As Russian troops swiftly moved into U.S. bases, ordered abandoned by Donald Trump, while Turkish soldiers murdered our old allies, the Kurds, we were left asking, yet again, what hold Vladimir Putin has over the president.
As the White House provided solid evidence that Trump moved to withhold military aid from Ukraine, invaded by and at war with its old nemesis Russia, we were left pondering, yet again, why Trump consistently kowtows to Putin.
As U.S. intelligence agencies warned Congress and the White House that Russia is trying, yet again, to interfere in U.S. elections in its ongoing effort to destroy democracy, we were left wondering, yet again, if we have a Manchurian candidate controlling government. (A reference to the 1959 novel, and movie, about the scion of a prominent, wealthy American family brainwashed into trying to promote a Communist conspiracy.)
We are left awed, if unsurprised, at Trump’s chutzpah in assailing the feckless Hunter Biden for joining the board of a Ukraine energy company while Trump’s children have profited by millions of dollars from deals with China and other dictatorships.
But it is the preventable Middle East slaughter that is a spectacularly awful example of Trump’s cluelessness about foreign policy. American soldiers safely protected the Kurds and kept Turkish forces at bay until Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan telephoned Trump, easily convincing him to withdraw, against all the president’s U.S. advisers. Not for nothing did The Guardian suggest that Trump is a “gullible idiot.”
A quarter of a million Kurds have fled their homes, facing ethnic cleansing. Hundreds of ISIS terrorists being imprisoned by the Kurds are escaping. (Remember how Trump crowed about defeating ISIS?)
Trump is left scrambling ineffectively, to try to admonish Turkey for doing the very thing that he acquiesced in, the very thing he unleashed by not understanding what he was doing. Oh, yes, he sent our troops to provide protection to another dictatorship, Saudi Arabia.
Suddenly, Americans are being called dishonorable and cowards.
The situation is so dire that even Lindsey Graham, the president’s most sycophantic senator, expressed initial horror at what Trump has wrought.
And, so, we turn to the Democrats. Oh dear.
Their latest debate in Westerville, Ohio, succeeded in convincing many Americans that it really is time to narrow the field. Twelve (!) Dems on a stage all promising the sun, moon and stars do not exactly inspire confidence that the Other Party has a workable solution to our Republican-induced psychosis.
After a heart attack, Bernie Sanders, 78, is clinging to the hope of political viability with embarrassing ardor, especially having introduced the noxious notion of “socialism” into the campaign. Having served at length as a senator and having made no discernible difference in legislative accomplishments beneficial to voters, Sanders is proving that ambition alone is not enough.
Current frontrunner Elizabeth Warren has a plan for everything except how to pay for everything or get anything through a divided Congress, where the Senate majority leader has pledged never to pass anything that might credit a Democrat. She’s far more than “likeable enough,” in Barack Obama’s famously cutting reference to Hillary Clinton, but many Democrats aren’t convinced she’s electable enough against a guy like Trump with no holds barred, even overshadowed as he is by impeachment proceedings.
It’s hard not to think of former Vice President Joe Biden as a voice wandering in the political wilderness. What are his plans? What is his vision? Except for his moderation in all things, his likeability and his assumption of the shield of inevitability, he has yet to convince Americans to elect him.
And then comes an immense crowd of also-rans trying to break through. Some are done. Some are boring. Some are intriguing such as Young Mayor Pete Buttigieg, Ultimate Middle Westerner Amy Klobachar, Cooler-Than-Thou Kamala Harris, Billionaire Populist Tom Steyer and Earnest Businessman Andrew Yang.
We’d like to know more about them, but Trump is sucking all the air out of the room – purposefully.
There’s a question we all want answered. Are we going to be OK?
That, sadly, is the one question nobody could answer in the Ohio Democratic debate. It’s the question that Trump, more than any recent president, has caused us to fret over, day after day. It’s not about making America “great” again; it’s about making sure America’s greatness – and the rule of law – have not been erased by Trump.
And now, as Russia moves to take advantage of Trump’s malfeasance, incredibly, we have to show the world we are neither dishonorable nor cowards.
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