The President Doesn’t Know What He’s Doing

Donald Trump

Qasem Soleimani deserved what he got but this doesn’t redeem the clueless incompetence of the President

✎  WAYNE K. SPEAR | JANUARY 3, 2020 • Current Events

I HEARD ABOUT Qassem Soleimani’s killing, by American drone, on Twitter—the same place where I found a National Post article describing him as (I’m not making this up) a “hugely prominent Iranian military leader and Instagram celebrity.”

Everyone could tell prima facie this was a big deal. Of course the Iranians would retaliate: the fact was so obvious, even Lindsey Graham soaked it in. Beyond that though everything was wild speculation. This attack is a diversion from impeachment; the President is going to declare martial law and suspend the Constitution; it’s going to be the Iraq War all over again. And so on, and so on. Alas and alack each and every reach for an analogous moment stretched into an era when wars were not conducted by drone and rumours of war were not arbitrated by Instagram celebrities. In other words, and in case you need to be told, it’s 2020 and not 2003.

ABOVE: One of the President’s agitprop stooges with a turd of a proposal. Last December, Trump abandoned the Kurds, and in doing so gave Syria and Turkey permission to undertake ethnic cleansing. The Kurds have watched Trump oblige dictators and would be fools to trust him.

It would be bad enough if history repeated. The American effort to bring democracy and peace to Iraq has fared poorly, to put it in the most bland of terms, but the proxy and cyber warfare that the United States is now likely to face will be even more challenging to its military and security capabilities. At the same time news of Soleimani’s death was making the rounds, a Haaretz article (Trump Envoy to Visit Israel, Discuss Middle East Peace Plan After Months of Standstill) put into my mind the terrible thought that the Trump administration will be as effective at war as it has been at peace, and for the same reason: the placing of loyalty above competence. On this principle the President has shaped the White House and the Departments of Justice and State. What does nepotism at war look like, you ask?

The Peace Team
ABOVE: Jared Kushner and Avi Berkowitz, the President’s Middle Earth Peace Squad. Neither of these kids have ever had a real job.

Donald “End the Endless Wars” Trump has threatened to bring fire and fury, the likes of which the world has never seen, to North Korea. (This was before he fell in love with Kim Jong-un.) He once bombed a Syrian airstrip. Momentary reactionary rage and impulsive but pointless bombings are what he does best and indeed his only military strategy, so far as we know. If he has anything else up his badly-tailored sleeves, he’s kept it a secret. Don’t misunderstand me. Soleimani deserved what he got and, yes, war with Iran hasn’t been so much declared as it has been acknowledged. What happens next is beyond everyone, including the incompetent President. ⌾

The Roundtable Podcast 61

Week of 09.02.2014

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Old People News: the 50-Year Anniversary of the Beatles’ Ed Sullivan Appearance | Philip Seymour Hoffman 1967-2014 | (Yet) More Rob Ford | Bangladesh factory owners surrender after 2012 fire that killed 112 | Featured Article of the Week: The Olympics: A lie we all tell ourselves | Subway to remove chemical from bread | Industrial band Skinny Puppy demand $666,000 after music is used in Guantánamo torture | Iranian poet and peace campaigner Hashem Shaabani hanged for ‘waging war against God’ | Scientifically Accurate Flintstones | Woody Allen | Mandy Goes Ice Fishing | New Music: Guided By Voices | Sloe Gin | Moist, Gotye, and other forms of torture

Download entire podcast (320 kbps mp3) | Visit The Roundtable on Facebook.

North Korea is a crime organization masquerading as government

North-Korea

WITHIN DAYS of the return of Dennis Rodman, the ad-hoc US Secretary for DPRK-American Goodwill, we now have for our consumption James R. Clapper’s “Worldwide Threat Assessment,” presented March 12 to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. In his crisp overview, titled “Iran and North Korea Developing WMD-Applicable Capabilities, ” the Director of National Intelligence makes ample use of the phrase “we do not know” — and though you may be tempted to deride, this is the Hermit Kingdom we’re speaking of, after all.

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Podcast 15: Lincoln Alexander, George McGovern, Malala Yousafzai, Drone Strikes, Terry Jones … and more

Podcast 015 | Week of 21.10.2012

Download entire podcast (320 kbps mp3).

Stephen Harper has good reason to be skeptical of the United Nations

Stephen Harper and the UN

RISING BY NECESSITY from the ash of its discredited predecessor, the United Nations on the 24th of January 1946 adopted its first resolution —  a call for the elimination of weapons of mass destruction, particularly of the atomic kind, and thereby for the exclusive, peaceful use of atomic energy.

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If it’s 1938 in Iran, what year is it in Ottawa?

Canada and Iran

AS THIS WEEK’S United Nations General Assembly advanced, faithful to the template, nothing could have been more clear than that the world is suspended discouragingly between the Scylla of Holocaust denial and the Charybdis of Holocaust panic.

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The Conservative Party’s courting of China is shameful

I KNOW FROM experience the most efficient way to start a fist-fight in some circles is to use, without irony, the word evil. As in the phrase Axis of Evil. On this principle, George W. Bush was mocked for years by lefties who noted condescendingly (though correctly) that the President’s eyes were just a bit too close together for the nation’s good. One afternoon in the mid 90s, the man who would memorably link Iran, Iraq and North Korea — Bush Jr’s speechwriter, David Frum — passed in front of my car while I was at a red light. I confess repressing an urge to step on the gas. Some years on, however, I’ve a greater respect for Mr. Frum, and in part it’s due to the fact that I think there really is such a thing as evil, perhaps even in axis form.

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The Niqab in Living Colour

IN AZAR NAFISI’S book, “Reading Lolita in Tehran,” the act of removing the veil is a metaphor for transitioning from the world of black-and-white into colour, and of shedding the state-imposed self to be liberated into one’s authentic, willed identity. “Black and white” is itself a good description of the cruel and stupid absolutism imposed upon Iran by the Velayat-e faqih, its antithesis colour indicating the actual and liveable world of vibrant diversity: irony, dialectic, humour, uncertainty, skepticism and multiplicity — whether in literary, moral, or political matters. In the “clash of civilizations,” the West is on the polychromatic side of the ledger against the monochrome despotisms.

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Living in the Age of The Endless War

ON A WALL at the National Capital’s War Monument are inscribed these words, past which I walk each day and derived from the ninth book of Virgil’s Aeneid: “nulla dies umquam memori vos eximet aevo.” Here I shall provide some context, deferring to Robert Fitzgerald’s 1983 translation for Random House:

Fortunate, both! If in the least my songs
Avail, no future day will ever take you
Out of the record of remembering Time,
While children of Aeneas make their home
Around the Capitol’s unshaken rock,
And still the Roman Father governs all.

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