Friday, November 11, 2016

Real and imagined dangers of a Trump Presidency

Yes, this is happening.  There are some very fake dangers, and some very real dangers.  Let's separate them out.  I'm not going to address tax policy, the Supreme Court, Obamacare, or anything like that.  These are conventional policy issues.  Argue about them at the Thanksgiving dinner table with your drunken relatives.

Bullshit worries

1)  A massive deportation force
Trump claims that he wants to deport the millions upon millions of illegal immigrants in the country.  Doing so would require a massive army roving the country, gestapo-style, to hunt down anyone who might be illegal, haul them off, check their status, etc.  Disaster, obviously.  Also, no way.  Why?  Congress.  Would Trump do it on his own, if he could?  Maybe.  Nobody knows because nobody knows how to parse any of Trump's bullshit.  But, think of the financial cost and number of people who would have to be brought in to make this happen.  Then, think of the opposition from every industry dependent on illegal immigrant labor.  Think of the cost of food afterwards.  Think of the lobbying pressure that will be brought to Congress.  You know what Congress is really good at?  Delaying, and ultimately doing nothing.  This is bullshit.  Trust in Congress to delay and do nothing, regardless of Trump.  An increase in border patrols?  Sure, but a massive force to roam the country?  No way.

2)  Tariffs and full-blown trade wars
Trump wants to threaten tariffs to punish other countries and start trade wars.  That would be massively stupid and destructive.  He can't do that on his own.  That requires Congress.  See 1.  Add to that Congress's hatred of taxation and the rest of the Republican Party's belief in free trade.  Did you ever think you would be thankful for Congress's default inaction?  Trump's ability to start a trade war will be very limited.

Real worries

1)
 

Sorry, but this is fucking huge.  Nuclear weapons exist as a deterrent.  71 years ago, we used two atomic bombs to end WWII.  They were so fucking terrifying that they ended the war, and despite the fact that there are other countries in the world with nuclear weapons, nobody has been stupid enough to use them for 71 years.  Nobody.  They exist as deterrents.  If you have them, nobody sane attacks you (i.e., nobody but jihadis).  That's why North Korea will NEVER give them up.  That's why Iran wanted them.  We engaged in a cold war with the Soviet Union that never escalated into a hot war, despite proxy conflicts.  Why?  Because with nuclear weapons on the table, you don't do that.  The risks are too high.  Nuclear weapons are deterrents, not weapons of attack.  Donald Trump doesn't understand that.  Donald Trump never will.  This is the Number 1 danger of a Trump presidency.  He thinks that a nuclear weapon is just a weapon of attack that can be used to fight a war and end a war, as in WWII.

So, suppose he thinks that he can solve all of our problems in the Middle East by dropping a nuke or two there?  He kept insisting that he had a secret plan that would be devastating...  If one of those nukes is aimed at Syria, how does Putin respond?

Even if Putin doesn't respond in kind, how does the world react?  Are we a rogue nation?  Does the world impose sanctions on us?  When the world imposed economic sanctions on South Africa for apartheid, the government collapsed eventually.  Best case scenario, the world just panics, and there is a global economic collapse.

What is the probability that Trump will stupidly launch a nuke?  2%?  3%  I don't know.  Maybe you are 97% sure that Trump isn't that stupid.  Any number other than 100% should scare you more than some phantom deportation force that Congress probably won't fund.  Remember, Trump does not need congressional authorization to launch nukes, and the generals, whatever they think, cannot intervene to stop it.  When that order is given, it is followed.  Period.  If Trump decides to launch even one missile, even on impulse, that's it.  That is what makes this different.  No checks.  No balances.

I cannot help but think of Dick Cheney's 1% Doctrine.  To clarify, I am NOT advocating anything.  I am analogizing.

2)  I could write more stuff, but, really?

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