‘The Big Read’?
David J Lynch and Sam Fleming do a workman like job of reportage. Or more accurately, produce more of the same low grade political melodrama the reader of The Financial Times has come to expect. That features at its end the extensive comments of Trent Lott, who lost his Senate leadership post, for praising Strom Thurmond’s political prescience as Dixiecrat candidate for president in 1948. And quotations from Obama ‘adviser’ Prof. Tribe. Prof. Tribe, like Cass Sunstein, exercised the bad judgement of becoming courtiers to Neo-Reganite Obama.
The reader will make better use of her/his valuable time reading Yves Smith’s enlightening introduction, and Gaius Publius’ long and equally insightful and informative essay on Trump and the firing of Comey. After the link, I provide some examples of the analysis of Smith and Publius.
1.Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proofs. Both the strong form claim that many seem to believe about Trump (“Trump is a Russian agent”) or its weaker form variant (“Trump under Russian influence”) extraordinary, since both amount to charges of treason.
Yet despite months of press and pundit yammering, nothing has come within hailing distance of proving either claim, despite Trump being the object of extensive oppo by the Republicans, then the Democrats, and throughout, one presumes, by members of the military/surveillance state that badly want to escalate a conflict with Russia (both in the United Kingdom, and this country).
It is hard to fathom how the Russian government could get influence over a US billionaire based on Trump officiating at a beauty pageant and setting up some legal vehicles for licensing deals that never got done. And the other theories of how Russia would have sway over him don’t hold up to scrutiny.
Trump leads an over-the-top life. A sex scandal, even if there were one, wouldn’t dent him, unless, per the cliche, it involved catching Trump in bed with either a dead girl or a live boy.
All of which means that if Trump’s Russia doings aren’t formally investigated, either by a special investigator or by Congress, elites who want him gone will have to force him out by extra-constitutional means.
Which suggests three questions. One, who wants him to go, since that will determine the shape of the opposition he faces? Two, who wants him to stay in office? And three, what are those means? Others may answer differently, but I’ll offer these.
First, those in elites positions who want him to go include:
• All Democratic officeholders.
• Many Republican officeholders (those who would much prefer a President Pence).
• Many of those who work in the bowels of the CIA, FBI, and NSA — highly placed rank-and-file operatives in position to leak information and do other substantial damage. (Note what happened during the election when those in the DC office of the FBI leaked damaging Clinton material because they disagreed with Comey’s refusal to recommend an indictment. It’s six months later, but the same dynamic.)
• Others in the national security establishment who don’t trust Trump to be warlike enough. This ropes in neocons both in and out of the military.
• The broader neocon establishment/infrastructure, people who would have supported Clinton’s wars and staffed her administration, all of whom hate Trump’s statements (true ones in my view) about NATO’s irrelevance. Saying goodbye to NATO starts the tearing down of American military-backed hegemony. NATO’s sole relevance is to structure that hegemony in Europe.
Note that the list of Trump’s elite enemies is likely to grow in number of individuals, if not in number of groups. Note also that the key group is the second, Republican officeholders. If they turn against him in large numbers, even if only in private, Trump won’t remain in office. Also, if they support him sufficiently, even if only in private, it will be up to the last three groups, working together, to pressure Trump to leave.
To lapse into economic metaphor, how appropriate here at The Financial Times, the wise reader will invest her/his time in something that will pay handsome dividends, in being provided more food for thought, rather than the sub-standard chatter of the apologists for the dismal political present.