Thursday, June 29, 2017

Trump Wants A War

That is Thomas Homer-Dixon's opinion. Trump wants a war because he believes he cannot let the Russia investigation continue. He needs an excuse to fire Robert Mueller:

Mr. Trump desperately wants to end this investigation. It casts doubt on the legitimacy of his presidency, hints that his hold on office is precarious and suggests, ultimately, he isn’t the “winner” he so badly needs to be. So, his slander machine has begun discrediting Mr. Mueller and the inquiry. Supporters such as former house speaker Newt Gingrich are raising questions about the impartiality of the special counsel and the lawyers he’s hiring for his team.

He does not possess the extraordinary powers to get rid of Mueller. But war would grant him those powers:

So, commentators have generally concluded that the Mueller inquiry is safe. But two factors will destabilize the current equilibrium over time. The first will be Mr. Trump’s rising motivation to stop Mr. Mueller’s inquiry as it progresses. Pursuing the Russian connection, the special counsel will probably ask the Internal Revenue Service to hand over Mr. Trump’s tax returns. Many astute observers think the reason the President hasn’t released his returns is that they contain proof of compromising financial links with Russia. If that’s indeed the case, Mr. Trump will do everything he can to prevent their release.
The second factor will be Mr. Trump’s manipulation of the broader political environment in which Congress and the presidency operate. As Jack Goldstone, an expert on state failure, and I argued before the 2016 election, Mr. Trump can generate “a new political and social reality – an ‘emergency’ in the U.S. and around the world – that justifies … attacks on democratic institutions.”

The most likely emergency of this kind is a war, because U.S. presidents have the most room for independent action on the international stage. Also, the start of a war almost always produces a “rally round the flag” effect and a big boost in presidential poll numbers. According to Gallup, George W. Bush saw a 13-per-cent surge in approval at the start of the Iraq invasion in 2003. In the opening days of a new war, a similar surge in Mr. Trump’s poll numbers could encourage congressional Republicans to back the President, should he move to fire Mr. Mueller simultaneously.

Some might consider Homer Dixon's scenario improbable. But, to those familiar with Trump and his history, the scenario doesn't appear to be at all far fetched. It's all too likely.

 Image: You Tube


zoombats back home said...

I don't view the scenario as improbable. Only recently the claim that Syria might be planning another chemical attack is akin to the old "weapons of mass destruction" argument. We all know where that led. Going to war is such an accepted pursuit in this modern world and hardly adheres to our once moral past where it used to be avoided at all costs. You see the changes even in our own country where snipers are to be "celebrated" as opposed to being considered cowardly.

Owen Gray said...

It's all about hard power these days, zoombats. Those who've never been to war think they know all about it.

Anonymous said...

Well, he's already involved in a few wars, Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia, etc. But since 'victory' is proving to be elusive there, he will need a 'new' war, his own, for the jingoistic Americans to heap praise on him as he so craves. So who, what country will it be? China, Russia, forget it, too risky. North Korea would be enticing, given the option for nukes there. (Win 'bigly'!)But ally South Korea would likely suffer horribly. Best bet is probably Iran, given so many supporters for same; Saudi Arabia, Israel, Republicans generally. And the entire area is a mess already, so what's a little more, eh? Problem is that scenario is not likely to end any better than their other wars.

Owen Gray said...

Their experience in the Middle East should have taught the Americans something, M L. Unfortunately, they appear to have learned nothing.

Steve said...

He has four choices, Afghanistan, Syria, North Korea, or Ukraine. Afghanistan is without risk so expect Operation Enduring Freedom 2

Owen Gray said...

Afghanistan is the never ending war, Steve.