OPINION - Mueller draws closer. The press learns more about the Trump team’s intersections with Russian agents. Now the Michael Wolff tell-all-Trump book, “Fire and Fury,” debuts, outing people too stupid to know what “off the record,” means.
So what does a president, whose only apparent “playbook” is Mel Brooks’ “The Producers,” and who puts self well ahead of country and duty, do to save himself?
Start a war!
Sounds far-fetched? In an administration conceived of inconceivables, that doubles-down on everything wrong, and a Republican party awash in power madness, don’t rule it out. The Mueller investigation moves on. Trump can’t get lieutenants to kill it. He can’t fire it away, so he may end up firing away.
Presidents, in times of war, have exceptional power, granted to focus the nation in a time of crisis.
Trump’s top bogeymen of choice, North Korea’s manifestly unstable dictator, Kim Jong Un, is probably just coincidence, or “birds of a feather” comparing the size of their... buttons. Like the Producers’ con-men, though, it might provide Trump with an out to his “Springtime for Hitler” administration, that was started as a con to land Trump his own conservative television network, according to Wolff.
Here is Trump’s out: We have never negotiated peace with Korea. Just a cease fire. Engaging in conflict there would be, relatively, pretty easy. President Truman ordered forces into North Korea in 1950 and didn’t get Congressional approval. This would merely be a continuation of that action after decades of failed attempts to gain diplomatic compliance from the North Korean regime. There might be a way to drag the UN along, given Korea’s unique status.
“Surely the Congress would stop him!” you say?
The dysfunctional and morally bankrupt Republican party controls both chambers of the United States Congress. I’ve told you previously how the Russia problem may run deeper than just Trump. There may be lots of elected officials with a Russia problem. Trump starting a war with North Korea would play well with Putin. It would drive many of America’s traditional allies away, destroy much of the United States’ diplomatic engagement in the world, and cause major headaches for Li Keqiang, Premier of the People’s Republic of China.
It is clear, by the actions of both Speaker Paul Ryan, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, that Republicans put power ahead of duty and country. Assuming no Russian ties, they both pledge allegiance to the Kochs. The pro-billionaire, anti-government anarchists might well also find advantage in a war. It would accelerate their demolition of the government from within, and possibly delay the Democratic tsunami predicted for 2018.
The Mercer faction, the alt-Right-backing billionaire and his daughter who also are timeshare owners of the Trumptastrophe, might also sign off. They want isolationism and back America’s racial separatists. A war would turn the fracture in American society into an open wound, with young people of color and young people from low-income, or the permanently unemployed again called to fight a pointless war for a mad rich white guy. That, in turn, would rile up the poor Alt Right whites who like to identify with Trump in their white power wet dreams. There’s a win in a war for them too.
Add in the Saudis. Along with the Russians, Kochs, and Mercers, the power that drives conservative anti-globalism are these fossil fuel barons who pay for the chaos as an insurance policy against coordinated international global warming policy to protect the value of $159T in proven fossil fuel reserves in the ground. ISIS is no longer the threat that drives instability the way that it used to. A debilitated America offers the Saudis the opportunity to extend their influence and deep pockets to take control of parts of the world.
Let’s not rule out the military. Trump’s continued drumbeat with North Korea, and his catastrophic relations with global leaders and nuclear-armed nations, creates a constant problem for the United States Armed Forces. Will he start a nuclear war? There is the muddy water of his alleged repeated questioning of why we couldn’t use them during the campaign in 2016.
A nuclear expert says that it’s harder, without the military establishment seeing a clear and imminent nuclear threat heading our way, for a president to arbitrarily start a nuclear war.
If Trump’s unstable rhetoric with Kim escalates the already bellicose North Korean dictatorship into revving up their nuclear program for a threatened strike on a protectorate like Guam, or the U.S. mainland, though, pressing for a conventional war to avert the nuclear showdown would be almost certain.
Using President George W. Bush’s dual wars in Afghanistan and Iraq as a baseline, we know that hostilities muzzled the media, stifled dissent in the opposition Democratic Party, and made it easier for W. to retain power into a second term.
Given Trump’s disregard for the rule of law, and his fanatic followers applauding his every Fox-justified move, Trump could extend his time in office almost indefinitely by dragging out a war that would keep him at arm’s length from his past, and from impeachment in the House, and trial in the Senate. A wartime president might even get the backing from his GOP-dominated Congress to suspend or kill the Mueller investigation.
The War Powers Resolution of 1973 gives the president ninety (90) days to act before requiring a declaration of war with Congress. Unlike Truman, Trump will not get UN cooperation in any conflict with North Korea where the U.S. is an aggressor.
It is rare that a piece of writing can stop major political conflict, but the Wolff book may be that most inexpensive “wall” to stop a war: Truth.
Our American emperor has no clothes. Trump’s decisions, such as they are, are orchestrated by others when they work, and capricious and random rantings of an unstable mind at best when they don’t. If he threatens war, and the Republican-led congress fails to act, the conflict will take to the streets of Peoria long before it hits Pyongyang.