Donald Trump Playing Poker with the Future of the Planet Earth

From my friend John:

Understanding the other side is not to be expected from a global power unless it has to, for strategic purposes. [Rather than openly weigh the pros and cons], it is much easier to keep your “subjects” in the dark… and shape perception, so as to be able to intervene as you see fit.

My cynicism is due to the wave of Trump reversals on policy: our election process has become a travesty, I’m waiting for Trump to reverse himself on climate change (Scott Pruitt has not revoked COP22 for now), health care is complicated (duh!); tax reform is complicated (duh!); come to think of it, maybe climate change is complicated too…

And then there is US foreign policy: really complicated!U.S. Foreign Policy Can be Only as Good as the Public’s Understanding of World Affairs.

Univ. of Central Florida makes the following points: “only 37 percent of young Americans could place Iraq on a map – just three years after we invaded that country….Public ignorance has potentially very grave consequences for American foreign policy. Should we be invading places that many Americans cannot even pinpoint on a map? Should we be allowing our presidents to wage foreign wars without our knowledge? ….Elected officials are supposed to be the delegates of the people. And herein lies the significance of popular ignorance of American foreign policy: it makes a delegate-style approach harder, since an electorate that doesn’t inform itself about the issues cannot possibly hope to guide what leaders do, and cannot hope to prevent the kind of blunders with which American foreign policy has been littered….As Zbigniew Brzezinski, former national security advisor for President Carter, said: We can only have as good a foreign policy as the public’s understanding of world affairs.”   And “An uninformed mass public truly empowers… [those that believe]… that the top decision-makers should be left alone to make foreign policy as they see fit, without the checks and balances of the herd.” Yup, that is us.

That kind of thinking brought us Vietnam, Watergate, Colonel North and Iraq.   “The less we know, the more we place American foreign policy in the hands of those who want to make foreign policy without troubling themselves with our input or burdening themselves with the terrible costs of war.”

And today we are talking about Yemen, and Syria, and Afganistan, and North Korea.  Even a nuclear war is in the cards!

Donald Trump is playing poker with the future of the planet earth.  It is urgent that Congress take back the power invested in them, namely to declare war, before it is too late.  And that means our congressman Lee Zeldin too.  If we take seriously the idea that presidents should not have the legal authority— any of them, much less Trump —  to conduct arbitrary and unilateral nuclear war. Perhaps now, decades after the end of the Cold War, we are past the moment when we need to entrust that power in a single person.   I am dead serious.

About D. Posnett MD

Emeritus Prof. of Medicine, Weill Cornell Medical College
This entry was posted in foreign policy, Uncategorized, war. Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Donald Trump Playing Poker with the Future of the Planet Earth

  1. Mike Anthony says:

    Yes. The public is fairly ignorant of important foreign policy matters and many believe our federal budget allocates much more foreign aid than we actually provide.

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