Is Trump really gonna get there ?

Discussion in 'Politics & Current Events' started by mongey, Mar 2, 2016.

  1. bostjan

    bostjan MicroMetal Contributor

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    So, you suggest sending the army as personal bodyguards for humanitarian aid and construction workers?

    And then what? Leave the army there to protect the infrastructure that was built? Because, if you don't the terrorists will (and have) be happy to simply blow everything up as soon as we leave.

    Meanwhile, there are plenty of places within the USA that need serious rebuilding. Maybe the Army Corps of Engineers can rebuild Detroit, first, and then go and replace all of the dangerously outdated bridges across the US, then they can fix all of the leaky basements...

    Also, why Afghanistan? Is the thought "if you train terrorists to attack the USA, the USA will come over and build new sewers for you" something we want to advertise?

    Maybe it's been a long day, or maybe I'm too tired and not making any sense myself, but at the moment, I don't see a single damn reason why we should continue our involvement in foreign wars like this. I was arguing against invading Afghanistan 16 years ago, I argued against Iraq, and I feel that I was pretty close to 100% on target with everything I said back then about none of it making any sense and how we would simply be stuck there for 10+ years...well...
     
  2. Drew

    Drew Forum MVP

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    Well, then build up a domestic army. It's going to take time, maybe a generation, but none of the options we have are easy here, and I think a certain element of "you break it you buy it" is in play here. If we just up and leave, we leave a vacuum, IS takes hold, and a whole generation of Afganis grow up blaming the United States for everything wrong in their world. That's a risk to national security, since if 9/11 taught us anything, it's that we're not as invulnerable within our borders as we think.

    I mean, end of the day, "fuck it, we don't care anymore, your problem now" isn't a solution, and I think since we went there in the first place, we have a moral obligation to try. I don't think continuing to do the same things we're doing is going to work, but just peacing out and letting happen what may isn't a morally acceptable answer, either.

    Detroit is actually rebuilding itself rather nicely at the moment. An ex of mine does urban planning out there these days, and I'm impressed by what she's been up to. There's a vibrancy there that didn't exist ten years ago.
     
  3. bostjan

    bostjan MicroMetal Contributor

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    So, what's the alternative? Stay there and keep breaking it? We were already supposed to have built up a domestic army there almost 15 years ago, right, so WTF happened?

    Let's be clear, none of the 9/11 hijackers were radicalized in Afghanistan. They trained there, but also trained in other places that we didn't invade. So how does Afghanistan play into the narrative here?

    All of this stuff is political. There isn't a shred of it about making the USA more safe against foreign terrorists. Since 9/11, radical Islamic terrorism has gotten a thousand times worse, worldwide, and attacks against the USA got more frequent. There is difficult-to-deny proof that our actions in the middle east post-9/11 made things worse. So, more of the same is going to eventually make things better?! That's difficult logic to follow. I am maybe going out on a limb here, but I say that the public's reception to these ME wars was all based on emotional appeal and not a bit based upon logic. The most logical outcomes played out exactly as I predicted, and so here we are with a different asshole as a president, making the same appeal as before, and some people are still buying it.

    I don't want to say that I am 100% certain that I am right or anyone else is wrong, but I will state very strongly that, based on simple logic and our history with such strategies, that this is a dangerous idea, and is not likely to lead our nation anywhere that benefits us, or anyplace that harms us less than a null action.

    First I heard of the Army rebuilding Detroit. Weird, since I was just there. ;)
     
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  4. Drew

    Drew Forum MVP

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    Well, the original impetus for the attack was that's where Al Qaeda was and we were looking to take out their leadership. We may have been too slow on the draw, but I think it matters less how we got there at this point than the fact we ARE there, and we can't undo that.

    And I told you what I thought the alternative was - a shift to nation-building and humanitarian aid, with a peacekeeping force. I could ask the same of you - if humanitarian aid and nation-building isn't the answer, then what IS, that gives the nation a better chance of not falling into anarchy and becoming a base for IS than just pulling out and not worrying about the consequences?

    And who said anything about the Army? I said Detroit was rebuilding itself nicely, not being rebuilt by the army. :scratch:
     
  5. vilk

    vilk Very Regular

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    I want to ask @Drew : how many decades is enough, in your opinion?

