Foreign Policy

Trumpian Foreign Policy Can Always Get Worse

JM Ashby
Written by JM Ashby

I wasn't sure what angle come at this from because there's so many layers to this shitcake.

We can start with the Trump regime's threat to Syria earlier this week that left Pentagon officials baffled. Secretary of Defense James Mattis took credit yesterday for preventing the use of chemical weapons.

"It appears that they took the warning seriously," Mattis said. "They didn't do it," he told reporters flying with him to Brussels for a meeting of NATO defense ministers.

He offered no evidence other than the fact that an attack had not taken place.

Asked whether he believed Assad's forces had called off any such strike completely, Mattis said: "I think you better ask Assad about that."

It's not clear if Mattis was taking credit for himself or on behalf of the White House, but in any case we don't know if this was ever actually going to happen. Five defense and intelligence officials who spoke to NBC News say they have no idea what the White House was referring to.

Meanwhile, Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner is suppose to be fixing everything, right? Isn't he suppose to be conjuring peace in the Middle-East?

According to Republican sources who spoke to The American Conservative, Trump's nepotism may be the reason why the State Department and Trump himself offered wildly conflicting messages regarding the blockade and isolation of Qatar.

After the State Department released a statement urging Gulf nations to back down, Trump spoke in the Rose Garden at the White House where he took credit for enabling the isolation of Qatar and identified the nation as a source of terrorism. Conservative sources say that was Kushner's doing.

A close associate of the secretary of state says that Tillerson was not only “blind-sided by the Trump statement,” but “absolutely enraged that the White House and State Department weren’t on the same page.” Tillerson’s aides, I was told, were convinced that the true author of Trump’s statement was U.A.E. ambassador Yousef Al Otaiba, a close friend of Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner. “Rex put two-and-two together,” his close associate says, “and concluded that this absolutely vacuous kid was running a second foreign policy out of the White House family quarters. Otaiba weighed in with Jared and Jared weighed in with Trump. What a mess.” The Trump statement was nearly the last straw for Tillerson, this close associate explains: “Rex is just exhausted. He can’t get any of his appointments approved and is running around the world cleaning up after a president whose primary foreign policy adviser is a 36-year-old amateur.”

Coincidentally, I made the same observation earlier this week: the Trump family is running their own foreign policy the enrich themselves.

Now, in related news, Tillerson reportedly "exploded" at the White House last Friday because young dipshits close to Trump are vetoing his nominees for department positions, among other things.

The normally laconic Texan unloaded on Johnny DeStefano, the head of the presidential personnel office, for torpedoing proposed nominees to senior State Department posts and for questioning his judgment.

Tillerson also complained that the White House was leaking damaging information about him to the news media, according to a person familiar with the meeting. Above all, he made clear that he did not want DeStefano’s office to “have any role in staffing” and “expressed frustration that anybody would know better” than he about who should work in his department — particularly after the president had promised him autonomy to make his own decisions and hires, according to a senior White House aide familiar with the conversation. [...]

Above all, the former ExxonMobil CEO, accustomed to having the final word on both personnel and policy in his corporate life, has balked at taking orders from political aides younger and less experienced than he is.

I don't know how sympathetic I am toward Tillerson given that he foolishly accepted the job to work with Trump, but Trump's henchmen in the White House rejecting Tillerson's nominees would line up with the Trump family running their own foreign policy.

I don't think it's a coincidence that virtually every foreign policy decision out of the White House roughly corresponds with Trump's business interests. His Muslim ban didn't cover a single country where he owns a hotel or property, Trump has backed away from antagonizing China and been rewarded for it, and he does not do business in Qatar, but he does do business in the UAE.

Isn't it suspicious that his statements against Qatar were fed to him by Jared Kushner who received them from their hand-selected ambassador to the UAE?

It almost seems amazing that Trump's corruption and ignorance haven't started a war yet, but it's only been six months.

  • gescove

    Even if Tillerson wasn’t exasperated, then so what? What exactly does Tillerson bring to the table of international relations other than being cozy with Putin and a fanboy of unbridled corporatism? Take away a few layers of shitcake and you have… shitcake.

  • Ellen Kuhlmann

    and yet, a recent Gallop poll said 85% of Republicans approve of how Trump is doing as President. Another said 80%. It really makes me wonder about our fellow Americans in the GOP–my opinion of them sinks every day to new lows.

  • muselet

    A man is standing on a street corner, snapping his fingers. A passerby asks him why.

    “I’m keeping the elephants away,” the man replies.

    “But,” the passerby says, “elephants don’t live here, only in Asia and Africa.”

    The man smiles. “See how well it works?”

    I wonder why that joke came to mind.

    As for rest, well, this is the sort of thing that happens when you put children in charge of things they don’t understand. (Although in the case of Jared Kushner, he understands his role very well: make Donald Trump happy.) Expertise is more valuable than youthful exuberance or skill at grifting, as it happens.

    If we get through the next 3½—or *gulp* 7½—years, it will be because of pure dumb luck.


  • Aynwrong

    Remember, Hillary was totally unacceptable because the Clinton Foundation took money from Saudi Arabia that would to pay for medication for the sick in third world countries and other forms of unacceptable corruption like….food and water.

    Shitcake is one of the few terms that feel appropriate to describe this idiocy. As I said yesterday I strongly suspect that any crafting of policy that takes place behind closed doors in the White House more or less resembles: