Author Topic: So Let's Speculate about the Future of a Full Trump Presidency...  (Read 455876 times)

caracarn

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Re: So Let's Speculate about the Future of a Full Trump Presidency...
« Reply #5400 on: December 20, 2018, 07:16:53 AM »
Spoiler: We were planning on building a wall in Syria all along.  Now we can use the Syria wall money, and the troops coming home from Syria, to build the wall on the border!  It's for the same purpose- there are Syrian rebels in that giant invasion/caravan.

Yes, I believe he can twist anything into some idiotic story to bend to his wants. All of a sudden, all the money allocated for the Syria objective will be available to him to manipulate into something else like the wall! I hope nero is right!
Yes, having worked with a lot of folks in government roles, money movement if very difficult if not impossible compared to what people understand in traditional businesses.  Not being in this area myself I may mess up the terms but encumbrances are what drive a lot of that allocation.  It is what blocks people from doing exactly this, shutting down something they do not like that has money and diverting it to what they would prefer.  It is meant, I believe, as a check on misuse of power in a system where the next person may have vastly different views.  It also accounts for why a new administration cannot make rapid changes because that money allocated to those encumbrances is already gone and assigned.  I do think they can eventually move money that is not used once a program shuts down and go through the process of getting approval for a new encumbrance but again, that takes time.

sol

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Re: So Let's Speculate about the Future of a Full Trump Presidency...
« Reply #5401 on: December 20, 2018, 04:03:22 PM »
In today's Trump news, James Mattis suddenly quits after the announcement of the Syria withdrawal, and Trump immediately announces that Vladimin Putin will succeed him as new Sec. of Defense.

Okay, j/k about the Putin part.  Though Putin is thus far the only person to publicly support Trump's decision.

The Mattis resignation letter cracks me up.  He didn't "retire" as Trump claimed via tweet, he fuckin' rage-quit.  It's a giant middle finger to Trump, and it talks about how his views are contrary to America's ideals and our national security, calls him out on Russia and China, and mocks him for the way he treats friendly foreign leaders.  He quotes the parts of the Constitution that Trump ignores, and specifically references his own military credentials in subtle shade for Trump's draft dodging.  It's a hoot, give it a read.

News reports are already circulating that Trump's going to pull all other US troops home in the coming days, too, from places like Afghanistan and Somalia.  Maybe to station them along the US-Mexico border instead of, you know, chasing down ISIS in the middle east.  Sounds like the the Fox News crowd has decided that sombrero-wearing brown people seeking asylum in America are now a bigger threat than turban-wearing brown people seeking death to the infidels.

Of course, we have to remember that all of this controversy is just typical Trump distraction.  It's a way to reclaim the news cycle, so that nobody is talking about how Trump and his three kids are now legally forbidden from running nonprofit organizations (but not our country) after the Trump foundation was proven to be an elaborate front for criminal activities.  It's a distraction from new investigative charges, and the mounting news reports about how every Trump venture from the past decade is apparently on the brink of criminal indictment.  It's a distraction from his party's inability to pass a budget that keeps our government functioning, his crashing stock market, and the collapse of his wall fantasy.

Or, alternately, all of these simultaneous crises are the result of a man coming unhinged.  Either way, I'm sure Putin is loving it.
« Last Edit: December 20, 2018, 04:32:56 PM by sol »

Kris

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Re: So Let's Speculate about the Future of a Full Trump Presidency...
« Reply #5402 on: December 20, 2018, 04:33:11 PM »
In today's Trump news, James Mattis suddenly quits after the announcement of the Syria withdrawal, and Trump immediately announces that Vladimin Putin will succeed him as new Sec. of Defense.

Okay, j/k about the Putin part.  Though Putin is thus far the only person to publicly support Trump's decision.

The Mattis resignation letter cracks me up.  He didn't "retire" as Trump claimed via tweet, he fuckin' rage-quit.  It's a giant middle finger to Trump, and it talks about how his views are contrary to America's ideals and our national security, calls him out on Russia and China, and mocks him for the way he treats friendly foreign leaders.  He quotes the parts of the Constitution that Trump ignores, and specifically references his own military credentials in subtle shade for Trump's draft dodging.  It's a hoot, give it a read.

News reports are already circulating that Trump's going to pull all other US troops home in the coming days, too, from places like Afghanistan and Somalia.  Maybe to station them along the US-Mexico border instead of, you know, chasing down ISIS in the middle east.  Sounds like the the Fox News crowd has decided that sombrero-wearing brown people seeking asylum in America are now a bigger threat than turban-wearing brown people seeking death to the infidels.

Of course, we have to remember that all of this controversy is just typical Trump distraction.  It's a way to reclaim the news cycle, so that nobody is talking about how Trump and his three kids are now legally forbidden from running nonprofit organizations (but not our country) after the Trump foundation was proven to be an elaborate front for criminal activities.  It's a distraction from new investigative charges, and the mounting news reports about how every Trump venture from the past decade is apparently on the brink of criminal indictment.  It's a distraction from his party's inability to pass a budget that keeps our government functioning, his crashing stock market, and the collapse of his wall fantasy.

Or, alternately, all of these simultaneous crises are the result of a man coming unhinged.  Either way, I'm sure Putin is loving it.

The last adult has left the building...

MasterStache

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Re: So Let's Speculate about the Future of a Full Trump Presidency...
« Reply #5403 on: December 20, 2018, 04:37:16 PM »
In today's Trump news, James Mattis suddenly quits after the announcement of the Syria withdrawal, and Trump immediately announces that Vladimin Putin will succeed him as new Sec. of Defense.

Okay, j/k about the Putin part.  Though Putin is thus far the only person to publicly support Trump's decision.

The Mattis resignation letter cracks me up.  He didn't "retire" as Trump claimed via tweet, he fuckin' rage-quit.  It's a giant middle finger to Trump, and it talks about how his views are contrary to America's ideals and our national security, calls him out on Russia and China, and mocks him for the way he treats friendly foreign leaders.  He quotes the parts of the Constitution that Trump ignores, and specifically references his own military credentials in subtle shade for Trump's draft dodging.  It's a hoot, give it a read.

News reports are already circulating that Trump's going to pull all other US troops home in the coming days, too, from places like Afghanistan and Somalia.  Maybe to station them along the US-Mexico border instead of, you know, chasing down ISIS in the middle east.  Sounds like the the Fox News crowd has decided that sombrero-wearing brown people seeking asylum in America are now a bigger threat than turban-wearing brown people seeking death to the infidels.

Of course, we have to remember that all of this controversy is just typical Trump distraction.  It's a way to reclaim the news cycle, so that nobody is talking about how Trump and his three kids are now legally forbidden from running nonprofit organizations (but not our country) after the Trump foundation was proven to be an elaborate front for criminal activities.  It's a distraction from new investigative charges, and the mounting news reports about how every Trump venture from the past decade is apparently on the brink of criminal indictment.  It's a distraction from his party's inability to pass a budget that keeps our government functioning, his crashing stock market, and the collapse of his wall fantasy.

Or, alternately, all of these simultaneous crises are the result of a man coming unhinged.  Either way, I'm sure Putin is loving it.

The last adult has left the building...

+1

Kyle Schuant

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Re: So Let's Speculate about the Future of a Full Trump Presidency...
« Reply #5404 on: December 20, 2018, 05:09:00 PM »
Do you believe that after 17 years of losing lives, money and wars it would be good for the US to stay some more years and keep losing more lives, money and wars? Do you envisage victory, and if so what constitutes "victory", and exactly how would it be achieved?

A man who was intimately involved in at least one pointless losing foreign conflict is quite keen on having more pointless losing foreign conflicts. Is this a surprise?

Even a stopped clock is right twice a day. Even a US President can sometimes accidentally make the right decision.

nereo

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Re: So Let's Speculate about the Future of a Full Trump Presidency...
« Reply #5405 on: December 20, 2018, 05:13:02 PM »

The Mattis resignation letter cracks me up.  He didn't "retire" as Trump claimed via tweet, he fuckin' rage-quit.  It's a giant middle finger to Trump, and it talks about how his views are contrary to America's ideals and our national security, calls him out on Russia and China, and mocks him for the way he treats friendly foreign leaders.  He quotes the parts of the Constitution that Trump ignores, and specifically references his own military credentials in subtle shade for Trump's draft dodging.  It's a hoot, give it a read.


Ok, here it is (emphasis my own):

Quote
Dear Mr President

I have been privileged to serve as our country's 26th Secretary of Defense which has allowed me to serve alongside our men and women of the Department in defense of our citizens and our ideals.

I am proud of the progress that has been made over the past two years on some of the key goals articulated in our National Defense Strategy: putting the Department on a more sound budgetary footing, improving readiness and lethality in our forces, and reforming the Department's business practices for greater performance.  Our troops continue to provide the capabilities needed to prevail in conflict and sustain strong US global influence.

One core belief I have always held is that our strength as a nation is inextricably linked to the strength of our unique and comprehensive system of alliances and partnerships.  While the US remains the indispensable nation in the free world, we cannot protect our interests or serve the role effectively without maintaining strong alliances and showing respect to those allies.  Like you, I have said from the beginning that the armed forces of the United States should not be the policeman of the world.  Instead, we must use all tools of American power to provide for the common defense, including providing effective leadership to our alliances.  NATO's 29 democracies demonstrated that strength in the commitment to fighting alongside us following the 9-11 attack on America.  The Defeat-ISIS coalition of 74 nations is further proof.

