Donald Trump THINKS He’s Smart. Vladimir Putin IS Smart. His meddling in the 2016 election has yielded results beyond his wildest dreams.
Let’s begin with Afghanistan.
The collapse of the Soviet Union was due to financial pressures sustained by its decade long adventure in Afghanistan. Tonight, Donald Trump will address the American people to announce his new Afghanistan policy. Crafted by generals, whose sole purpose in life is to wage war, it isn’t surprising that it is expected we will be sending another 4,000 troops to that country to join the 8,400 troops still there. The mission is to train the Afghan army. We have been doing this since we went to that country in response to the September 11, 2001 terror attacks. So far, it hasn’t worked.
There are also several thousand personnel in Afghanistan engaged in counterterror operations against al Queda and the ISIS affiliate in Afghanistan, ISIS-Khorasan.
While I can appreciate the vacuum that would result from the withdrawal of all of our troops, it is also abundantly clear that after nearly 16 years, training Afghanis hasn’t been a winning strategy. Yet, Donald Trump, who campaigned on getting out of that country and that conflict, is intent on going down that same road and expecting a different result. What is needed is a change in strategy, yet nowhere to be found is a voice putting forward alternatives.
Meanwhile, we continue to spend money and lives fighting a losing battle.
Here at home, USA Today is reporting that the Secret Service has run out of money to pay its agents in charge of protecting the Trump family and entourage. Due to the president’s frequent trips to his golf resorts, the size of his family and the necessary federally mandated protections to their residences up and down the east coast, the cost of business trips and vacations taken by the family, the Secret Service is no longer able to pay the salaries of over 1,000 agents. The funding that was meant to last for the entire year has been exhausted. Mind you, when the agents are staying at a Trump resort, Trump is making money for the rooms they occupy, the golf cart rentals and greens fees. On the other side of the equation, the American taxpayer is paying for all of this – while the agents charged with protecting the president and his family are not being paid for work they have already done and will have to continue to do. But to the selfish child occupying the White House, none of that matters as long as the Trump organization is raking in the cash. He thought nothing of bankrupting his businesses, why would he feel any differently about bankrupting the country as long as there is a profit to be made?
The recent events in Charlottesville have torn the fabric of our society and exposed the ugly underbelly of racism anew. Trump doubling down on presenting a false equivalency between Nazi flag bearing white supremacists and peaceful counter-protestors has only emboldened the far right fringe element in our society.
With the recent events in Charlottesville, Trump’s insane behavior regarding North Korea has been forgotten. But it seems that Vladimir Putin hasn’t forgotten, and he has been busy.
Three months ago, The Guardian reported that ferry service between North Korea and Russia opened. The stated reason is tourism, however, despite Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova’s statement that she “didn’t see a connection” between the new ferry service and political issues, it is suspected that the ferry is transporting more than tourists.
The ferry provides service between Ranjin in North Korea and Vladivostok, Russia. It has three dry holds with a capacity to carry 1,500 tons of cargo. On July 4, Korea’s state-run news agency quoted Kim Jong-Un as saying “(Those) American bastards would not be very happy with this gift sent on the July 4 anniversary.”
Over the weekend, North Korea released video of a simulated attack on Guam. How long will it take for Trump to once again engage in his insane rhetoric? And what will he do? Will the generals be able to rein him in? These are questions that remain to be answered.
Add to this toxic mix that key positions in the State Department have been left unfilled. Despite Trump’s blaming Democrats (that’s his fallback position on everything), Trump has not bothered to nominate people to the great majority of open posts that require Senate confirmation.
From Business Insider:
There are 559 key executive-branch positions that require Senate confirmation, according to a data tracker put together by The Washington Post and the Partnership for Public Service. Trump has not nominated anyone for 442, or 79%, of those positions.
Trump’s America is Vladimir Putin’s dream come true and we are at great peril because of it.