Uneasy Lies the Crown
This is the hole that Trump has dug for himself
For the past three years, even before the election, he has been slamming the CIA and all U.S. intelligence services in an attempt to discredit them, most especially with his base. He's said he believes Russia, out top adversary, over the intelligence services.
Further, as the Washington Post has documented, he has lied or made false statements over 10,000 times since taking office. That's basically ten lies or false statements a day -- every single day, for 2-1/2 years. So, his credibility is non-existent.
And if he tries to bring the CIA in to support him, it just compounds his lack of credibility because he's already told the public relentlessly not to believe them.
(I'm not saying one shouldn't believe the intelligence services, just that Trump has no standing with his base especially to use them as sources.)
As a result, when there is finally (supposedly) some national crisis and Trump wants to tell the public about it -- like the threat he insists on from Iran with the recent bombings of ships and earlier attacks around the word -- there is absolutely no reason for anyone to believe him. And as bad as that is if there is no substance to the threat, it's even disastrously worse if there is.
The thing is, though some security experts have noted the likelihood of threats from Iran, the Trump credibility gap already destroyed his efforts. The Japanese company that owns the ships which were attacked says their vessels were hit above the water by some objects that were flying -- not underwater like the missiles insisted on by Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. And the Japanese also said that the damage was on the other side of the ships than Trump/Pompeo did! In addition, al Qaeda has claimed responsibility for some of the attacks elsewhere that Team Trump blames on Iran.
And so, whereas in the past, a declaration of such a threat by a U.S. president would be major galvanizing news that pushed the country in the direction of some sort of mobilization, with Trump his storyline fell apart within just days.
As I said, this would be terrible if there is no substance to the threat, and even disastrously worse if there is.
Making this all worse is that it is Trump's own actions which has caused this mess in the first place. Iran's efforts in the area were reasonably well-contained by virtue of the nuclear agreement we and our allies had with him. But when Trump tore up the agreement, not only did it free up Iran from acting with far less constraint...but we can no longer rely on our allies to support us here.
"Let me save you from the mess that I created" is never a good way to run a business, and most especially not a country.
Let's put Trump's lying in another perspective -- not that it's really necessary, since most rational people get it. But perspective is till always A Good Thing for self-preservation --
The problem when a liar lies about a deal is that the other side can release details of that "great deal." And only a pathological liar who has to lie doesn't grasp that concept, because it is meaningless to him -- he is driven to lie, regardless. And so that is precisely Mexico just did last week. As a result, we learned (not shockingly) that the paper Trump waved around insisting it was a Great Deal full of major concessions turned out to merely be an agreement to talk later about a deal.
And so we not only had Trump's credibility driven deeper into the group, we were shown documented proof of it. And maybe his acolyte won't care, but the rest of the country does...and critically, so do the rest of the world leaders.
The problem therefore is not only about this manufactured Great Imminent Threat from Iran that likely has some shadings of truth to it but as been dismissed for the totality -- but what about next time if the threat is real?
When you have zero credibility, you create a vacuum where it is the last place that should ever be.
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Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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