Similarily, I believe we must be resolute and unambiguous in our approach to those countries whose strategic interests are increasing in tension with our own. It is clear that China and Russia, for example, want to shape a world consistent with their authoritarian model - gaining veto authority over other nations' economic, diplomatic, and security decisions - to promote their own interests at the expense of their neighbors, America and our allies.  That is why we must use all the tools of American power to provide for the common defense.

My views on treating allies with respect and also being clear-eyed about both malign actors and strategic competitors are strongly held and informed by over four decades of immersion in these issues. We must do everything possible to advance an international order that is most conductive to our security, prosperity and values, and we are strengthened in this effort by the solidarity of our alliances.

Because you have the right to have a Secretary of Defense who's views are better aligned with yours on these and other subjects, I believe it is right for me to step down from my position. The end date for my tenure is February 28th, 2019, a date that should allow sufficient time for a successor to be nominated and confirmed as well as to make sure the Department's interests are properly articulated and protected at upcoming events to include Congressional posture hearings and the NATO Defense Ministerial meeting in February.  Further, that a full transition to a new Secretary of Defense occurs well in advance of the transition of Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in September in order to ensure stability within the Department.

I pledge my full effort to a smooth transition that ensures the needs and interest of the 2.15 million Service Members and 732,079 DoD civilians recieve undistracted attention of the Department at all times so that they can fulfill their critical, round-the-clock mission to protect the American people.

I very much appreciate this opportunity to serve the nation and our men and women in uniform

[signed: James N Mattis]


sol

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Re: So Let's Speculate about the Future of a Full Trump Presidency...
« Reply #5406 on: December 20, 2018, 05:14:18 PM »
I will put Kyle down next to Vladimir Putin on the list of people who have publicly supported Trump's decision to withdraw from Syria.

Is there anyone else?  That's a serious question.  It seems every politician willing to go on record thinks this is a bad idea, including congressional republicans who normally parrot trump on everything.

Kris

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Re: So Let's Speculate about the Future of a Full Trump Presidency...
« Reply #5407 on: December 20, 2018, 05:16:52 PM »
Do you believe that after 17 years of losing lives, money and wars it would be good for the US to stay some more years and keep losing more lives, money and wars? Do you envisage victory, and if so what constitutes "victory", and exactly how would it be achieved?

A man who was intimately involved in at least one pointless losing foreign conflict is quite keen on having more pointless losing foreign conflicts. Is this a surprise?

Even a stopped clock is right twice a day. Even a US President can sometimes accidentally make the right decision.

You know that at this point, the US leaving will still cost lives, right? Just different ones. Arguably more of them. And the balance of power will shift, and not in a good way. Not at all.

Look, Kyle, I'm with you on its being bullshit that the US is "involved militarily" (kind euphemism) in the rest of the world. But we're involved now. And shitting on something, setting fire to it, and then leaving, is not better than shitting on something, setting fire to it, and then trying to clean up the mess.

former player

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Re: So Let's Speculate about the Future of a Full Trump Presidency...
« Reply #5408 on: December 20, 2018, 05:37:45 PM »
Mattis says, if you parse out his letter, that -

Trump does not understand that America's strength is inextricably linked to the strength of her unique and comprehensive system of alliances and partnerships, and does not treat America's allies with respect or provide them with effective leadership.

Trump is irresolute and ambiguous in his approach to those countries whose strategic interests are increasing in tension with America's, is not clear-eyed about malign actors and strategic competitors and will not admit that China and Russia want to promote their own interests at the expense of America.

Trump does not use all the tools of American power to provide for the common defense and does not believe in an international order that is most conductive to America's security, prosperity and values.

In other words, he is fairly comprehensively stating that Trump is a weak man who refuses to understand international relations and trashes alliances and is destroying what keeps America safe.  Seems a pretty fair assessment to me.



MasterStache

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Re: So Let's Speculate about the Future of a Full Trump Presidency...
« Reply #5409 on: December 20, 2018, 05:44:55 PM »
Do you believe that after 17 years of losing lives, money and wars it would be good for the US to stay some more years and keep losing more lives, money and wars? Do you envisage victory, and if so what constitutes "victory", and exactly how would it be achieved?

A man who was intimately involved in at least one pointless losing foreign conflict is quite keen on having more pointless losing foreign conflicts. Is this a surprise?

Even a stopped clock is right twice a day. Even a US President can sometimes accidentally make the right decision.

You know that at this point, the US leaving will still cost lives, right? Just different ones. Arguably more of them. And the balance of power will shift, and not in a good way. Not at all.

Look, Kyle, I'm with you on its being bullshit that the US is "involved militarily" (kind euphemism) in the rest of the world. But we're involved now. And shitting on something, setting fire to it, and then leaving, is not better than shitting on something, setting fire to it, and then trying to clean up the mess.

Why not? That worked out well in Iraq. Oh wait.....

sol

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Re: So Let's Speculate about the Future of a Full Trump Presidency...
« Reply #5410 on: December 20, 2018, 05:47:24 PM »
Mattis says, if you parse out his letter, that -

Trump does not understand that America's strength is inextricably linked to the strength of her unique and comprehensive system of alliances and partnerships, and does not treat America's allies with respect or provide them with effective leadership.

Trump is irresolute and ambiguous in his approach to those countries whose strategic interests are increasing in tension with America's, is not clear-eyed about malign actors and strategic competitors and will not admit that China and Russia want to promote their own interests at the expense of America.

Trump does not use all the tools of American power to provide for the common defense and does not believe in an international order that is most conductive to America's security, prosperity and values.

In other words, he is fairly comprehensively stating that Trump is a weak man who refuses to understand international relations and trashes alliances and is destroying what keeps America safe.  Seems a pretty fair assessment to me.

Also notable in that letter is what it does NOT say.  It does not praise Trump in any way.  It does not thank him.  It does not congratulation him on his successes, or discuss all of the wonderful things Trump has done for the country in the way that so many recent white house resignation letters have.  It is only a rebuke of everything Trump has said and done, and everything he stands for.  He sort of tried to reference the usual resignation letter language in familiar ways, but he changed the wording enough to make it clear he was intentionally stopping himself from saying anything positive about Trump. 

Kris

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Re: So Let's Speculate about the Future of a Full Trump Presidency...
« Reply #5411 on: December 20, 2018, 05:53:53 PM »
Do you believe that after 17 years of losing lives, money and wars it would be good for the US to stay some more years and keep losing more lives, money and wars? Do you envisage victory, and if so what constitutes "victory", and exactly how would it be achieved?

A man who was intimately involved in at least one pointless losing foreign conflict is quite keen on having more pointless losing foreign conflicts. Is this a surprise?

Even a stopped clock is right twice a day. Even a US President can sometimes accidentally make the right decision.

You know that at this point, the US leaving will still cost lives, right? Just different ones. Arguably more of them. And the balance of power will shift, and not in a good way. Not at all.

Look, Kyle, I'm with you on its being bullshit that the US is "involved militarily" (kind euphemism) in the rest of the world. But we're involved now. And shitting on something, setting fire to it, and then leaving, is not better than shitting on something, setting fire to it, and then trying to clean up the mess.

Why not? That worked out well in Iraq. Oh wait.....

Agreed. Our government sucks ass at this. But in the case of Syria, walking away at this point is worse than staying.

scottish

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Re: So Let's Speculate about the Future of a Full Trump Presidency...
« Reply #5412 on: December 20, 2018, 06:58:28 PM »
So.  One of Trump's cabinet has some integrity.   Go figure.

Kyle Schuant

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Re: So Let's Speculate about the Future of a Full Trump Presidency...
« Reply #5413 on: December 20, 2018, 09:41:03 PM »
You know that at this point, the US leaving will still cost lives, right? Just different ones. Arguably more of them.
Very arguably.

Before the US went in, Afghanistan was largely peaceful. Before the US went in, Iraq was peaceful. Before the US supported Libyan rebels, Libya was peaceful. The Syrian civil war happened without US help, but would have quickly ended in an Assad victory had the US and friends not supported the rebels. And so on. None of these countries were free, but they're not free with US "help" now anyway. I'll take peaceful tyranny over violent tyranny any day.

As this article notes, foreign intervention tends to prolong civil wars. The reasons for this are obvious once you think about it. If only the local parties are involved, they soon run out of military, financial and manpower resources to continue the fight. If a foreign power intervenes, it adds its own resources to the conflict, and because it tips the balance of the fight heavily on one group's side this encourages another foreign power to intervene, and the civil war becomes a proxy Great Power war. A genuine Great Power war is a total war, using all resources, so these last for a few years; but a Great Power proxy war involves just enough resources to keep the war going, but not enough to secure a decisive victory. And so it goes on and on.

