Donnie’s Got a Gun

fembots

Trump took action in Syria.

As he had previously said, he now owns it.

But one action does not a policy make. It isn’t clear what the Trump policy in Syria is, other than a warning to Assad that he can’t use chemical weapons and a threat that the US is now seeking regime change.

Lack of a clear policy as well as Trump’s apparent “go it alone” preference, leave us in a precarious place.

Here’s why.

Russia
Syria is Russia’s opportunity to be a player in the Middle East. Russia has its largest military base outside its own borders there. They are the primary reason why Assad is still in power. They have also ratcheted up the risk to the US in Syria by canceling the cooperative agreement that kept US and Russian jets out of each other’s way. Tillerson has talks coming up in Russia. At this point, there is little that he or the Trump administration can offer Russia to obtain some cooperation in Syria. Instead it is likely that Assad and perhaps Russia will both strike back. How will Trump respond if Assad gases somebody else or attacks US positions in the north? How will he respond if Russia cranks up something in the Ukraine or maybe Libya?

ISIS
Trump took his eye off the ball by striking Assad. He has said all along that his goal was ISIS, but now it appears that his goal has widened to remaking Syria. That is dangerous. Taking down Assad doesn’t mean a stable western-friendly government will replace him. Syria is much more likely to join the long list of failed states where the power vacuum is filled by another radical jihadist organization. On the other hand, the original goal of eliminating just ISIS had its own unpleasant consequences. With ISIS out of the way, Assad would likely win his civil war and Russia and Iran would gain power in the region.

Plan
It isn’t clear that there is any plan here. Weakening Assad will in fact end up prolonging the conflict in Syria. More chaos provides more opportunity for ISIS, generates more refuges which continue to cause problems in Europe, and ultimately more innocents are killed. Eliminating ISIS strengthens Assad and Russia. That will also result in more persecutions, more refugees, and likely more Russian and Iranian activity.

Summary
Trump is being tested in a very public way at a time when he is most vulnerable at home. His approval ratings are at historic lows. His own party is in disarray. He badly needs a win to turn things around. The problem is that there is no clear path to a win in Syria. Trump took military action in order to respond to one incident in what has been a long and brutal civil war. How will he respond to the next incident?

He has expanded his scope in Syria to include bringing down Assad. He is going to need Russia’s help to do that and Russia isn’t interested. They like Assad right where he is. What Trump has done instead is set himself up for long term failure in return for the short term gain of a little popularity boost.

Worse yet, by taking this provocative step, he has opened himself up to a series of potential escalations without any clear understanding of how they all might play out. It will take some focus off of his domestic struggles, but at what cost?

He doesn’t have an experienced staff of diplomats in place right now to guide his actions. Our military leaders are his primary source of information. The weaknesses that he has already displayed in dealing with domestic issues combined with a bias toward military action may create an international crisis that could be Trump’s final undoing.

 

 

24 Responses to “Donnie’s Got a Gun”

  1. Jeff Beamsley says:

    Just like any other conspiracy theory. Difficult to disprove but completely wrong to treat it as news, because there is nothing to support it.

    That’s why broadcast sites are corrupt.

    The Wash Post did their best to debunk it. Good for them.

  2. Keith says:

    Tillerson Warns Russia on Syria, Saying Assad Era Is ‘Coming to an End’ – The New York Times
    https://apple.news/AtvYDqlv7Tfii5kZ8FgJ5lg

    Trump will figure it out. Meaning candidate Trump will not be President Trump. His staff will change also.

  3. Jeff Beamsley says:

    Trump will figure it out. Meaning candidate Trump will not be President Trump. His staff will change also.

    Lots of talk right now.

    I don’t share your confidence that there is a difference between candidate Trump and President Trump.

    He has been shaking up his staff. It hasn’t been helping.

    He’s had one of the best weeks in his Presidency and his poll numbers are up a couple of points. Ultimately, he is going to have to do more to solve the problem in Syria and address his issues at home.

  4. Jeff Beamsley says:

    BTW, gas prices are going up in part because investors are worried about instability as a result of Trump’s Syria strike. In the absence of any clear policy, markets are pulling back. Just another example of the impact of an administration that hasn’t “figured it out”.

