Friday, January 20, 2017

Donald Trump and the Road To Nuclear War

It was one of the worst and most depressing sights I have ever seen. Donald Trump and his ghastly family standing there in the shadow of the great Lincoln, who appears to be looking down on them in disbelief.

While a military band played, a military choir sang the Battle Hymn of the Republic, and a massive power fireworks show spelled out the letters U-S-A in the sky.

But of course the real horror show begins today.

When Trump is sworn in as President, and delivers a speech he claims to have written himself.

And what with that strange look in his eyes, and that eagle which seems to follow him around wherever he goes...

Even when he parties with the convicted felon Joey No Socks Cinque.

One shudders to think what Trump might say, or where that deranged demagogue might lead his country and the rest of the world.

And so crazy and unpredictable is the situation, one really has to wonder whether we will survive him.

Or wonder as Charles Blow does, why more Americans aren't alarmed. 

I continue to be astonished that not enough Americans are sufficiently alarmed and abashed by the dangerous idiocies that continue to usher forth from the mouth of the man who will on Friday be inaugurated as president of the United States. 

Toss ideology out of the window. This is about democracy and fascism, war and peace, life and death.

When it should be clear by now that Trump's government of uber right-wing billionaires and flaky generals is a prescription for disaster... 

In a series of interviews and testimonies Donald Trump and his cronies have granted in the last several days, they have demonstrated repeatedly how destabilizing, unpredictable and indeed unhinged the incoming administration may be. Their comments underscore the degree to which this administration may not simply alter our democracy beyond recognition, but also potentially push us into armed conflict.

And could even lead to a war with China over some artificial islands that country has been building and fortifying in the South China Sea... 

Last week, Trump’s secretary of state nominee, Rex Tillerson, said during his confirmation hearing that the United States had to “send China a clear signal that, first, the island-building stops, and second, your access to those islands also is not going to be allowed.”

The only way to do this is with some sort of naval blockade, which China would undoubtedly interpret as an act of war. 

If the United States put “a cordon of ships around one or all of the islands, and the Chinese flew in aircraft to one of their new islands, what are we going to do? Shoot it down?” Glaser asked. “We’d certainly end up in a shooting war with China.”

Now I think Charles Blow is wrong when he says not enough Americans are alarmed. I think they're just keeping their fear to themselves.

As are so many others all over the world....

But he's right about China. Now would not be a good time to provoke it or its supreme leader.

It all comes at the worst possible time for Chinese President Xi Jinping, who is looking ahead to a politically tricky Party Congress in late 2017, when key policies will be debated and a large number of top decision-making posts will turn over. The last thing he wants is to be distracted by a White House that intends to challenge nearly every aspect of the Sino-U.S. relationship—or to appear weak in its face. 

Not when he can't afford to show any weakness, and the country is in the grip of a nationalist revival.

Already, leading Chinese hawks are spewing nationalistic rhetoric, putting pressure on Xi and raising the odds of a dangerous clash with an unpredictable American president China barely understands.

So it's easy to see how a shooting war could start in the South China Sea. 

Or how a trade war could lead to the same result. Especially since the man who will be advising Trump on trade with China is a crackpot named Peter Navarro.

Who a few years ago produced a documentary called Death by China...

And when I see that dagger and that blood flowing out of a wounded America... 

I think anything could happen. Even the unthinkable.

Maybe people think this possibility is unthinkable. Maybe people are just hoping and praying that cooler heads will prevail. Maybe they think that Trump’s advisers will smarten him up and talk him down. 

But where is your precedent for that? When has this man been cautious or considerate? This man with loose lips and tweeting thumbs may very well push us into another war, and not with a country like Afghanistan, but with a nuclear-armed country with something to prove.

Are you not alarmed?

All should be alarmed, and only mass resistance can save us now.

For we are in the hands of a madman.

In an even more belligerent America.

And the nightmare is just beginning...


Anonymous said...

I've been screaming about the dangers of nuclear war since the 1990s and now they have finally arrived. Most people get upset if you bring up nukes, "well there is nothing we can do so why talk about it?" There is plenty we can do, get informed, get scared and push our governments towards disarmament. In fact, Ronald Reagan was moved to action on this issue after he saw The Day After to the point where total disarmament was on the table and seriously considered between himself and Gorbachev.
When the President punches in the codes, it needs to be confirmed by the Secretary of Defense. The only positive in all of this is that it is James Mattis. Look beyond the Mad Dog name and the stupid war talk and you see an incredibly cerebral and sane man. He is also highly respected and connected so he would likely refuse the order and trigger a military coup. It sounds terrifying, but right now anything is preferable to dump and Pence.

Anonymous said...

A logical consequence to the US causing havoc in the South China Sea would be to cut exports to the US. Look at how many products are made in China. Successful business people have two things in common from my experience. Arrogance and tunnel vision. May work in the business world (sort of), but not in the rest of the world.


Anonymous said...

Leftists... Let's not provoke China, but let's provoke Russia. Because racism... I guess? Privilege people should nuke each other or something...?

thwap said...


I'll be as brief as I can. I work 12-hour shifts and I want to smoke a joint and do some drawing.

Anonymous 9:13 says it: Why is it bad to risk nuclear war with China but not with Russia?

That is the crux of our disagreement. We don't disagree about Trump very much at all.

Hillary Clinton was calling for a no-fly zone over Syria. Russia planes are flying over Syria, mainly blasting the head-choppers (both "moderate" and extremist) being [illegally] supported by the USA and its regional allies.

Unless Putin caves-in, that would mean NATO shooting down Russia planes. Do you consider it a sane thing to play "chicken" with Putin's Russia? And all to further the EVIL plans Washington planners had for Syria?