At least 288,000 civilians dead in Iraq, some 3 times that indirectly killed by the conflict (eg losing access to clean drinking water and thus getting cholera) and a cost to the USA of USD725 billion. At least 111,000 Afghans killed, and at least 3 times as many indirectly killed at a cost to the USA of USD276 billion. And of course, several million refugees, and sparking an ideological movement that spreads conflict to Yemen and Egypt and Libya and Sudan and Mali and so on and so forth.

And costs will be ongoing even if you pull out tomorrow, in endless pensions and disability care and compensation claims and so on and so forth.

It is not clear how it could be much worse for these people, or for the US Treasury.

Next year the Afghan war will be old enough to drink, drive, vote and fuck. It's all grown up now, let it go out on its own.
Quote
And the balance of power will shift, and not in a good way. Not at all.
The balance of power has shifted against the US in any case. All Great Powers decline, they either accept it and go quietly as the UK did, or go down fighting and end up with their own regime change, as France, Portugal, Spain etc did. At least if you go quietly you get to part from your colonies as friends.

Quote
Look, Kyle, I'm with you on its being bullshit that the US is "involved militarily" (kind euphemism) in the rest of the world. But we're involved now. And shitting on something, setting fire to it, and then leaving, is not better than shitting on something, setting fire to it, and then trying to clean up the mess.
If your house were burning down would you invite the arsonist to help put out the fire?

I realise that US ego, like that of most countries, does not like accepting defeat. As Machiavelli noted, the most difficult position of all republics is to be in a position where they can neither accept peace nor sustain war. You've had 17 years and 2 months, a couple of million dead civilians and a trillion dollars spent. If not now, then at what point do you give up? At what point do you admit that the US is simply unable to handle determined goatherds with AK-47s?

In another five years? Another ten years? How about a hundred years?
Another million dead civilians? Five million? Ten million?
Another trillion dollars? Ten trillion? Fifty trillion?
When?
If not now, then when?

Be precise. Show your working. How many years, lives and dollars are you willing to spend on this? And do you have any skin in the game? Will you serve in this conflict? Would you give your son's life in this conflict? Would you accept a doubling of taxes to pay for it? Will you take into your house refugees from the bombs your country drops?

If not now, then when?
« Last Edit: December 20, 2018, 09:44:18 PM by Kyle Schuant »

sol

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Re: So Let's Speculate about the Future of a Full Trump Presidency...
« Reply #5414 on: December 20, 2018, 10:08:49 PM »
If not now, then when?

I think the general consensus of the US foreign policy peeps is "as soon as the world is better off with us leaving than with us staying."

You're phrasing the argument in terms of costs but not benefits.  Whether you agree with them or not, there are a lot of very smart people who think continuing to be involved in these conflicts, even at great human and monetary costs, is preferable to the expected outcomes if we do not continue to be involved in these conflicts.

Telecaster

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Re: So Let's Speculate about the Future of a Full Trump Presidency...
« Reply #5415 on: December 20, 2018, 10:21:42 PM »
I will put Kyle down next to Vladimir Putin on the list of people who have publicly supported Trump's decision to withdraw from Syria.

Is there anyone else?  That's a serious question.  It seems every politician willing to go on record thinks this is a bad idea, including congressional republicans who normally parrot trump on everything.

I am.  What does military victory look like?   Are there clear objectives?  Are vital US interests at stake?  Are US troops and equipment deployed in sufficient numbers to accomplish the military objectives?  Does this mission have the support of the American people?  How are we going to win? 

The answer to all those questions, as far as I can tell is either "no" or "I don't know."  That's the recipe for a big waste of American lives and money. 

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Re: So Let's Speculate about the Future of a Full Trump Presidency...
« Reply #5416 on: December 20, 2018, 10:38:09 PM »
I will put Kyle down next to Vladimir Putin on the list of people who have publicly supported Trump's decision to withdraw from Syria.

Is there anyone else?  That's a serious question.  It seems every politician willing to go on record thinks this is a bad idea, including congressional republicans who normally parrot trump on everything.
I might. I would not know if it is a good decision either way (am I the only one on the thread?). I see trillions of dollars, thousands of US lives, and hundreds of thousands of other lives discarded to bad US policy in the region. I doubt this will be in the top 10 worst policy decisions we have made in the region in the last 20 years. But then, as you say, I see only costs, not catastrophes invisibly averted. Might we have saved millions of lives by sacrificing hundreds of thousands of lives? That seems like a pretty big moral reach but maybe. Or perhaps they were probability plays that just happened to come up unlucky several times in a row. Is our presence in Syria actually benefiting the world, or is it action for action sake? Why can't the Europeans undertake such a noble cause instead of the US? They are apparently more moral than the US now, and it is right on their door step so it might plausibly affect them plus it is cheap to get there. If anyone can and should police Syria it would be a European nation or four, with the US looking like a painting on the wall in the background as seen though a wide aperture lens.

If there is ever to be step in the right direction in US mid east policy in the future I imagine it will look like this. Is this that step? I wouldn't know. But everybody need a framework for "good" vs "bad" that is independent of "things Trump does."

Kyle Schuant

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Re: So Let's Speculate about the Future of a Full Trump Presidency...
« Reply #5417 on: December 20, 2018, 11:29:15 PM »
I think the general consensus of the US foreign policy peeps is "as soon as the world is better off with us leaving than with us staying."
That's today.

Quote
You're phrasing the argument in terms of costs but not benefits. 
Enunciate the benefits. Clearly. Give numbers, and show your working.

And express clearly the costs in years, lives and money you think these benefits are worth. We have to assess costs vs benefits. Then when we know if or when it's time to quit.

Quote
Whether you agree with them or not, there are a lot of very smart people who think continuing to be involved in these conflicts, even at great human and monetary costs, is preferable to the expected outcomes if we do not continue to be involved in these conflicts.
I never knew your day job was as a comedy show scriptwriter.
« Last Edit: December 20, 2018, 11:54:15 PM by Kyle Schuant »

marty998

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Re: So Let's Speculate about the Future of a Full Trump Presidency...
« Reply #5418 on: December 21, 2018, 12:50:03 AM »
Seem to recall ISIS filled the hole the last time the US packed up and left after Al-Qaida was defeated. That is why there is reluctance to leave.

You can't look at it through the lens of ISIS being defeated. You need to look at it through the lens of "If we go, which new group is going to come in and fill the void". It certainly isn't going to be a functioning civilised government anytime soon.

Until then, whether we like it or not, some measure of herding of the "AK47 bearing goatherds" is going to be required.


sequoia

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Re: So Let's Speculate about the Future of a Full Trump Presidency...
« Reply #5419 on: December 21, 2018, 03:58:12 AM »
Before the US went in, Afghanistan was largely peaceful. Before the US went in, Iraq was peaceful. Before the US supported Libyan rebels, Libya was peaceful. The Syrian civil war happened without US help, but would have quickly ended in an Assad victory had the US and friends not supported the rebels.

We all can disagree on lots of things but Afghanistan, Iraq was peaceful? Based on what? Should Saddam get a Nobel Peace Price for keeping Iraq peaceful?

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Re: So Let's Speculate about the Future of a Full Trump Presidency...
« Reply #5420 on: December 21, 2018, 05:15:43 AM »
Before the US went in, Afghanistan was largely peaceful. Before the US went in, Iraq was peaceful. Before the US supported Libyan rebels, Libya was peaceful. The Syrian civil war happened without US help, but would have quickly ended in an Assad victory had the US and friends not supported the rebels.

We all can disagree on lots of things but Afghanistan, Iraq was peaceful? Based on what? Should Saddam get a Nobel Peace Price for keeping Iraq peaceful?

Yeah, Kyle's claims about the nations being 'peaceful' made me vomit in my mouth.  Saddam murdered a quarter million of his own people to gain and retain power.  He also invaded both Iran and Kuwait.  Before that Iraq precipitated two kurdish wars.  Before that there was a series of brutal military coups. Before that it was under British control, and for decades it was the 'tip of the spear' for Great Britans conflicts against the Turks and the Ottoman Empire.  And that only gets us to the beginning of the 20th century.

Libya??  Gaddafi gained power by military coup in the 1970s.  He established a police state and executed dissidants publicly. He spent much of Libya's revenues to arm rebels and terrorists. 

Afghanistan?  Before the US military put boots on the ground in 2011 it had been at war with the Taliban for a decade, who held much of the more rural sections and are brutally repressive.  They rose from the ashes of a decades' long civil war in the 80s and 90s, which came after the Soviet war.  Before that there were more civil wars.  And we haven't even gotten back to WWII yet. 

Of course Kyle has desired publicly for the collapse of the United States, so there's that. But no, you can't claim that these regions were 'peaceful' before US involvement.  Each were hotbeds of civil unrest periodically alternately enveloped by civil war and then ruled by brutal dictators who murdered their own people, going back centuries, long before the US was involved in global conflicts.

partgypsy

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Re: So Let's Speculate about the Future of a Full Trump Presidency...
« Reply #5421 on: December 21, 2018, 06:46:03 AM »
We are only in Syria because of US and allies interests. That if we were not there, the power vacuumn would allow more repressive regime that is most likely anti American and anti our allies. I don't like the fact we are so involved in other countries' politics. But it has been the reality since at least the 50's that we ARE involved in other country's politics to protect US interests. Generals like Mattis believe the cost of us leaving (and allowing Russia to be in charge) is greater than the costs of staying. I would believe Mattis, with depth of experience PROTECTING the US, over Trump's (was it even thought out at all?) decision.

