Green Global WRECK ~ Feb 15, 2017

The Trump Administration has concretized into an enormous wrecking ball, with a combination of incompetence, maliciousness and geo-strategic intent to dismantle the current world order, with abandon.  This is so central to our reality that we would be remiss not to start to catalogue this global wreck of a Presidency.  The green, in this case, refers to $$… both the personal financial implications to White House principals, but also to the broader theme of “following the money”…

1) Central to all topics going forward: A full on Russian intelligence operation

It is increasingly clear that the peculiar profile of some individuals selected for leading roles in the Administration, combine to create a full on Kremlin Presidency.

  • Paul Manaford, a key strategic consultant during much of the campaign, resigned abruptly when it information surfaced to show incriminating financial links making any pro-Russia narrative impossible to disentangle from his private interests.
  • Retired General Flynn, a long term intelligence professional, was caught engaging with Russian intelligence, then lying about it, repeatedly, even after the intelligence community briefed Trump about the dangerous exposure to Russian undue influence.
  • President Trump himself has a long history of reliance on Russian money (possibly Russian mafia), to emerge out of financial collapse at Trump Organization
  • Secretary of State Rex TIllerson, a 40 year executive at Exxon, the largest US Industrial group, has deep and long history of engagement with Russia, and currently is sitting on the opportunity to remove sanctions placed by the Obama Administration upon Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and annexation of Crimea.  The $$ potential is a massive $500Billion oil field development.

2) Dismantling / disrupting Europe and NATO

One of Russia’s primary foreign policy goals is the dismantling of NATO and the implosion of European institutions.  A united Europe, an economic block larger than the US Economy, that shares a continent with Russia and has created a strategic alternative for a slate of former “east european states” previously tethered to the Soviet Union.  The “no big deal” message sent by Candidate Trump, when addressing Crimea and the Russian invasion, was chilling not only in the Ukraine, but anywhere in Europe where the prospect of an un-checked expansive Russia has very real and tangible consequences.

There are two $$ dimensions here.  The first of course is to curry favors from Russia, an understandable objective for an administration deeply indebted to Russia.  And the second is a more appropriate policy orientation, to seek to negotiate a higher level of financial contribution by NATO members, so as to reduce the US’ burden on NATO.    And this last part is fair game.

But what is NOT fair game is the damage that this negotiating position is doing to the credibility of NATO itself – an institution that managed to deliver a 60 year peace in the European theater.  Inherent in NATO is the concept behind “article 5”, namely that an attack on one NATO member is an attack on ALL NATO members.  In fact, and ironically, the only time that article 5 was exercised was… by the United States after 9/11, when the US called in its NATO chips and asked for a multi-national effort to respond and join the new “War on Terror”.

3) Bravado, posturing, and folding: South China Sea

While the extent of the “Kremlin Presidency” is the primordial topic for its all encompassing implications, lest we forget, the administration’s wrecking ball started with a casual cast away of a delicate diplomatic balancing act revolving around Taiwan.  With one phone call from the Taiwanese President and a string of follow on “what’s the big deal” type Presidential tweets, US policy vis a vis China shifted momentously toward accelerated conflict.

Those inclined to view Trump’s ad hoc, shoot from the hip, diplomacy (if it can be called that), suggested it was a sign of strength and an opening move toward complex, multi-dimensional negotiations.   But it was not.  No sooner was Trump advised, post facto, of the implications of his random tweets, unsupported by substantive briefings and intelligence assessments, Trump essentially backed down.  Instantly.  Restating that “One China” was in fact the continuing US policy vis a vis China. Why this matters is that there is now a discernible pattern of bluster (for domestic consumption), chaos (resulting from untempered tweets as US Foreign Policy), and reversal to appease pissed off allies.

This tale of bravado + chaos + reversal can also be seen in unfiltered comments by the President about moving the US Embassy to Jerusalem (in direct contradiction of pre-existing international consensus), from which they are now back pedaling, or the Administration’s comments about supporting further Israeli construction in the Palestinian territory (from which they are now back pedaling)…

There are, of course, many, many additional topics that point to chaos (purposeful or resulting from managerial incompetence):  most curious amongst them is the US Government’s position vis a vis the US $.  Some say it needs to go up (“a strong dollar is good for America”), and some say it needs to go down (“the Euro, the Yen, the Yuan are currency manipulated and intentionally deflated”).

What results is a global wreck of unimaginable consequence.  We now witness a new US Presdiential Administration that is staffed with neophytes in governing or the management of enormous bureaucracies, uninterested in the detailed substance of policy and historic precedent, casual about coordination with governmental sources of expertise and functional execution, and, above all else, compromised by financial ties (and probably blackmail) with the Kremlin.

And this is not even the end of Month one.  A green global wreck indeed!

Ben

21 thoughts on “Green Global WRECK ~ Feb 15, 2017

  1. Liesbet

    Cringing here. Again. How do we stop all this, Ben? What drives me even more crazy is the fact that most Trump supporters don’t even believe that things are going terribly wrong!! All Trump’s decisions seem to encourage the outbreak of war… It is so very scary and I am not surprised that Mark and I have been depressed since the elections.

    1. GreenGlobalTrek Post author

      Buckle up Liesbet. This is no time to be depressed 🙂 Just being aware of what is going in is already contributing to the robustness of the democratic system that is in play right now.

