The Donald J. Trump Presidency

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    Duff...
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    Re: The Donald J. Trump Presidency

    Post by Duff... on Fri Apr 07, 2017 5:12 pm

    Can't say I'm fully against the strike itself. Which isn't to say I think it was a great thing to do either. Since this conflict started it was nothing but a collection of bad options.

    But I'm chilled to the bone that this man is the one who we put in charge to negotiate this very complicated conflict. A lot of that, of course, has to do with what we've seen from this guy already. We can all pray for the wisdom of Mattis and McMaster to win out on this, but with a barely functioning state department facing massive budget cuts as well as Trump's twitter problem, the prospect of sliding further and further into this conflict is probably a near certainty.

    But maybe more importantly is what this action has proven, what we've all suspected: Trump at no point during the campaign ever had any idea what he was talking about. He went on for a year and a half at least about how stupid it was to get into these sorts of conflicts, how we should be siding with Assad and Putin, fuck anything else besides destroying IS, etc. And then one (albeit horrible) thing happens, and all of that is out the window. He never knew anything about this stuff and never once really even thought about it in any serious way, which means we have absolutely no idea what he will choose to do now that he has no choice but to find out about it. No promise he's ever made matters, and he has no intention of letting us know what he even wants to do, whenever he figures out what that is. There isn't a whole lot here to put confidence in.

    Not a new sensation, and this sort of thing was inevitably going to come up. But now that it's here, damn.
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    Re: The Donald J. Trump Presidency

    Post by Ҩ on Fri Apr 07, 2017 5:32 pm

    chrondog wrote:there is literally nothing that could ever make me support an intervention in the Middle East...if Assad was throwing up death camps and gassing people by the thousands i wouldn't support it. self-determination, to me, is literally the only long-term solution for that region's issues.
    Really? Even if intervention was not unilateral? Syria is being led by an autocrat who is committing war crimes against his civilian population and is being propped up by a foreign power already. If you don't see a moral imperative, fine, but there is internationally recognized law.

    chrondog wrote:i went to bed filled with dread at the thought of being involved in more foreign wars, with our Fuckboy-in-Chief at the helm.
    Again, I don't trust this incompetent administration. I'm skeptical of any unilateral involvement and I have a healthy cynicism about NATO interests and the efficacy of the UN Security Council as well. However, throwing up our hands and pointing to Sykes-Picot is a bullshit non-response. The nefarious reasoning for the Iraq invasion colors everything that could be done, as well it should, but the context has changed somewhat dramatically since 2003. It is easy to forget that this all began with the Arab Spring, which is exactly the kind of popular, grassroots, local mobilization you cite as the only hope for the region. The ethos behind that movement still exists within Middle Eastern culture and public opinion. Unfortunately, geo-political realities eroded any democratic/transitional/revolutionary potential in the region into a protracted civil war. Currently, our policy is to bomb Sunni jihadist groups (which unfortunately is the most powerful resistance), but now we are also attacking Assad's airfields. Obviously, this isn't a coherent strategy.

    The irony is that this incoherence is being celebrated today, not only by cable news, but also the New York Times, because this reveals Trump's passionate instincts (he didn't know that there were kids in Syria). And that's really gross. But I'm unconvinced with Obama's foreign policy doctrine and realpolitik calculations when it comes to potentially avoidable and continually escalating humanitarian crises. Not only is it a bitter pill to swallow, but I don't find it especially convincing either.
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    Re: The Donald J. Trump Presidency

    Post by chrondog on Fri Apr 07, 2017 7:22 pm

    yes. did you miss the part where i said i didn't support Afghanistan?

    lmao at "internationally recognized law". you mean the laws we as a nation don't follow? as much as i am a globalist and would like to see institutions like the UN have a much bigger role in mediating world affairs, to me citing international law is a massive cop out. Assad has been killing civilians for years now. he's used chemical weapons before. this "moral line" is arbitrary and bullshit.

    pointing to Sykes-Picot is not bullshit and will not stand for people who continue to tell me that. copied from my Facebook:

    "The damning notion that Sykes-Picot introduced is that the Ottoman System should be replaced by the "spheres of influence" of Western nations, enforced by armies. It is that notion that continues to compel the US and Russia to fight proxy wars in the region to further their own interests at the expense of Syrians.