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Re: So Let's Speculate about the Future of a Full Trump Presidency...
« Reply #5422 on: December 21, 2018, 07:12:14 AM »
I'm on the page of it's probably better for us to stay.  That, coupled with lots of smart people with access to intelligence and analysis that I don't have who say it's better to stay, put me in the stay camp.  Unfortunately, I don't think we are actually going to accomplish our objectives (a stable, peaceful country/ies?) unless we radically change our approach.  We are still using a military whose main objective is, at the end of the day, to kill people and break things.  The military *must* be trained to do these things.  You cannot deter/stop a first world near-peer adversary without dedicating the majority of your military's resources to training on how to kill people and break things.  It's hard to effectively show someone how to conduct police investigations, or teach classes, or repair vehicles, or any of the other of the things taken for granted in a stable civilization when you yourself think in terms of "movement to contact" and "suppression fire."  Yes, there are some civilians over there (primarily retired police) doing these things, but we need more.  A lot more.  I fully admit my idea smacks of colonialism and is not realistic, but we need a  "profession corps" of police, firefighters, teachers, mechanics, engineers, and others to go and "train the trainers" so to speak.

Also, the military operates on deployments.  It's kind of part of the bargain.  You get to have your family safe and sound in the US, you train up, leave them for 6-18 months, do your thing, and then come home to Momma and Poppa and everyone else.  Then someone else comes in, and they might have a different mindset, or different capabilities, or something else.  It's hard to maintain continuity and trust with that tribal leader.  Why should he risk his standing, his life, his family, and his tribe for you?  You will leave soon.  Just like the others.  Maybe the next one of you will be nice.  Maybe the next one will threaten to cut off aid if he doesn't help.  Much better to stick with his kin.

My issue with the "all these countries were not peaceful" argument is that it is absolutely correct.  But what about all the other non-peaceful countries?  Are we going to invade them, as well?  TBH, I don't think America's justification for doing anything has been "they are doing bad things."  I think it's more along the lines of "they are doing bad things, it might affect us."  Congo and Thailand are  by no means a peaceful countries.  Why are we not "nation-building" there?  Or are the next on the secret list?

Again, I'm in camp stay over there.  Humans are suffering.  They generally suffer less when our military is there.  I just feel like we don't have well defined objectives, a clear path to those objectives, or even a clear reason for the objective we do have.  Define stable.  Define peaceful.  Must they have a lower per capita death rate than the US?  Only 10% more people living in poverty than here? 

Barbaebigode

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Re: So Let's Speculate about the Future of a Full Trump Presidency...
« Reply #5423 on: December 21, 2018, 08:58:10 AM »
https://www.apnews.com/ec2ed217357048ff998225a31534df12

Quote
Pompeo, Mattis and other members of the national security team prepared a list of talking points for Trump to tell Erdogan to back off, the officials said.

But the officials said Trump, who had previously accepted such advice and convinced the Turkish leader not to attack the Kurds and put U.S. troops at risk, ignored the script. Instead, the president sided with Erdogan."

The Art of the Deal®

sol

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Re: So Let's Speculate about the Future of a Full Trump Presidency...
« Reply #5424 on: December 21, 2018, 09:17:51 AM »
https://www.apnews.com/ec2ed217357048ff998225a31534df12

Quote
Pompeo, Mattis and other members of the national security team prepared a list of talking points for Trump to tell Erdogan to back off, the officials said.

But the officials said Trump, who had previously accepted such advice and convinced the Turkish leader not to attack the Kurds and put U.S. troops at risk, ignored the script. Instead, the president sided with Erdogan."

The Art of the Deal®

Is anyone else reminded of Obama saying "elections have consequences"?

The context has changed, of course, but the sentiment is more relevant today than ever.  Obama was trying to suggest to congressional republicans that the country had overwhelmingly voted against their ideas in his sweeping election victory, and they should not obstruct the will of the people.  Today, by contrast, a minority of people voted for Donald Trump but he squeezed out an electoral college victory with a little foreign help, and as a result of that electoral failure the country is currently led by a bull in a china shop.  He's breaking shit left and right, fundamentally altering the nature and status of America, but he's the duly elected leader of the United States and he gets to lead it down whatever dark pathway he chooses, until the next election.

Apparently that pathway includes alienating our global allies like the UK and Germany and Canada, and kowtowing obsequiously to oppressive dictators like Putin and Erdogan who want to see democracy abolished and America ruined.  This is what America's electoral system chose, and this what America deserves.  You've made your bed, America, now lie in it.  By choosing an openly corrupt plutocrat as your standard bearer, you've decreed that America should support openly corrupt plutocracy.  Hence, Putin and Erdogan are our new besties and our former democratic allies can't get us to text them back.

nereo

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Re: So Let's Speculate about the Future of a Full Trump Presidency...
« Reply #5425 on: December 21, 2018, 09:23:25 AM »
Anyone else feel like things at the federal government level are going to get a lot worse before they start to get better?

On a related note, anyone remember when the last CR was passed, and they estimated the next one would come just before the holidays, which would motivate all sites to reach a compromise because "no body wants to shut down the government just before Christmas".   - oops, turns out there's one person.

Gondolin

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Re: So Let's Speculate about the Future of a Full Trump Presidency...
« Reply #5426 on: December 21, 2018, 09:26:45 AM »
Quote
You're phrasing the argument in terms of costs but not benefits.

But what ARE the benefits?

I agree that Kyle is one of those insufferable Aussie/Canadian armchair pseudo-historians who sit complacently in their stable, isolated countries and hate on everything the US does out of, I don't know really, some sense of moral superiority. That line about 'peaceful tyranny' also made me vomit.

But, his question is still unanswered. What *IS* is the strategic imperative that should keep the US in Syria? To protect the Kurds from Turkish reprisal?

I think it's very telling that @Kris and @sol - two of the most intelligent and insightful posters on this forum, both reflexively fell back into pat meaningless metaphors about 'cleaning up the mess' and the old 'smarter people than me in a back room must know what they're doing' chestnut.

Can anyone put together a cogent line of reasoning on why the US should stay in Syria?
I've been asking this for years and below are the most common answers I get - none of which I find particularly compelling:

A) Because Bashir bad  - nevermind that there's no path to his removal and the US is, of course, hypocritically selective about which dictators we find acceptable
B) Because Russia bad and everything Russia does must be reflexively opposed - this is usually from old Cold Warriors
C) Because we owe the Kurds a country since they opposed ISIS

Lews Therin

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Re: So Let's Speculate about the Future of a Full Trump Presidency...
« Reply #5427 on: December 21, 2018, 09:47:25 AM »
To answer you with cogent reasoning Gondolin:

What *IS* is the strategic imperative that should keep the US in Syria? To protect the Kurds from Turkish reprisal?

Strategic imperative: Not letting whole countries fall to a group that literally calls for their members to attack the West. Not just because the West is trying to stop them from taking power, but because we are infidels and they are trying to bring-about a caliphate that will cover the world. Imagine what they could do with the whole income of Iraq and Syria, instead of just the amount they had during the last few years.

Can anyone put together a cogent line of reasoning on why the US should stay in Syria?
 - Because the US is generally opposed to the use of Chemical weapons, the rise of extremists in control of countries... the fact that Syria/Russia doesn't give a shit about the areas outside their control, until they become under their control... Just because the media is no longer reporting on it, doesn't mean that the regime isn't still dropping barrel bombs, bombing it's own citizens, surrounding and starving whole areas in order to regain their control. It just means that it's been going on for so long that the outlets aren't getting any ratings and so have stopped reporting on it.

Go look up the news from 2016.

Remember how huge swaths of the country fell before the ISIS advance...? (Iraq even faster and more impressively too). They haven't all been killed and nothing is left, because they literally resupply and got tons of their equipment from surrendering/running away military members in syria and Iraq.

As far as the 1%/99% goes, Ha. Iraq and Syria needs an old-timey version map with most of the area written down as ''Here Be Dragons'' because nobody holds terrain outside of towns. Most of the countryside is desert... that is very easy to use to move around. Syria is held up by Russia, or it would fall apart again, ISIS is currently attempting to regain their footholds, but only stopped due to active targeting by the coalition... when the US leaves, it'll pull the whole coalition out too (since they are most of the forces) and that power vacuum will be gladly filled by ISIS, or whatever name they feel like calling themselves this year.


GuitarStv

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Re: So Let's Speculate about the Future of a Full Trump Presidency...
« Reply #5428 on: December 21, 2018, 10:06:47 AM »
Important to note that almost all of the military commanders in ISIS are ex-Iraqi military leaders who were ousted by the US.  While Saddam was a giant asshole, he did keep these guys in line.  When the US ousted him and then got bored of trying to help the remaining Iraqis they created a power vacuum.  It would have been better (at least would have prevented the rise of ISIS) if the US had continued to occupy Iraq or had never become involved in Iraq.  It's the half-assed job that causes maximum damage.

