Wednesday, May 25, 2016

A Field Report for Reasonable People Who Support Trump

David Fitzsimmons posted this on his Facebook page, reprinted here in entirety.

Insight from the brilliant Mort Rosenblum: A Field Report for Reasonable People Who Support Trump

By Mort Rosenblum

WILD OLIVES, France - I'd love to haul down my satellite dish and stick to the sort of horseshit that nourishes trees, but I can't find any tab on my screen to unsubscribe to the human race. So, while we're all still around, here goes:
Anyone who supports Donald Trump without some very good reason, based on a firm grip of reality at home and abroad, risks being an accomplice -- however unwitting -- to crimes against humanity.

As a lifelong reporter, I value my credibility. As a former news agency correspondent, I rely on hard fact, direct sources and experts who earn my trust. True, I don't like Trump. But this is analysis, not opinion, aimed at people who do.

Please pass this along with your own thoughts to voters you know who are sympathetic to Trump's message - some of it makes sense - but are fair-minded enough to test it against reality in a complex world.

First, some primordial basics:

--Climate chaos is irrefutable and inescapable. Hard data shows that at the rate we're going, we're toast. Hunger, not war, pushed the bulk of 60 million refugees from their homes. When crops fail, we will join them with nowhere to go. Trump denies this for short-term profit at the expense of our progeny. He promises to reject even the token progress negotiated in Paris.

--The Islamic terror threat is exaggerated and feeds on our irrational fear. Its causes are precisely what Trump prescribes: harsh repression that breeds perceived injustice. Making fortresses of our airports and empty "or-else" threats only spike the danger. We need focused intelligence-based military action. But, more, we need to ease the poverty and despair that swell extremist ranks.

--Trump says China could defang North Korea with a phone call, and he wants nukes in South Korea. He admires Kim Jong-Un for exercising such power as a kid. But Kim balances precariously atop a house of wild cards. If pushed the wrong way at the wrong time, even by Beijing, he could make the Pacific glow. Boxing him requires skillful diplomacy in closed rooms, not a public showdown.

--We have enormous power over China, Trump says. We don't. China would win a hot war by attrition alone unless we irradiated the planet. If we came to conflict, financial squeezes, cyber assaults and tactical moves would be enough. In fact, China wants peaceable, lucrative coexistence. But 3,000 years should be enough to show us that the Middle Kingdom does not like to lose face.

--Russia also responds to bullying with hostility. Putin, like Trump, is an ego-driven demagogue, but he has a nuclear arsenal to match ours on a land mass no one has ever successfully invaded. EU leaders know he could freeze Europe solid simply by shutting down a few pipelines.

--As regime threats go, that leaves Iran. Trump wants to trash the treaty, but he can't. It is already in force, blunting nuclear threat, bringing Iran closer to the West and strengthening its many moderates. If we back out, Iran keeps what it negotiated and has all the more capacity to screw with us.

Beyond these specifics, Trump's cocksure belief of his own bombast, even when clearly wrong, puts the world in grave peril. He has no concept of limits to our "power," nor any idea about how growing raw contempt for him among friends and foes alike erodes our ability to lead by example.

Consider the latest example: Based on nothing, Trump tweeted that Islamic terrorists blew up that Egyptair plane. Days later, we don't know if it was a bomb. If so, whose? Terrorists almost always claim credit. No one has. Ever the opportunist, Trump seized the moment to terrorize Americans and, by twisted logic devoid of truth, blame Obama and Hillary Clinton for letting it happen.

When tragedy happens, we need perspective, not inflammatory tweets. That same day, 16,000 flights took off and landed safely around the world. You cannot run the world's only superpower by evoking generic fear or by blaming huge collectivities for the extremes of a few.

Trump is wrong about radical Islam. Mosques bring together disaffected youths in European slums but that is mostly circumstance, not faith. Many see ISIS as a counterbalance to rich Western nations that support Israel. Whether we agree or not, it's their reality.

No part of the map is more volatile, in need of skilled diplomacy, than Israeli and its neighborhood. One-sided support for a Zionist hard-line right or wrong endangers Israel -and Jews everywhere. It also defines us a nation.

In 1967, Egypt, Jordan and Syria invaded. Within six days, Israel occupied the Sinai, Gaza, the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights. In 1969, the redoubtable I.F. Stone, a journalist and a Jew, went for a look. He wrote:
"Stripped of propaganda and sentiment, the Palestine problem is, simply, the struggle of two different peoples for the same strip of land. ... For me the Arab problem is also the No. 1 Jewish problem. How we act toward the Arabs will determine what kind of people we become - either oppressors and racists in our turn like those from whom we have suffered, or a nobler race able to transcend the tribal xenophobias that afflict mankind."

Today, the map has not changed much, but a lot else has. A Vice news crew recently filmed young Palestinians facing heavy Israeli armor in the West Bank. Without noting the biblical irony, it focused on their weapons: slingshots.

For many across the world, David and Goliath have switched roles. Yet beyond unarmed kids, modern armies threaten Israel. To broker peace, we have to enforce negotiated accords and thwart extremists on all sides. The last thing we need is Sheldon Adelson giving Trump one billion dollars.

Adelson's sole issue is Israel. Early on, GOP contenders sat at his feet in Las Vegas to tell him how they hold family seders and read from the Passover book, even if they couldn't tell a Haggadah from Hagen Daz.

Trump, a huckster who knows his crowd, has a simple policy to deal with the unholy land hornets' nest: jam a sharp stick into it.

It is not just Trump. Republic candidates slung enough mud at each other to convince us that none was fit to lead. Now, with blatant hypocrisy, they give us that Gilda Radner line from Saturday Night Live: Never mind.

In the end, it comes down to that single overworked but crucial word at the heart of it: character. Who personifies America?

Down here in Provence, people simply can't get their heads around Trump. Our hillside teems with sangliers, big feral pigs, and it bristles with guns. The French also have the right to bear arms, although they draw the line at .50 caliber sniper cannons.

I just talked with friends about Trump's speech to the National Rifle Association, in which he said the Bataclan toll in Paris would have been much lower if people had guns to blaze away at trained terrorists in their midst.

How to capture those expressions in a single word? Disbelief, scorn, amusement, contempt. None come close. The best I can do is: profound horror at the thought of what such a loose cannon could mean to a powder keg world.

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