      What you can do? you can contribute to persistent signaling that you are paying attention, that you appreciate the news media doing their job, namely investigative journalism in the face of blatant media control pronouncements by the president.

      There remain some that have a voice (for now) ~ the media, the courts and Congress (Republicans and Democrats) that still have the ability (if not yet the will, in the case of Republicans in congress) to keep the administration in check (and possibly roll it back once they conclude that the US Democratic experiment is in play).

      Ben

  2. John Robertshaw

    Heartening to hear your voices of reason, impassioned informed & intelligent. We have a drunk driver, asleep at the wheel. And, as you so rightly observe, millions actively encouraging this as though watching a Punch and Judy show. No big deal, indeed!

    1. GreenGlobalTrek Post author

      Thank you John.

      If he were only “drunk”, there would be hope that tomorrow he would sober up. Disastrously this is a 24/7 mental condition, “Narcissistic personality disorder.” There is no reprieve to be had until the other pillars of the Democratic experiment in America kick in to defend the integrity of the democratic process after a bloodless Russian coup.

      Ben

  3. judith westerfield

    The one good that is coming out of all this chaos is the mobilization of voices (and feet on the pavement) of those of us who had grown complacent, taken democracy for granted and/or weren’t really paying as close attention as is always needed to preserve freedom.

    1. GreenGlobalTrek Post author

      Judith we completely agree. It is definitely important for people to keep speaking out and have their voices heard. We cannot accept that this is the new normal. It definitely is NOT!

      The problem now is that is likely that there will be increasing confrontation between this administration and whomever becomes their adversary on any topic so we can expect a level of strident antagonism. There is no soft landing from this.

      Ben

      1. Jacqueline Bell

        I am optimistic by nature(Sagittarius too) but it makes me feel so sad and helpless (I am too old now to join my fellow democrats in the streets) to hear and read the news each day. And yet I am obsessed by what I watch..How did we get to this point??? I hope America will wake up fast before our democracy is destroyed. You, young people can still make a difference..Get involved, write to your congressmen/women attend town-halls and above all talk to your children and grandchildren about the danger of passivity.

        1. GreenGlobalTrek Post author

          “The danger of passivity” … I like that! But before one has to worry about passivity, one needs to worry about the more fundamental issue which is the abandonment of facts. To live in a world where half of the population is not burdened by facts, where investigative news is dismissed as “fake news” and where racist alt right media is considered real news….. THAT, I think is the root real problem.

          Thanks for stopping by and leaving a thoughtful comment.

          Ben

  4. Shari Pratt

    Add to this Trump’s insistence that the media are all liars and that his base gets its info from his tweets, and now we have a sizable part of the country convinced that he doesn’t lie, everyone else does.

    Thank you for concise assessment of the situation.

    1. GreenGlobalTrek Post author

      Jo, I for one am rooting for a continued culture of investigative journalism and the guts to carry news analysis to wherever it leads, even in the face of repeated attacks by the president of the U.S.

      Ben

  5. Anita @ No Particular Place To Go

    How can it be that this is only the end of week 4 of the new administration? A wrecking ball in the form of DT and the GOP has been unleashed upon democracy in the US and worldwide to dismantle the carefully placed building blocks of decades of negotiated treaties. Add to that the blindfolded-by-ignorance boasting and arrogance that accompany each meeting of #45 with other world leaders and I want to cringe. The majority of the US is quickly realizing how fragile a democracy really is. Hopefully our voices and protests can be heard and the GOP will realize that the country needs to come before the party for the sake of all of us who share the globe.

    1. GreenGlobalTrek Post author

      Hear, hear Anita. Doubtful though as the Republicans have a “football team” mentality of rooting for their team no matter what. And even in the face of apparent foreign – Russian interference, their normal bellicose voices on national security matters have been mute. Silence from the Republicans in the face of a Russian takeover! Now that’s rich.

      Ben

  6. Nicole Melancon

    It has been so awful sitting here watching this horrifying administration unfold. It has t even been a month and he has already done so much damage. What an awful mess!

    1. GreenGlobalTrek Post author

      Yup. 47 months to go! What is so bizarre to witness is the fact that there is clearly chaos in the white house, but 45 has a unique knack for turning things around by changing the topic, lying and flipping things around. He also changes position on a dime.

      Ben

  7. LuAnn

    Although I have vowed to step away from the wreck that is becoming this beautiful country, I am finding it difficult to do as I want to stay informed. You have very succinctly described the dire condition we find ourselves in within the first month of this new administration. It is very difficult to know what is truly going on, and what this maniac truly believes in, if anything other than his self-interests. He seems to change his views within the same few sentences. I fear for what is to come.

    1. GreenGlobalTrek Post author

      Thanks for your comments LuAnn. My take on “knowing what’s going on” is to select a few sources of trusted media which you know to be factually sound and which do a good job at factual journalism and then keep paying attention to the big story. In my case, my personal trifecta is: The Financial Times, BBC, New York Times and MSNBC.

      Knowing what is going on, will be for the next four years, an exercise in precisely NOT paying attention to what HE is saying, because it is part of his strategy and personal style to constantly change the topic and bury any significant issues under a constant stream of irrelevant but media content providing anecdotes.

      Ben

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