Thursday, August 10, 2017

We Cannot Afford Him

Andrew Coyne writes that, for those who thought -- despite his flaws -- Donald Trump would be a better occupant of the White House than Hillary Clinton, the truth has come home to roost:

Those who had convinced themselves that, whatever Trump’s manifest unfitness for office, “at least he isn’t Hillary,” if they had not already repented of their folly over the previous six months, must surely do so now. (He said with no conviction whatever.) The presidency is not a ceremonial post; neither is it a program of policy. It is a command centre, with decisions to be made, many on short notice, sometimes with the most profound consequences. All of the U.S. Constitution’s careful separation of powers and checks and balances — though thank God for them — cannot erase the awful power of the office. Only Congress can declare war, but a president can sure start one. 

Granted, dealing with North Korea is a Gordian Knot that has defied solution:

Dealing with North Korea would tax the abilities of the ablest of presidents, and has. Trump cannot be blamed for the regime’s having acquired nuclear weapons: that was the legacy of previous presidents of both parties, whose concessions and bribes had no more effect on its actions than Trump’s threats. But now that it has nukes, it demands the most delicate and assured handling, one requiring deep experience in matters of state, subtle understanding of human nature, judgment, fortitude and sang-froid.

Having an occupant who is clearly unqualified and temperamentally unsuited for the job underscores the fact that it matters who occupies the White House:

Much speculation has surrounded Trump’s mental state, but as a madman he is not in Kim’s league. He is, rather, a fairly conventional bunkum artist — more unprincipled than most, to be sure, indeed seemingly unburdened by any commitment to fact, but ultimately a transparent bluffer. For all his attempt to play the bully, Trump can no more be counted on to deliver on a threat than a promise. Recall how his first bits of bravado, the suggestion that he might recognize Taiwan, or move the U.S. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, ended: dropped at the first hint of pushback.

At this late stage in the planet's evolution, we cannot afford to have a monumental bunkum artist in the Oval Office.

Image: Merriam-Webster


Anonymous said...

Did you know that an archaic synonym for "bunkum" is "trumpery"? Maybe the word should be taken out of mothballs and popularized again!


Owen Gray said...

Isn't it interesting, CD, how some people live up to their names?

The Mound of Sound said...

I've wondered how America's security/intelligence/military agencies processed Trump's "fire and fury"bombast.They must see it as akin to storing dad's Glock beneath the pillow in the kids'bunk beds only substitute nuclear launch codes for Glock.

Having gone through nuclear weapons screening as a young man, I can vouch for how rigorous a process it is and that's before you even open a book. You may not even see such a device much less touch one. And yet the United States simply hands its presidents the nuclear launch codes for a civilization-ending arsenal of ICBMs, SLBMs and air-dropped nukes. They must have assumed the president would be a sane and prudent person. That all goes out the window when you have this guy sitting in the Oval Office.

The top officials of these several agencies do not swear loyalty to their president but to the country and the oath taken by some of them requires they defend their country against threats, "foreign and domestic." Who could pose a greater domestic threat to America than a lunatic with unfettered access to the nuclear codes? I may be a dreamer but I would like to believe they would be prepared to take out Trump before he was ever allowed to issue a launch order.

Owen Gray said...

One thing is for certain, Mound. Trump will test all the constitutional constraints placed against him. But those constraints will only work if those who can enforce them choose to enforce them.