the face of a significant challenge while perhaps reshaping Iran and certainly avoiding a drawn-out war in Afghanistan.

To reach this conclusion – more a strategic determination than a prediction or even a recommendation- Friedman systematically analyzes each problem in its broad political and military dimensions, and then takes apart the “four permutations” (fight/fight, flee/flee, fight/flee, flee/fight) of the major decisions that, in his opinion, Obama cannot delay any longer, since in each case delay itself will increasingly amount to having made the choice in effect to flee (withdraw, retreat, surrender, acquiesce, etc.).

Up until recently, the betting has been in the opposite direction:  Obama policy has seemed to consist of “fight” in Afghanistan combined with the equivalent of “flight” from any confrontation with Iran.  The former was Obama’s express commitment going back to the presidential campaign and resting on years of Democratic criticism, as re-affirmed repeatedly since the inauguration.  As for Iran, Obama has seemed willing or even determined to temporize to the point of giving in on a nuclear Iran unless Israeli action or some other event substantially alters the situation.

More could be said about Friedman’s assumptions and analysis, but for now I’ll just point to a paragraph that touches directly on a point discussed under the last CotD.  Here’s Friedman’s encapsulation of Iran’s strategic position and main objectives vis-a-vis the U.S.:

In Iran, Ahmadinejad clearly perceives that challenging Obama is low-risk and high reward. If he can finally demonstrate that the United States is unwilling to take military action regardless of provocations, his own domestic situation improves dramatically, his relationship with the Russians deepens, and most important, his regional influence — and menace — surges. If Obama accepts Iranian nukes without serious sanctions or military actions, the American position in the Islamic world will decline dramatically. The Arab states in the region rely on the United States to protect them from Iran, so U.S. acquiescence in the face of Iranian nuclear weapons would reshape U.S. relations in the region far more than a hundred Cairo speeches.

I find the above to be a nicely stated summary that gets at the shape of the threat instead of fixating on arbitrary or unlikely scenarios.

h/t:  Powerline Blog

Posted in International Relations Tagged with: , , , , ,

Messiah >> Joker >> Zombie >> Man

6a00d8341c630a53ef0120a556b3b4970c-500wiIt should come as no surprise that the “original artist” behind the Obama-as-Joker poster has turned out to be a politically undeveloped, one might even say confused, young man – not a committed activist of the far right or left, neither a brooding racist nor a gleeful, Joker-loving anarchist.

The words “original artist” belong in quotes because all that 20-year-old Firas Alkhateeb of Chicago did was employ a generally available web application to “Joker-ize” a photographic portrait, then save the result to his Flickr account, where it could then be viewed by other Flickr users.  His unique contribution seems to have been rather trivial:  There must be other web surfers who jokerized their own little Obamas, but merely failed to save them where a poster-izer would have found them.

In a strong sense the real “artist” or “author” of the Joker poster is whoever found Alkhateeb’s image file, cleaned up the text left over from Time, added the provocative title “socialism” at the bottom, and then “wilded” the poster on city streets in Los Angeles.  As we know, other members of a spontaneous virtual co-op were inspired to spread versions of the poster in other locales, turning the image from “found art” into national cultural phenomenon.  This act of displaying the poster became as much an act of authorship, and richer in intentionality, than creating the piece was or could have been.

In the most important sense, however, Obama and his image-makers remain the true authors, the originators – of a social morality play in which the poster is merely an inevitable moment:  Read more ›

Posted in Art, Featured, Movies Tagged with: , , , , , , ,

Never Mind the Nightmares, Reality’s Hard Enough: The Bomb by Stephen M Younger

What kind of nuclear capabilities do the Russians, Chinese, and other longtime members of the nuclear club have, how are they deployed and for what apparent purposes, and what more are they building?  What are Pakistan’s, India’s, and North Korea’s real nuclear capabilities? What is the real threat of an Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) attack?  How far along is the technology for remotely detecting nuclear weaponry and materials on site or in transit?  How secure are nuclear weapons depots in the former Soviet Union and elsewhere?  How hard would it be to steal and use a nuclear weapon?  How practical is ballistic missile defense?  What technical hurdles do new nuclear states have to overcome before their weapons would be usable?

And what about us? How many and what kind of nuclear warheads and delivery systems does the US currently possess, how powerful are they, how accurate are they, and what has to happen – legally and technically – for us to use them? How many bombs and warheads should we possess and of what types? Does Mutually Assured Destruction still underlie our nuclear posture? Is that a problem? Is there anything we can do about it if it is?

While we’re at it, how do nuclear weapons work, and what really happens when they go off?

Oh, and how did we get here, and where are we going?

Stephen M. Younger is among a handful of individuals in the world equipped to answer these questions comprehensively and authoritatively.  Indeed, as he on occasion is compelled to point out, he knows more than he’s permitted to say.  As a former chief of nuclear weapons R & D at Los Alamos and a former director of the Defense Threat Reduction Agency at the Department of Defense – in other words a senior nuclear weapons researcher as well as a senior official dealing with WMD threats – he actually knows what he’s talking about, unlike, it must be said, many people around the world with very strong opinions on the same subjects. 

