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Sunday, February 12, 2017

Is this any way to run a superpower? This is all--all--from one NYTimes article

 "And while Mr. Obama liked policy option papers that were three to six single-spaced pages, council staff members are now being told to keep papers to a single page, with lots of graphics and maps...“The president likes maps,” one official said."
One page, with lots of graphics and maps...and how much space does that leave for, you know, WORDS?

"Three weeks into the Trump administration, [National Security council] staff members get up in the morning, read President Trump’s Twitter posts and struggle to make policy to fit them. Most are kept in the dark about what Mr. Trump tells foreign leaders in his phone calls..."

"...what is happening under the Trump White House is different, officials say, and not just because of Mr. Trump’s Twitter foreign policy. (Two officials said that at one recent meeting, there was talk of feeding suggested Twitter posts to the president so the council’s staff would have greater influence.)"

"New Trump appointees are carrying coffee mugs with that Trump campaign slogan into meetings with foreign counterparts, one staff member said."

"Mr. Trump’s council staff draws heavily from the military...Many of the first ideas that have been floated have involved military, rather than diplomatic, initiatives."

"Last week, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis was exploring whether the Navy could intercept and board an Iranian ship to look for contraband weapons possibly headed to Houthi fighters in Yemen...But the ship was in international waters in the Arabian Sea, according to two officials. Mr. Mattis ultimately decided to set the operation aside, at least for now."

  "Paper flow, the lifeblood of the bureaucracy, has been erratic. A senior Pentagon official saw a draft executive order on prisoner treatment only through unofficial rumors and news media leaks. He called the White House to find out if it was real and said he had concerns but was not sure if he was authorized to make suggestions."

"Officials said that the absence of an orderly flow of council documents, ultimately the responsibility of Mr. Flynn, explained why Mr. Mattis and Mike Pompeo, the director of the C.I.A., never saw a number of Mr. Trump’s executive orders before they were issued. One order had to be amended after it was made public, to reassure Mr. Pompeo that he had a regular seat on the council."

"Two people with direct access to the White House leadership said Mr. Flynn was surprised to learn that the State Department and Congress play a pivotal role in foreign arms sales and technology transfers. So it was a rude discovery that Mr. Trump could not simply order the Pentagon to send more weapons to Saudi Arabia — which is clamoring to have an Obama administration ban on the sale of cluster bombs and precision-guided weapons lifted — or to deliver bigger weapons packages to the United Arab Emirates."
 My comment:  Cluster bombs are anti-personnel weapons. And in Saudi Arabia, that means they are intended for use against civilians.

"Several staff members said that Mr. Flynn, who was a career Army officer, was not familiar with how to call up the National Guard in an emergency — for, say, a natural disaster like Hurricane Katrina or the detonation of a dirty bomb in an American city."

And there's much more.


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