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Trump’s Dangerous ‘Do Somethingism’

According to this report [1], Trump seems to be the one pushing for a larger military attack on the Syria government against the advice of the Pentagon and Mattis:

Talking to Pentagon officials after the apparent gas attack, Mr. Trump called for a more sweeping retaliatory response than the military advised, one White House official said. He asked to consider options that would punish not only the Syrian regime but also two of its sponsors—Russia and Iran [bold mine-DL]. “He’s pressed back” on suggestions from Defense Secretary Jim Mattis that the response should be more limited in scope, the official said.

Whenever Trump makes alarming threats against other states, many people tend to discount them because he is such a changeable windbag so much of the time. In this case, I think we should take Trump’s threats, including his stupid taunting [2] of a nuclear-armed major power, as an indication of what he genuinely wants to do. Mattis may be able to talk him down to ordering a relatively smaller attack, but judging from this report and Trump’s other statements it seems that the president is almost looking for ways to escalate.

Trump seems to be unusually susceptible to demands that he “do something” in response to an atrocity in a foreign conflict. He presumably remembers how pundits swooned about his “leadership” when he ordered the attack on the Syrian government last year, and he craves that applause and affirmation. He reacts to whatever he sees on television, and he seems to easily influenced by the outlets that flatter and praise him, so if those outlets are telling him to attack that is almost certainly what he will do. Finally, Trump has no problem with ordering dangerous and unnecessary uses of force so long as he thinks they may him look “tough” in the eyes of the world.

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3 Comments To "Trump’s Dangerous ‘Do Somethingism’"

#1 Comment By b. On April 13, 2018 @ 5:04 pm

I will concern myself with Mattis the day he resigns. But then, he will not, and neither will any of the political generals at the top of the US military. It is correct to call Paul Ryan and every other elected representative to account for the failure to uphold their oath of office, but let us not forget that commissioned officers swear an oath as well, and that they are granted much respect from the American public individually, and as part of the military as an institution, for their willingness to sacrifice according to that oath.

If enlisted are asked to lay their lives on the line, general staff has to be willing to risk some retirement benefits to live up to their oath.

I doubt Mattis is making the argument that Paul Ryan is wrong, and that Trump would give an illegal order. That is the problem with opportunism, once you disregard the principles and the rules a low, there is no ground left to take a stand on. It is expediency all the way down to hell.

#2 Comment By jk On April 13, 2018 @ 8:23 pm

How do Trump supporters mentally unite all this hypocrisy from rhetoric to reality?

Trump used his pardon powers for Scooter Libby: The epitome of the Bush the Lesser administration the failures of the Iraq war.

#3 Comment By fank williams On April 15, 2018 @ 1:16 am

Jim Mattis plays Donald Trump like a flute–a hollow instrument full of holes. Jim knows that Trump like to be around “real” men in the dual sense of “real.” That is, “real” in the sense of “macho” and “real” in the sense of the “real” thing. He also has enough distance from himself that he is able to play a larger-than-life version of himself (as in “It’s fun to shoot some people”) and get away with it. But Jim can’t last much longer. He has said “No” to BABY too often. BABY wants his way. And BABY wants constant praise and admiration he can’t manufacture good feelings on his own. He’s like a tapeworm. Everything passes right him. And since the paymasters of the Democrats and the Republicans don’t want him creating anything outside of the military-industrial complex, he can only destroy things and people. And Jim sets limits on him. So Jim has got to go sometime soon. I’d say when North Korea says “No” to him. And Jim then says “No” to our nuking North Kurea