December 22, 2016
Obama’s been making a few actions this week that are clearly aimed at the incoming administration. First he banned drilling in the arctic indefinitely, he’s been working with Gitmo, and now Obama is dismantling the Muslim registry.
The press is reporting these moves as roadblocks against Trump, and I’ve seen some people say these moves can be undone. Everything can be undone, of course, so the question is how hard they will be to undo. I’ve been seeing some liberal activists saying every minute the administration has to spend undoing something is another minute they can’t use to do a brand new thing.
It’s not quite that simple, of course. An administration is often concerning itself with multiple things simultaneously, like a corporation. But in broad brush strokes, there’s some truth to it. Obama’s administration can absolutely hamstring the Trump administration in some ways. My dad used to teach me that when playing defense in soccer, it’s not always about stealing the ball. Just being there and slowing the other team’s progress makes a difference too. One of the biggest mistakes kids make is going for the ball, whereas as you get more experienced, you understand player placement on the field. A similar thing applies here. Obama can set up the field a certain way, even if Democrats will not have the ball.
But the biggest news of the day has to be Trump’s call for more nukes. The exact quote is “The United States must greatly strengthen and expand its nuclear capability until such time as the world comes to its senses regarding nukes.”
Meanwhile, Putin said “Russia should fortify its military nuclear potential and develop missiles that can penetrate any missile-defense system.” In the same 24 hour span. So that’s notable.
Traditionally, a military buildup in the US and Russia would mean they were competing with each other. But Trump and Putin seem to be angling for a partnership against threats in the middle east and eastern Europe. Well, that’s probably what Trump thinks, anyway. Putin’s probably thinking anything that strengthens Russia is good, full stop. I doubt Russia is interested in compromising with the US in any way. They want sanctions lifted, they want a strong military, and they want to be a superpower again.
Whatever the end game, whatever each country is trying to get out of it, the president-elect is calling for more nukes. That undoes three decades of dialing down nuclear capabilities and tensions.
Meanwhile, Trump has called for a veto in the UN security council on a resolution that would put pressure on Israel. It’s clear his administration isn’t just going to be pro-Israel, they’re going to be extremely anti-Palestinian. His advisors strongly disagree with a two state solution, strongly disagree with any compromise, and a strongly aligned with Bibbi. Not hard to see where that’s going to head.
The easiest way to win re-election is to be a wartime president. The easiest way to start wars is to inflame tensions in the middle east and with China. Trump made a big show of how against the Iraq war he was (he wasn’t) but now it’s looking like he’ll be more hawkish than even Cheney and W. We’ll see if America has an appetite for that kind of showdown.
There’s a quote that some people love to use with regards to Muslims: “kill ’em all and let god sort of them out.” It plays well as a swaggering western movie line, but here’s the thing: that would be a literal war crime. It would be literally as bad as the holocaust. So until now, those quotes are reserved for the kinds of people with no pull in the White House. But no longer.
Not a great day for those who want peace.