Trump and the risk of war
As the inauguration approaches, it seems the increased risk of a large scale war, which will inevitably come with his Presidency, is forbidden territory for the commentariat. You can speculate on the reasons for this, but I am more interested in assessing the risk itself. War, of course, is already a reality in Syria and Iraq, but there is little risk of escalation there.
To understand the risk, it is necessary to understand Trump and his demonic nature. As an atheist I do not mean that he is actually possessed by supernatural evil beings, only that his actions are guided by ill will. Political leaders fall somewhere on a spectrum between those whose main concern is to improve the lives of their supporters and those whose main concern is to destroy their perceived enemies. Trump, all too obviously, falls towards the latter end of that spectrum, along with such historical disasters as Mao, Pol Pot, Hitler and Stalin.
In addition to this, behind the bluster and bullying, Trump is deeply insecure. Why else all those attack tweets stimulated by comments a more secure personality would simply ignore or laugh at? Given the frequency and intensity with which he has responded, it is impossible to imagine that he will not behave in a similar manner on the international stage. The greatest risk is that he will enter into a dispute with a leader of a similar demonic nature. Unfortunately just such a figure rules North Korea. Kim Jong-un.
The similarities between the two are significant. Both are the over-indulged children of powerful men and have grown up to have a bottomless sense of entitlement. Even the bouffant hairstyles speak to their anxiety to appear large and powerful. Both display signs of unstable high self-esteem. The reality of their powerful positions being constantly undercut by their doubts about their fundamental worth and status. Trump demonstrates this most clearly in his behaviour towards women. Men who are secure and confident of their sexuality do not need to grab women by the pussy, nor to boast about their sexual conquests. Kim Jong-un has demonstrated his insecurity in the brutality with which he has executed those who have opposed or displeased him.
Korea has nuclear weapons. It is not clear that they have the ability to deliver them by ICBMs, but it is not a point that anyone would want clarified by their deployment. It can be argued that North Korea has nothing to gain from a nuclear exchange since the superiority of the US nuclear arsenal could easily reduce the entire state to radioactive rubble, but this misses a critical point. Until now the regime could be confident that the US would not strike first. This is critical to understanding their deliberate provocation. Kim Jong-un has known he would receive an unambiguous signal, if his provocations became too extreme.
He can no longer be certain of that with Trump in the White House. Insecure personalities tend to escalate conflicts as their self-esteem is destabilised by anything that could be interpreted as weakness. International situations can rapidly move from provocation, to misunderstanding, to crisis. If we look back at the Cuban Missile Crisis, it is clear that probably the most important factor in its resolution was the character of the leaders, Kennedy and Kruschev. At the critical moment both chose to ignore the advice of their generals and seek a diplomatic solution. The fact that both had deep personal experience of the reality of war may have been decisive. A similar degree of conflict occurring now, with Trump and Kim Jong-un, would surely end in nuclear war.
The Doomsday Clock, which assesses the risk of nuclear war, currently stands at 3 minutes to midnight and the erratic and aggressive nature of Kim Jong-un is a significant factor in the risk being rated so highly. Given that the next US President will mirror the North Korean leader's temperament, there is much to fear.
Chicken little in da house ! I thought that sky would have fallen by now ?
An alternative is that he is the first president to voice the opinion that the invasion of Iraq was a cluster fuck.
You reckon Hillary would have made that call ?
Loving the melodrama though Blindboy !
Keeps things interesting .
Time will tell Blowin.
In the meantime, he's making nice with Russia and saying that there is too many nukes.
He might be poking China but that was always the US strategy. That shit has been building for a while before Trump came on the scene.
I'm glad he's doing it to be honest.
I find it's just a nice touch to speak the same language as you're international masters , don't you ?
Makes things easy.
And I don't think I've got the drive to learn Mandarin to be honest.
Blowin I had a Chinese bloke who works at the local Consulate around for a BBQ last week. Point being, don't worry about learning Mandarin, in the elite schools they all learn English from an early age. He is completely fluent in English and Japanese, as is his wife. So who do you trust a country which has invaded only one other country since WW2 or our current ally. Sorry but I have lost count of their military adventures.
At least 86 by the U.S. since WWII by my count, including full-on invasions, command operations, CIA-backed coups, as well as the use of troops against their own people.
Maybe you should include the 45,000,000 people killed in the Great Leap Forward ?
Lets not forget that China has been a basket case since WW2 and is only now finding its feet...starting with a claim over 95percent of the South China Sea .
