Concern For Human Life And Other Lies

Last week President Trump called off a missile attack on Iran with ten minutes to spare reportedly over the concern for human lives that would have been lost. I find that both difficult to believe and not in keeping with his character. Let’s explore.

If you believe Trump’s version of events, with minutes to go to the launch of the mission he asked what the human casualty count would be if the mission proceeded. The answer was approximately 150 Iranians. Trump said that persuaded him to call off the strike. Now it is altogether possible that a management as terrible as Trump’s would not have asked that question until the eleventh hour but I think it is much more likely that Trump was all buster and never intended to go ahead with the strike in the first place.

By faking the strike he felt he would temporarily placate his base. In his mind the threat of the attack would be enough to bring the Iranians begging for a summit (ala the Kim Jung-un summits). Trump may well be correct with his base; they never have been very skilled at critical or long-term thinking. Of course, like most of his other actions, this does nothing to grow his base which he desperately needs to do. As to the Iranians they are much longer term players than Americans are. Americans think in terms of quarters and years; Iranians, like most Middle Easterners, think in terms of centuries. They are much more likely to simply wait Trump out. They have to feel that he is most likely gone in 2021 and they know short of getting away with declaring the Constitution void he is defiantly gone by January 20, 2025. Americans have a much shorter conception of time than many other people.

One of Trump’s big mistakes was backing out of the Iran Nuclear Deal. By doing so he accelerated the rate at which Iran will have nuclear weapons capability. His only option is to get back into the deal. The only way he will do that is if he negotiates a “new” deal that he can put his, not Obama’s, name on. The deal will probably be basically the same or worse (think NAFTA 2.0) but Trump will try to sell it as wonderful. In order to do that he needs to get the Iranians to the negotiating table. He really has no stomach for an invasion and subsequent occupation; unless that becomes a political Hail May of desperation (which I won’t rule out).   The missile attack could very well have been an escalation too far that would have shortly led to a shooting war.

Last week Trump announced that ICE would be making raids as early as yesterday to round up millions of undocumented people living in America only to call it off at the last minute. (I will resist the temptation of address at length how stupid an advance announcement is – but it did scare the intended targets and their families to the detriment of the American economy).  I will guarantee you that the targets would have been overwhelmingly non-Caucasian; (which pleased his base.) Trump’s excuse was to give Congress two weeks to work out a comprehensive immigration plan. With Mitch McConnell running the Senate do you actually believe Congress could work out something that complex that would also satisfy McConnell, Trump in just two weeks? I certainly don’t. However if you remove Trump and McConnell from the equation it could be possible. The plain truth is that Mitch, Trump and most Republicans want an exploitable, cheap labor force of people of color but certainly don’t want to give them the vote even at some distant point in time. Aside from exploitation they don’t care about lives of people of color in America or anyplace else for that matter.

Look at how they are handling refuges. I simply lack the time and space to cover that today other than to say that many are being kept in conditions not that dissimilar to concentration camps (and yes, I’m not afraid to use the term).

After decades of trying, Trump finally got noticed in the political arena when he became the face and mouthpiece of the birther movement. If that wasn’t an appeal to the racists then what was it? He announced his campaign by proclaiming Mexicans to be rapists and murders. During his campaign he did nothing to disavow the endorsement of David Duke of Ku Klux Klan infamy.

Trump fakes respect for white lives; the lives of people of color are another matter. His largely racist base feels the same way in many cases. Why would the lives of brown Iranians be an exception?

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One thought on “Concern For Human Life And Other Lies”

  1. My ex-wife has an expression for these huge jacked up pick-up trucks. Her expression is a reference to the size of the male genitalia (and, by extension, the male ego). Trump’s bluster behavior brings to mind her expression.

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