Wednesday, July 05, 2017

The Greatest Threat to America's Security: Trump

I have never believed that Donald Trump, a/k/a Der Trumpenführer, was fit for the office of the presidency of the United States.  Behavior that is acceptable for reality TV personality or the owner of a privately held business is far different from that required for the so-called leader of the free world.  Petulance, extreme narcissism, boorish behavior, intellectual laziness, failure to listen to experts - all traits that Trump personifies - simply are not acceptable in a president and commander-in-chief.  Candidly, I cannot comprehend how anyone rational could ever have thought Trump fit for office.  Dislike of Hillary Clinton or wanting "change" simply did not justify placing someone unfit and incompetent in the White House.   An op-ed in the Washington Post argues that the greatest national security issue now facing the United States is its unfit leader, Der Trumpenführer.  Here are highlights:
Last week, at the Aspen Ideas Festival, I moderated a panel on U.S. national security in the Trump era. . . . . Toward the end of the conversation, we turned to Trump’s erratic behavior and I noted that for the first time in three decades in the world of foreign policy, I was getting regular questions about the mental health of the president.
 I asked Petraeus, a man I respect, if he thought the president was fit to serve. His response was, “It’s immaterial.” He argued that because the team around Trump was so good, they could offset whatever deficits he might have. I was floored. It was a stunningly weak defense. That is where we are now. The president’s tweeting hysterically at the media is just an element of this. So too is his malignant and ever-visible narcissism. The president has demonstrated himself to have zero impulse control and a tendency to damage vital international relationships with ill-considered outbursts, to trust very few of the people in his own government, and to reportedly rant and shout at staff and even at the television sets he obsessively watches. Whether he is actually clinically ill is a matter for psychiatric professionals to consider. But when you take the above behaviors and combine them with his resistance to doing the work needed to be president, to sitting down for briefings, to reading background materials, to familiarizing himself with details enough to manage his staff, there is clearly a problem. Compound it with his deliberate reluctance to fill key positions in government and his wild flip-flopping on critical issues from relations with China to trade, and you come to a conclusion that it may be that Trump’s fitness to serve as president is our nation’s core national security issue. Not only does the president diminish the office with his pettiness; he also shows disregard for constitutional principles including free speech, freedom of religion and separation of powers, and he operates as though he were above ethics laws. Daily he shows he lacks the character, discipline, intellect, judgment or respect for the office to be president of the United States. In normal times, this would be worrying. But look at the news. North Korea is moving closer to having the ability to deliver a nuclear weapon to the United States. A confrontation is coming that will be a test of character pitting North Korea’s unhinged leader, Kim Jong Un, against our leader. If a dedicated enemy of the United States and opportunist such as Putin determines to take advantage of Trump’s narcissism, ignorance, paranoia, business interests or brewing scandals, he will do just that. If he sees Trump’s behavior as a tacit endorsement of his own thuggishness, he will seize the opportunity. Could Trump enter the meeting with good advice from the team that Petraeus and others admire so much? Yes. But they can’t undo Trump’s record, nor can they, we have learned, always shape the behavior of a man who has shown repeated propensity for ignoring the advice of his best allies. That is one reason, according to reports, that European officials are deeply concerned about the outcomes of the meeting that will take place in Hamburg this week. [T]he stark reality is that objective analysis reveals that we have never before seen a president so unfit for office. Even President Richard Nixon at his moments of darkest paranoia was a professional public servant who understood the office and the stakes associated with it. One might, on this Independence Day week, have to go back to King George III to find a head of state who so threatened America. But there is no precedent for one whose character is so obviously ill-suited to the presidency. 
Be very afraid.

 [I]t is not the incivility of modern politics that drives us to question Trump’s fitness; it is a respect for the lessons of history and for the national interests his profound deficits put at risk.

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