    Investors in Asia and Europe rushed to safe-haven assets overnight. Oil prices gained about 1.6%, in part reflecting the likely big impact of international strikes against Syrian on its neighbors in the Middle East. The region accounts for about 40% of the world’s oil production. Ten-year yields on U.S. Treasuries also rose, again suggesting investor nervousness about rising instability.

  5. Keith says:

    Jeff,
    You’ve taken to things you know much better then to do. You are looking at polls and daily flips in gas prices and the market. You know much better then this.

  6. Jeff Beamsley says:

    Weren’t you the guy trying to give Trump credit for the short term run up in stock prices after his inauguration?

    If he gets credit for that, he also has to be held accountable for the economic consequences of shooting off $75M in cruise missiles.

    As I’ve said before, the polls don’t mean much UNLESS they are so low that Republicans start to worry about their re-election chances. The special elections coming up to replace Trump appointees will give us some indication of how close we are to the point where being associated with Trump is a negative for Republicans. In the first example, Republicans won a seat by 6.8% in a Kansas district that went 27% for Trump in November.

    According to the NYT, here’s what it took for Republicans to pull out the victory when they discovered a couple of weeks ago that the race was a dead heat.

    But then the House Republican campaign arm released a venomous ad accusing Mr. Thompson of favoring abortion rights for gender selection. Soon after, Senator Ted Cruz of Texas scheduled an election-eve rally for Mr. Estes on Monday. And Mr. Trump and Vice President Mike Pence recorded automated get-out-the-vote calls.

    and

    “Mr. Estes did not beat us,” Mr. Thompson told supporters after the race was called. “It took a president of the United States, the vice president, the speaker of the House, a senator coming into our state and a bunch of lies to drum up a vote.”

    We’ll see how the other special elections turn out, but it appears from this first one, that a lot of voters are unhappy with Trump and plan to express that unhappiness at the polls in 2018.

    That is the reason to keep on eye on the polls. Trump has to figure out how to become more popular. If he doesn’t, Republicans will begin abandoning him.

    BTW, trying to take another bite of the healthcare apple is NOT going to get it done. The current “compromise” that would allow some states to essentially opt out of providing even the basic parts of Obamacare that everyone likes (prohibiting pre-existing condition screens and lifetime caps on benefits) are not going to make it any easier to get this bill out of the House AND will doom it in the Senate. In the meantime, it will only damage Trump’s popularity MORE.

  7. Keith says:

    I didn’t give him credit for it. It just so happened the second he got elected the market started up 13% because the market thought what is policy might be. That’s a fact and not giving him credit for it. The P/E of the market is a bit high. Either earning grow or it corrrects sometime to the norm.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/trump-takes-a-centrist-tack-on-economic-policy-abandoning-campaign-pledges/2017/04/12/95376192-1fc3-11e7-be2a-3a1fb24d4671_story.html?utm_term=.ee9b0c2ef623

  8. Jeff Beamsley says:

    Or, trump can get China to handle North Korea … a. If win for him if that happens. Then he meets with Vladimir and they make peace. Economy hums along at 2%… I’m guessing, GUESSING, G-U-E-S-S-I-N-G, 2 of the three happen ….

    I agree that if he is able to resolve the challenge of N. Korea AND Syria, he will deserve some credit. Hard to see either of those things happening anytime soon. China does not want to destabilize N. Korea because they don’t want N. Korean refugees streaming across their border. They also don’t want to see N. Korea and S. Korea unify because that could bring down their government in much the same way East Germany collapsing brought down the USSR. N. Korea understands this and is going to see how much they can get from China and the west by threatening everyone. Trump appears ready to call their bluff, but is also playing a very dangerous game by seeing whether or not N. Korea will do something stupid.

    Same story goes with Russia and Syria. Trump has said that Assad has to go. He needs Russia’s help. Russia isn’t going to do this for free and don’t forget that Iran is in the mix too. Russia wants sanctions lifted for invading Crimea. Iran doesn’t want their sanctions re-imposed. Trump said that he would re-negotiate the Iran deal. My bet is the Assad will continue to provoke Trump in an effort to wipe out the rest of the rebel forces opposing him and Trump will be faced with the difficult choice of how to prevent him from doing that without putting US forces on the ground.