I feel that a similar scenario with Syria is possible.  We're too late to get to the 'don't involve yourself' point.  Now we're at the 'how much damage will be done if we run away and hide like we did with Iraq'.

nereo

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Re: So Let's Speculate about the Future of a Full Trump Presidency...
« Reply #5429 on: December 21, 2018, 10:09:35 AM »
Quote
You're phrasing the argument in terms of costs but not benefits.

But what ARE the benefits?

I'll take a stab at this.

Proponents of the US's global military involvement since the Marshall Plan has kept us from having anything approaching another world war, or even open conflict among the worlds largest and most powerful nations.  As evidence, the percentage of people globally who die annually from war has remained low since the end of WWII and most of those are from internal conflicts (i.e. 'civil wars') - not wars between sovereign states. That's one of the key 'successes' of NATO, and is enshrined in NATO's 'article 5' (an attack on one constitutes an attack on all). In contrast, from the 1880s through the end of WWII wars between sovereign states were becoming larger in scope more expensive and more destructive at an almost exponential rate as war technology increased in speed and lethality. A core focus of US foreign policy over the last 50-odd years has been to keep states we deem as 'rogue operators' from disrupting this balance and starting regional conflicts which could rapidly spill over into continential and even global wars. (e.g. through triggering Article 5).  That was our rational for invading Iraq during Gulf War I (when Iraq invaded Kuwait - it was widely feared at the time that if unchecked Iraq would continue into Iran and then Turkey).

Syria specifically gets a lot more complicated. At its core is that al-Assad is considered to be sponsoring ISIL/ISIS, which has declared themselves as having religious, political and military authority over all muslims in the region (and, the Islamic State will argue - everywhere in the world).  Similar to fears about how the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait could lead to regional and then global open conflict if left unchecked, ISIL has had some success capturing entire regions and large cities outside of Syria, including Mosul in Iraq.  Since al-Assad seems to be supporting these extremists as a way of holding on to his own (militarily obtained) post - that puts has put the US at odds with the Syrian government. It's complicated by the perception that ISIL gains in the region undermine the 'nation-building' we've spent so much blood and treasure on in Iraq. Russia - with big oil and shipping interests in the region - had decided to back al-Assad, which substantially ramped up the stakes as now the Syrian government is being equipped with military technology which is roughly on par with our own (though not nearly as extensive).

tl;dr - the thinking goes that being perpetually involved in small, regional conflicts with tens-of-thousands of troops is preferable to fighting another very large conflict which might require hundreds-of-thousands (or even a million+ ) troops, and where battles might extend into the US mainland (i.e. the US military wishes to stay on offense instead of being forced into defense).

I'll add that personally I'm conflicted over the broader use of these policies, and think they often go way, way overboard (e.g. Gulf War II, 'pre-emptive strikes' and the lot). I strongly want the US military to be used less and be smaller overall. But a few thousand troops in Syria to prevent open war seems like a reasonable cost when the likely and historical alternative points to a scenario where millions could die in large-scale regional conflicts.

RetiredAt63

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Re: So Let's Speculate about the Future of a Full Trump Presidency...
« Reply #5430 on: December 21, 2018, 10:09:54 AM »
I agree that Kyle is one of those insufferable Aussie/Canadian armchair pseudo-historians who sit complacently in their stable, isolated countries and hate on everything the US does out of,

Can't speak for Kyle, but why in the world would you think Canada is isolated? We are right next door.  Or complacent?   We are stable, yes, but we get lots of cultural imports from the US (OMG, we have Doug Ford as Premier of Ontario now, our conservatives seem to be going as nuts as American conservatives).  Whatever the US does affects us a lot.   And we feel so honored* to be told we are having tariffs put on Canadian metals becasue we are a security risk.  Seriously, right now the US treats its security risk countries better than its allies, so maybe that should be a good thing to have happen to us?  Messes up our economy big time, and we are a huge trading partner with the US so it must have American economic repercussions, but so what?

*Yes that was sarcasm, but also please notice I did the American spelling in honour of the major topic of the thread.

MasterStache

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Re: So Let's Speculate about the Future of a Full Trump Presidency...
« Reply #5431 on: December 21, 2018, 10:10:24 AM »
That line about 'peaceful tyranny' also made me vomit.
It was a beautifully constructed oxymoron

Quote
I think it's very telling that @Kris and @sol - two of the most intelligent and insightful posters on this forum, both reflexively fell back into pat meaningless metaphors about 'cleaning up the mess' and the old 'smarter people than me in a back room must know what they're doing' chestnut.
I think what Sol and Kris stated are very logical. For one, we are in fact largely if not wholly responsible for the rise of ISIL (not ironically in part to our withdrawal of forces originally). And secondly, those in theater have mountains of more intel than us armchair warriors. And if every general/commander etc. is telling you this is a terrible decision, you damn well better listen. It's not a metaphor, it's a fact.

sol

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Re: So Let's Speculate about the Future of a Full Trump Presidency...
« Reply #5432 on: December 21, 2018, 10:19:54 AM »
I think it's very telling that @Kris and @sol - two of the most intelligent and insightful posters on this forum, both reflexively fell back into pat meaningless metaphors about 'cleaning up the mess' and the old 'smarter people than me in a back room must know what they're doing' chestnut.

I'm not sure that I support OR oppose our involvement in Syria, and I don't think anyone else is either.  It's a messy and complicated situation.  I was just trying to point out that Kyle's "well of course it's stupid" argument was painfully one-sided.  If it was so clearly stupid, no one would support it.

Even if you come down on the side of pulling out of Syria, why do it suddenly and instantaneously, without checking with the pentagon or congress first?  Why do it over the objections of your entire senior defense team?  Why not plan a gradual draw-down in some effort to give them a chance at an orderly transition, instead of just yanking the plug and sowing chaos?

In the long run, abdicating on Syria means letting Russia decide what happens there.  Russia's interests are opposed to America's interests.  Naturally, the Russians love this decision and that, all by itself, is one strike against it in my mind.  Let's not forget that Putin personally asked Trump to pull out of Syria when they met in Helsinki last year.

Quote
Can anyone put together a cogent line of reasoning on why the US should stay in Syria?

Well Donald Trump certainly isn't advancing this narrative, so I guess it's understandable that so many people don't know the case for our involvement in Syria.  There was no "yellow-cake" press conference to get the public to support it.  He doesn't tweet about it.  That doesn't mean the reasons don't exist.

1.  Syria is a safe heaven for terrorists that have vowed to attack the US.  One goal of the US military in Syria is to find and shut down terrorist training camps and disrupt the terrorist financial networks that support them.

2.  Syria has used chemical weapons on its population several times, in violation of international law, and allied military action is used to remind people that we have these treaties for a reason.  If you break those rules, you get punished.  Leaving Syria now means any country can use chemical weapons without fear of repercussions. 

3.  Syria is a proxy war for the post-WWII allied powers.  We have all agreed to support and defend each other, and if we pull out now we are leaving the UK and France behind in Syria without their biggest strategic partner.  Those mutual-defense treaties are the foundation of 73 years without a global war, and we're abandoning them. 

4.  The Syrian civil war is a humanitarian disaster.  Some people believe that we have a moral obligation to rebuild infrastructure and offer governmental support services to a country that we helped destroy, just like we did with Germany and Japan.

5.  Because Syria is a proxy war, leaving it now means we will allow Russia to decide what happens in the middle east.  Russia is aggressively trying to expand its empire, build it's own coalition of countries to oppose NATO, and stop the spread of democracy around the world.  Leaving Syria not only harms our allies politically, it helps our enemies politically. 

6.  US allies currently control all of the oil in Syria.  When we leave, that oil will fall to Iran and/or Russia.  We don't need that oil quite so much as we used to because domestic production is up so much, but that doesn't mean we want it to start fueling Russian jets instead.  Unless of course (see #3) we're now on Russia's side, in which case leaving Syria totally makes sense.

7.  The end goal of the US involvement in Syria is a functioning native Syrian government that is friendly to democracy and wants to join the global peacekeeping force entered around NATO.  That means they need to have their own police force, their own court system, their own congress or parliament, and enough respect for democratic institutions to not lose all of that to another military coup.  That respect only comes when the region is economically stable, hence the rebuilding efforts.  We're trying to lift Syria up, with limited success because let's face it, the middle east is kind of a hell hole.

8.  Which leads me to the last point, which is that our efforts in Syria are part of our larger effort in the region involving Iran, Saudi Arabia, Israel and Palestine, and Turkey.  We've been trying to get these places to stop killing each other for decades, with basically zero success.  Abandoning Syria also means abandoning, at least in part, all of our coordinated efforts in those other places.  For all of the allied failures in the middle east since WWII, we have at least managed to avoid WWIII, which is more than can be said for any other period since the height of the Ottoman Empire.

Now you can argue about each of those eight points, and I might even do so myself.  But at least the arguments are laid out for you and anyone else who says "there's no reason for us to be there."  There ARE reasons to be there, and also reasons for us to wash our hands of the whole thing.  Like I said, it's complicated.
« Last Edit: December 21, 2018, 10:40:45 AM by sol »

Kris

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Re: So Let's Speculate about the Future of a Full Trump Presidency...
« Reply #5433 on: December 21, 2018, 10:26:08 AM »
Quote
You're phrasing the argument in terms of costs but not benefits.

