Leaders?

Hunter Biden has informed us he is cutting ties with the Chinese investment firm that the Chinese Government saw fit to give $1.5 Billion. We had no idea he was still raking it in from his dad’s vice-presidency. As we pointed out in our last post, Hunter gained lucrative positions in which he had zero qualifications solely on his dad’s situation. With his dad’s presidential run, we would’ve thought this swamp creature behavior had stopped long ago. He claims to have done nothing wrong and then promised never to accept offshore positions and money if his dad becomes President. Why would he? There would be far more lucrative positions available to him at home in a Biden presidency. No need to travel far. For his part, his dad also claims they did nothing wrong. Yet, his proposed ethics code outlaws this type of behavior precisely. Maybe this isn’t even needed. According to Washington Post writer Marc Thiessen, the Code of Federal Regulations bans this conduct. It states, “a relative with whom the employee has a close personal relationship” and “the circumstances would cause a reasonable person with knowledge of the relevant facts to question his impartiality in the matter, the employee should not participate in the matter.” Yet, Joe Biden forced the firing of the prosecutor investigating the Ukrainian gas company employing his son. Whether he was right or wrong in this case, he was forbidden to take this action. Simply, Joe Biden can’t do stuff where his impartiality could be questioned. If he had adhered to this rule, he wouldn’t be in such a fix. He broke the regulation. When you break the rules, you have done something wrong. In any case, both say they won’t do any more foreign deals if Joe gets to be President, wuld you really believe them when they can’t even own up to past transactions? They seem to think they are entitled to big unearned paychecks just because of high position. The rotten apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.

In any case, as predicted, Joe is fading. The Bidens mantras of we didn’t do anything wrong, we’ll never do it again, and we’ll make these activities illegal if they weren’t already shown appalling judgment. You just can’t have the ethically challenged Joe Biden being the face of the Democrats when they’re trying to impeach a president. The Democrats are all in on impeachment, so Joe has to go.

That leaves the rising but unelectable Elizabeth Warren as the front-runner. Our prediction 2020 Democratic nominee will be Michelle Obama is looking better every day. Doubters should be aware a recent New Hampshire poll shows her well ahead of the field. Remember you heard it here first years ago.

The Bidens aren’t the only ones lacking the sagacity needed for their jobs. President Trump aims to set a record for thoughtless actions. Topping the list is his abrupt North-Eastern Syria pullout. In December, when he first proposed abandonment of the area, he faced massive push back from almost everyone except Sen. Rand Paul. Defense Secretary Mattis even resigned over the matter. As we pointed out at the time, there was an excellent reason to maintain the status quo East of the Euphrates. Committing only a few thousand US troops, we had relieved ISIS of any land it had for its Caliphate, provided sanctuary for many Syrians minorities, and held thousands of dangerous ISIS adherents prisoner.
Further, we had a big bargaining chip with the control of the Syrian oil fields. Also, it blocked a direct land route from Iran to the Israeli border. The few US troops weren’t the deterrent to the large Turkish Army. It was the no-fly zone maintained by our air power. Nobody is going to launch an attack in the face of superior air power. We even reduced our ground forces there, and still, the Turks stayed put. Yet one threatening call from Turkish President Erdogan and Trump by pulls our troops, in effect green-lighting a Turkish attack on our Kurdish allies. Our President justified his faithlessness by claiming he was ending endless involvement in Mideast wars. He promised to bring our troops home and let the locals fight out their centuries-old animosities without us. After-all the Kurds “didn’t help us in the Second World War. They didn’t help us with Normandy.” The day after the Turkish invasion, Trump ordered a much larger US deployment to Saudi Arabia. The last time we looked, Saudi Arabia was in the Mideast. Of course, we can’t forget Saudi Arabia’s celebrated World War II contributions. Who could forget the 1st Saudi Camel Corps leading the breakout in Normandy against the German panzers? Also, there are our shared values of democracy and civil rights. Saudis yes. Kurds no. Unlike Trump, we, on the other hand, have seen the Kurds as an excellent opportunity to influence this critical area. (See our past posts on the Middle East starting with “Ssshhh a Midest Policy on the QT” in 2014)

For a President undergoing an impeachment inquiry, abruptly abandoning our position in NE Syria and our Kurdish allies seems a truly odd move. Impeachment seemed doomed to failure. All that was needed is for the Republican Majority in the Senate to support the President. Majority leader Mitch McConnell could stop it in short order. After all, the Democrats would need 20 Republican votes to convict. Before his Syrian and Saudi Arabian actions, we and probably most everyone else couldn’t visualize this kind of massive loss of Republican support. Now he has shaken many senators to their core. Already, Republicans in the house joined the Democrats by a 2 to 1 margin to condemn the President’s handiwork. McConnell says the Senate will take much more significant action. He even wrote an Op-Ed in the Washington Post decrying Trump’s Mid-East Policy. This has shaken the Senate Republicans. It’s not as if Trump has many real friends in the Senate. Just supporters of convenience. Some harbor past wounds he inflicted. Little Marco, Crooked Ted, and others have little reason to go to the mat for the President. Even Rand Paul hates sending more troops to Saudi Arabia. A President who gives little or no loyalty can’t expect much in return. After all, what goes around, comes around.

Another critical threat to President arising from his unthinking Mideast moves is the potential loss of some of his most loyal supporters, the evangelicals. Allowing the Iranians to set up their rockets on Israel’s border has stunned them and other supporters of Israel. Pat Robertson didn’t mince words saying, ” The President, who allowed Jamal Khashoggi to be cut to pieces without any repercussions whatsoever, is now leaving the Christians and the Kurds to be massacred by the Turks.” Evangelical support for Israel is a known constant. According to Handi Pir, vice President of Yasda, an organization of US Yazidis, writing in the Wall Street Journal, religious minorities are now in peril. “Syrian Kurd Kurdish forces, along with American air support, saved tens of thousands of lives. We will remember their heroic effort.”

As we see videos of Kurds and religious minorities suffering horrors and increasingly sophisticated missiles hitting Israel, Evangelicals and Airpac members aren’t the only ones that might see the President in a different light. Many of Trump’s supporters see him as a heroic, strong man standing up bravely to all sorts of shared enemies. As it becomes clear to all these atrocities came about because Trump was bullied by a tinpot dictator, their perception of him could change. Turkish President took his measure and backed him down. All President Trump had to say was he was maintaining the no-fly zone and ask Erdogan if he felt lucky? There is no world in which Turkey attacks US forces. In December, Trump listened to his advisors and held fast. The Turks didn’t move. What was different this time? Possibly Trump’s failure to take any military action when the Iranians shot down our expensive drone or attacked ships in the Persian gulf showed him Trump was all hat and no cattle. The Turkish bluffed, and Trump folded like a cheap suit. After all, Trump has never shown any bravery. Like many bullies, he proved anything but robust when actually confronted. Mr “Make America Great Again” couldn’t bring himself to serve his country.

As General Mattis mocked him, “I won my spurs on the battlefield… Trump won his in a letter from his doctor.” For all his bluster, what has he ever received from any of the world’s strongmen? They all seem to have his number. In a crunch, Trump is more Jack McCall than Wild Bill. As more poor outcomes of his weakness are seen, even his supporters won’t be able to ignore them. The press will make sure of that. It’ very possible he’ll lose chunks of his bedrock support. The door to impeachment is ajar. Only Trump could perform this jiu-jitsu on himself.

All this reinforces our desire for more and better choices in leaders. Leaders that inspire at least a modicum trust both here and abroad. We fear we can’t continue like this without dire consequences.

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