    Both of these situations require playing a long game which Trump has not demonstrated that he has either the patience or the depth of understanding to pull off. Both are going to take a while to sort out. That doesn’t help Trump out of the “unpopular” position that he is currently in.

    As far as the economy is concerned, people still attribute the current growth rate and low unemployment rate to Obama. Trump is going to have to do something in order to take credit for it. The failure of healthcare reform is making it difficult for him to move ahead with tax reform. He won’t be able to do infrastructure investment until he gets tax reform done because the deficit hawks in his own party won’t let him spend the money. So any relief for those expecting that he is going to do something dramatic to bring their jobs back, will have to wait.

    While we wait, he appears to be pivoting to the center, at least economically. We’ll be waiting to see how that plays with his base. I’ll probably post something on that soon.

    That’s pretty much the mode that we are in. We are all waiting for the next thing to happen. Not a good position for a President who should be controlling the news cycle. Congress isn’t going to help him out. He doesn’t have control of world events.

    As we wait, the Russian details continue to be revealed and Trump continue to spin stories for his base including his ongoing insistence that the only reason people rally against him is that someone paid them.

    BTW that little bump in popularity that he got for bombing Syria. That’s eroding.

    The next news will be the Georgia election. If the Democrat wins, the story is going to be that Republicans are in trouble in 2018.

    The news after that will be Bannon’s departure. That isn’t going to play well with his base.

    So please let me know what other bright spots you see in his future.

  9. Jeff Beamsley says:

    Here’s a good story in the NYT going into detail on the narrow scope of options facing Trump in N. Korea.

    https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/17/world/asia/trump-north-korea-nuclear-us-talks.html?_r=0

  10. keith says:

    Well the young out of district gentleman didn’t get 50% last night. It was interesting to watch the shows last night sitting on the edge of their seats hoping he would… Now a run off.

    Just so you and I are on the same page, the following is the scorecard of how democrats did while President Obama was in office. If you are going to say democrat victories in during the Trump presidency are due to backlash against Trump then you MUST, ARE REQUIRED, to compare that backlash to the backlash President Obama experienced, which you never loudly acknowledged.

    *President Obama was re-elected.
    *Democrats failed to hold President Obama’s office
    *Democrats lost 13 Senate seats
    *Democrats lost 64 House seats
    *Democrats lost 14 Governorships
    *Democrats lost 33 State Houses
    *Democrats lost 1,200 plus State and Local Legislative seats

    Every comment you make about Trump having the electorate voting against him REQUIRES you to measure it against this.

    Do you agree?

  11. keith says:

    https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/19/opinion/why-are-republicans-making-tax-reform-so-hard.html?_r=0

    And if the republicans lose seats I’d suggest it’s not becasue of Trump but because that are terrible legislators!!! I agree 100% with the NYT’s!!! This seems so simple to me, and the NYTIMES!! So, how hard can it be?

  12. Jeff Beamsley says:

    Just so you and I are on the same page, the following is the scorecard of how democrats did while President Obama was in office. If you are going to say democrat victories in during the Trump presidency are due to backlash against Trump then you MUST, ARE REQUIRED, to compare that backlash to the backlash President Obama experienced, which you never loudly acknowledged.

    While it is encouraging to see Democrats turning out the vote, that’s not the backlash that I’m watching. I’m interested in how the current Republican office holders in the House and Senate are going to react if they feel that Trump is making it harder for them to get elected. That’s the backlash that is important to me. We don’t get to vote for Trump again until 2020. The best way to slow him down in the meantime is if his own party abandons him.

    No sure why you are so fixated on these particular sets of numbers? The Democrats won the midterms big time in 2006 when Bush II’s approval ratings fell into the 30’s. Democrats again big time in 2008 and had control of all three branches. They lost control of the House in 2010. They gained seats in 2012 when Obama was re-elected. They lost seats in 2014 and lost control of the Senate. They gain seats in House and Senate in 2016 but lost the White House.

    A more accurate comparison would be Trump’s first term to Obama’s first term. Obama won by a huge margin. Trump lost the popular vote but won the electoral vote. Obama had big gains in the House and the Senate. Trump lost seats in both the House and the Senate, but Republicans still retained control.

    He may end up doing better than Obama’s 2010 in 2018, but it doesn’t look good for him right now.