    I'm not trying to be rhetorical, but genuinely curious. Right now we're at one and a half. Almost certainly we'll go over 2 decades. What if it's still not fixed then? 3 decades? 4? a century? Should we stay there indefinitely until it's fixed or is there a point once past that you'd feel it's OK to say You know what, we give up. Good luck with your nation. Sorry that we couldn't help.
     
  6. bostjan

    bostjan MicroMetal Contributor

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    I mentioned the army.
    And this plays perfectly to my point. Don't rebuild Afghanistan. If you do, as soon as you leave, the bad guys there will destroy everything you did. Let Afghanistan rebuild Afghanistan.
    And my earlier point - you brought it up in a perfect way to reference. The USA cannot do everything for everyone. It's simply a fact that our nation is not omnipotent. So, as I said, you have to prepare for the fact that "you break it, you fix it" doesn't work if you can't fix it. Look, #1, it was already broken before we got there, #2 the last decade we've been trying to fix it, we've only made it worse, and #3 the last umpteen nations we tried to fix, we actually ended up not succeeding in fixing.

    So, here's an analogy, since I love analogies so much. You know this guy who is kind of a dick, and you got in a fight. You end up breaking this guys nose in your fight, and you feel really bad about it. So you visit him in the hospital, and offer to pay his hospital bill. He reluctantly shrugs and you get sent the surgeon's estimate, and you flat out can't afford it. ...and the money is due up front because he has no insurance. So you get drunk one night and run into this dude and, in your drunken haze, you end up getting the bright idea to grab his nose and set it back where it belongs yourself, but you just end up breaking it again and now this guy really really hates your guts. Once you think about it sober, you realize just how stupid you looked in front of everybody both fighting this guy and then, especially, trying to fix his nose and just making everything so much more embarrassingly worse. What do you do?

    See, that guy is Afghanistan, and you are the USA. The broken nose is the broken infrastructure of the nation. Doing another surge there is just another punch in the face. Doing the nation-building thing is like wrenching the guy's nose. None of this shit is going to work. It sounds great on paper until you actually stop and give it a fair thought. The people in Afghanistan want us gone. We have caused them nothing but severe heartache over the past decade and a half. What are you going to do then? Offer to pay the guy's bills again, and then not do it? Punch him in the face until he either dies from blood loss or concussion or you miraculously break his nose back into the place where it belongs? Come on...in practice we know it doesn't work and there are underlying reasons why it cannot work.

    So, leave the poor guy alone. He hates you, yeah, but you are not going to make it better. Leave Afghanistan alone. They might hate us just as much, but it's the least wrong thing to do at this point.
     
  7. Drew

    Drew Forum MVP

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    Yeah, but imagine the guy has a gun in his back pocket, man, or a switchblade. So do you, of course, but you never know when he's going to sneak up behind you and pull the trigger or slide the thing between a couple of ribs. Maybe you shouldn't get drunk and try to knock his nose back the other way, but when push comes to shove, yeah, you can probably afford that repair bill if you suck it up, because it's cheaper than what having him hate you is going to cost you.

    I mean, I'm happy to talk hypothetically about "should we have gone into Afghanistan in the first place," and the irony is if we got drone-happy second-term Obama, who'd clearly learned a thing or two from the Bush years, calling the shots, we'd have just taken out the al Qaeda base with a couple Reapers and sent flowers and our regrets to the Afghan government.

    But, at the end of the day, we had al Qaeda in Afghanistan because we armed them in the cold war to stop the Russians, which hey, it worked, right up until we DID just peace out, at which point a former resistance fighter named Osama bin Laden decided the right thing to do was to blow up a couple skyscrapers in New York City. Seeing as I don't really want a repeat performance of that, I think we have to face the reality that we're already in Afghanistan, like it or not, so we have to find a way to extradite ourselves that, ideally, 1) won't involve a protracted US occupation for generations to come, on one hand, and 2) on the other, won't leave a vacuum for the Islamic State to fill, and to turn into a base of operations to train soldiers and launch attacks against Europe and the United States. Otherwise, we'll just be back in another 20-30 years anyway, maybe less.

    You break it, you buy it. We broke it, so we gotta either fix it or pay for it.
     