That situation may change a bit for the better, however, if Younger’s little black book finds its way onto the desks of politicians, wonks, pundits, bloggers, and creative writers – at least those who hope to ground their ideas and arguments in the facts rather than in widely distributed misinformation, yesterday’s Hollywood techno-thrillers, or popular “nightmare scenarios.”

Younger clearly possesses his own opinions on the US nuclear arsenal and on proliferation and disarmament issues, but The Bomb is not a polemical work.  The author’s objective isn’t to name names or to take down reputations or careers.  Nor does he set out either to frighten us or to offer false re-assurance.  Here, for instance, is how he addresses the EMP scare scenarios that have recently taken up a lot of pundit space, that have provided the background for a just-published novel (by frequent Newt Gingrich collaborator William Forstchen), and that regularly turn up in the mass media and the blogosphere:

Contrary to media reports, it is not true that an EMP attack from a typical strategic weapon would completely shut down the electronics within a country.  First, the effect is statistical in nature – some systems will not notice the pulse at all while identical counterparts will be affected.  Second, the most likely effect from an EMP attack is “upset” rather than destruction, that is, a temporary scrambling of the memory of a computer or the frequency of a communication device, something that is easily corrected by rebooting or resetting the device.  (Upset can, however, have catastrophic consequences if the computer is the flight controller of an aircraft or another time-critical system.)  Third, the EMP output from a typical device is degraded by several design isues so that few, if any, weapons currently deployed in military stockpiles will produce the maximum possible effect.  Of all the nuclear effects, EMP seems the most prone to misunderstanding and misinterpretation.

Those determined to preserve the EMP scenario for their books, screenplays, op-eds, and “we’re all doomed” blog comments may construct clever or fancifully nightmarish workarounds to the series of obstacles put before them by Younger’s sober assessment both here and in additional discussion.  In the real world, however, it becomes much harder to see why this threat should be especially worrisome for us compared to more “conventional” ones, or why preparing it would be an especially productive use of a would-be evildoer’s time, resources, and energy.

Blackmail or terror or both by possessors of stolen nukes is another favorite element of nightmare scenarios.  Again, Younger doesn’t pretend to be able to extinguish all conceivable concern, but he does carefully explain why, for instance, the collapse of the Soviet Union and the existence of all those widely discussed badly rundown nuclear depots didn’t lead to a plague of real world True Lies or 24 situations, including the loss of a major city or at least a suburb or two.  After dismissing the “suitcase bomb” rumors that were “chronic during the 1990s” (and that the late and greatly missed blogger Dean Barnett used to delight in taking apart), and after explaining that those Russian depots, which he’d personally toured, were much more well-secured than press accounts and photographs implied, he gets technical about what a real world version of Crimson Jihad would really have had to cope with:

In contrast to what is shown in movies, nuclear weapons do not have a red button on their side with an LED display counting down the seconds to detonation.  Most are tightly sealed packages with only a single electrical connector serving as their interface to the outside world.  Looking at such a connector provides no indication of what wire does what – some send coded signals that prepare the weapon to detonate, but others might simply report details of weapon status.  Dismantling the weapon (not always an easy task) would provide more insight, but here again, most subsystems are sealed in their own cases so that it is sometimes difficult even for an expert to identify what component does what.  Of course, a weapon could be completely disassembled and then rebuilt with a new control system, but this would require extreme care, and in most cases an intimate knowledge of the weapon’s design in order to avoid destroying key components.

After listing some additional practical hurdles, Younger concludes that “[o]nly a few people in the world have the knowledge to cause an unauthorized detonation of a nuclear weapon.”

Younger doesn’t happen to mention whether he himself is one of those few.  Nor does he go on to claim that the problem is no threat at all.  In conjunction with his examination of related detection and design issues, his discussion does however throw a goodly quantity of cold water on the categorical assertion, which you will frequently encounter on the internet, that a loose nukes catastrophe of some kind is “inevitable.”  Impossible?  No.  Probable?  Not currently – and, it seems, not really close.  Inevitable? Well, no – not at all – not when you look at the facts and think them through.

A generation ago, it was fashionable in the anti-nuclear protest movement to declare that nuclear war – and the end of civilization – was “inevitable” under then current circumstances, without heroic efforts (such as donating to your local chapter of the Alliance for Survival or Jobs for Peace).   The famous clock of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, stuck several some minutes to midnight for a couple of generations now, has likewise suggested an aura of inevitable doom.  It turns out, however, that the Bomb is a complicated, and, ironically enough, in crucial respects fragile technology, full of uncertainties for possessors and would-be possessors as well as for potential targets, and, so far – knock on wood, salt over the shoulder, etc. – demonstrably accessible to the governance even of imperfect, emotional, rivalrous, and contentious human beings.

