Thursday, November 30, 2017


Josh Marshall writes:
If the ‘Tillerson swapped out for Pompeo and then Pompeo replaced by Tom Cotton‘ shakeup actually happens, it will be amazing the degree to which Trump’s core campaign message – disengagement from aggressive, regime change-oriented policies in the Middle East – turned out to be unmitigated bullshit.

It’s not that it’s surprising of course. Trump campaigned as a champion of middle class ‘real Americans’ against Wall Street and coastal elite fat cats. He’s ended up presiding over an extreme Club for Growth handouts to Wall Street economic policy. But Trump’s anti-Middle East interventionism seemed a bit more core to his beliefs.

Don’t get me wrong. It was always 100% clear to me that Trump would have a highly militaristic foreign policy.... But if you had to pick one member of the current US Senate most in line with, most identified with the militarist, neoconservative foreign policy that drove Bush foreign policy in his first term, it’s Tom Cotton. Not even close. He carries the water for that crew and he is part of that crew.
Did you ever believe that Trump was serious about anti-interventionism? I didn't. I assumed he was serious about wanting America not to look like a loser (because not looking like a loser is one of the few fundamental precepts in what passes for Trump's moral code). And I assumed he hated the Bushes, for whatever reason. I assumed he picked up some skepticism about Republican wars from hanging out with Democratic politicians and rich Democratic donors in the days before he became a Fox News junkie and your crank wingnut uncle. And then Steve Bannon fed him a load of pseudointellectual semi-paleoconservatism that gave him a framework for attacking ex-president George W. Bush, expected GOP frontrunner Jeb Bush, and ultimate Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton. But Trump never really believed Bannon's ideas. He just thought they worked well as pot-stirrers, so he tossed them in a blender with his own hyperaggression, and the result was that he'd attack the Iraq War one day and promise to "bomb the shit out of" jihadists the next. If there's a core belief in there, it's "I can win any war, but everyone else is an idiot whose wars we shouldn't fight." And of course Trump would warm to Cotton -- Cotton is a Trump suck-up and, as an ex-soldier, the closest thing in Congress to the generals who regularly inspire mancrushes in Trump. So let's prepare for war with Iran -- and let's face it, there won't be a peep of protest from Bannon's Breitbart, because he was a phony war skeptic, too.

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