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Monday, April 17, 2017

Michael Anton the ‘Intellectual Source Code for Trumpism’ is Also Obsessed With Nuclear Weapons

For those looking for the method behind Trump’s madness on foreign policy, Anton is considered his intellectual source code. It’s impossible not to be worried seeing Trump play Kim Jong Un’s game of brinksmanship that if anyone makes a wrong move could lead to nuclear war.

“Appearing on ABC, the former ambassador to South Korea who helmed Bush-era negotiations to get rid of North Korea’s nuclear weapons program said that President Donald Trump is playing brinkmanship with North Korean President Kim Jong Un and that “makes people nervous.”

“Speaking with This Week host Martha Raddatz, Ambassador Christopher Hill, who served in both the Bush and the Clinton administrations, explained what he believes Trump’s strategy is — if the president has one.”

“I think he’s trying to out-North Korean the North Koreans, so let’s see if that works,” suggested Hill.

“Certainly it makes people nervous when they’re not quite sure what he means by it,” Hill continued. “And, you know, great powers can’t really bluff. So when you talk in those terms, you’ve got to be prepared to back it up. And I guess that’s what worries people the most.”

“President Donald Trump’s rhetoric against North Korea has increased fears of a war with the authoritarian nation, with some worrying Trump may use nukes, since he has previously suggested that there is no point having “nukes if you’re not going to use them?”

What’s interesting is how cavalier the media is in talking about Trump’s foreign policy-‘He’s evolved! Isn’t that wonderful?’

They seem not to even consider what it means for someone who has multiple times complained about having nukes but not using them-evidently, he’s never heard of deterrence.

Certainly reading Michael Anton doesn’t make you feel better-turns out, this former Bush NSC guy who’s now on Trump’s NSC is just as obsessed with nukes as Trump-if not more so.

‘Machiavelli Would Approve’

“Donald Trump’s keep-them-guessing foreign policy, explained by the NSC’s Michael Anton.”

“During the 2016 campaign, Michael Anton was an anonymous pamphleteer making an inflammatory case for electing Trump, as a way he said, of blowing up a complacent and failing system, where both parties were complicit in a foreign policy that had flopped and a domestic situation so perilous America was “headed over the cliff.” It was, he wrote, “The Flight 93 election,” and the times were so dire that Americans had no choice but to charge the cockpit under Trump’s unconventional banner, even if the plane crashed.”

“…Anton’s intellectual hero Machiavelli would approve of the president’s keep-them-guessing foreign policy. “The only thing maybe predictable about his foreign policy is that he says to the world, I’m going to be unpredictable,” Anton says, in a wide-ranging conversation that covers everything from Anton’s choice of pseudonym to the possibility of a military strike in North Korea. “I think he relishes that, to keep adversaries, competitors alike, sort of off balance.”

In foreign policy, particularly among nations with nuclear weapons is unpredictability really a good thing?

“Anton, who notes that he was present for most of the president’s meetings over whether to launch the Syria airstrike and is shown seated in the Mar-a-Lago photograph of Trump and Co. when the decision was made, argues that the foreign policy commentariat – he refers dismissively to the national security “priesthood” of both parties in his writings – has overinterpreted Trump’s early international moves, mistakenly seeing them as a course correction.”

“Not so, he says; they are in fact signs of the deal-making flexibility and muscular response to challenges Trump promised on the campaign trail as an antidote to what he viewed as President Obama’s “weak” leadership in the world.”

If this is true-and there’s really no way to judge if it is or not-then the Very Serious Pundits who see this ‘course correction’ have been flimflammed yet again.

“Bottom line? Trump, he says, “doesn’t intend to use the U.S. military to effect regime change in Syria, which is completely consistent with everything he said during the course of his campaign, not just about Syria, but about other countries.” The president, Anton tells me, is also still eager to pursue reconciliation with Russia despite the current tough words over Russian backing of Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad and thinks “that he can even build a positive relationship with Vladimir Putin.”

Yet if Anton is right, then this misperception by the punditocracy is a feature not a bug. And this is true-we have no idea if Trump has actually changed anything on Syria or not. What is true is that it gives him more room to ‘get along better with Russia’ as many now think that Trump’s strike at Assad proves that Trump didn’t collude with Putin in this election as Trump seemingly just did something Putin didn’t like.

Looking back on the Syria strike here’s my hot take: Trump, Putin, Assad. How is it possible to take the word of any of them?

Here’s the thing: Nixon totally double crossed Diem post 1968 after the South Vietnam leader had shutdown LBJ’s peace talks. Voters can be remorseful, so why couldn’t Putin? The fact that Putin wanted Trump to win doesn’t mean he didn’t err in wanting it.

But having said that, it’s not clear if he regrets it. Maybe he saw the Syrian strike as harmless and necessary to give them some distance and room to maneuver.

But if you want to be reassured about Trump’s wondering why we can’t use nukes, Anton won’t do that for you:

“A SENIOR OFFICIAL on President Trump’s embattled National Security Council warned in previously unreported comments that it is “inevitable” an Islamic terrorist group will carry out a successful nuclear attack against the United States, and that in its aftermath, the world “will regress hundreds of years politically.” The official, Michael Anton, laid out a dire scenario of multiple nuclear detonations on American soil, saying that terrorists “will, I think, wait until they can hit us with several blows at once, followed by a number of follow-on blows.”

“Anton, appointed as the Trump administration’s senior director of strategic communications on the NSC, wrote in 2009 that he was “surprised it hasn’t happened yet” and predicted that once the attacks occur, “economies will collapse … the world will revert to a kind of localsim [sic] and warlordism.” He added, “If Chicago wakes up one morning and NY is simply not there any more, and some dude on Al Jazeera is saying, ‘Chicago you are next!’ I don’t see order lasting long.”

“New York, he added, seems to be the most likely first target.”

This actually makes him sound like what he is: a Bushie. During the Bush years we were always hearing that it’s ‘Not if but when we’re hit again.’

Anton’s bunker mentality-he literally urges people to go underground reminds you of Dick Cheney.

“An all out nuclear war is not inevitable, or even likely,” he wrote in a discussion thread he started about nuclear terrorism. “A regional nuclear exchange between two regional powers is more likely, but still not inevitable. A nuclear detonation in a major US or European city (or Moscow) is inevitable.” He added, “Let’s just say the event is overdue. People have been wanting to do it for a long time, and trying to do it for a long time. … As a general matter, anything that human beings have wanted to do badly enough, that it is physically possible to do, they have eventually found a way to do.”

His concerns were so severe that he provided advice to people thinking of building their own fallout shelters.

During the W years, Cheney would hide in underground bunkers for months at a time.

More than anything, Trump’s intellectual source code sounds very preoccupied with nuclear weapons. In a comment he describes in exhaustive detail how to build one:

“First, you will need fissile material. This has to be made, as it only occurs in nature in trace amounts. It is very hard to make, takes a long time, costs a lot of money, and requires a significant amount of land. You will need either a centrifuge cascade or a breeder reactor. These are probably beyond your reach.”

“So the other option is to aquire the stuff, that is, buy it or steal it. You will want either plutonium 239 or uranium 235. Or, to be a little more precise, uranium enriched to 90% or more u 235 (the rest u 238). (Lower enrichment levels can still make bombs, but the amount of fuel you need rises dramatically as enrichment drops, to the point where making a bomb becomes a practical impossibilty.)”

“It is a lot harder to make a plutonium bomb than an HEU bomb, for reasons I need not go into here. Also, HEU is more stable, and less likely to undergo spontenous fission. It also makes a far more reliable bomb, especially when built by amateurs. The downsides are, it is less powerful, and you need a lot more of it, which means your bomb will be bigger and heavier, and the yield to weight ratio will be lower. Life is full of trade-offs.”

I mean, if you are really that worried about ISIS getting a nuclear bomb isn’t it pretty dangerous to provide these sorts of step by step instructions on how to build one?

P.S. As we saw in my poll out last week, the long awaited poll results are in, and right now I’m just 11 points down vs. Peter King (GOP-NY-District 2). And the voters don’t even know who I am yet.

There is nothing more important in getting answers to Trump-Russia collusion than a Democratic House in 2019. Please donate to help me in my part of the effort to fight for a Dem House.

Thank you. We must have a Dem House. And so, we will.

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