Younger’s expertise and experience have not led him to believe that we are free to live as though the world did not change in some respects fundamentally, almost exactly 64 years ago.  He is quite aware of the awesome destructiveness of nuclear weapons, and in particular of the unique threat they pose to the US, which, by far and away the world’s leader in conventional arms, would have the most to lose strategically by a lower threshold for the use of nuclear weapons, or by their broad proliferation.  Yet neither has his knowledge led him to despair.  In de-mystifying the Bomb, he offers to turn us away from primitive nightmares and toward grappling like adults with problems that, though complex and uncertain, might be solvable, or solvable enough, in the light of day.

The Bomb: A New History
Stephen M. Younger
256 pages
Ecco, January 6, 2009


Posted in notes Tagged with:

Noted & Quoted

(0)

Trump actually congratulated Erdogan on the outcome. Trump apparently thought it was a good thing that, despite all the flaws in the process, a bare majority of Turkey’s citizens voted to strengthen their populist leader. I don’t think any other post-Cold War president would have congratulated a democratic ally that held a flawed referendum leading to a less democratic outcome. This is not that far off from Trump congratulating Putin on a successful referendum result in Crimea if that event had been held in 2017 rather than 2014.

Public disquiet and behind-the-scenes pressure on key illiberal allies is an imperfect policy position. It is still a heck of a lot more consistent with America’s core interests than congratulating allies on moving in an illiberal direction. In congratulating Erdogan, Trump did the latter.

For all the talk about Trump’s moderation, for all the talk about an Axis of Adults, it’s time that American foreign policy-watchers craving normality acknowledge three brute facts:

  1. Donald Trump is the president of the United States;
  2. Trump has little comprehension of how foreign policy actually works;
  3. The few instincts that Trump applies to foreign policy are antithetical to American values.
Comment →
(0)

He sensed that the public wanted relief from the burdens of global leadership without losing the thrill of nationalist self-assertion. America could cut back its investment in world order with no whiff of retreat. It would still boss others around, even bend them to its will...

There was, to be sure, one other candidate in the 2016 field who also tried to have it both ways—more activism and more retrenchment at the same time. This was, oddly enough, Hillary Clinton... Yet merely to recall Clinton’s hybrid foreign-policy platform is to see how pallid it was next to Trump’s. While she quibbled about the TPP (which few seemed to believe she was really against), her opponent ferociously denounced all trade agreements—those still being negotiated, like the TPP, and those, like NAFTA and China’s WTO membership, that had long been on the books. “Disasters” one and all, he said. For anyone genuinely angry about globalization, it was hard to see Clinton as a stronger champion than Trump. She was at a similar disadvantage trying to compete with Trump on toughness. His anti-terrorism policy—keep Muslims out of the country and bomb isis back to the Stone Age—was wild talk, barely thought through. But for anyone who really cared about hurting America’s enemies, it gave Trump more credibility than Clinton’s vague, muddled talk of “safe zones” ever gave her.

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As they war with the right, though, Trump and Kushner would gain no quarter from Democrats—unless Democrats were allowed to set the all the terms. This is Bannon’s central point. Democrats have no incentive to prop up Trump’s presidency for half-loaf compromises that many will suspect are contaminated with seeds of Trumpism. Trump can adopt or co-opt the Democrats’ infrastructure platform outright if he likes, but he can’t easily entice them to compromise with him, and he can’t entice House Speaker Paul Ryan or Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to advance a trillion dollar direct-spending bill filled with environmental and labor protections that the GOP exists to oppose.

Which is just to say, Kushner wants Trump to chart a new course that leads to a substantive dead end for at least another 19 months. Bannon’s path, at least, preserves the hope of keeping his base consolidated through the legislative ebb. He can deregulate, scapegoat, and unburden law enforcement to turn his Herrenvolk fantasy into reality—all while keeping congressional investigators at bay.

There’s no real logical rebuttal to this, except to point to three months of chaos and humiliation as indicative of the futility of continuing to do things Bannon’s way. That is really an argument that Trump should get rid of both of his top advisers, but Trump is unlikely to grasp that in a contest between loyalists, both might deserve to lose. Family loyalty, and the beating his ego will take when the stories of his first 100 days are written, will pull him toward his son-in-law. And that’s when the real fun will begin.

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@CK_MacLeod

State of the Discussion

+ Wade, your last paragraph is crucial to your argument. Certainly it expresses economically the source of the weight of a country's foreign policy, and [. . .]
Jeffrey Goldberg: The Obama Doctrine, R.I.P. – The Atlantic
CK MacLeod
Comments this threadCommenter Archive
+ Not sure where you got the idea that I ever wrote “[President Trump] doesn’t know what he’s doing!!!!!!" - bob's idea for a possible rallying [. . .]
Jeffrey Goldberg: The Obama Doctrine, R.I.P. – The Atlantic
Wade McKenzie
Comments this threadCommenter Archive
+ The conversation that you and Bob were having at the time that I wrote my comment had everything to do with the recent missile strike [. . .]
Jeffrey Goldberg: The Obama Doctrine, R.I.P. – The Atlantic

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