Wednesday, August 10, 2016

@Henry or bust - the Democrats new war mantra


         Long ago Hillary Clinton gave the valedictorian's speech  at Wellesley against the Vietnam War.  She spoke about a generation seeking a new and more peaceful culture.  In the New York Times, Gail Collins joked in 2008 that the young Hillary would have voted in the Democratic Primaries for Obama...

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       But in 2016,  "to crack the glass ceiling" against women, she is out to prove her toughness by war policies.  She is now supported by neo-con imperialists who got us into the Iraq aggression, Robert Kagan - see here and here - and Max Boot and seeks - along with her advisors - expanded war with Russia in Syria and over the Ukraine.  For her coterie of policy advisors such as Victoria Nuland who works for arming the Ukraine, is a prospective Secretary of State candidate, and is married to Kagan, Michelle Flournoy, prospective Defense Secretary, chair of the Center for New American Security here pushes for US war against Russia and Assad, distracting from alliance on Daeesh.  They all have the illusion that exercise of American power means that others will back down...

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       Women are baited for not being tough enough.  Not Hillary (she will chew the fascist megalomaniac Trump up and spit him out).  There is  a psychological issue, however, in her adapting to  this patriarchal bait about war and women.  She is very, very smart/quick as Obama and Elizabeth Warren say.  She could figure things out.  But instead she has, through persistent enactment of being a tough guy, nonetheless and ironically, become a pretty thoughtless, tough guy.  She and her coterie threaten to try to drive Iran and Russia out of Iraq and Syria.  But these are de facto allies with the US against Daeesh.  That policy is stupid and counterproductive.

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    In Iraq, which Bush's aggression made Shia, the majority (60% of the population there), dominant in the government.  They are allies of Iran (also Shia).  In Iraq, the move against Iran is not only hopeless, but massively dangerous.  Hillary  is, of course, as is Flournoy and the Center for New American Security, undercutting the Iran nuclear deal, the great achievement of the Obama  era for preventing greater war in the Middle East.  This may be electoral "smarts" for a woman to become President.  But if this is wisdom, what is folly?

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        Hillary's belligerence - also a distraction from the vicious DNC emails against Bernie Sanders  -  is sanctioned by a propaganda campaign in the corporate press against all things Russian.  Against the monster Trump, the corporate press is, to a large extent, the Hillary press.

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       But this coverage omits aggressive NATO expansion - like a dagger -  up to the Russian border.  As David Bromwich says below in an, as usual, acute analysis, even Paul Krugman has baited Trump as a  "Siberian Candidate" here.  This recalls the "Manchurian candidate,"  a candidate brainwashed by the commie Chinese or Fu Manchu of the fantasies of once upon a time...; of the vanished commie Russians and Putin today}.  Ideologically, this combines red-baiting and racism.

      Given that Trump really is a malign fascist - as Bob Kagan has more intelligently said here, and a spewing racist, Krugman, a camp-follower of Hillary will do anything  for an appointment, and in turn, spews racism.  The point about Trump is that he is a monster racist, literally a fascist (check out all those tweets cribbed from the KKK, the pro-Nazi National Alliance and Britain First, inter alia - see here).

        How come Krugman and the Times find it acceptable to bait him as a "Slav" and "Chinese" robot?

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          "Slav" - the 1924 Immigration Law sought to preserve the "pure Nordic stock" of the United States against the Russian Revolution.  Eastern Europeans were the target.  Good to know that they are not only "black" - Hitler's racism toward the Poles, Ukrainians and Russians - but "Asiatic" (Fu Manchu) as well. This is how a very smart Democratic economist and the Times become, to oppose a fascist, two-bit racists.

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         Now, Hillary and Bill Clinton are dear friends of the Kissingers.  They vacation in December together at Oscar de la Renta's pad in the Dominican Republic. Hillary blithely invoked Kissinger's recommendation for the efficiency of her work in the State Department in a debate with Bernie Sanders.  Henry Kissinger has a reputation of being some sort of realist.  That is false.