But what ARE the benefits?

I agree that Kyle is one of those insufferable Aussie/Canadian armchair pseudo-historians who sit complacently in their stable, isolated countries and hate on everything the US does out of, I don't know really, some sense of moral superiority. That line about 'peaceful tyranny' also made me vomit.

But, his question is still unanswered. What *IS* is the strategic imperative that should keep the US in Syria? To protect the Kurds from Turkish reprisal?

I think it's very telling that @Kris and @sol - two of the most intelligent and insightful posters on this forum, both reflexively fell back into pat meaningless metaphors about 'cleaning up the mess' and the old 'smarter people than me in a back room must know what they're doing' chestnut.

Can anyone put together a cogent line of reasoning on why the US should stay in Syria?
I've been asking this for years and below are the most common answers I get - none of which I find particularly compelling:

A) Because Bashir bad  - nevermind that there's no path to his removal and the US is, of course, hypocritically selective about which dictators we find acceptable
B) Because Russia bad and everything Russia does must be reflexively opposed - this is usually from old Cold Warriors
C) Because we owe the Kurds a country since they opposed ISIS

Here's the thing. Are we cleaning up the mess there? Not really, no.

But will leaving, at this point, create an even bigger mess? Yup, very likely.

The funny thing about all this is that the very people who are gonna be crowing from the rooftops supporting Trump's pullout were the selfsame people who were all gung ho about going into places like Iraq and Afghanistan in the first place. I was one of those actually attending protests when GW Bush went into Iraq because hello, the War on Terror™ was a giant load of bullshit from jump (otherwise we would have declared war on Saudi Arabia after 9/11).

None of the hawks voting for war back then in Iraq and Afghanistan gave one single shit about losing American lives sending them over in those conflicts. Let alone all the innocent civilian lives that would be lost in those countries.

Don't get me started on Syria.

Now, I'm actually expressing some dismay about the fact that Trump is gonna pull us out of these places, after we went in and laid waste to it all. And in the wake of that, even more innocent civilians will die. And now, the people who are crowing about how awesome it is that Trump is pulling us out of there don't seem to give a shit about that, either. Or about the fact that ISIS is in actually NOT wiped out, and that it's incredibly likely our absence will allow them or a new group to take control. So now everything will be even worse than when we went in in the first place, in no uncertain terms, and we've further destabilized the entire region, and ultimately made our own country less safe in the bargain.

Saying "We never should have been there in the first place" is not the same as saying "We should get out now."
« Last Edit: December 21, 2018, 10:31:02 AM by Kris »

sol

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Re: So Let's Speculate about the Future of a Full Trump Presidency...
« Reply #5434 on: December 21, 2018, 10:52:20 AM »
Reading through this topic suddenly has me worried.

Russia is aligning itself with Syria, Iran, and Turkey against NATO.  Is it just a coincidence that Trump has spent so much time and effort cozying up to the countries in this new alliance, while simultaneously insulting and/or abandoning our NATO partners?

Under Donald Trump, the US is basically switching sides in the global power conflict.  If that's the case, then all 8 of the points I listed above are actually reasons why we should LEAVE Syria, not reasons why we should stay.  If Trump has decided to join forces with the planet's oppressive dictators to oppose the spread of democracy and undermine the post-WWII allied coalition, then this decision suddenly makes a lot more sense.  He wants that oil to go to Iran and Russia.  He wants to undermine NATO. 

Remember that Trump initially refused to support the article 5 NATO mutual defense provisions.  He's openly hostile to the leaders of France and Germany.  He says Russia should be our new best friend, despite their efforts to undermine democracy (both ours and theirs).  He sided with Turkey over the advice of Mattis and the State Department.  He opposed the Iran deal.  He supported MBS in Saudi Arabia murdering a journalist.  He made peace with a nuclear North Korea (and by peace I mean told NK to go ahead do whatever it wants).  All of a sudden I'm seeing a pattern here. 

Donald Trump has led America on a complete 180 on the global stage, away from cooperative allied peacekeepers and towards violent dictatorships that oppose democracy.  It's been slow and subtle, but taken in totality the trend is suddenly very clear to me.

The resignation letter that Mattis wrote looks rather quaint, from this perspective.  Like so many other Americans, he was apparently laboring under the delusion that Trump actually cares about democracy or freedom or security or peace.  Trump only cares about power, and he aspires to be a strongman dictator like Putin or Erdogan or MBS or Kim or al-Assad.  He gets there by leading America into an alliance with these dictators while subverting our previous alliances with democracies.  If I'm right, we'll see more NATO rebuttals in our near future.

on a side note:  embracing oppressive dictatorship is probably Trump's best chance at saving his personal fortune and freedom. 
« Last Edit: December 21, 2018, 12:21:09 PM by sol »

talltexan

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Re: So Let's Speculate about the Future of a Full Trump Presidency...
« Reply #5435 on: December 21, 2018, 11:39:50 AM »
https://www.apnews.com/ec2ed217357048ff998225a31534df12

Quote
Pompeo, Mattis and other members of the national security team prepared a list of talking points for Trump to tell Erdogan to back off, the officials said.

But the officials said Trump, who had previously accepted such advice and convinced the Turkish leader not to attack the Kurds and put U.S. troops at risk, ignored the script. Instead, the president sided with Erdogan."

The Art of the Deal®

Is anyone else reminded of Obama saying "elections have consequences"?

He's breaking shit left and right, fundamentally altering the nature and status of America, but he's the duly elected leader of the United States and he gets to lead it down whatever dark pathway he chooses, until the next election.


The American political system provides for plenty of checks against this. Presidents have many powers that they can only exercise by paying political capital. The will of the people is paramount, but we saw the will of the people in Nov.

I'm actually starting to suspect that Republicans are maintaining Trump's presence hoping he'll do their dirty work, then--when he's unpopular enough by having internalized the political blowback himself--they can jettison him. 

talltexan

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Re: So Let's Speculate about the Future of a Full Trump Presidency...
« Reply #5436 on: December 21, 2018, 11:44:16 AM »
Reading through this topic suddenly has me worried.

Russia is aligning itself with Syria, Iran, and Turkey against NATO.  Is it just a coincidence that Trump has spent so much time and effort cozying up to the countries in this new alliance, while simultaneously insulting and/or abandoning our NATO partners?

Under Donald Trump, the US is basically switching sides in the global power conflict.  If that's the case, then all 8 of the points I listed above are actually reasons why we should LEAVE Syria, not reasons why we should stay.  If Trump has decided to join forces with the planet's oppressive dictators to oppose the spread of democracy and undermine the post-WWII allied coalition, then this decision suddenly makes a lot more sense.  He wants that oil to go to Iran and Russia.  He wants to undermine NATO. 

Remember that Trump initially refused to support the article 5 NATO mutual defense provisions.  He's openly hostile to the leaders of France and Germany.  He says Russia should be our new best friend, despite their efforts to undermine democracy (both ours and theirs).  He sided with Turkey over the advice of Mattis and the State Department.  He opposed the Iran deal.  He supported MBS in Saudi Arabia murdering a journalist.  He made peace with a nuclear North Korea.  All of a sudden I'm seeing a pattern here. 

Donald Trump has led America on a complete 180 on the global stage, away from cooperative allied peacekeepers and towards violent dictatorships that oppose democracy.  It's been slow and subtle, but taken in totality the trend is suddenly very clear to me.

The resignation letter that Mattis wrote looks rather quaint, from this perspective.  Like so many other Americans, he was apparently laboring under the delusion that Trump actually cares about democracy or freedom or security or peace.  Trump only cares about power, and he aspires to be a strongman dictator like Putin or Erdogan or MBS or Kim or al-Assad.  He gets there by leading America into an alliance with these dictators while subverting our previous alliances with democracies.  If I'm right, we'll see more NATO rebuttals in our near future.

on a side note:  embracing oppressive dictatorship is probably Trump's best chance at saving his personal fortune and freedom.


Sol-
you didn't include Saudi Arabia. Conflicts in the ME are largely proxy wars between them and Iran, so I'm not sure which one you meant to include. It'd be hard to cozy up to both of those.

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Re: So Let's Speculate about the Future of a Full Trump Presidency...
« Reply #5437 on: December 21, 2018, 12:04:08 PM »
Reading through this topic suddenly has me worried.

Russia is aligning itself with Syria, Iran, and Turkey against NATO.  Is it just a coincidence that Trump has spent so much time and effort cozying up to the countries in this new alliance, while simultaneously insulting and/or abandoning our NATO partners?

Under Donald Trump, the US is basically switching sides in the global power conflict.  If that's the case, then all 8 of the points I listed above are actually reasons why we should LEAVE Syria, not reasons why we should stay.  If Trump has decided to join forces with the planet's oppressive dictators to oppose the spread of democracy and undermine the post-WWII allied coalition, then this decision suddenly makes a lot more sense.  He wants that oil to go to Iran and Russia.  He wants to undermine NATO. 