Sure the US sings from the same songbook, but at least they gave us 6 Rocky movies.
Despite the evidence of Russian influence in the US Presidential election, it is reported that they were surprised when Trump actually won. Even if that was the case, they would surely have anticipated the huge geopolitical advantages such a victory would hand to them. Given his adventurism in Ukraine and his posture towards the west, it has been clear for sometime that Putin has a definite agenda; to extend Russian hegemony to the borders of the old Soviet Union and to extend its sphere of influence, not merely into Eastern Europe but also, as events in Syria show, deep into the Middle East.
The great concern, following the events in Ukraine, has been that his next move will be into the Baltic States, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia. A recent war game simulation of such an invasion by Rand Corporation indicated that, even with US participation, NATO could not realistically prevent it and would have no viable alternative but to renew the Cold War. Trump's election, by creating uncertainty about continuing US participation in NATO, changes the calculation drastically in favour of Russia and consequently makes such an invasion, if not inevitable, then many times more likely.
From Trump's statements, it is a reasonable inference that he has no intention of trying to prevent Russia from achieving the hegemony and influence Putin is so actively seeking. Faced with an invasion of the Baltic States NATO, without the support of its strongest member, would be little more than a spectator. The end result then would be a situation perilously close to that Europe faced in the late 1930s. Then, the United Kingdom and its allies, without US support, drew a line against Germany at the border of Poland. Following an invasion of the Baltic States, Russian forces would be at the northern end of the Polish border.
It is always a mistake to assume that the next war will mirror the last, but it is entirely reasonable to be aware of similarities. It is unlikely that Russia would invade Poland, but the Ukraine is another story. With Trump in power Russia has so little to fear from the US, either militarily or economically, that it will feel free to politically destabilise Ukraine and manufacture pretexts for further incursions into its territory. A full scale invasion may be less likely, but with nothing to lose Ukraine may escalate the conflict itself into a full blown war.
In those circumstances NATO would again be virtually powerless, since to throw its full military weight into the conflict would be both politically unacceptable and strategically unwise in terms of maintaining the security of its members. Regardless of the response, at that point Europe would be forced to massively rearm to ensure that Russian territorial ambitions would not extend any further.
At every step of this Russian expansion, there is the possibility of misunderstandings with the European remnants of NATO. With both sides possessing nuclear weapons the risk of an escalation to nuclear war will become significant. Widespread conventional conflict is probably more likely, since Russia will believe that it can defeat a disunited NATO, but the lesser of the two evils would still be disastrous. We live in disturbingly interesting times.
Blowie, that's 7 Rocky flicks. Homework fail yet again. Trump/God only knows about all your other 'facts'. (Post) Struth!
As for this war shite, is there any $ in it?
If so, Trump will be all over it. Yew!
Come on Blindboy, we know you want to go full retard on this. You've been hinting at it and it must be galling you too have to cut off at drama queen levels. So I say have at it ! Hit us with both barrels.
Addendum- My apologies BB. A quick reread brought to light Trump's "demonic " personality and the mention of the doomsday clock. You went there mate. Hats off.
Any chance of a fantastical imagining of Hilary's rein along similar lines to this one ?
PS Obama government rained down 67000 bombs during his tenure. One every 20 minutes night and day by the maths. Aaahhh ....the good old days where we gave peace a chance.
What was wrong with the previous Trump thread? Why double up?
Anyhoo.... Obama - the longest war time president in history.
26171 bombs dropped by Obama's USA in 2016......
That's right - TWENTY SIX THOUSAND ONE HUNDRED AND SEVENTY ONE bombs in one year.
Lastly, why talk about the "risk" of war when we are AT WAR? Australia IS at war.
BB, Are you saying Trump is another Pol Pot, Stalin, Hitler ?? I assume you fear him so much but can you say he is one those ?? It would be interesting see exactly the evidence that the Russians had hacked the US. I believe to date, no one has actually revealed this. What the CIA or FBI have has yet to be verified.
In the build up to Trump's Presidency his aggressive attitude towards China attracted concern and comment. While Trump himself focused on trade more recent comments, by his nominee for Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, have threatened retaliatory actions against China over its construction of artificial islands in the South China Sea. It is to be hoped, most profoundly, that his threat to block China's access to the islands is only bluff, since any attempt to do so would almost certainly be interpreted as an act of war.
The rights and wrongs of the issue are less important than the potential consequences of escalating the dispute. In the past, in consideration of these consequences, it has been reasonable to assume that neither power would act impulsively or unwisely. Tillerson's comments throw grave doubt that this assumption will hold during a Trump Presidency.