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    Actually, he is a geopolitician - this idea was developed by Friedrich Ratzel in Germany, who collaborated with Frederick Jackson Turner, academic celebrator of Manifest Destiny/genocide against indigenous people and the ever-expanding American "frontier."  Ratzel founded the imperialist Pan-German League which sought to annex Poland.  Ratzel wrote on Biogeogrphie - biological geography - and Lebensraum - living space for Germans, modeled on the Wild West, in "the Wild East."

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        Ratzel's student, Karl Haushofer  was a general and then a professor.  His military assistant and "best" student was Rudolf Hess, who became Secretary to Hitler.  When Hitler and Hess were in Landsburg Prison for the Munich putsch in 1923, Haushofer tutored Hess and Hitler for five hours a week.  Thereafter, Hitler referred to Lebensraum in the "Wild East" in analogy with the American Wild West.  Haushofer extended the field of geo-politics, and is invoked favorably in Robert Kaplan's The Imperial Grunts (2006).  Kaplan speaks routinely, uncritically of Empire and praises the army's and marines'  new idiom, treating the whole world as "Injun Country" (chapter one, epilogue).

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     Realists often fail to define a national interest (Hans Morganthau; Stephen Krasner; see my Must Global Politics Constrain Democracy?, ch 2-3.  What they actually argue, however, is that preventing war is a common good for citizens.  For realism would save lives by heading off war compared to "moral views" like international legal agreements against war or international organizations.  If right,  realism is not, as realists tend to imagine, an amoral or value-free view.  Instead, well-stated realism, I argue in MGPCD, is a moral critique of moralisms.  It was the view, for example, of many leading critics of the Vietnam war including Morganthau, Kennan, Niebuhr, and Kenneth Waltz.

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    Geopolitics, by way of contrast, is about empire.  And it is treated that way in the upper circles of the American establishment  where it is also called "grand strategy."  Kissingerian (Haushoferian) Geopolitics opposes  the needs or interests of ordinary Americans, feigns, but betrays, a common good.  This slippage in many between well-argued realisms, critical of Vietnam or Iraq, and Imperial Geopolitics has to do with the desire for promotion in the elite establishment.  Speak too plainly and you will be converted, as Morganthau was, from traveling Vietnam for the State Department in the early 1960s into President Lyndon Johnson's main target among intellectuals: that "pointed headed German professor" at Chicago, as Johnson's press secretary John Roche referred to Morganthau...[MGPCD, ch. 2]

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      Now Kissinger himself has committed unspeakable crimes against humanity.  For instance, Kissinger oversaw the butchery in Chile on September 11, 1973.  As I was there this past March and walked through the Museo de la Memoria in Santiago, with its local memorials from every town to the some 60,000 disappeared, and the many more tortured, the words and stories of many of the tortured playing on heartbreakingly, its account of Victor Jarra, the guitarist and director of plays, whose hands were cut off in the football stadium before the army murdered him. its capturing of the words President Allende spoke to his people, crouching as the American planes of the Chilean air force bombed the Presidential palace and Allende waited for assassination.  Think of Hillary's urging/support for coup in Honduras in 2009 as a parallel. I have a visceral sense of Kissinger.

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     Add hundreds of thousands in East Timor or Cambodia. This, too, is demented fascsim.  Oh, but the mad Doctor, Hillary said, praised her conduct of the State Department as most efficient...

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    Yes, Hillary is different, but perhaps not so much.  Actually, she is lucky in that so far she has not become Kissingerian.  Organize against Obama for an escalating war with Russia over the Ukraine and Syria, betray the Iran agreement to get closer to Netanyahu, however, and look out...

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  Now Trump screams tortrue, torture, torture.  Hillary is not there.  Of course, she would be enormously better than Trump domestically.  She is now campaigning for a signature half a billion dollar public works program to provide more jobs in her first hundred days.  That is an electoral necessity for her to appeal to workers, a tribute to Bernie Sanders, and a wise Keynsian measure that will stimulate the economy.

       Trump is a fascist and only a fascist would support him (look in the mirror, Paul Ryan...).

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      Over the weekend, Hillary was  endorsed by CIA chief Mike Morell who practiced torture under Bush.  Is this, once again, the War Criminals for Hillary Society?

