Endless War category archive
Via All Things Amazing, an image site (some images NSFW).
Josh Marshall considers the news from Asia (emphasis added):
Word out of South Korea and Northeast Asia generally is that people in the region are seeing all the Trump winning and are getting sick of all the winning. The AP reports that Trump is finding Asian allies cool to a preemptive strike and The Washington Post Tokyo bureau chief last night suggested on Twitter that people in the region are more worried about rash action from President Trump than North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, which is really quite an achievement if you think about it.
He goes on to consider the logic of a “preemptive” strike against North Korea and concludes that, in this case at least, there is no such thing.
It resolves to a simple point: the logic of a “preemptive strike” is that you can solve or mostly solve the problem at issue by striking hard and first. But that doesn’t seem to be the case here. So a “preemptive strike” really just means starting a war, which we couldn’t necessarily control in scope or duration once we started it.
Follow the link for the full article.
Francis J. Gavin, writing in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, considers Americans self-image as a peace-loving people and finds it somewhere between wishful-thinking and delusion.
I don’t agree with everything he says, but I think the article is worth the few minutes it will take you to read it. Here’s a bit:
Americans regularly make three curious and contestable claims about peace. First, they often assume that they are a peace-loving people, that our republic has been a force to promote amity in the world. Second, they assume that peace is an unalloyed good, both a tool and product of progress, providing incontrovertible benefits; war and conflict, meanwhile, have brought nothing but misery and disaster. Third, they see peace and order as the natural state of the world, and view any force that disturbs this harmony as both anomalous and deviant, to be identified, isolated and eliminated.
It is easy to understand why Americans embrace these views. If the U.S. and its citizens and values are associated with peace and stability, then actions that might typically be understood through the narrow lens of self-interest can instead be translated into selfless policies that benefit mankind.
Or so the story goes. But an honest portrayal of our own history, and that of world politics over the past few centuries, casts doubt on all three assumptions.
Will Bunch, who is a fairly reasonable sort, has had enough. Here’s a bit of today’s column:
In an astounding report, the Washington Post said the president’s children Don Jr., Eric and Ivanka and her husband Jared Kushner are increasingly worried about their dad’s imperiled presidency — not for the good of the country but because it’s soiling their hotel and golf-course brand. The paper said the Fab Four’s main issue is they want to “resuscitate the presidency and preserve the family’s name at a time when they are trying to expand the Trump Organization’s portfolio of hotels.” It said that means prepping for a 2020 campaign that would avoid the toxic nationalism and xenophobia of 2016 or, as a GOP consultant told the Post, “they’d only be able to build in Oklahoma City or the Ozarks.”
This is what’s so alarming — that Trump might blow Kim Jung-un and a few million North Koreans to smithereens just to boost his hotel occupancy rates in Vegas. Apparently, the push to save the Trump Organization for democracy is behind the recent changes at the White House; Steve Bannon and his comic-book white supremacists and pretend Nazis are on the outs, and the retired generals and the boys (and girls) from Goldman Sachs are taking charge. In other words, the “serious people” who gave us the Iraq War and the 2008 fiscal collapse. That’s the upgrade. Heaven help us.
Image via Juanita Jean.
I can’t shake the thought that Donald Trump reminds of nothing so much as a five-year old boy playing “Bang! Bang! You’re Dead!”
Truth? You can’t handle the truth.
Just ask your iJunk.
(I had to remove the video. Something in the embed code was making my sidebar disappear. You can view it here. Here’s a summary from the webpage: Ignorance is pandemic to American society, but maybe technology can help? Everyone has intimate relationships with their smartphones and the information that it delivers to us, however what will Apple allow us to see? Metadata+, a drone tracking app that uses information culled from news reports, appeared in the App Store, only to disappear again for mysterious and ridiculous reasons. Correspondent Naomi Karavani weighs in on how Apple can help or hinder important progress.)
Update: The video has been taken down for some reason not stated. It showed John Oliver heaping scorn on American media figures masturbating to missiles over Syria and on Trump’s hypocrisy. Oliver asked, “What did they actually achieve” and concludes the answer is “Nothing.”
Via Raw Story.
Will Bunch is not amused (more at the link).
The only shocking thing, really, was that it had taken Trump nearly 11 weeks to realize he could bomb his way to higher approval ratings. After all, it was the power of TV that had saved him in the first place from becoming little more than a Trivial Pursuit: Totally ’80s game card. By the dawn of the current millennium, it was clear that the Manhattan real-estate mogul was a terrible CEO — beset by bankruptcies and selling scammy products like Trump Steaks and Trump University. “The Apprentice” saved him; reality TV taught Trump that he was 10-times better at playing the role of a CEO than the hard work of actually running a large company. And it taught him how to tell a story, to spin a plotline that could mesmerize viewers, first on NBC and eventually on the presidential campaign trail.
Image via Job’s Anger.
In The Sacramento Bee, Marcos Breton tries to make sense of Donald Trump’s positions on Syria and of the press’s reaction to his raining robotic death from the Syrian sky. A snippet:
If Trump was so moved by innocent kids being slaughtered in a six-year civil war, why not fast-track the process for Syrian refugee children to be admitted into the U.S? He has said nothing of the kind and is largely being given a pass.
Instead of criticizing Trump for attacking Syria on humanitarian grounds after seeking to block Syrian refugees, CNN commentator Fareed Zakaria praised Trump’s Syria bombing as “the moment he became the President of the United States.” MSNBC anchor Brian Williams marveled at the “beauty” of the bombs dropped on Syria as the cameras rolled. This soft media coverage evoked the lack skepticism at the start of an Iraq War in 2002 that ultimately was waged on the false pretense of Iraq harboring “weapons of mass destruction.” We can’t make that mistake again. We can’t pretend that Trump is suddenly strong for dropping 59 bombs on Syria after he and others painted Obama as weak, despite the fact that Obama dropped 12,192 bombs on Syria in 2016, according to the McClatchy Washington Bureau.
I fear that any attempt to make sense of what Donald Trump does will fail. There is no ore in that mine.
In a related piece, Steven M. tries to understand why the U. S. press seems to like war so much (at least when it’s not their children in harm’s way), despite the history of America’s failure to achieve its goals in almost every aggressive military endeavor* since World War II (in which, remember, the United States and its allies were the attacked, not the attackers).
*Just for a few examples, Korea (a stalemate at best), the Bay of Pigs, Viet Nam and Southeast Asia, Nicaragua, Afghanistan, Iran, and Iraq. I’m going to a concert this afternoon, so I don’t have time to link them all up, but you can do the research easily enough.
The significant positive outcomes for the U. S. and the West during the last six decades–notably the fall of the Berlin Wall and the raising of the Iron Curtain–were achieved thankfully short of war.
You do realize that the phrase, “surgical strike,” is an oxymoron credible only to the other kind of morons.
At Der Spiegel, Roland Nelles expresses qualms about Trump’s Syria “policy.” A snippet:
Whatever happens, it would be more comforting if there were a different U.S. president sitting in the Oval Office. Unfortunately, though, it is Donald Trump, and he hasn’t thus far given any indication that he is able to develop an intelligent, coherent and rigorous strategy. Experience shows that cool calculation is not one of his strengths. Rather, he is more influenced by mood and instinct – and by his overwhelming need to be popular.