- Trump just saved his presidency
- No more talk of impeachment
- Recovery from shallow popularity polls
- I’m the boss: exit Bannon and Nunes
- Bowed to intelligence community
- Bows to US Congress hawks McCain et al
- Stern warning to China and North Korea
- Rex Tillerson had no contact with Russia
- Pentagon informed Russia before launch of missiles
- Leads the NATO partners in show of might
- Makes Israel very happy
- Gives support to Sunni allies Gulf States and Turkey
- NYSE back in play for IPO listing Aramco 2tn
PS Russia vows to end cooperation inside Syria with US in fight against IS and battle for Raqqa HQ
So now we know what it takes for an unhinged, bigoted demagogue to win liberal applause: just bypass a constitution to fire some missiles. It had seemed as though there was consensus among those in the anti-Trump camp. This man was a threat to US democracy and world peace. The echoes of 1930s fascist leaders were frightening. “This republic is in serious danger,” declared conservative writer Andrew Sullivan on the eve of Trump’s triumph.
It has taken less than three months for these illusions to be shattered. A man widely castigated as a proto-fascist only needed to drop bombs without observing due process.
More below the fold …
Let’s examine what is being said about Trump now. A press he denounced as liars and “enemies of the people” are eating out of his hands, tiny or otherwise. “I think Donald Trump became president of the United States,” cooed CNN commentator Fareed Zakaria in response to the bombing. Trump “reacted viscerally to the images of the death of innocent children in Syria,” declared Mark Sandler in the New York Times. The original headline on that article, since amended? “On Syria Attack, Trump’s Heart Came First.”
So the man who once bragged to a baying audience that he would tell five-year-old Syrian refugees to their faces that the US would not offer them safety, is now driven by his heart. Touching indeed. The “moral dimensions of leadership” had penetrated Trump’s Oval Office, declared the Washington Post’s David Ignatius. MSNBC’s Brian Williams described the missile launches as “beautiful” three times in the space of 30 seconds.
In Britain, liberal and conservative columnists alike, plus Tory, Liberal Democrat and Labour politicians applauded the raid. Trump is now showing leadership, apparently. Leadership is shown by a man widely feared to be a) unhinged b) demagogic and c) authoritarian, dropping bombs in defiance of his country’s democratic process.
The SPD chairman said that Europe would act “politically and not militarily” and called for a return to the negotiating table.
“This is the hour for talks, not bombs,” Schulz said, adding that he found it “more than unsettling” that the UN had not been able to formulate a “clear answer” to the poison gas attacks.
If Schulz appeared to be hedging his bets, the German opposition minced no words in criticizing the unilateral American action.
“The US military escalation must be stopped immediately,” Left Party co-chairs Sahra Wagenknecht and Dietmar Bartsch said in a statement. “Last night’s US missile attack, which violated international law, puts Syria further away from a peaceful solution and has given IS cause for celebration.”
The Left Party said Germany needed to focus on preventing the conflict between Washington and Moscow over Syria from escalating.
“Instead of reflexively getting behind Trump, the German government should do everything in its power to stabilize relations between Russia and the US,” Wagenknecht and Bartsch said. “The current situation is extremely dangerous and could get out of control at any time.”
Green Party foreign policy expert Jürgen Trittin surmised that the domestic political situation in the US and not a desire to protect the innocent had inspired the missile strikes.
“I think that concerns for international law played less of a role here than the fact that throughout the US presidential campaign, Donald Trump portrayed Barack Obama as a wimp,” Trittin told German radio.
Saving the Clinton presidency, earning him everlasting popularity …
Wag the Dog
American cruise missiles struck without warning yesterday at paramilitary training camps in Afghanistan and a Sudanese pharmaceutical plant that U.S. intelligence identified as a chemical weapons facility. President Clinton described the synchronized blows as retaliation for the twin bombings this month of U.S. embassies in Africa and an effort to preempt further terrorist attacks.
“Today, we have struck back,” Clinton said in a surprise announcement at the Massachusetts island resort of Martha’s Vineyard, where he cut short his vacation and returned to Washington for a late afternoon conference with his national security team in the White House situation room.
Clinton described the training complex in Khost, Afghanistan — 94 miles southeast of Kabul and just inside the border with Pakistan — as “one of the most active terrorist bases in the world.” He said it was “operated by groups affiliated with Osama bin Laden,” a Saudi expatriate whose public declarations and shadowy history have placed him at the center of suspicion since the Aug. 7 destruction of U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania.
Yesterday’s use of military force was distinguished not only by its scale, among the largest of the Clinton presidency, but by the nature of its target: a stateless confederation of terrorist groups, without strict hierarchy, government or territory. A high-ranking intelligence official said of bin Laden: “He’s a transnational actor in and of himself.”
Senior administration officials involved in planning yesterday’s attacks said they signaled the start of what one called “a real war against terrorism,” emphasizing that “this is not a one-shot deal here.” A high-ranking intelligence official said “the prospect of retaliation against Americans is very, very high.”
[PS I’ll be out of town for a long weekend, enjoying the good life in Holland, working as a volunteer with teens. I won’t be posting for a while. Keep the war going in the meantime]