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    Hillary has cultivated "3:AM" toughness.  She has surrounded herself with advisors who push expansion, and is celebrated by the security establishment as tougher than Obama.

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    As he did not disclose, Morell also works for a pro-Clinton security advisory firm run by Philippe Reines (there are a number of such firms, for instance Madeleine Albright's).  He is a figure who combines war crimes under American and international law - torture - and corruption.  For an explanation of the relevant laws, see here.

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   What has expanded war with Russia and Iran and Syria to do with the needs and interests of ordinary Americans (what Hillary made a platform pact with Bernie about)?  Not much.

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    Will ordinary Americans support the new war policies shouted for by the Democrats - "USA," "USA," the new party of Reagan Republicans - and the Times?  Briefly - maybe this will propel Hillary through the election. But in the new year, most of us will rebel.  Please recall LBJ's wiping out of Barry Goldwater in November, 1964, escalation of troops in Vietnam in 1965, provocation of a vast anti-war movement, and Johnson's inability to run again by 1968.  Or Barack's previous attempt to get popular/Congressional support for firing missiles at Syria - opposed 9 to 1 in Elijah Cummings Maryland district and in Tom Cole's Oklahoma district.

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     Personally, I think Hillary may resemble Johnson domestically if the Democrats sweep (probably, she is too weak a candidate except that Trump is visibly twitchy on the nuclear trigger, crazy/bizarre when unscripted).

    If, that is, Hillary does not get us into a nuclear war with Russia.  Radiation travels..."

    The Democrats' "Morning in America" followed by evening/extinction...

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     Now Trump is genuinely frightening.  He needs to be defeated. And Hillary now has a lead (and is challenging apparently in Georgia and Utah).  And every day there are new Republican defections - waiting for her friend Henry, a big "get"...

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      But Hillary is also dangerous.  We need an anti-War movement from yesterday to take on her foreign policy and her transformation of the Democrats into the "humanitarian intervention"/ neocon (Kagan, Boot) or neo-neo con (Nuland, Flournoy, Susan Rice, Ann-Marie Slaughter though with doubts about the Hillary-protected military coup in Honduras in 2009 et al) War Party.

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Published on Friday, August 05, 2016 by Common Dreams
Ex-CIA Chief and Torture Defender Endorses Clinton -- Why Are Democrats Cheering?

'Whose endorsement would Democrats not treat as a benefit, at this point? How bad of an actor does someone need to be?'



Michael Morell swears in prior to testifying in front of the House Select Intelligence Committee in 2014. (Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images)

In a New York Times op-ed [ http://www.nytimes.com/2016/08/05/opinion/campaign-stops/i-ran-the-cia-now-im-endorsing-hillary-clinton.html ], former CIA head Michael Morell on Friday endorsed Hillary Clinton by arguing that the former secretary of state is "highly qualified to be commander in chief" because "she will deliver on the most important duty of a president -- keeping our nation safe."

Morell went on to praise Clinton's "more aggressive approach" to the conflict in Syria and to accuse Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump of being an "unwitting agent of Putin." (Morell doesn't disclose that he currently works [ http://gawker.com/i-ran-the-c-i-a-now-i-work-for-a-longtime-clinton-ally-1784871887 ] for a PR consulting firm run by longtime Clinton ally Phillippe Reines [ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philippe_Reines ].)

Morell has in the past defended torture [ http://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/the-cias-torture-defenders/ ], most publicly in a book  [ https://www.amazon.com/Rebuttal-Intelligence-Committees-Detention-Interrogation/dp/1591145872 ] published as a retort to the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee's report [ http://www.commondreams.org/news/2014/12/09/senate-cia-torture-report-details-ruthless-brutality-bush-era ] on the CIA's torture program during George W. Bush's presidency.[Morell is also a really atrocious villain and war criminal...].