    Regardless of the outcome for foreign powers, the best interest of Syrians is being able to have their own fight to build durable institutions of governance."

    my perspective is that the notion of "avoidable and continually escalating humanitarian crises" is a false premise because "solving" one crisis creates the next. saving Syrian lives now by crippling the Assad military regime simply kicks the can down the road by further factionalizing all parties. it creates long-term resentment and grudges that history has demonstrated will not go away. foreign military intervention does not move us closer to a legitimate, durable leadership. even if we can safe a hundred thousand Syrians now, how many more will suffer later for those decisions? i think it's something that isn't talked about in foreign policy discussions at all.

    i'm being a bit reactionary in being a raging dove today, but, like i said, i literally went to bed with dread  that this nightmare is beginning again. and Brian Williams is the fucking cheerleader for it all. fuck that guy to hell.

    there are limited interventions and material support i might be behind, but highly visible bombing campaigns, even against "military targets" are not one of those.

    for someone who has railed against the insanity of the left wing establishment for the better part of a year, i find it bizarre for you to fall back on the notion of a "coalition of the willing". just because we can get a bunch of establishment politicians in Europe to back our bombing campaigns doesn't give them any legitimacy in my eyes.
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    Re: The Donald J. Trump Presidency

    Post by Ҩ on Fri Apr 07, 2017 9:09 pm

    How much does the arbitrariness of Sykes-Picot, and the Western spheres of influence, relate to this specific context a century later? The problem with citing this as the origin of all conflict in the Middle East is that it might imply that the only solution is to completely re-partition the map along ethnic or religious lines. The ramifications of that is too basically cede any pluralistic or cosmopolitan future for the Middle East. It is significant that most Syrians will still identify as Syrians, rather than through religion, ethnicity, or sect. It's inception was undoubtedly arbitrary, nefarious, and highly consequential even today, but it has also shaped the material and ideological landscape of the region in ways that can't just be reversed.

    Again, there are international laws. When the United States breaks these laws it is wrong and the international community should be re-crafted in a more democratic manner to insure that they can't abuse these rules. I still think they are important and should be maintained. Also, another question for you, can you identify any national liberation movement, regime change, democratic revolution, etc. that didn't have foreign influence? I'm not aware of any, but I could be wrong and would love to be corrected.
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    Re: The Donald J. Trump Presidency

    Post by Ҩ on Fri Apr 07, 2017 9:29 pm

    On the point of this being a nightmare for you last night. It has been an ongoing nightmare for millions of people for six years now. I understand what you are saying and I share most of your concerns about implementation, but it is ridiculous to assume that Syrians should have just worked harder to create more durable institutions on their own. Nor was it very pleasant watching the scenes in Aleppo a few months ago knowing that we decided years ago that their lives were collectively just not worth saving.
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    Re: The Donald J. Trump Presidency

    Post by chrondog on Fri Apr 07, 2017 9:47 pm

    The fall of the Ottoman System is the starting point for all of these questions in terms of Western involvement. It relates because the pattern hasn't changed. Western powers believe they are responsible for policing this region. I'm not suggesting that a 100 year old agreement has any real geopolitical weight, I'm speaking as a historian. It is a large pillar of the intellectual root of Western involvement in these conflicts.