  13. Jeff Beamsley says:

    https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/19/opinion/why-are-republicans-making-tax-reform-so-hard.html?_r=0

    And if the republicans lose seats I’d suggest it’s not becasue of Trump but because that are terrible legislators!!! I agree 100% with the NYT’s!!! This seems so simple to me, and the NYTIMES!! So, how hard can it be?

    This is an opinion piece by Trump’s tax committee. It’s nice that you agree with them, but that doesn’t mean that the NYT agrees with them. The NYT is simply presenting a conservative point of view.

    You can also feel free to blame legislators, but you are ignoring Trump’s role. It’s his job to rally the troops. Normally, he’s the one that is the most popular guy in the room. He’s the only one in the room who has won a national election. He’s the one who can promise some cover in return for a legislator taking a hard vote that they know will cost them support at home. Healthcare reform failed because Trump failed to convince enough Republicans to support THEIR President. That’s not their fault. That’s Trump’s fault. The great negotiator got roasted and toasted by the Freedom Caucus. Welcome to Washington where REAL men negotiate.

  14. Jeff Beamsley says:

    BTW, to continue the theme of the role of the President in getting legislation passed, Obama WAS able to convince Democrats to take a hard vote on passing healthcare reform. They knew it was going to be a hard vote, but they supported healthcare reform because they were convinced by Obama that he was all in and that it was the right thing to do. (see story below)

    http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=131039717

    The result was 63 Democratic members of the House and six Democratic members of the Senate lost their jobs. Now THAT’S a hard vote.

    We aren’t seeing anything even close out of Republicans. Why is that?

  15. Keith says:

    Nope we aren’t. You are correct. The republicans do not know how to goose step. Rightly or wrongly. I can tell you the Republican Party will cease to exist, my opinion, if they don’t do something on healthcare, optics, or taxes, a must. They have all three branches and can’t get something, ANYTHING done??? I’m guessing they will reverse course even if it’s a watered down version of something. Surely, SURELY, they will realize the Dems vote along party lines and they are free to do so as well.

    http://tpusa.com/GetInvolved/

    Meanwhile. Healthcare 20% of economy, energy how much? Socialism is her words.

  16. Jeff Beamsley says:

    Nope we aren’t. You are correct. The republicans do not know how to goose step. Rightly or wrongly. I can tell you the Republican Party will cease to exist, my opinion, if they don’t do something on healthcare, optics, or taxes, a must. They have all three branches and can’t get something, ANYTHING done??? I’m guessing they will reverse course even if it’s a watered down version of something. Surely, SURELY, they will realize the Dems vote along party lines and they are free to do so as well.

    Republicans appeared to “goose step” quite well when Obama was in office.

    You can try to blame the party. Or you can suggest, as you tried to, that Democrats are robotic and Republicans are individualistic (really a silly concept).

    IMHO, the difference is leadership. Obama provided leadership for the Dems. Trump is not a leader for Republicans and doesn’t appear to care about that. He got elected by running against the Republican establishment as much as he did running against the Democrats. If he were an EXPERIENCED politician, he would have pivoted to some ideological position where he could build a coalition of the willing. Instead he jumps all over the place which makes it very difficult for those in the House and Senate to follow.

    http://tpusa.com/GetInvolved/

    Meanwhile. Healthcare 20% of economy, energy how much? Socialism is her words.

    Not sure what you mean by that. But when George Will says that it is time to embrace a single payer healthcare system, socialism must have won. 🙂

    http://www.dailykos.com/story/2017/4/21/1654931/-George-Will-predicts-Obamacare-to-become-single-payer-because-of-this-inconvenient-fact

  17. Keith says:

    It appears the link I provided did not take you to what I intended. It was Maxin Waters telling the president of an oil company that we will take control your companies and socialize them. The president of the oil compactly was stating congress was in the way of them getting more oil and if they continued to do so gas may be cheap at $5 a gallon.

    I’d suggest it Trump were an experienced politician the he would be be called President Trump and would still be saying “you’re fired” lol

  18. Jeff Beamsley says:

    It appears the link I provided did not take you to what I intended. It was Maxin Waters telling the president of an oil company that we will take control your companies and socialize them. The president of the oil compactly was stating congress was in the way of them getting more oil and if they continued to do so gas may be cheap at $5 a gallon.

    http://www.snopes.com/politics/business/waters.asp

    Old fake news. In May, 2008 Maxine Waters did in fact suggest to oil execs that if they continue to make huge profits off of high gas prices, that the government might choose to do something. As far as this exposing Obama’s socialist agenda, here’s what Snopes said.