And while many in the "mainstream [ https://twitter.com/JoyAnnReid/status/761568573810769921 ]" media [ https://twitter.com/FranklinFoer/status/761549431053451264 ] have focused uncritically on the op-ed's Putin-phobia [ http://www.commondreams.org/views/2016/08/05/propaganda-war-putin ], progressives have expressed alarm that the Clinton campaign and the Democratic Party are not only celebrating [ https://twitter.com/ABCPolitics/status/761609328474230785 ] an endorsement from a defender of torture, they are actually using such praise [ http://www.slate.com/blogs/the_slatest/2016/08/05/former_cia_chief_trump_poses_threat_to_national_security.html ] from neocons and war hawks [ https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/aug/05/hillary-clinton-military-endorsements-trump ] to promote [ https://twitter.com/kylegriffin1/status/761513815464738817 ] Clinton's candidacy:

==

  Democrats today will celebrate that ex-CIA Director accuses their opponent of being "an unwitting agent" of Russia https://t.co/ZMIMBKPJoZ https://t.co/ZMIMBKPJoZ ]
 --  Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald https://twitter.com/ggreenwald/ ]August 5, 2016 https://twitter.com/ggreenwald/status/761526637984964609 ]

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  Democrats LAST WEEK you celebrated yourselves for defending Muslims. Today you champion a man who surveilled, tortured, and imprisoned them.
 --  HR-Compliant Freddie (@freddiedeboer https://twitter.com/freddiedeboer/ ]August 5, 2016 https://twitter.com/freddiedeboer/status/761551507149975553 ]

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  Whose endorsement would Democrats not treat as a benefit, at this point? Dick Cheney? How bad of an actor does someone need to be?
 --  HR-Compliant Freddie (@freddiedeboer [ https://twitter.com/freddiedeboer/ ]) August 5, 2016 https://twitter.com/freddiedeboer/status/761550169729077248 ]

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  Heads of spy agencies, captains of industries, architects of war uniting behind Clinton seems little more fascist than troll scam artist man
 --  Zaid Jilani (@ZaidJilani https://twitter.com/ZaidJilani/ ]August 5, 2016 https://twitter.com/ZaidJilani/status/761586229133672453 ]

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  CIA director endorsement is ok. But as a #HenryOrBuster https://twitter.com/hashtag/HenryOrBuster?src=hash ], l won't vote for Clinton until Kissinger tells me to. https://t.co/jshZlpRM3g https://t.co/jshZlpRM3g ]
 --  Katie Halper (@kthalps https://twitter.com/kthalps/ ]) August 5, 2016 [ https://twitter.com/kthalps/status/761603437532512256 ]

==

Indeed, earlier this week, the Clinton campaign released an ad in which neoconservatives describe why they will be voting for the former secretary of state in November. Watch:

Unfit | Hillary Clinton | YouTube
Uploaded on 2 Aug 2016
(Watch more videos from Hillary Clinton)
     
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The Hawks’ Election Strategy: Pushing a New Cold War

Image: “Bulgarian forces fire from a mobile mortar platform in a BMP-23 infantry fighting vehicle during Exercise Platinum Lion 16-4 aboard Novo Selo Training Area, Bulgaria, July 13, 2016. This multi-national exercise brings together eight NATO and partner nations for a live-fire exercise aimed to strengthen regional defense in Eastern Europe. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Kelly L. Street, 2D MARDIV COMCAM/Released)”
Neocons and liberal hawks alike are insinuating that Trump is a Russian agent.