    I'm not implying any of that. In fact, I'm explicitly suggesting that Westerners trying to create the "solution" is itself the problem. I think that an eventual solution WILL involve reconfiguring borders, possibly along ethnic or religious lines, but I wouldn't suggest that I or anyone else that doesn't have their life on the line over there decide what that will look like. Nationalisms created in the wake of WWI are now part of the equation along with tribal or sectarian ties, and those allegiances need to be sorted out if there is to be the formation of pluralistic societies. However, I have no confidence that foreign meddling has anything to add to that debate. The issue is that governments around the world absolutely cannot separate humanitarian support from their own interests. Enhancing spheres of influence is so thoroughly tied up in the thinking of leaders all across the globe.

    The United States, as the hegemonic global superpower, is the only force that could give legitimacy to international law and we have consistently flouted it. Leadership by example from the US is the first step to creating a globalist "new world order". However, that is explicitly against the goals of this administration. Over the next four years we will move further and further away from that goal.

    Your question about historical revolutions is a salient one and definitely scores points for your argument. The one I can think of right away is Haiti, haha. The Chinese Maoist revolution succeeded in taking power despite foreign powers backing the Nationalists, which gave it a superlegitimacy in many ways. The Russian Revolution was largely internal, though many of its chief architects were globally educated and inspired abroad. I think part of the issue in the Middle East is that the credibility of foreign powers has been so eroded that even well-intentioned and sophisticated efforts to "help out" are met with contempt from one side or another.

    Again, I would be more open to the idea of the "moral imperative" of humanitarian efforts if, A) we had any credibility on that front, B) we were open to a very limited level of involvement that didn't involve jets and drones dropping bombs, and, C) if our leaders talked a better talk in terms of suggesting that the US would sacrifice its own interests in an effort to save lives. For me, it is near-impossible to imagine any scenario where US airstrikes or troops on the ground won't have catastrophic unintended consequences.

    Perhaps its slightly disingenuous or hypocritical of me to be taking such a hardline stance that doesn't consider the individual context as much as I could, but when I see liberals on this message board, Hillary Clinton, and others come out and say "oh yeah, we should bomb everyone who uses chemical weapons on civilians", it makes me SO SO nervous about what else you guys will support in the name of "morality". News flash, dropping bombs is an incredibly twisted notion of the correct moral choice.
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    Re: The Donald J. Trump Presidency

    Post by chrondog on Fri Apr 07, 2017 10:02 pm

    Ҩ wrote:On the point of this being a nightmare for you last night. It has been an ongoing nightmare for millions of people for six years now. I understand what you are saying and I share most of your concerns about implementation, but it is ridiculous to assume that Syrians should have just worked harder to create more durable institutions on their own. Nor was it very pleasant watching the scenes in Aleppo a few months ago knowing that we decided years ago that their lives were collectively just not worth saving.

    You didn't understand me. They aren't able to create their own durable institutions because their ability to govern themselves has been undermined. I am not blaming Syrians, I am blaming foreign powers for destabilizing the region for their own benefit. The Iraq War is the most recent example of a region-destabilizing conflict that had spillover effects in Syria. Russia is CURRENTLY propping up Assad in their own interest. My point is that if we were to dispose Assad through a ground invasion, the effect would simply be Iraq-like: a power vacuum that is filled with even more death and destruction. Stopping the killing of these civilians will solve few problems. That's why, realistically, we should be accepting as many refugees as possible. But of course, that's another issue altogether.

    Obama did not decide these lives were not worth saving. I think he correctly decided that one life saved today might condemn two in the future. I honestly cannot believe that you are saying that people didn't believe these lives were "worth saving". This is the kind of simplistic thinking, in my view, that got us into Iraq and will get us into the next war. Believing that if we kill killers it will solve massive geopolitical problems is naive as hell.

    I'm actually pretty impressed the way you turned that "nightmares" thing against me and tried to make me feel bad.
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    Re: The Donald J. Trump Presidency

    Post by Ned Braden on Sat Apr 08, 2017 3:08 pm

    Chrondog wrote:Again, I would be more open to the idea of the "moral imperative" of humanitarian efforts if, A) we had any credibility on that front, B) we were open to a very limited level of involvement that didn't involve jets and drones dropping bombs, and, C) if our leaders talked a better talk in terms of suggesting that the US would sacrifice its own interests in an effort to save lives. For me, it is near-impossible to imagine any scenario where US airstrikes or troops on the ground won't have catastrophic unintended consequences.
    This is some pretty damn good writing Chrono, just wanted to say that.

