As I’ve noted before, Donald Trump’s strategy seems to be to keep enough balls in the air that we can’t keep track of any of them. And other sources are now lobbing some balls into the mix. These links don’t include much about the Trump – intelligence community – Russia dustup now occurring. I’ll try to address that separately (or at least present what I consider the better links). Here’s an FAQ for now. Read More
Donald Trump is very proud of his abilities as a negotiator. His brilliance in that field was a constant subject of his speeches during the campaign, and he continues to remind us. Since the election, he has shaken up the rest of us with tweets and actions that seem to signal enormous changes in foreign policy. Most of us do not have the constitution to deal with a parade of days like yesterday, but it looks like this will be the case for the next four years. Where we become exhausted, Trump seems to gain energy from the uproar. As we become exhausted, it will be easier to tolerate what we cannot if we want America to continue as a democracy. So it’s important to understand and counter what Trump is doing. Read More
The New York Times mongers some more war: Muted U.S. Response to China’s Seizure of Drone Worries Asian Allies.
It’s possible they don’t think that’s what they’re doing. Is it competition for clicks? Inability to get enough mental distance from the Washington “blob” that Obama has said he would like to change?
The assumptions behind the idea that a significant public response is necessary to real or imagined slight are the same as those behind bar fights. “You looking at me funny?” No slight can be allowed to pass without retribution. The veneer of a rationale is that a show of force is necessary to prevent future bad behavior. However, political science has shown again and again that states behave in their best interests, which usually have little to do with the behavior of others. Here’s one of many good articles on that subject. Read More
Let’s look at the ways the worst intentions of Donald Trump and the Republican Party might be thwarted in the next four years. Not to lull ourselves into inaction, but to figure out where they can be stopped most easily and prioritize resistance. I’m not trying to minimize the dangers, just focusing elsewhere. Looking at these speedbumps can also encourage us to focus and move forward, as we recover from the shock of the election. This is only a selection of the difficulties to be faced in ripping up the domestic and foreign arrangements that have worked reasonably well over the last half-century or so. Read More
One of my precepts is to hope for the best and plan for the worst. It’s served me well. Donald Trump’s policies are unclear because of his lies, rapid turnarounds, and obfuscations. The people he is appointing look like the worst is possible, but the American government has a number of ways to slow that down and perhaps stop it. The silence of senators and representatives, both Democrat and Republican, is a bad sign.
People who have studied how nations become dictatorships see many warning signals. Listening to them and taking their advice is part of preparing for the worst. I’ve hesitated to push their material because it is so alarming, but this piece by Masha Gessen and a talk by Timothy Snyder convinced me that I should write this post. Read More
Attention Donald Trump: Strategic reasons for publicizing military offensives.
Estonia trains citizens for insurgency operations in case Russia decides to invade. The tactics recall those of the Forest Brothers who resisted both the Nazis and the Soviets. Photo from this article; I love seeing Estonia’s forests and countryside, hate seeing the idea of war there. Read More
Benjamin Wittes: “But this election is a different kettle of fish, one that pits a normal candidate—that is, a woman with flaws, virtues and policy ideas—against a man who menaces American democracy.” This is the sense I’ve had every time someone wants to talk about policy in the election. I love a good policy discussion as much as anyone, but that’s not the point in this election. Read More
This election campaign is utterly exhausting. It’s the drama that always accompanies a toxic personality. We try to keep Nuclear Diner relatively nonpolitical, but Donald Trump would do untold damage to the country – has done some damage already. Former ICBM launch officers say that Trump is not a person who can be trusted with the nuclear codes.
And here’s Michelle Obama’s response on how women should be treated. Short version: like respected people. But the video is very worth watching to see the emotion that many of us have been feeling. Read More
Thomas Graham Jr. updates George Kennan’s Long Telegram. Top photo from here. Read More