Begin with what is obvious: no responsible citizen ought to support in any way the presidential aspirations of Donald Trump. But in a wild election season, intelligent discussion cannot afford to end there. The past few weeks have cemented an extraordinary alliance to defeat Trump that joins two foreign-policy sects that were never entirely distinct: the neoconservatives who commandeered the Bush-Cheney foreign policy of 2001-2006, and liberal interventionists who supported the Iraq war, the Libya war, an expanded program of drone killings, and military intervention in Syria beyond what the Obama administration has allowed. With a spate of recent articles and op-eds, these people are preparing the ground for Hillary Clinton to assert that the Russian government is in league with the Trump campaign, and that Russia has intervened in the election by releasing hacked Democratic National Committee emails to embarrass Clinton.
In Slate magazine, for example, Franklin Foer explained that “Putin has a plan for destroying the West—and that plan looks a lot like Donald Trump.” The Washington Post columnist Anne Applebaum echoed this verdict: “we finally have a presidential candidate, Donald Trump, with direct and indirect links to a foreign dictator, Vladimir Putin, whose policies he promotes.” Foer and Applebaum have written earlier about Putin, in articles that had a stronger factual basis, and their stances are not surprising. A more telling measure of the efforts in the mainstream media to project a sinister association between Trump and Moscow may be found in a column by Paul Krugman entitled “The Siberian Candidate.”
Krugman here floats the idea that Trump may be a Russian agent, “Vladimir Putin’s man in the White House.” Stimulated by his own conjecture, he goes on to suggest that Trump “would actually follow a pro-Putin foreign policy”; that “Mr. Trump does, indeed, admire Putin”; that Trump’s helpless fondness for Putin comes out in his insistence that our NATO allies pay their share of the cost of maintaining NATO; that among Trump’s advisers, there may lurk a more “specific channel of influence”; and finally (a nameless general menace) that “there’s something very strange going on here.”
Krugman’s theory strikes a new note, for him. The column is an experimental smear, not in character for a Nobel Prize economist (though reminiscent of his predecessor at the Times, William Safire). Many people, these days, are being drawn to betray their best instincts, and it is not clear that Trump can be blamed for all of it; but he has succeeded in setting the tone even for his stoutest opponents. Thus Krugman in his final sentence echoes Trump’s own favorite device of speculative slander. “You just look at the body language,” said Trump a week ago about President Obama’s words in defense of the Baton Rouge police. “There's something going on. Look, there’s something going on.” And now Krugman on Trump: “There’s something very strange going on here.”
Yet it was not Krugman but the Atlantic Monthly blogger and reporter Jeffrey Goldberg who stole a march on subsequent alarmists by saying the choice between Clinton and Trump was really a choice between Clinton and an agent of Putin. This, in turn, was a clever variation on the tune called by Goldberg’s neoconservative associates, who a few weeks earlier had agreed in designating Trump a fascist. The collected previous writings against fascism by neoconservative pundits would make a very short book. But in an uproar, as soon as Trump’s nomination became a certainty, they discovered that fascism exists and that it is evil. In the 1980s, the same persons took care to soften their description of real fascists or quasi-fascists by using the adjective “authoritarian” in preference to the noun “tyrant.” They did so in keeping with their pragmatic need to palliate the actions of despots south of the border, whom they wanted the United States to support. Look up the New Republic articles of Charles Krauthammer in the 1980s, the testimony of Elliott Abrams before the Select Iran-Contra Committees, and the flattering account of U.S. policy in Robert Kagan’s book on Nicaragua, A Twilight Struggle, and you will get a fair impression of this literature.

