Sunday, November 20, 2016

Trump Cabinet Possibilities: At Least Meatloaf is Out of the Running

If the question of the day is whether the neocons would capture the Trump presidency, his cabinet suggestions do not yet answer that question. There are indicators that he will indeed become the lapdog of right wing ideologues, John Bolton being considered for Secretary of State being one strong example of an acquiescence to that school of thought. Bolton is one of the great chickenhawks of our time, famously confessing that, “…I had no desire to die in a Southeast Asian rice paddy,” but who was elemental in laying out the WMD bed of lies that served as pretext for the war in Iraq, and who gets visibly moist when speaking of chemical weapons.

Fair enough on the rice paddy situation, but Bolton’s enthusiasm for military solutions to nearly everything over the course of his administrative career can I think fairly be considered through this lens, and whether or not personal hypocrisy factors into assessing Bolton’s possible appointment, if you thought Hillary was a hawk, this guy is a cassowary. Mitt Romney, under “active consideration” for secretary of state, would be the wiser choice. If it turns out to be Bolton though, defense manufacturing stocks would be an excellent investment right now.

Also in the neocon hawk (but not chickenhawk) department is James Woolsey, who is reportedly being consulted heavily for security advice; Woolsey has never met a devastating military incursion he didn’t like. The refreshing aspect of Woolsey’s world view though is that he is a staunch environmentalist, driven in large part by his I think correct disposition that energy is a security issue. Add to that Trump’s hot-off-the-presses appointment of four-star general James Mattis as secretary of defense, and you have to think that Trump is getting ready to kill people and break things. Mattis is not a neocon doctrinaire like Woolsey, and he’s certainly not a chickenhawk like Bolton. He’s a serious choice, but in the chain of envision, strategize and implement, he is the big gun at the end of that process. My guess is he will be blowing things up fairly soon and my guess is also that he will be doing it extremely well.

I do not feel at all good about the other general Trump has on the team. In reading about General Flynn, I am surprised that he was promoted as rapidly as he was. He seems like a fool. Inconsistent in communication style and content, he is famous for leaving great chaos in his wake and a palpable grumbling dissatisfaction among his staff and colleagues, hardly desirable attributes of a leader at that level. In reading General Flynn himself, his writings are undisciplined and beneath standards I would expect of someone in his position in terms of organization and clarity. He doesn’t strike me as smart. When I read accounts of him in a hunt for positive reports, the terms “high-energy,” “workaholic” and “passionate” are what come up frequently. In my opinion, high-energy, workaholism and passion can be detriments rather than virtues if they are aimed in a twisted direction, and with Flynn, they are.

We could go down the line and make predictions, but as far as military spending and doing, “Give War a Chance” seems to be the aborning Trump administration plan, though the appointment of Romney over Bolton would install a governor on proactive militarism as a strategic preference. In any case, I am relieved that Meatloaf is apparently out of the running for any and all cabinet posts.

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