    My opinion on this whole complicated bunch of insanity is, of course, no comment.
    I hope people can be ok someday though (not holding my breath).
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    Re: The Donald J. Trump Presidency

    Post by Ҩ on Sat Apr 08, 2017 3:14 pm

    You are right. I am being dumb and naive, but my response is nonetheless genuine and probably revealing. It is very difficult to see footage and pictures, or read reports of present-day atrocities, and then soberly respond. That isn't my job and the world is a better place because of it.

    You are right as well that dropping bombs in response is a very twisted notion of morality. Hillary's assessment during the campaign was that we missed an opportunity in 2012, before the escalation of other foreign involvement in the conflict and the maturation of breakaway radical groups like ISIS, to intervene in support of the 'moderate' Free Syrian Army. Assad's calculation was to transform political opposition into armed conflict because it was the only way for him to maintain power. Perhaps a more immediate response would have worked. But it remains unclear to me what the desired result would be. How were protestors in 2011 imagining a post-Assad Syrian future?
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    Re: The Donald J. Trump Presidency

    Post by Ҩ on Sat Apr 08, 2017 3:41 pm

    Ned Braden wrote:This is some pretty damn good writing Chrono, just wanted to say that.
    Yup. Really great actually. And you've managed to twist me in knots in the process. It's clear that even if I am slightly in favor of this initial reaction because of a potentially dubious sense of morality this has all the signs of escalating in very troubling ways. The main reason is that there is no clear sense from the White House of what they actually hope to accomplish. It matters that this guy criticized the Iraq War because we should have just "taken the oil" and that he has endorsed torturing the families of rebels and suspected terrorists too. Duff's post is really good as well. So I'm willing to concede all of that.

    I was digging around the Internet last night and found some helpful coverage and one good documentary that helped historicize this conflict. The first is a one of those Vox explainers, which is elementary but helps place everything back in time and space. The other is a two-part Al Jazeera documentary that I haven't finished yet.

    I don't have anything else to add. I'm out of my depth, but yeah
    Ned Braden wrote:I hope people can be ok someday though (not holding my breath).
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    Re: The Donald J. Trump Presidency

    Post by Nick on Tue Apr 11, 2017 3:46 pm

    Is Sean Spicer the worst Press Secretary in history? Or is he actually wonderful at his job considering the Administration he's employed by?
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    Re: The Donald J. Trump Presidency

    Post by Duff... on Tue Apr 11, 2017 5:03 pm

    I always thought that Scott McClellen perpetually looked like he was on the verge of shame crying, which was probably true.

    But yes, Spicer is somehow worse, but appropriately so.
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    Re: The Donald J. Trump Presidency

    Post by undo on Thu Apr 13, 2017 7:46 pm

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    Re: The Donald J. Trump Presidency

    Post by chrondog on Thu Apr 13, 2017 8:05 pm

    fantastic to see President Fuckboy outsourcing his foreign policy to neo-conservative generals and the military-industrial Washington consensus already! wank
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    Re: The Donald J. Trump Presidency

    Post by Ted Falconi on Tue Apr 18, 2017 5:04 pm

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    Re: The Donald J. Trump Presidency

    Post by reuben on Thu Apr 20, 2017 8:37 pm

    What the hell guys? Is Sarah Palin fucking Ted Nugent?
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    Re: The Donald J. Trump Presidency

    Post by Nick on Thu Apr 20, 2017 8:57 pm

    I don't know about Nugent but I will admit watching CNN interview Palin this afternoon I thought, "Yea I'd fuck Palin."
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    Re: The Donald J. Trump Presidency

    Post by reuben on Fri Apr 21, 2017 7:20 am

    Kid Rock looks embarrassed to be in those photos tbh.
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    Re: The Donald J. Trump Presidency

    Post by tjenz on Fri Apr 21, 2017 9:05 am

    Proof that Kid Rock is the smartest person in those photos.


