(Much to say today in a small way, which reminds me of the poems I am not writing, a sacrifice I make in the interests of public service. Time to come to the aid of the country, etc.)
President Trump fired Secretary of State Rex Tillerson today via Twitter; if the Russians ever hack into Trump’s Twitter account . . . Or perhaps they already have, or perhaps the Russians have done something even more difficult–hacked into the president’s brain.
You may, dear reader, have noticed that Trump does not use Twitter to criticize Vlad Putin or the Russian government. It’s probably just a big coincidence, but yesterday Tillerson blamed the Russians (as did England) for the nerve agent poisoning of a former Russian spy and his daughter, while Trump’s Twitter account and official spokespeople remained silent on the matter. Was this the last disloyal straw? Trump said of the Tillerson sacking: “We were not really thinking the same.” Tillerson, just a former oil executive, was clearly not great diplomatic material to begin with, but he was a more thoughtful, cautious guy than Trump and had the undiplomatic gumption to reportedly refer to our current president as “a moron.”
So Tillerson is out and CIA Director Mike Pompeo, no diplomat if ever there wasn’t one, is Trump’s choice to be a same-thinker at the State Dept. Given that the CIA has not exactly been a paragon of human rights virtue over the years (see the Human Rights Watch page on “CIA Activities”), allowing the militantly militant Pompeo to lead what ought to be the leading U.S. foreign policy voice for nonviolent engagement with the world, seems to suggest a bit of bad judgement on the part of our president. (No! you say. Yes, I’m afraid so.)
Here is how the NY Times sums up Pompeo’s worldview:
Mr. Pompeo, a West Point graduate best known for savaging Hillary Clinton’s response to the deadly attack in Benghazi, Libya, when she was secretary of state, has called for the Iran nuclear agreement to be ripped up, played down talk of Russia’s interference in the 2016 election and suggested that regime change in North Korea would be a welcome development.
Perhaps the U.S. Senate will have enough qualms about Mike Pompeo’s diplomatic qualifications to vote against his confirmation. But I wouldn’t bet on the sagacity of Senate Republicans, whom control the Senate, to deny Trump his pick before the mid-term elections. Some, maybe most, Democrats may object, but I would not count on that either. Objecting to militarism has not been a priority among Democrats lately.
Objecting to torture, however, may be popular enough in the U.S. Senate to encourage significant objection to Trump’s pick to head the C.I.A., Gina Haspel, at least among Democrats. Ms. Haspel was reportedly directly involved with a secret C.I.A. torture program.
Despite all the U.S. armed debacles in various places around the globe, Trump is well on his way to making the reputation of war and torture great again, at least in his own mind and administration. For though Trump talks big about agreeing to talk with North Korea about nuclear disarmament (always them, not us), when it comes to walking the talk about foreign relations, our president has proved he prefers a golf cart and Twitter.
What Trump, Pompeo and Haspel are thinking alike about does not bode well.
(Photo credit: By DonkeyHotey (Vladimir Putin carrying his buddy Donald Trump) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons)