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Welcome to the New Age of Isolation, Apathy & Defeat
I’m not sure what you would call this Trump Doctrine. Is it foreign policy? Not sure it would make the cut of any “policy” per se. Seems like most of this presidency’s maneuvers are knee-jerk, ad-hoc, half-ass what-the-fuck kinds of things that end up in ranting tweets and Nuremburg type rallies of bloviating mendacities and bumper sticker logic. Does it show a consistent measure, say, like the Bush Doctrine’s War on Terror or Reagan’s Geo-Political chess games or even Clinton’s piecemeal effect? I would argue no. Fact is it appears that Donald Trump doesn’t know either, and more to the point neither does his drooling attack dog Mike Pompeo, a former CIA Director and cheap hood from Kansas who’s only understanding about international affairs is assassination. It was the current Secretary of State who convinced the easily swayed Trump to illegally assassinate the top general of a sovereign state in a battle zone that was not specifically waged against the nation for which he toiled. Ensuing press conferences seemed to indicate that he was bad. And that is a very tenuous reason to conduct international murder.
It appears even to the mentally challenged that the erratic short-range planning on how to deal with international affairs falls mainly to a one man whose woefully short attention span and fantastic inability to learn anything has been on dangerous display for three years. Some call this a method. In other words, the lack of planning or doctrine is kind of a doctrine, and I would grant them this misnomer, if not for the imbalance of enemy vs. ally that comes with who might “like” or “ego pet” or “placate” a single human being as opposed to the safety and advantage of an entire nation.
This is especially appalling because nearly two-thirds of the American people do not support this president. He has zero mandate, in the traditional sense. For whatever that is worth these days. And these kind of zig-zag irrational one-off decisions – like tweeting to pull U.S. troops from Syria last year without alerting those who are running the war, or worse still, the allies on the ground – tend to alienate America from the international community. This has happened with annoying regularity during Trump’s first term and while this gets the current 41-percent that support him the giddies it does leave America isolated globally.
And this latest Iran goofiness has only exacerbated the problem. And although I couldn’t give nary a shit whether we have any kind of powerplay in the Middle East, I would guess that Iraq (“welcomed as liberators”) after eighteen years voting last week to kick the most powerful nation out of its country has to be a bad look to the rest of the world. Not to mention without a presence in the country we broke, a vacuum – already partially filled by ISIS and soon to be consumed with Iran, the very nation killing its lead commander was supposed to impede – will most certainly not be completed by anything approaching U.S. friendly.
This is why I took to Twitter – which I rarely do – to implore congress to cobble together a veto-proof halt to what will likely be an ongoing clusterfuck in the Middle East with Iran. The House, with mostly Democratic votes, predictably came with a feckless attempt to limit Trump’s war powers a few days later – I am not suggesting this was because of my tweet, but hey… – it was a show vote and not a binding resolution.
At some point, I will argue until the face turns a bluish hue that the actual branch of government that has the constitutional powers to declare war needs to get their shit together and end what has amounted to over seven decades of abject stupidity from the executive branch, the Pentagon and the military. We suck at war. We have not won one since 1945 and that’s because congress was kept out of it since; in most cases illegally. This appears to have happened with Pompeo’s fancy assassination.
But I digress.
If I may, let’s take a look at non-binding, shadowy “agreements” that lunatics have entered into with this president in the past three years: More pertinently, Russian President Vladmir Putin, North Korean Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un, Turkish President Recep Erdogan and Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia Mohammad bind Salman Al Saud. All of these leaders – Trump favorites – are despots, dictators and tyrants. All of them Trump has “trusted” over American intelligence agencies – the same agencies the administration and Pompeo ran to use as cover for murdering the Iranian general. Trump said, on foreign soil during the first year of his term with Putin standing beside him, that Russia probably had nothing to do with hacking our 2016 election, before his private meetings with him that did not include an American translator. He has had two meetings with Jong-un that resulted in no signed treaty, just a couple of what he described as “love notes.” Meanwhile North Korea continues to fire off missiles and thumb its nose at the U.S. Then there was the little nastiness of the Saudis murdering an American journalist that Trump excused after some shady rationale from the Prince.
Now, Trump, who tore up an actual Nuclear Pact that had assurances in writing agreed by a large part of the international community, is telling us “All is well” and that he’s got Iran’s assurance that this whole thing is a misunderstanding and whatever other nonsense he can garble in a pinch. No treaty. No negotiation. No international coalition. Just “I got this” from a guy who has trouble telling the truth about everything.
No question that what happened this past week in Iraq could have gone far worse. If anything, Iran acted as an international power with some restraint. But that’s if it is to be believed and that’s another story, because we have nothing in writing. There is no safety net. There is no “trust but verify”. Only trust, and oh, a crazy man taunting another crazy man on social media. Makes me sleep well at night.
One thing is certain, there has to be some stable direction with America’s foreign policy, because this kind of silliness is not sustainable. If this is a new era of isolationism, then let’s go with that. Anything would suffice over what is currently transpiring. Pulling out of treaties, reneging on promises, scuttling agreements and random assassinations with no explanation is wearing thin.
What the result of all this looks like is anyone’s guess. And that is not foreign policy, it’s the script of a horror movie.
© James Campion January 10 2020
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James Campion is the Managing Editor of The Reality Check News & Information Desk and the author of “Deep Tank Jersey”, “Fear No Art”, “Trailing Jesus”, "Midnight For Cinderella" and “Y”. +, “Shout It Out Loud – The Story of KISS’s Destroyer and the Making of an American Icon” + “Accidently Like a Martyr – The Tortured Art of Warren Zevon”
The Iran Mistake
James Campion 1.3.20
Forget Impeachment, Crimes, Lying, Stupidity: We are at the brink of war with Iran. The executive branch is at war with Congress. The Senate and the House are at war. A game show host is in charge of all this. - Welcome to 2020.