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Archive for March, 2016

paxromanamapDonald Trump wants to end Pax Americana because it costs too much. Countries protected by American military dominance must pay, according to Trump, because we can’t afford our present posture.

Contrary to Trump, we can’t afford to abandon defending others. The cost of our own defense would rise, and we would endanger ourselves, if we walk away.

There’s a quid pro quo in place. Everyone benefits. Especially America. If we stop providing global stability, others would need to see to their own defense, and the fundamental post-war deal would unravel. We would trigger a dangerous return to a multi-polar, unstable world. That kind of isolationism is dangerous and misguided.

By providing a security umbrella we save others money, that much is so. But we also save ourselves, and we increase our own security. Countries under our umbrella pose no threat to us, and they pose no threat to others. Thus our potential rivals face a simplified defense posture, and so do we. They need only concern themselves with a unified western world, and we need only concern ourselves with a few rivals.

Could we ask for more from our putative friends? Yes. Specifically, we must demand that the Saudis and others abandon tolerating and promoting religious fanaticism. Their cash and their troops are secondary. Trump should know this if he aspires to be President.

If Trump has his way, and we return to a multi-polar world, all military budgets would be larger, especially ours. Each country would necessarily go after its own parochial agenda, with our ability to moderate allies’ behavior greatly diminished. The risks of local tensions escalating out of control would be much greater.

Pax Americana remains a safer and cheaper situation for all. We must not abandon it, even if Mr Trump wins the election. He claims he listens to the best people. Let’s hope he does, before he triggers a of round regional conflict and global re-militarization.

Update: An editorial in USA Today concludes, “this prospective commander in chief’s views are not just irresponsible: they are cataclysmically dangerous.”

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“Cultural pessimism is always fashionable, and, since we are human, there are always grounds for it. It has the negative consequence of depressing the level of aspiration, the sense of the possible. And from time to time it has the extremely negative consequence of encouraging a kind of somber panic, a collective dream-state in which recourse to terrible remedies is inspired by delusions of mortal threat. If there is anything in the life of any culture or period that gives good grounds for alarm, it is the rise of cultural pessimism, whose major passion is bitter hostility toward many or most of the people within the very culture the pessimists always feel they are intent on rescuing.”

— Marilynne Robinson in The Givenness of Things: Essays, October 2015

Do those in thrall to politicians peddling pessimism and panic recognize themselves in her words?

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Trump Watch is a page logging Trump’s incitements to violence in his own words, updated with appalling frequency.  Follow Trump Watch for the latest updates, or post your own comments.

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donald-trump-salute-696x417Donald Trump is praised by his supporters for his unfiltered honesty. Although that’s something to admire in a politician, our patriotic duty is to evaluate the man or woman, and ask ourselves, is this who we are?

Here’s Trump on the violence at his rallies:

“Can I be honest with you? It adds to the flavor, … [I]t really does. It makes it more exciting. I mean, isn’t this better than listening to a long boring speech?”

Speaking on Fox & Friends

“Maybe he should have been roughed up”

February 1, 2016, urging on a supporter

“Knock the crap out of him, would, you? Seriously, OK, just knock the hell. I promise you I will pay for the legal fees, I promise, I promise.”

February 23, 2016

“I’d like to punch him in the face.”

February 27, 2016

“In the good old days, they’d rip him out of that seat so fast, but today everybody is politically correct.”

Week ending March 11, 2016

“The audience hit back, and that’s what we need a little bit more of.”

In a page straight out of the Nazi playbook, Trump incites his supporters to violence and physical intimidation of the press, protesters, and his racial and ethnic targets.

Trump’s testosterone-charged rallies, scapegoating rhetoric, racism, and Nazi-like loyalty salutes and oaths of fealty are as close as one could come to a rebirth of Hitler’s cult of personality. You’d think we were watching an overblown Hollywood movie. It can’t happen here, you say?

But it is happening. These are not isolated incidents, nor are they beyond the influence and encouragement of the candidate. Instead, these are frequent events, suborned and encouraged by the candidate himself, often from the lecturn while the violence is on-going.

And the incidents just keep on coming:

  • A 78-year-old Trump supporter sucker-punched a black protester being led out of the candidate’s event — and then threatened death to the man he had punched. Los Angeles Times.
  • A Trump supporter named John McGraw punched a black protester in Fayetteville, N.C., and declared to “Inside Edition” that “next time we see him, we might have to kill him.” Los Angeles Times.
  • A Trump Supporter Punches Protester in the Face. YouTube.
  • Trump’s campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, grabbed the arm of Breitbart reporter Michelle Fields and aggressively tried to pull her to the ground. The Guardian. Washington Post.
  • Longtime Time photographer Chris Morris was put in a chokehold and slammed backwards into a table by a Secret Service agent at a rally in Virginia. The Guardian.
  • A young black woman was surrounded and shoved aggressively by a number of individuals at a rally in Louisville, Kentucky. The Guardian. YouTube.
  • A black protester was tackled, then punched and kicked by a group of men as he curled up on the ground in Birmingham, Alabama. ThinkProgress.
  • Two men in Boston ambushed and brutally beat a homeless Latino man because they were “inspired” by Trump, who later explained his supporters “are very passionate” and “love this country.” One of the two brothers reportedly said that “it was OK to assault the man because he was Hispanic and homeless,” adding, “Donald Trump was right, all these illegals need to be deported.” ThinkProgress.
  • Rally attendees shoved and spat on on immigration advocates. ThinkProgress.
  • Trump supporters were filmed dragging and kicking an immigration activist while others yelled “U-S-A! U-S-A!”. Video.
  • Immigration activists were shoved and stripped of their signs by a crowd in Richmond, Virginia. Yahoo News.
  • A Latino protester was knocked down and kicked by a Trump supporter in Miami. Time Magazine.

Another tactic straight out of the Nazi playbook is to both condone and condem the same acts of violence in alternate statements. The first acting as a dog whistle for the desired violence and intimidation, the second as smoke screen and palliative for those who seek reasons to make excuses for the demagogue.

Republicans have a stark choice to make – are they going to let this madness continue, or will they act as true patriots, say no to Trump, risk that a Democrat might win in November, and put a stop to this monster.

The New York Daily News has had enough, calling Trump Hooligan in Chief. Hasn’t the rest of America?

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trump_flicker_face_yessPaul Krugman’s piece Clash of Republican Con Artists eloquently details how Trump is not the only Republican candidate who “talks complete nonsense on domestic policy; who believes that foreign policy can be conducted via bullying and belligerence; who cynically exploits racial and ethnic hatred for political gain.” They’re all the same, as Krugman sees it.

Krugman misses the most important distinction. While the policy fraud may be the same among Trump and the establishment Republicans, the men selling this fraud are not. Character counts, and one candidate is dangerously flawed.

If there’s going to be a Republican commander-in-chief, I’d much rather it be a Romney, Rubio or Kasich. Those guys are, if nothing else, not insane megalomaniacs – they are fit to be commander-in-chief.

Since a Trump nomination seems inevitable now, it may be time for Republicans in Congress to rein in a President’s ability to access the nuclear arsenal without adult supervision, to misuse the military, or to misuse the rest of government. The last time we had a vindictive, paranoid, insecure, small-minded Republican creep in the White House, he badly misused Presidential power.

Today’s Republican creep has far deeper character problems than Nixon, and has no moorings whatsoever. The parallels with the Germany of the 1930’s are unmistakable. This is not a person to trust with loaded weapons.

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