Remember that Trump initially refused to support the article 5 NATO mutual defense provisions.  He's openly hostile to the leaders of France and Germany.  He says Russia should be our new best friend, despite their efforts to undermine democracy (both ours and theirs).  He sided with Turkey over the advice of Mattis and the State Department.  He opposed the Iran deal.  He supported MBS in Saudi Arabia murdering a journalist.  He made peace with a nuclear North Korea.  All of a sudden I'm seeing a pattern here. 

Donald Trump has led America on a complete 180 on the global stage, away from cooperative allied peacekeepers and towards violent dictatorships that oppose democracy.  It's been slow and subtle, but taken in totality the trend is suddenly very clear to me.

The resignation letter that Mattis wrote looks rather quaint, from this perspective.  Like so many other Americans, he was apparently laboring under the delusion that Trump actually cares about democracy or freedom or security or peace.  Trump only cares about power, and he aspires to be a strongman dictator like Putin or Erdogan or MBS or Kim or al-Assad.  He gets there by leading America into an alliance with these dictators while subverting our previous alliances with democracies.  If I'm right, we'll see more NATO rebuttals in our near future.

on a side note:  embracing oppressive dictatorship is probably Trump's best chance at saving his personal fortune and freedom.


Sol-
you didn't include Saudi Arabia. Conflicts in the ME are largely proxy wars between them and Iran, so I'm not sure which one you meant to include. It'd be hard to cozy up to both of those.

Sol has it mostly right, except that I'm not sure Trump cares about power, I think he cares about money and personal comfort/safety.  He is personally weak, so weak that he can't even bring himself to exercise the power that being President of the USA brings him when faced with strong leaders of other countries. I think he would kowtow to them whatever (Kim in N Korea has nothing to offer), but Putin and MBS are just making sure he's not going to stand up to them by offering him some of the money they have stolen from their people.

As to cosying up to both Saudia and Iran, I don't see the problem - Trump doesn't care that they are on opposite sides of an argument, just as long as he can maintain his lifelong uninterrupted record of cowardice by turning tail on both of them.

sol

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Re: So Let's Speculate about the Future of a Full Trump Presidency...
« Reply #5438 on: December 21, 2018, 12:14:24 PM »
Sol-
you didn't include Saudi Arabia. Conflicts in the ME are largely proxy wars between them and Iran, so I'm not sure which one you meant to include. It'd be hard to cozy up to both of those.

Yea, I agree that it's a complicated situation.  Trump has absolutely cozied up to Saudi Arabia, defending MBS for torturing a journalist to death, and he did approve the reintroduction of sanctions for Iran after Obama tried to push an Iran deal that he thought was beneficial to the US.  The common themes for Trump appear to be "anything the Obama touched is shit and has to go" and "countries run by oppressive regimes should be our friends while NATO countries should not." 

I'm not sure Trump cares about power, I think he cares about money and personal comfort/safety.

In this case, I think power is Trump's only pathway to personal comfort and safety.  He knows his life in America is over as soon as he leaves office, so he has to either assume dictatorial powers here or at least cultivate a friendly dictatorship he can go live in after he's done disassembling the United States.  If he can't assume Putin-like powers here, he'll have to go live in the Trump Tower Moscow under Putin's protection.  Or maybe MBS will let him build something nice in Riyadh.

It's just shocking to me how much power one man has to fundamentally alter the course of global politics.  He's personally reversed decades of entrenched US policies, without asking anyone, without the support of his own military or political leaders, and without getting a majority of the voters on his side.  He's like a rogue actor, subverting the carefully constructed peace we've built around democracies and partnerships in favor of his own desires to be all-powerful like Putin.  It's deeply unsettling how he can tear the entire world apart using just his own tiny hands.
« Last Edit: December 21, 2018, 12:25:12 PM by sol »

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Re: So Let's Speculate about the Future of a Full Trump Presidency...
« Reply #5439 on: December 21, 2018, 12:45:01 PM »
Reading through this topic suddenly has me worried.

Russia is aligning itself with Syria, Iran, and Turkey against NATO.  Is it just a coincidence that Trump has spent so much time and effort cozying up to the countries in this new alliance, while simultaneously insulting and/or abandoning our NATO partners?

Under Donald Trump, the US is basically switching sides in the global power conflict.  If that's the case, then all 8 of the points I listed above are actually reasons why we should LEAVE Syria, not reasons why we should stay.  If Trump has decided to join forces with the planet's oppressive dictators to oppose the spread of democracy and undermine the post-WWII allied coalition, then this decision suddenly makes a lot more sense.  He wants that oil to go to Iran and Russia.  He wants to undermine NATO. 

Remember that Trump initially refused to support the article 5 NATO mutual defense provisions.  He's openly hostile to the leaders of France and Germany.  He says Russia should be our new best friend, despite their efforts to undermine democracy (both ours and theirs).  He sided with Turkey over the advice of Mattis and the State Department.  He opposed the Iran deal.  He supported MBS in Saudi Arabia murdering a journalist.  He made peace with a nuclear North Korea (and by peace I mean told NK to go ahead do whatever it wants).  All of a sudden I'm seeing a pattern here. 

Donald Trump has led America on a complete 180 on the global stage, away from cooperative allied peacekeepers and towards violent dictatorships that oppose democracy.  It's been slow and subtle, but taken in totality the trend is suddenly very clear to me.

The resignation letter that Mattis wrote looks rather quaint, from this perspective.  Like so many other Americans, he was apparently laboring under the delusion that Trump actually cares about democracy or freedom or security or peace.  Trump only cares about power, and he aspires to be a strongman dictator like Putin or Erdogan or MBS or Kim or al-Assad.  He gets there by leading America into an alliance with these dictators while subverting our previous alliances with democracies.  If I'm right, we'll see more NATO rebuttals in our near future.

on a side note:  embracing oppressive dictatorship is probably Trump's best chance at saving his personal fortune and freedom.




I'm not one of the smart guys here, but I thought all of this was obvious back when we realized Russia helped Trump win the election and we witnessed the signs of Trump & Putin's affection for each other?  Trump's been trying to turn away from all of our allies from the beginning. 


IMO, Obama should have declared martial law as soon as he realized Russia was influencing our election.  Trump should never have been allowed in office.  We've been playing catch up ever since with the Mueller investigation.  It's a big "WTF" happened, all because of Putin seeing how addicted Americans are to social media, and how easy it is to post crap on the internet.  He just did something that a buch of teenage computer hacker nerds could have done, except he had a clue and a cause.

talltexan

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Re: So Let's Speculate about the Future of a Full Trump Presidency...
« Reply #5440 on: December 21, 2018, 12:50:18 PM »
Reading through this topic suddenly has me worried.

Russia is aligning itself with Syria, Iran, and Turkey against NATO.  Is it just a coincidence that Trump has spent so much time and effort cozying up to the countries in this new alliance, while simultaneously insulting and/or abandoning our NATO partners?

Under Donald Trump, the US is basically switching sides in the global power conflict.  If that's the case, then all 8 of the points I listed above are actually reasons why we should LEAVE Syria, not reasons why we should stay.  If Trump has decided to join forces with the planet's oppressive dictators to oppose the spread of democracy and undermine the post-WWII allied coalition, then this decision suddenly makes a lot more sense.  He wants that oil to go to Iran and Russia.  He wants to undermine NATO. 

Remember that Trump initially refused to support the article 5 NATO mutual defense provisions.  He's openly hostile to the leaders of France and Germany.  He says Russia should be our new best friend, despite their efforts to undermine democracy (both ours and theirs).  He sided with Turkey over the advice of Mattis and the State Department.  He opposed the Iran deal.  He supported MBS in Saudi Arabia murdering a journalist.  He made peace with a nuclear North Korea (and by peace I mean told NK to go ahead do whatever it wants).  All of a sudden I'm seeing a pattern here. 

Donald Trump has led America on a complete 180 on the global stage, away from cooperative allied peacekeepers and towards violent dictatorships that oppose democracy.  It's been slow and subtle, but taken in totality the trend is suddenly very clear to me.

The resignation letter that Mattis wrote looks rather quaint, from this perspective.  Like so many other Americans, he was apparently laboring under the delusion that Trump actually cares about democracy or freedom or security or peace.  Trump only cares about power, and he aspires to be a strongman dictator like Putin or Erdogan or MBS or Kim or al-Assad.  He gets there by leading America into an alliance with these dictators while subverting our previous alliances with democracies.  If I'm right, we'll see more NATO rebuttals in our near future.

on a side note:  embracing oppressive dictatorship is probably Trump's best chance at saving his personal fortune and freedom.




I'm not one of the smart guys here, but I thought all of this was obvious back when we realized Russia helped Trump win the election and we witnessed the signs of Trump & Putin's affection for each other?  Trump's been trying to turn away from all of our allies from the beginning. 


IMO, Obama should have declared martial law as soon as he realized Russia was influencing our election.  Trump should never have been allowed in office.  We've been playing catch up ever since with the Mueller investigation.  It's a big "WTF" happened, all because of Putin seeing how addicted Americans are to social media, and how easy it is to post crap on the internet.  He just did something that a buch of teenage computer hacker nerds could have done, except he had a clue and a cause.

There's one problem with the Obama Martial Law scenario: The US Constitution. Obama could have never found success this way.