The truth is that the charge of fascism against Trump was a stopgap measure. Now it has been replaced by a charge that he is soft on the Communist menace, or the next worst thing—which they are betting the American mind will translate into the same thing—he is soft on the Russian menace. Fascism was never a ripe choice of terms. It gets hardly any play and commands little attention in America. For the neoconservatives, Red-baiting is a more familiar tactic and in the absence of a Red, a Russian will do. They have good reason to suppose that Hillary Clinton will take the hint and adopt the convenient amalgam in order to sow confusion. The Russian menace resembles the Communist menace in the same way that the word “Iran” resembles the word “Iraq.”
The hope cherished by Goldberg and Kagan, Applebaum and Foer and possibly Krugman too, as well as Jonathan Chait in New York magazine (who praised the “long and fascinating report” by Foer) and doubtless a good many others who have yet to weigh in—the hope is that Mrs. Clinton will put the Cold War accusation of Trump at the heart of her election campaign. The language and logical processes of these articles are shoddy, their texture is pure tabloid, and they are full of words like “stooge” and “patsy,” which the earlier writings of these opinion makers would not lead one to expect. The design calls for Mrs. Clinton to run against Trump and Putin—and to forge the closest possible linkage between the two names in the public mind—on a foreign-policy platform already signaled in such documents as the letter by fifty-one anonymous State Department workers pleading for heavier US military action against the government of Syria. Indeed, the Trump-is-Putin amalgam now defines the propaganda wing of a larger policy that was laid out in a document whose drafters were willing to sign their names: the war-party liberal and neoconservative blueprint for “Extending American Power,” published by the Center for a New American Security. Many of the people involved in these proposals are known advisers of Mrs. Clinton; and if she heeds what they are saying, her anti-Putin course is clear. Push Iran and Russia out of Syria and Iraq, take up the NATO burden in Eastern Europe, and give bigger and deadlier weapons to Ukraine.
The sheer quantity of anti-Putin articles masquerading as commonplace or common sense will give her plenty of background music to work with. A New York Times unsigned editorial on May 19 asked why Vladimir Putin was “obsessive” about extending Russian power and why he has continued to defend the Assad government in Syria. Questions as pertinent but not as easily answered might be: why the United States is obsessed with challenging Russia in Russia’s backyard, and why we have scarcely begun to persuade our supposed allies Turkey and Saudi Arabia to withdraw support from the Syrian branch of Al Qaeda. Such questions have seldom been asked because—notwithstanding what is said for public consumption—U.S. leaders fear Islamist terrorism less than Russian leaders do. This may be partly because we are farther from its source, and partly from time-honored delusions of invulnerability. Accordingly, theorists like those at CNAS spool out elegant scenarios about continuing the fight at once to overthrow Assad and to defeat his Islamist opponents, and they nurse with impunity the fantastic conceit that this can be done without many American troops. After what the world has witnessed in Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya, a realistic or an obsessed Russian leader—choose whichever description you like—might be pardoned for judging the lie of the land in Syria without consulting the U.S. policy elite or the editors of the Times.
As secretary of state in Obama’s first term, later as a Democratic voice defining herself comfortably to the right of the president, and still later as a candidate in the Democratic primaries, Mrs. Clinton triangulated neoliberal policies such as humanitarian intervention and neoconservative policies such as unconditional support of Israel. The two branches of the war party, now united in CNAS, have agreed it would be good thing for American prestige, power and force-projection to renew the Cold War, and to do it with the best available target, Putin, as a ready-made scapegoat. Nothing in Mrs. Clinton’s history should lead us to believe that she will resist this demagogic appeal. Trump very likely will parry the blows by cooking up nominally ferocious sayings of his own against Putin. The result will not bring the scenes of disintegration in international politics any closer to humane resolution. But why is all this not quite harmless?
There is, in fact, a precedent for the strategy Mrs. Clinton has been advised to launch. In the 1960 campaign, John Kennedy ran to the right of Richard Nixon on nuclear policy toward the Soviet Union. He accused Nixon of having allowed a “missile gap.” Compared to Soviet Russia, so the story went, the United States was fielding an inferior force of ICBMs and was losing the Cold War. This turned out to be false. The Soviet Union under Khrushchev lagged well behind, and was never in hailing distance of catching up. Even so, the mistake was a factor in the events that led to the Cuban missile crisis of 1962; and that memory ought to give pause to anyone bent on a nobler aim than getting elected. We may deplore Donald Trump for his abridgment of the protocols of honest debate, his pandering to racial and religious prejudice, his contempt for plain facts and his lack of acquaintance with facts. But to picture Trump as an agent or enabler of Vladimir Putin—and to insinuate that anyone who seeks diplomatic arrangements with Moscow in preference to a new Cold War must be “soft”—does nothing to elevate the political discourse of the moment. It takes us out of the sewer and leads us into the cesspool.
David Bromwich is Sterling Professor of English at Yale University. He is the author of The Intellectual Life of Edmund Burke: From the Sublime and Beautiful to American Independence (Belknap Press, 2014).


Image: “Bulgarian forces fire from a mobile mortar platform in a BMP-23 infantry fighting vehicle during Exercise Platinum Lion 16-4 aboard Novo Selo Training Area, Bulgaria, July 13, 2016. This multi-national exercise brings together eight NATO and partner nations for a live-fire exercise aimed to strengthen regional defense in Eastern Europe. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Kelly L. Street, 2D MARDIV COMCAM/Released)”.

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