Showing posts with label Dictator. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Dictator. Show all posts

Sunday, February 23, 2020

Trump Has Made It to 80% Dictator

Back in 2016, Steven M Walt, a Robert and Renée Belfer professor of international relations at Harvard University, put up a post about how you can tell if your leader is a dictator. He recently updated this last week and Trump is "failing" his dictatorship test. By "failing," Walt means that he's only 80% of the way there. He ranks Trump as "Flashing Red Light" on 3 and "Checked" on 5.

Here is the one that bothers me the most.
3. Politicizing the civil service, military, National Guard, or domestic security agencies.
Trump has railed against the so-called Deep State ever since he became president, for one simple reason: He objects to any institution that might serve as a check on his own actions. That’s not how presidents behave; it’s what dictators do. Look what happened last year: Following well-established legal procedures, patriotic civil service members brought a case of questionable presidential conduct to light, beginning with the whistleblower’s report about Trump’s attempt to get the government of Ukraine to dig up dirt on former Vice President Joe Biden’s son. This revelation led to Trump’s impeachment, where we learned that he had relieved the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch, because she objected to Trump’s politically motivated machinations in that country.

Since his acquittal by Senate Republicans, Trump has launched a vicious campaign of payback. He fired former U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland (whom Trump had appointed) because Sondland reluctantly gave damaging testimony to the House impeachment inquiry. He fired National Security Council staffer (and Purple Heart recipient) Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman and then suggested Vindman ought to be disciplined further by the U.S. Army. In proper mafialike fashion, his vengeance also extended to Vindman’s twin brother (also a serving Army officer), even though the latter wasn’t involved in any of these machinations. And let’s not forget his personal interference in the military’s disciplinary proceedings against former Navy SEAL Edward Gallagher, who was accused of serious war crimes by numerous other SEALs and convicted by the military justice system for lesser offenses.

The unifying purpose behind all of these actions is obvious. What matters to Trump is not someone’s expertise, professionalism, loyalty to the country, or dedication to the Constitution. What matters to Trump is whether members of the foreign service, the civil service, or the military are personally loyal to him. That’s the demand he made of former FBI Director James Comey, and when he didn’t get it, Comey was fired, too. Right out of the dictator’s playbook.

Folks, there is no such thing as a “Deep State.” What we have is a president who is actively politicizing the civil service, the military and domestic security agencies and getting push back from it from people that know how wrong this is. We lost a president (Garfield) because of civil service corruption. We passed a law (the Pendleton Act) to prevent exactly what Trump is doing. People need to study this law and how our government actually works as opposed to having irrational and emotional feelings get the better of them. In short, Trump and his supporters are lying (again) about the government.

Don’t believe them.