Having wasted so many of its resources in destructive and destabilising wars in the Middle East, the US now finds that its influence is in decline, most notably in South East Asia where many nations are clearly reorienting their foreign policies away from the US and towards China. This recognises the geopolitical reality that, if it is not already, China soon will be the dominant regional power.
The danger will arise if the Trump administration fails to recognise the inevitability of their declining power in the region and provokes a serious conflict with China. Weakness and insecurity are frequent causes of aggression and few characters are as weak or as insecure as Trump. It is all too easy to imagine him, blinded by his own narcissism, pointlessly escalating a dispute otherwise easily resolved.
The best hope for avoiding this rests with China. They always play the long game so it is likely that they see the Trump for exactly what he is; a temporary and insubstantial obstacle to their increasing power. They will also see what Putin saw long ago, that he is foolish, and fools are easily manipulated. Agile Chinese diplomacy has the potential to side step Trump, to give him enough minor victories to satisfy his ego while taking their major victories quietly.
Yet China does not need to be passive. If the provocation is serious enough, or threatens their territorial integrity, including the artificial islands, they have the power to respond militarily. It is impossible to quantify the risks of this occurring, but easy to predict Trump's response - escalation, and with it the risk of nuclear war or a widespread conventional war.
War is seemingly ever present in our times, but not all wars are equal. Some are much more destructive of life and property than others. It is not to demean those who have died in lesser conflicts for us to fear greater ones. Estimates of the loss of life in World War 2 vary from 40 to 85 million. No war since has produced a remotely similar figure. Yet we know that nuclear armed nations have weapons whose use could kill many times that number in a time span so brief it could happen before half the world even knew there was a war. This is why it is so important for us to see that, in Trump, the US has produced a leader whose ignorance, arrogance and sheer blind stupidity could lead us into such a war. Let us hope for peace but be ready to respond should our own weak leaders acquiesce to his bumbling and incompetent leadership.
Cheers for the hard hitting journalism , Blindboy.
I'm off to build a nuclear fallout shelter then.
Does the current thought still recommend cowering under a school desk if I find myself within 10kms of the blast zone ?
Part 4 - threat of dissolution of the Federation of the USA, and resultant break up of states to smaller nations, (California could go it alone) with possibilities of a second civil war in America.
So many possible scenarios. Most of it is really dependent on economics rather than politics. If things work out well economically then nobody will give enough of a shit to start a war. If the world economy goes to shite then it could be on for young and old. I'm expecting it all to hit the fan just before I retire, blowing up my hopes for not working for a very long time. :-)
But in terms of personalities, Trump is fairly stable compared to the nutters he is appointing to very important positions. So many possibilities, nothing particularly likely.
Carry on BB, enjoying the commentary.
And what of China's artificial islands? BB writes
"Yet China does not need to be passive. If the provocation is serious enough, or threatens their territorial integrity, including the artificial islands, they have the power to respond militarily. It is impossible to quantify the risks of this occurring, but easy to predict Trump's response - escalation, and with it the risk of nuclear war or a widespread conventional war."
The old saying goes "imagine if everyone did it"......... Imagine if we all started building artificial islands in international waters, and placing military on those artificial islands..
Yes, Trump is a bully.... yes he is a loose cannon..... But why is there no thread here in politico about China's human rights abuse, and provocation in the South China sea? Why a second Trump thread? BB already has a Trump thread.... Is BB on the Chinese gravy train? (yes - that was tongue in cheek)
What about imminent meteor strike on the Earth ala Bruce Willis' Armageddon ?
Surely that must push the doomsday clock forward a bit ?
Well within Trump's demonic character to guide the planet into the path of a massive hunk of rock hurtling through space at warp speed.
Worse that Pol Pot he is. Worse than the red headed love child of Adolf and Idi Amin.
Worse than a Shannon Noll concert ?
A source from the Presidents intimate circle ( Blindboy ) says - YES !
Nothing is as bad as a Shannon Noll concert, blowin..... Get a fuckn grip, mate
I saw that Nollsie bloke at the Horse the other night...seems like a good egg.
Blowin, the approved technique is to bend over, put your head between your knees and kiss your arse goodbye.
trump has and continues to talk often and blase about nuclear weapons. this is worrying in itself. im pretty sure after Japan few presidents would have talked so loosely knowing what they knew and seeing what they saw. this guy is too dangerous.