That has been my point all along. Hillary Clinton was at least just as likely to start a nuclear war as Trump. And this is indisputable. It's a simple fact. She called for a no-fly zone over Syria while Russia had committed its air force to defending Assad. That risked nuclear war. End of story. Finito.

But Washington war-mongers decided to take one of the few sane things that Trump said and twist it. Now he's Putin's puppet and we know this because Putin hacked the DNC and Podesta emails.

Except there's no evidence of this. None. The NSA etc., could easily produce a print-out showing the electronic trail back to the Kremlin without risking any sources. Because all it would be would be a piece of paper with computer address on it.

Instead, they issue a report describing hacking techniques. Identifying the malware as having been originally designed in Russia and padding the rest of it with irrelevancies such as the reaction of Vladimir Zhirinovsky to Trump's victory.

Let me remind you Simon that we don't disagree about Trump and we don't disagree about Putin.

Where we disagree is on the Democrats. Obama is a servant of oligarchy and a mass-murderer. That little boy who washed up dead on the beach in Turkey died because of Obama's policies. And Obama was restrained in comparison to Hillary fucking Clinton.

And whether those emails were leaked or hacked; they showed that narcissistic maniac had corrupted the primaries to ensure her party's candidacy. Which did much more to bring about the Trump presidency than anything I ever did or said.

Because Hillary promised more of the same. And that, plus everything else, was too much for many people to stomach.

[Some try to argue that Obama was stymied by a rejectionist Repug Congress. But Obama often gave them more spending cuts than they'd asked for.]

And by diverting yourself with this Putin garbage, you avoid facing up to the task of providing alternatives that resonate with enough people to really change things.

Simon said...

hi anon... the danger of nuclear war seems to have crept up on us. When I checked the atomic doomsday clock the other day it's now at three minutes to midnight. And the last time I checked a few years ago we were at least ten minutes away from disaster. So you're right, we need to push our government's to disarm. As for James Mattis, he is a little saner than most of Trump's picks, although he does have a blind spot. He is obsessed with Iran ever since an Iranian trained suicide bomber blew up the marine barracks in Beirut almost 40 years ago killing 241 Americans. So he can only be trusted so far. Still he is better than nothing, and one can only hope that he can restrain Trump because he does need restraining...

Simon said...

hi TS...not only do the Chinese export massively to the U.S. I believe they hold about one-third of that country's debt. So any kind of trade war could escalate very quickly. As could any kind of confrontation in the South China Sea. And let's not forget how all of this could affect the paranoia ruler of North Korea. It's a very dangerous situation and we can only hope that sanity will prevail....

Simon said...

hi anon...where do I say we should provoke Russia? Of course I'm not in favour of that. I'm only trying to point out that a nuclear war with China would be as bad as one with Russia. And that I fear we're sleepwalking to disaster...

Simon said...

hi thwap...I'm really not as obsessed with Putin as you think I am. I do admit that I sometimes have a little fun with it, but as I told anonymous 9:13 if Trump's bromance with Putin makes a nuclear war with Russia less likely I'm only too happy. I'm not sure that I agree with you that Clinton would have lead us into a nuclear war with Russia, her record as Secretary of State doesn't suggest that. I am willing to concede however that she was too hawkish. And if Trump can make the U.S. less belligerent I would also be happy. But I just think Trump is so unstable that he can't be trusted not to turn on Russia. And as I said in my post I fear that he is ignoring the new nationalism and long history of China. And one nuclear war would be as bad as another. So you see we're not that far apart, and I wouldn't be surprised it one day we find ourselves agreeing with one another. Now that would be a sign that the apocalypse is imminent... ;)

Simon said...

hi thwap...I forgot to mention one thing. Trump claims that the U.S. military is "depleted," when in fact the U.S. military budget is more than the combined budgets of the seven countries behind it. So his plan to build the U.S. arsenal even further strikes me as madness. And his new plan for a missile defence system will not please the Russians, and will help escalate the arms race. So my point is that Trump is so crazy he can't be trusted by ANYONE...

Anonymous said...

Simon, at his hearing Mattis called the Iran deal "flawed, but vital" and pledged that it had to be respected. He is the one true hope inside the administration.
Mattis is not perfect, but he is humane and I believe he was picked by accident. Maybe his General Patton look and nickname tricked the stupid trump.

thwap said...


Trump is worse than I thought he'd be. I didn't think too much about either HRC or Trump. To me, they were both unacceptable. I can see one silver lining though: Trump's barbaric administration will help to radicalize more US-Americans than would have been thought possible.

(If only we can prevent people from falling for the corporate, neo-liberal Democrats.)

One last thing though. I think you must have zoned out reading my initial comment. Specifically where I discussed the ramifications of Hillary's no-fly zone over Syria. Re-read what you wrote about how Trump's provocations could risk war with China and apply the same logic to HRC's plans to have NATO shoot down anything in Syrian airspace.

As for the rest of her Secretary of State behaviour: It showed she's an arrogant, imperialist mass-murdering utter scum-bag.

jrkrideau said...

@ Simon and thwap

If I recall correctly Clinton was definitely considering a Syrian no-fly zone. I sincerely hoped she was not that stupid but it sure looked like she was. And thwap was right, that was a good way to get in a shooting war with Russia.

The only good thing about the China situation is that Trump did not say it. He probably could tell the Sec of State to shut up.

The Chinese must be livid at the moment. I have no idea if their claim to the islands in the South China Sea is valid but casually mentioning a navel blockade of the second largest economy in the world, and one that has been building up its navel and military forces does not strike me as the wisest idea.