Thursday, June 20, 2019


Two stories today confirm that the only reason President Trump hasn't gotten us into a war is that it's too much effort for him.

First, from The Washington Post:
With Maduro entrenched in Venezuela, Trump loses patience and interest in issue, officials say

Last winter, the ouster of Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro seemed a sure bet to President Trump, a quick foreign policy win at a time when other initiatives in Asia and the Middle East appeared stalled or headed in the wrong direction.

Then came spring, when Juan Guaidó, the opposition leader Trump had recognized as Venezuela’s legitimate president, called for the Venezuelan military to rise up and switch sides. But while the White House had received opposition assurances that many in the upper echelons of the security forces and government had pledged to flip, virtually none answered Guaidó’s call.

A frustrated Trump believed that national security adviser John Bolton and his director for Latin American policy, Mauricio Claver-Carone, “got played” by both the opposition and key Maduro officials, two senior administration officials said. As the president “chewed out the staff” in a meeting shortly after the April 30 failure, in the words of one former Trump official involved in Venezuela policy, he mused that he might need to get on the phone himself to get something done.

Summer arrives this week with Maduro still in place, and little indication that he is imminently on his way out, or that the Trump administration has a coherent strategy to remove him. The president, officials said, is losing both patience and interest in Venezuela.

... Trump has clearly been frustrated about a foreign policy issue he “always thought of ... as low-hanging fruit” on which he “could get a win and tout it as a major foreign policy victory,” the former official said. “Five or six months later ... it’s not coming together.”
He thought he could topple Maduro without reading a briefing book or canceling a golf match, but foreign policy is hard. So Trump just gave up.

On CNN this morning, Maggie Haberman said something similar about Trump and Iran:
During a discussion on news that Iran has shot down a U.S. drone over international airspace on CNN, New York Times White House correspondent Maggie Haberman explained that Donald Trump is in no rush to respond militarily because, for once, he knows he’s “out of his depth.” ...

“He usually responds to a provocation when it’s a smaller thing that he can punch and knock down,” Haberman explained. “He’s pretty aware he can’t actually do that with Iran. So I don’t think you’re going to see the typical, you know, as if he were swinging back at a primary foe. I think he is going to actually be a little more careful in what he says.”

When it was noted that Trump’s latest comments on Iran seemed more in line with the conciliatory tone he takes with North Korea’s Kim Jong-Un, Haberman said it was of a piece.

“Again, he can modulate when he wants to. He’s actually pretty careful when the situation can call for it and when he knows that he is out of his depth, right?” she added. “When he knows there are things he might not necessarily have some great base of knowledge to act on, so I do not expect a ferocious response from him but this is developing.”
Trump has no interest in geopolitics. He cares about winning. And not just winning -- winning without making much of an effort. He'll take a meeting with a dictator -- preferably in a lavish setting he can regard as a reflection on his own greatness -- but he doesn't want to think. He doesn't want to struggle. And he may hold grudges, but he's incapable of patience or endurance or anything that might require character.

So, despite the best efforts of John Bolton and Mike Pompeo, we really might make it to the end of Trump's term without a war, because Trump is a lazy bastard.

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