"we know you want to go full retard on this"
You seem to be teetering on the edge Blindboy.
Anyhoooooo, back to China......
"Integrity"...... There's a fine word......
"territorial integrity, including the artificial islands,"...................
I wonder how Malaysia feels about China's "territorial integrity".... Or Vietnam.... Or Brunei...
In this situation, I'd choose the USA over China.....
As an aside, I know we're the 51st state and all, but how can we take seriously the propaganda surrounded China and the Spratly Islands?
The U.S has 84 military facilities in Japan alone and hundreds worldwide, including those in Australia.
Clearly we are so under the thrall of U.S. hegemony in this country that we've lost all perspective.
Should we talk about Diego Garcia ?
Or the fact that one of the new Chinese bases in the South China Sea -that they claim ownership over - actually sits inside the Phillipines 200mile economic exclusion zone ?
Powerful wankers wielding their power in the manner of wankers ....who'd have thought ?
Yeah it's fucking crazy.
I thought that title was a pisstake for a second, it seems obvious.
I was working on a boat with a bunch of American good ol' boys - Guns and Ammo mags on the crew mess table and Fox news on the satellite tv, the whole deal.
We were in Livorno on the west coast of Italy and just up the road is Camp Darby, a U.S. military base that stretches for miles right in the heart of Tuscany. This place supposedly has extensive underground structures that house tanks and planes, amongst other gear.
Anyway, one of the engineers on board used to be in the Coastguard and had full military clearance, so off he goes to Camp Darby to do some shopping. He comes back with pop tarts and twinkies and Bud and all sorts of shit. Pretty surreal and worthy of a thesis discussing American culture, military, etc etc.
Besides that, Big Mike the engineer was actually a top guy.
And yes, the Diego Garcia story is heartbreaking, also because there's supposed to be cranking waves there.
as they say...."possession is 9/10ths of the law".
Blowin that last line was gold...
There's not too much worse than a Powerful Wanker really is there?
As I said before the rights and wrongs of China claiming those islands is not the issue. Great powers do what suits them within their own sphere of influence so China will not be dissuaded or intimidated. Their purpose in establishing military bases is straight forward. A huge percentage of their trade passes through those waters and they want to ensure that it cannot be blockaded or otherwise interfered with by rival powers. As noted above the US has numerous military bases in the area. In the great game China has just taken an obvious geopolitical move that, if anything, enhances the balance of power in the region. Is it right, just or fair? No. Can it be reversed? At this stage, not without a war. Is it worth going to war over the issue? Absolutely not. Both the Philippines and Malaysia are moving towards China anyway and, at this stage, are probably only protesting to extract some concessions from China in other areas. Beyond that it is really no-one else's business unless there is interference with peaceful shipping.
That's as pure an example of apologism as I've ever seen Blindboy .
Always knew you were willing to trade individualism for the collective , but never realised you were straight communist.
Certainly explains having the CCP cultural attaché round for a barbie.
No one else's business when an un democratic nation usurps control over the worlds largest trade shipping route ...interesting.
You familiar with China's intervention - its way more acute than mere influence - in Australia's domestic politics ?
Realism, Blowin. I am not defending China specifically, just pointing out their motivations. You want morality? Forget politics, go chat to your local minister. Yeh I spent several hours with the cultural "cultural attaché" and discussed just about everything except politics, but I will be travelling with him through an area close to the disputed islands later this year, so maybe he will give me some insight.
So after 2000 words wringing your hands over Trump's "demonic" character, you now tell me it's not about morality.
And when you defend China, believe it or not , you are defending China specifically.
Two nations with out of control power issues.
And you narrow it down to one man's shortcomings .
Now that's specificallity.
Maybe a war with China played out on the distant region of Asia would be a good thing for the USA ?
Maybe not so good for you and I or the poor saps that would have their lives catastrophically altered - if not ended - by such an event , but maybe like WW2 the US would actually prosper from the conflict.
If you want reduce it to political motivations without impinging on morality.
My comments on Trump's character where all relevant to the issues. If I seem to favour China it is probably only that their side of the dispute is disregarded in most discussion of the issue. If the area was not already surrounded by US bases they would have had no reason to construct the artificial islands. Realpolitik Blowin, look it up.
Is that why China is building a military base in Djibouti ?
Because poor China is fraught with worry over its sovereignty ?
You seem to be struggling with the idea that China may not be the innocent lamb that you'd like to imagine it is.
Global expansionism with nefarious intent to subjugate foreign nations - look it up.