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Re: So Let's Speculate about the Future of a Full Trump Presidency...
« Reply #5441 on: December 21, 2018, 12:54:22 PM »
So most senators (not all) are headed back to DC to heed McConnell's call to vote on the House's CR bill to avoid a shutdown after unanimously passing their own CR just days ago.  Notably Rand Paul says he won't make it, and a handful of others are in doubt.  Makes the whole exercise just political theatre.

So I had a thought; give Trump the damn $5B he's asked for to build ~20% of his precious wall but include the resolution to protect Mueller's investigation and ensure all his findings become public record, as well as provide an additional $50MM for that special council.  Stipulate that all asylum seekers get to wait in the US while their cases are heard and provide money for that purpose.  I'd love to see Trump fume on that one and the rational for rejecting it.  For good measure establish an accounting requirement within the CBO to detail how 'Mexico ultimately pays for the wall'.

GreenEggs

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Re: So Let's Speculate about the Future of a Full Trump Presidency...
« Reply #5442 on: December 21, 2018, 12:56:56 PM »
Reading through this topic suddenly has me worried.

Russia is aligning itself with Syria, Iran, and Turkey against NATO.  Is it just a coincidence that Trump has spent so much time and effort cozying up to the countries in this new alliance, while simultaneously insulting and/or abandoning our NATO partners?

Under Donald Trump, the US is basically switching sides in the global power conflict.  If that's the case, then all 8 of the points I listed above are actually reasons why we should LEAVE Syria, not reasons why we should stay.  If Trump has decided to join forces with the planet's oppressive dictators to oppose the spread of democracy and undermine the post-WWII allied coalition, then this decision suddenly makes a lot more sense.  He wants that oil to go to Iran and Russia.  He wants to undermine NATO. 

Remember that Trump initially refused to support the article 5 NATO mutual defense provisions.  He's openly hostile to the leaders of France and Germany.  He says Russia should be our new best friend, despite their efforts to undermine democracy (both ours and theirs).  He sided with Turkey over the advice of Mattis and the State Department.  He opposed the Iran deal.  He supported MBS in Saudi Arabia murdering a journalist.  He made peace with a nuclear North Korea (and by peace I mean told NK to go ahead do whatever it wants).  All of a sudden I'm seeing a pattern here. 

Donald Trump has led America on a complete 180 on the global stage, away from cooperative allied peacekeepers and towards violent dictatorships that oppose democracy.  It's been slow and subtle, but taken in totality the trend is suddenly very clear to me.

The resignation letter that Mattis wrote looks rather quaint, from this perspective.  Like so many other Americans, he was apparently laboring under the delusion that Trump actually cares about democracy or freedom or security or peace.  Trump only cares about power, and he aspires to be a strongman dictator like Putin or Erdogan or MBS or Kim or al-Assad.  He gets there by leading America into an alliance with these dictators while subverting our previous alliances with democracies.  If I'm right, we'll see more NATO rebuttals in our near future.

on a side note:  embracing oppressive dictatorship is probably Trump's best chance at saving his personal fortune and freedom.




I'm not one of the smart guys here, but I thought all of this was obvious back when we realized Russia helped Trump win the election and we witnessed the signs of Trump & Putin's affection for each other?  Trump's been trying to turn away from all of our allies from the beginning. 


IMO, Obama should have declared martial law as soon as he realized Russia was influencing our election.  Trump should never have been allowed in office.  We've been playing catch up ever since with the Mueller investigation.  It's a big "WTF" happened, all because of Putin seeing how addicted Americans are to social media, and how easy it is to post crap on the internet.  He just did something that a buch of teenage computer hacker nerds could have done, except he had a clue and a cause.

There's one problem with the Obama Martial Law scenario: The US Constitution. Obama could have never found success this way.


I know it wasn't possible, but it was "so obvious" as soon as Trump "won" the election that we were heading for trouble.   It's been a "National Nightmare" since the election night.

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Re: So Let's Speculate about the Future of a Full Trump Presidency...
« Reply #5443 on: December 21, 2018, 01:17:27 PM »
I know it wasn't possible, but it was "so obvious" as soon as Trump "won" the election that we were heading for trouble.   It's been a "National Nightmare" since the election night.

Acknowledging that I just listened to Malcolm Gladwell's podcast about agreeable versus disagreeable people and am chosing to look at this through one particular lens, I would say that when it came to the 2016 election, Obama and his administration chose to be agreeable; they didn't raise much of a stink, fell back on societal and DC norms, let the election play out expecting it to counter what was becoming readily apparent regarding Trump, his campaign, Russia, and other foreign powers. McConnell chose to be disagreeable, waging a private hissy fit with the idea of going public with what intelligence agencies were discovering, he said he wasn't going to put aside party and politics in considering what to do in that moment.

I think it's painfully obvious in hindsight that the Obama administration should have been far more disagreeble. This would have meant breaking norms and traditions, opening themselves up to cries of meddling and play politics, trying to tip the scales of the election. Hell, I don't know, maybe that would have just resulted in Trump winning by more than the thinnest of thin margins, but sometimes you just have to stand up and do the right thing, no matter what other people may think of you, or as Gladwell repeats several times, they should have "pulled the goalie".

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Re: So Let's Speculate about the Future of a Full Trump Presidency...
« Reply #5444 on: December 21, 2018, 01:22:15 PM »
Trump asked McConnell to deploy the nuclear option of 51 votes rather than 60. Many are not for it.

Trump is now blaming the Dems if there is a shut down. Just last week he said he be proud to shut down the government if he doesn't get the money for his wall. Does Trump wear flip flops?

Schumer say Trump will not get the wall now or next year when the Dems take over.

INSANITY!

sol

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Re: So Let's Speculate about the Future of a Full Trump Presidency...
« Reply #5445 on: December 21, 2018, 01:39:34 PM »
Schumer say Trump will not get the wall now or next year when the Dems take over.

Trump's just stuck on the wall fantasy for pride reasons.  If he asked for five billion dollars for border security that actually did something, he'd probably get enough democratic votes to pass it.  Most illegal immigrants are not swarming across the desert where a wall would go, they're overstaying their visas after arriving in airports.  Spend a few billion dollars on visa enforcement and start holding employers accountable for hiring illegal workers, and suddenly you can make some progress in a bipartisan way.  Immigration reform is a real thing that can happen, if you bothered to find areas of agreement.

But Trump doesn't actually care about immigration reform or border security, obviously.  It's just an applause line to him, a wedge issue used to motivate his base.  He doesn't want to actually solve the problem, he wants to start a chant at a rally.  The fact that his chant is a stupid and ineffective way to solve the actual problem is totally irrelevant to him.

The wall is a dumb idea.  It won't help, and everyone has told him so.  It's become a symbol of racial animus, not a tool for controlling immigration rates.  He could save a lot of face if he would just pivot to addressing the actual problem instead of always harping on this single ineffective idea he once promised people.  It's emblematic of everything his campaign did, promising oversimplified solutions to complex problems to simple people who don't want or understand complex problems.  He's done the same thing on a laundry list of issues.
« Last Edit: December 21, 2018, 01:42:35 PM by sol »

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Re: So Let's Speculate about the Future of a Full Trump Presidency...
« Reply #5446 on: December 21, 2018, 02:31:13 PM »
It's become a symbol of racial animus, not a tool for controlling immigration rates.

A $5 billion symbol. So much for fiscal conservatism.

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Re: So Let's Speculate about the Future of a Full Trump Presidency...
« Reply #5447 on: December 21, 2018, 02:38:14 PM »
Sol, you are right. He is just trying to please his base. Ann Coulture and Rush Limbaugh poked Trump with a stick to wind him up on shutting down the government and not getting wall money. He gets the base all wound up with chanting like a cult. He is a con man and is the P. T. Barnum of the century.  Mexico will pay for the wall...REALLY?

He could have been a hero instead of a zero if he had worked with Congress with health care (ACA), Dreamers and immigrants, plus, coming to some 'deal' with Congress on putting modern technology at the boarder. He fights every single thing.


sol

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Re: So Let's Speculate about the Future of a Full Trump Presidency...
« Reply #5448 on: December 21, 2018, 02:48:49 PM »
He fights every single thing.

Now he's fighting himself.  Last week he proudly declared he would shut down the government if he didn't get his wall funding.  Then Congress unanimously passed a bipartisan budget agreement to keep the government open, and he agreed to sign it, then he (punches self in dick) changes his mind and decides to oppose the done deal.  And the cherry on top is that he's now trying to blame democrats for the shutdown that he himself first asked for, then proudly claimed ownership of, then agreed to not pursue, then decided he wanted after all.

Dude, this is all you all the way.  I can't imagine anyone who watches the news, even your most blindly loyal supporters, will find any way to blame anyone but you. 

Roadrunner53

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Re: So Let's Speculate about the Future of a Full Trump Presidency...
« Reply #5449 on: December 21, 2018, 03:08:39 PM »
This guy has to be seriously mentally ill.

Nothing is ever his fault. He plays the blame game where he is always little Mr. Innocent and everyone else is the mean old boogie man picking on him. He is a big fat weasel.

Hahaha, maybe we can sell Air Force One to North Korea for 5 Billion for the wall and Trump can use his own plane henceforth. Little Rocket Man needs planes!