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  8. bostjan

    bostjan MicroMetal Contributor

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    I'm sorry, Drew, but "you break it, you buy it" just doesn't work after you've killed someone.
     
  9. Drew

    Drew Forum MVP

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    You know what I mean, though.

    We brought troops, excuse me "advisors" in during the Cold War, armed rebels, fought off the Soviets, up and left, and a couple decades later one of the rebels blew up two skyscrapers in downtown NYC with a pair of 767s. Pulling out, full stop, doesn't work, it would seem.

    We sent troops in, fought al Qaeda, tried a troop surge, wound it down, and fifteen years later we're at a stalemate. Troop surges don't work, it would seem.

    So, let's try something new. International coalition, focus on humanitarian aid and nation-building, and troops as a peacekeeping force rather than a primarily military one. It's a conflict where we can't just abandon Afghanistan and we can't seem to win via conventional military means, if past experience tells us anything, so we need to explore non-military means. Because, if we just pull out and leave the country in chaos, and next time it's Boston, I'm gonna be fuckin' pissed, if I'm still alive to react.
     
  10. bostjan

    bostjan MicroMetal Contributor

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    I think I do know what you mean, but, in this case, I disagree with the sentiment, so it might be best to remain clear.

    Sorry, can we back up a little? I don't follow your cause and effect. Are you saying that not staying in Afghanistan during the conflict with the USSR directly resulted in 9/11?!

    I'm not at all on board with the idea that pulling out of Afghanistan resulted directly in 9/11 attacks.

    With any conflict, we have to define a goal or a desired outcome. What is it?
     
  11. vilk

    vilk Very Regular

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    Saudi Arabia did the attacks anyway, but of course we can't go to war with them because of some kind of reason maybe
     
  12. bostjan

    bostjan MicroMetal Contributor

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    Absolutely.

    Have you seen Bin Laden's letter of declaration of war on the USA? It explains in some pretty clear terms why he and his followers were pissed off at the USA. While the logic in many instances might have been pretty leaky, he didn't make it difficult to follow his thought process. He was pissed off, mainly, over two things:

    #1 US support of Israel
    #2 Prolonged US occupation of nations in the Middle East, like Saudi Arabia.

    Now that he is dead and Al Qaeda is less relevant, maybe it's time to look into those demands, under the light of trying to avoid radicalization of more people in the region moving into the future.

    US support of Israel. Why does the US support Israel? Honestly, I don't have a problem with the Jewish people in any way, so please don't take this the wrong way, but the Zionism idea was pretty half-baked back in the 1940's and it doesn't stand up to much more logic now. The Israelis could have easily been settled in a new European country, or in a community in the Western US, or in Canada, without half as much fuss as it required to get all of the Palestinians out of Palestine so that Israel could be geographically situated there. I know it's a holy land for the Jews, but come on, it's a holy land for the Muslims and for the Christians as well, and maybe Ba'hai or some other religion I don't know much about... So you take Israel and you force it into this geographical location surrounded by non-Jewish people (maybe it's neither here nor there, but these people also happen to be the descendants of the people who forced the ancestors of the Jews to leave Israel in the first place). The sticky part is that now that Israel exists, we can't make it not exist, but to be fair, the US has historically sided with Israel most of the time when the topic of expansion comes up.

    Prolonged occupation of the ME. This one gets me. Why do we need to be there? Did we do any good in Somalia? Did we do any good in Iraq? No, those are rhetorical questions, because, every time the USA occupies a country in the middle east, the whole thing either never ends or ends in disaster. Yet Americans, or a majority of them, are vigorously in support of these military exercises, regardless of the human costs both to native middle eastern peoples and to our own soldiers.
     
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  13. Drew

    Drew Forum MVP

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    I mean, I assume you know this, but you are aware we trained and armed bin Laden during the Cold War, right? And when we left, we created the vacuum that a number og Afghani warlords, bin Laden included, filled? There's also the matter of the opium poppy trade and US appetite for heroin, which is another angle worth pursuing (if we engaged in a pro-legalization effort as well as expanded fracking to lessen our dependence on foreign oil and drugs, we'd have a lot less at stake in the Middle East). Considering our role in Afghanistan was his first exposure to "US intervention" in the Middle East, I think our dumping large amounts of money into the country for arms, but not a cent for humanitarian aid and the way we cut the spigot off after we got what we want is absolutely a major factor in his radicalization.

