My Concerns While Traveling
No–I’m not worried about getting dragged off my flight to Paris in a few days–where, among other things I’ll cover the first round of the French elections–but the past week has left me with a few serious concerns.
The good news, such as it is, is that Steve Bannon has been pushed aside, perhaps demoted and may soon depart. I suspect, however, Trump will keep him on because, as LBJ used to put it about guys like Bannon, “it’s better to have him inside the tent pissing out rather than outside the tent pissing in.”
More worrisome however, is that Trump may be getting more war-like. It’s no secret his main concern–policy be damned–is his personal rating. After weeks of downslide, his ratings and commentaries about him from ordinarily hostile sources have gone up since lobbing missiles into Syria and dropping the largest conventional bomb in history in Afghanistan. Of course his numbers remain under water, despite the increase in positives, but to what extent will he go to keep boosting those numbers and maybe even wind up with over-all positives?
Most analysts agree that the “mother of all bombs” and the missile launch served no strategic purpose either in the endless Afghan war or the Syrian tragedy. Isn’t it more than passing strange that by bombing Assad’s Syria at the same time as we having been bombing hell out of one of his opponents–the Islamic State–we have now bombed both sides in an ongoing war? Well, after all, it is Trump and nothing should be considered strange anymore.
Both attacks have been widely interpreted as “warning shots” to Assad, Putin, North Korea, China and the rest of the world, announcing there’s a now really bellicose guy in the White House, so beware, brother, beware. He’ll turn on a dime and yesterdays enemies will be pals and friends become enemies.
The attacks serve yet another purpose: they have sidetracked the conversation about the various investigations the FBI, Senate and House are conducting to determine whether there was collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russians in an effort to stop Hillary Clinton and elect Trump. Fortunately, the investigations will continue as evidence mounts that several Trump aides have had all sorts of Russian entanglements–some collecting millions of bucks. The question is tying it all into Trump’s campaign, which may not be easy to do unless some stooge starts talking.
Finally, I’ve reached the conclusion that the reason Trump has given an endless stream of tasks–portfolios, as they say in Washington–to son-in-law Jared Kushner is beyond the fact that he trusts family first and foremost. I believe he is entrusting all those presidential responsibilities to a 36-year-old with no governmental experience because Trump himself really can’t handle all that responsibility–he is experiencing genuine self-doubt, though he would never admit it.
It’s clear the King of Mar-a-Lago loves the pomp of being president but really isn’t down with all the work and details involved. Unless, of course, he gets to lob an occasional missile.
Don Rose is a regular columnist for the Chicago Daily Observer