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    Re: The Donald J. Trump Presidency

    Post by undo on Fri Apr 21, 2017 10:37 am

    I have been distracted and busy these past three weeks, probably for the best, personally. But man, I almost feel like it's part of a plan to just (people like) me to check out and stop trying to keep up with everything that's going down. Because I feel completely disengaged right now and it seems like every "win" we've had against Trump has been totally symbolic and meaningless. We can't stop him from from enjoying the rush of power and the inevitable approval boost that comes with bombings and missile strikes, he's almost surely going to shape the Supreme Court for the rest of our God-forsaken lives.

    We don't even win any of these special elections, but Democrats "put up a fight in traditionally Republican districts," oh shit that's really making a big difference!

    He was caught on camera boasting about RAPING WOMEN, I have no confidence at all that the piss tape could even bring him down. That should be unthinkable but I just don't see it making a difference under almost any circumstance anymore.

    We are the stupidest fucking people on earth, no one else in history ever enjoyed this much wealth and knowledge and still decided as a culture to trade it all in for superstition, vengeance and a worldview driven by imagined spites.

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    Re: The Donald J. Trump Presidency

    Post by Duff... on Fri Apr 21, 2017 5:36 pm

    tjenz wrote:Proof that Kid Rock is the smartest person in those photos.

    There's a high bar.
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    Re: The Donald J. Trump Presidency

    Post by Duff... on Fri Apr 21, 2017 5:42 pm

    undo wrote:I have been distracted and busy these past three weeks, probably for the best, personally. But man, I almost feel like it's part of a plan to just (people like) me to check out and stop trying to keep up with everything that's going down. Because I feel completely disengaged right now and it seems like every "win" we've had against Trump has been totally symbolic and meaningless. We can't stop him from from enjoying the rush of power and the inevitable approval boost that comes with bombings and missile strikes, he's almost surely going to shape the Supreme Court for the rest of our God-forsaken lives.

    We don't even win any of these special elections, but Democrats "put up a fight in traditionally Republican districts," oh shit that's really making a big difference!

    He was caught on camera boasting about RAPING WOMEN, I have no confidence at all that the piss tape could even bring him down. That should be unthinkable but I just don't see it making a difference under almost any circumstance anymore.

    We are the stupidest fucking people on earth, no one else in history ever enjoyed this much wealth and knowledge and still decided as a culture to trade it all in for superstition, vengeance and a worldview driven by imagined spites.


    Kinda looking like this is a western civilization thing.

    Kansas and Georgia are good signs. If the Georgia seat actually flips (we'll see), that in itself might spell doom for Trump. Trump is still president and there's a lot of terribleness that's still to come. But there are things to be hopeful about. The missile strikes can only help him for so long.
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    Re: The Donald J. Trump Presidency

    Post by chrondog on Sat Apr 22, 2017 3:56 pm

    Nick wrote:I don't know about Nugent but I will admit watching CNN interview Palin this afternoon I thought, "Yea I'd fuck Palin."

    she's no Tulsi Gabbard though I love you
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    Re: The Donald J. Trump Presidency

    Post by Ҩ on Thu Apr 27, 2017 11:37 pm

    Everyone knew the bait and switch was inevitable with Trump. His cabinet appointments were the first indication of this. I'm amazed by how aggressive and obvious it is though.

    Many of his own supporters will be against this tax cut. I hope it doesn't get passed, but if it does the Democrats will end up controlling the Presidency, Senate, and House by 2020.
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    Re: The Donald J. Trump Presidency

    Post by reuben on Fri Apr 28, 2017 3:50 pm

    I feel like not enough people are talking about how revolting this Mnuchin guy is.

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