USA didn't invent and doesn't own the concept of domination.
As I have said, this is not about defending China. It is about realpolitik. If you cannot understand the geopolitics of the base, look it up. It goes beyond my current concerns.
blindboy I agree with your assertions about the insecurities of both Trump & China, however I don't think China is necessarily as clean & cut as you make them out to be. Certainly Tibet & Taiwan would agree with me there and I'm sure Pakistan & The Phillipines would agree too.
Trump is certainly flawed however I believe China has made these expansionist moves over the past decade mostly because they have not yet been challenged. If they had been blockaded upfront perhaps this circus never would have gotten this far as now they have suddenly become entitled victims who are simultaneously playing the bully.
It's doubtful the PRC would ever risk a war as they run the risk of losing control of the people. Nothing ruins propaganda like reality. They also consume so much that if shipping routes were blocked they would be eating each-other within a fortnight. And I'm sure this wouldn't go down well with the new Chinese middle-class, who would suddenly be poor as the factories they work in no longer have anyone to manufacture for.
The PRC likes the smiling backdoor diplomacy as it allows them to appear in control however with no military experience other than misguided rhetoric they know that any conflict will end poorly for them, even if they do possess a larger army.
Russia, on the other hand is a wild card. They hate the USA, Germany & China. If history is anything to go by then I'd guess they will wait for China to fall on its sword and then sweep up as many neighbouring countries as possible, just like WW2.
Regardless of what happens China is now too big for its boots and someone needs to point it out. Russia is so heavily sanctioned that they are now running out of options. And North Korea can't honestly expect to keep living in the dark ages for another generation without someone letting the cat out of the bag...
Gaz I make no claim about China beyond it playing geopolitics for its own advantage........and the Chinese middle class don't work in factories, they own them. As for being too big for its boots.....well it is a big place with a huge population and has sustained a higher rate of economic growth than anyone thought possible for longer than anyone thought possible.......so maybe the exact opposite, they are just growing into some over sized boots.
...and these 'boots' are made for...? Walking? Dancing? Stomping? Spot of gardening?
The majority of their economic growth is from overseas consumption it's no miracle, they are the cheapest country to manufacture in. The only miracle is that the ruling class haven't been turfed out yet. The more educated the Chinese people get the flimsier the communist party looks. One big round of sanctions and China would implode and the "One China" policy will be remembered in history along with other mental expansionist ideas like "Lebensraum" and the USSR
Blindboy - you say China's actions go beyond your current concerns immediately after initiating a thread and writing 2000 words regarding your fears of Trump being involved in a war with China.
Is this personal ?
Did The Donald grab you right on the pussy ?
As far as I can tell from my current location at the heart of international politics ( sunny Bali ) , Trump is just the latest convenient figurehead with accordant personal values used to distract the public so that those that actually control the USA can continue with their business. Of course he is a fuckstick that's in it for the power and money , but I think that makes him a politician not deranged.
Unless of course you believe that Trump came up with the idea of confronting China on the world stage of his own volition .....and managed to commence staging this confrontation a good five years before he ran for office.
China's expansionist agenda is plain as day and I believe there will be a day of reckoning regardless who is fronting the USA , who are loath to see any diminishing of their hedgemony over world power.
So for Australia, which is currently overseen by the US, and is an amazing place to be though the screws are tightening somewhat due to their extreme capatilist ideologies , the alternative of being ruled by China would be a nightmare.
The opinions you've got on Trump ? They'd land you in gaol if we were under the iron fist of the communist party. Makes the free speech furore of 18c seem quaint by contrast.
That is the reality . Liking Trump or not is irrelevant. The US is going down this path and I hope they succeed with containing China though I certainly don't hope for war.
PS You've heard about China's interest in Fiji haven't you ? Supplying them with weapons etc. what do you reckon that's about ?
Maybe they've just got a thing for beautiful Pacific sunsets and bright corals ?
"Trump and the risk of war"
No matter what president USA elects there is always a risk they will get involved or cause a war.
When and who was the last USA president that was in power when the USA was not involved in a war???
Blowin if you want a response stay civil. I am over the petty irrelevant insults.
Indo, read the last paragraph of part 3.
Gaz, so China makes its money by making stuff and we make ours by digging up resources and selling to them so they can make stuff. Bottom line, we need them more than they need us.
ID: Clinton/Bush Jr. 2000.
But don't just take my word on it, here's Alex!
Longest without war shenanigans was FDR. 1935 - 40