    Waters’ comments did not “reveal a socialist agenda from Barack Obama,” however, as the hearings took place several months prior to the election that put the Illinois senator in the White House, before he was even selected as the Democratic Party’s nominee for the presidency.

  19. Jeff Beamsley says:

    http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/wash-post-poll-hides-trump-still-beats-clinton-43-40/article/2621016

    This is a TERRIBLE article and typical of the bias in rags like the Washington Examiner. Their basic objection, I guess, is that the Wash Post didn’t run one measure of MANY interesting measures as the headline in the same way the Washington Examiner did. But is WAS in the article. So what was the bias again?

    There was no bias. Just another unethical right wing snot rag blowing the dog whistle of media bias. Please don’t post stuff like this. You could have gotten the same information directly from the Wash Post and we could have had a MUCH more civil discussion about it.

    BTW, here’s another interesting stat. 89% of those that voted for Trump said they would vote for him again. Trump got 46% of the popular vote. 11% of those that voted for him would not vote for him again. Simple math says that 41% of the population would still vote for him again. Guess what? That’s his average job approval rating too! In other words, none of the people supporting Trump now voted for someone else in November.

    What that also means is that when his job approval ratings go down, FEWER of the people who supported in him in November are continuing to support him.

    He is going to push for something to happen this week because of the 100-day marker and all of the promises he made regarding what he would accomplish in that time period. This could result in a government shutdown crisis AND ANOTHER failed healthcare vote. How do you think that is going to effect his job approval numbers?

  20. Keith says:

    I never mentioned President Obama. Just saw that for the first time, at least that I remember. It’s was interesting the words she used…. feel free to reject her comments.

    I didn’t post the link for the article. Just the poll that Trump, at least on this one, would still win. I find that interesting. That’s all. Read no more into then that.

  21. Keith says:

    Poll: Trump, Democrats and GOP all unpopular – CNN
    https://apple.news/AnPs-TeQUQ2eT4cPGBJiSzA

    Nice math above. BUT if the 15% who vetoed for Hillary are you assuming none would vote for Donald?

    Polls polls polls. No one is doing well in the polls. How Hillary is doing even worse in this one is interesting in its self. Thoughts?

  22. Jeff Beamsley says:

    Nice math above. BUT if the 15% who vetoed for Hillary are you assuming none would vote for Donald?

    Yup, that’s pretty clear from the polling that has already been done. None of those who voted for Hillary are supporting Trump. None of those who voted for other third party candidates are supporting Trump. Only 89% of those who voted for Trump are still supporting him.

    Polls polls polls. No one is doing well in the polls. How Hillary is doing even worse in this one is interesting in its self. Thoughts?

    No true. Obama is doing quite well thank you.

    Not sure why you remain fixated on Clinton. She lost. Her political career is over. Bernie supporters are still chapped because they think he would have won. We’ll never know because Bernie is too old to run again. He’s doing his best to build a political movement, but it isn’t clear who is going to inherit that movement in 2020.

    What is happening now is the same thing that happened to Romney, McCain, Kerry, Gore and most recent losing candidates for President. There is a postmortem where those who were part of the losing campaign bayonet the wounded in an effort to distance themselves from whatever part they had in the loss. In the case of Clinton, it was ignoring the white working class in favor of minorities. In the case of Romney, it was his comments regarding dependency and an “in the bubble” mentality which refused to accept that Obama could win another term. In the case of McCain, it was the fact that he “blinked” in the face of the financial crisis. In the case of Kerry, it was that he failed to immediately rebut the swift-boating attack. In the case of Gore, it was because he bet the farm on Florida rather than picking off a few of the smaller electoral college states that were available to him AND because he failed to motivate young people to the same degree that Clinton had (Tipper Gore didn’t help him much there).

    This is the process of history being written. One of the results of that process are that some of the people who voted for Clinton wish they had a different choice that would have produced a different outcome. It’s human nature.

Leave a Reply