Code Red: Trump’s Team of Thugs
Now that we’ve had some time to let “Trump-as-President” sink in (ick…I still need a shower after I say it), we’re starting to face the realities of what his presidency might look like.
And so far, so…not really good at all.
Aside from his acceptance speech the night of the election (where we collectively afforded him a pretty low bar for not saying something stupid, or racist, or grossly offensive), the Apprentice: Presidential Edition looks every bit like the horror show that nobody wants to watch.
Highlights from the past few days include:
• A categorically chaotic transition, with non-secure calls to foreign leaders, twitter ramblings, and the involvement of his children in planning of state affairs (flying in the face of nepotism laws).
• Dumping New Jersey Governor Chris Christie less than a week after the election. Sure, the 2013 Fort Lee scandal under Christie’s watch was deplorable, but it’s not news. Christie was one of the few relatively moderate voices around Trump. (Fun fact: Then-NJ-judge Christie once jailed the father of Trump’s son-in-law for crimes of greed, power and excess”. Said son-in-law, Jared Kuschner, plays a key role in Trump’s inner circle).
• Most alarmingly, he is surrounding himself with some very dangerous men.
During sixteen painfully long months of campaigning, we heard Donald Trump say some pretty terrible things about what he would do as POTUS. The trouble: he’s putting together a team that actually believes this stuff, and knows how to execute.
These people aren’t amateurs, they have track records of thinking, saying and doing dumb shit. Destructive shit. Shit that we’ll look back on and say: “what the fuck were the guys in charge of this country thinking when they did that shit?”. Interventions that risk breeding (more!) generations of hatred and violence against the US, the west, the liberal world.
Trump has appointed or nominated the following team of extraordinarily dangerous old, white men:
- Chief Strategist to the President, Steve Bannon is put simply, a bigot and a racist.
- National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, believes muslims pose an existential threat to the US and that Hilary should be locked-up.
- CIA Director-candidate Mike Pompeo, is a paranoid, partisan, strong-man, who believes in increasing domestic surveillance and foreign covert operations.
- Attorney General nominee Jeff Sessions was not confirmed for a federal judge position by a Republican-controlled Senate for being too racist…IN 1986!
- Amongst the names floating about for Secretary of State is John Bolton, who once foolishly actually suggested bombing Iran was in the US’ best interests.
Individually, these men are fear-driving, war-mongering, bomb-first/ask-questions-later guys. As a cohesive unit, under a buffoon-president — they’re lethal. (George W., we might actually miss you!) Their views (if instituted) do in fact pose an existential threat to American and global security. We risk spending the next four years chasing demons in the frivolous pursuit of the country’s expansionist past by overturning diplomatic wins and stunting global economic collaboration.
Korea, Vietnam and Cambodia are now Iraq and Afghanistan; Trump may soon add Syria to the list. What else? Abandon allies in Europe? Start a pissing match with China? Wage war on Islam…on an entire religion?
Already, Trump’s men threaten to undo President Obama’s and the global community-at-large’s crowning diplomatic achievements of recent past. The Iran deal (transparency in nuclear development), and the Paris Climate Agreement (regulating greenhouse gases) both risk being ambushed.
- Following the lifting of sanctions earlier this year, the stage is set for Iran to integrate its 80 million consumers and its industrial and engineering base into the global community. The Middle East needs a strong, cooperative and globally-integrated Iran if it hopes to tip the scale from war and destruction to peace and inclusive growth. Reneging on the Iran deal puts the region into a further tailspin.
- The Paris Climate Accord was adopted by 195 countries last year. However imperfect, this first universal climate agreement is the world’s best chance of controlling emissions and slowing climate change from devastating present and future generations. The world needs America’s leadership in setting an example on how to implement the Accord, not how to tear it apart.
If these deals are weakened (for others, see: NATO & NAFTA), if the US does revoke on its commitments, then Trump and the old boys will have put the state of global security and economic development in far greater danger than how they inherited it.
The Trump camp’s draft picks are starting to look like a scary XFL team (if the reference doesn’t mean anything to you, count yourself lucky to have missed the Donald’s WWF-buddy Vince MacMahon’s disastrous foray into American football in 2001). For the fateful few, lest we forget the:
- Chicago Enforcers
- Las Vegas Outlaws
- Los Angeles Xtreme
- Birmingham Thunderbolts
- Memphis Maniax
- New York-New Jersey Hitmen
- Orlando Rage
- San Francisco Demons
The Trump Train Wrecks don’t seem out of place in this league.
It may seem unfair to prematurely pass judgement on these men until they start working in their new capacities. But any hope we had of a Trump presidency being moderate, pragmatic and reasonable shrinks with every new nomination. Simply put, Mr. Trump is bringing a gang of hardliners and war-hawks closer to the world’s largest inventory of bombs and weapons.
No one has the appetite (nor the budget) for war. Not America. Not Europe. Not the rest of the world. We have decades of experience with American military expansionism, as with free-trade, global commerce, and economic integration. Trade and commerce with the world create mutual benefit; military aggression only guarantees mutual destruction.
So far signs point to a disturbing Trump foreign policy; rather disingenuous to the moral fabric of this country and counterproductive to the pursuit of decency and inclusiveness in human values.
Poor start, Donny.