Monday, February 4, 2019
Trump gives "intelligence" a bad name.
A version of this was published on line at the Sky Hi News, February 5, 2019
Aside from reports Donald Trump has a short attention span and poor reading comprehension skills, there is another disturbing meaning to Trump's definition of "intelligence". Those who have tried to brief him, including his former secretary of state, reportedly called him a “***moron “. There are recent reports by other intelligence briefers who said he was "willfully ignorant" and he exploded in anger when he was given information that contradicted his public statements and agenda. Not only is he ignoring and dismissing his own intelligence agencies' conclusions, he is forging US foreign policy based on something other than rational use of any objective real-world facts supplied by his own agency appointees. If our country survives the next two years without a major foreign policy blunder, we can count ourselves lucky.
There are good reasons to suspect Trump has been listening to Putin because the foreign policy he is conducting supports Russia’s goals. Trump and Russia do not support US security policies that have created peace and prosperity in Europe post-Soviet era. Trump's foreign policy initiatives aid Russian actions to expand their influence and control to former Soviet spheres of interest. Putin's stealth invasion of Ukraine and his Crimea annexation resulted in the West imposing punishing sanctions on Putin’s oligarch friends. Trump just lifted sanctions on one oligarch, and would like to remove all sanctions, period. While repeating Putin’s very words, Trump called NATO “obsolete” and he threatens to pull out from NATO, a mutual defense treaty, which would clear the way for Russia to try Ukraine /Crimea - like takeovers in the Baltics and Balkans without triggering an automatic military response. US pulling out of Syria would leave Russia with greater influence the Middle East. Trump’s recent pulling out of the IMF treaty will allow Russia to develop their mid-range nuclear capability out in the open. No IMF treaty? No sweating compliance or fearing punishment when or if they have been outed and making this a much more dangerous world.
Trump's disdain for US intelligence services has a history in the Iraq war and faulty US intelligence verification that there were indeed weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. There were at that time no international inspectors on the ground in Iraq. Saddam cleverly created the fiction he had the capability in order to deter future attackers. The situation is very different in Iran. Thanks to the multinational Iran nuclear deal, that country has been constantly monitored by inspectors on site and shipments of nuclear material into Iran have been subject to inspection and control. Trump pulled out of the deal. Some fear Trump may be cooking up a reason to invade Iran, egged on by hawkish advisers. Destroying the Iran nuclear deal would end those inspections, but fortunately other signators continue the program without us.