    As it happens, I broadly share your concerns with Israel, less for the fact we support them per se, and more so that I think our blind, condition-less support actually (and paradoxically) destabilizes the Israeli state by giving them no incentive to engage diplomatically. I don't know if I agree with you on occupation, however - I think we have a humanitarian role as part of an international force, for sure, but I do notice how you're careful to limit yourself to the Middle East, thereby excluding a number of more successful US interventions (say, WWI and WWII).
     
  14. bostjan

    bostjan MicroMetal Contributor

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    Umm...okay, I have a few issues with what you said, maybe nit-picky, but it all adds up:

    #1 The US provided no training to Bin Laden, only weapons and some other physical resources. He was trained by Pakistani special forces.
    #2 Bin Laden never mentioned (from what I am aware) any butthurtedness over the lack of US humanitarian aid to Afghanistan. In fact, the fighters at the time were happy to use the weapons provided to them against the Soviets.
    #3 Bin Laden clearly stated (as I mentioned above) his reasoning behind attacking the USA, and not once was Afghanistan mentioned in the letter.
    #4 Referencing #3, he did mention several times that he condemned the USA for attempted and failed nation building in other places, like Somalia.
    #5 I may have said "the middle east," but the same can be said for Afghanistan, which is really the topic here anyway. Afghanistan is much closer in timeline and in culture, to the middle east than it is to, for example, West Berlin. Maybe that disqualifies my point to you on some level, but I don't see how it is not a very fair point.

    Again, I might be wrong. Since there is nothing I can do to stop it, I really hope I am wrong, but I cannot deny that the pattern here really sticks out to me. Maybe you don't see it because it's not really there, but to me, the amount of evidence is just crazy.

    So, I argue that we would be better off to cut and run in Afghanistan and the rest of the ME than to troop surge there. You argue that humanitarian workers with the army as their bodyguards, or something to that effect, would be better than cutting and running. I think we agree on the bolder point that Trump's troop surge seems to be a half-baked idea, but maybe I'm wrong about that, as well.

    Just one more thing: the USA does supply humanitarian aid to North Korea. Well, the UN or NATO or somebody does, but it's supported mostly by the USA. North Korea still hates the USA more than they hate anything else in the universe. North Korea is still hell on Earth. What are we doing wrong there that we could do right in Afghanistan?
     
  15. bostjan

    bostjan MicroMetal Contributor

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    Now the White House Sceince advisor has resigned, and put a hidden message ("impeach") in his letter of resignation. Trump is feuding with congress over paying for the wall that Mexico is paying for. And investigators are finding more emails linking Trump's 2016 campaign with Russia.

    At this point, I am beginning to wonder if there even is a point where someone moves to impeach him, or if he truly is invincible. With all of the proverbial shit that has his his fan, I don't think it'll get any worse.
     
  16. Drew

    Drew Forum MVP

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    I don't think you can even remotely compare North Korea to Afghanistan, considering the government of Afghanistan is relatively friendly to the US, and North Korea is not.

    I'm clearly not going to sway you that engaging in an anti-Soviet military operation in Afghanistan and then pulling out and leaving a vacuum when we achieved our short term objective contributed directly to the events of 9/11. I stand by my assertion, however, that we've TRIED the course of action you're proposing, and it didn't end well.

    Hopefully, though, what we can agree on is this - what Trump is proposing now is not likely to work either. A troop surge of unspecified size is not likely to promote long-term stability in the country, and without that we're going to have a hard time extraditing ourselves. I think what I would rather see from Trump (not holding my breath) is to come at it backwards; first identify some metrics for what long term success WOULD look like, and then present a series of steps to accomplish those metrics.

    For me, I think we're looking for 1) a self-governing Afghani state, with at least civil diplomatic relations with the US, 2) a strong enough Afghani military too fully control the territory of the state, and ensure no ungovernable pockets remain, and 3) strong enough civil institutions to ensure everydat Afghani citizens don't feel the need to turn to violence to form a better life for themselves and their loved ones.

    To me, that suggests a military solution, at least in isolation, is doomed to failure. A UN peacekeeping force, employing as many Afghanis as possible, would be better than a US-controlled one. Also, bringing the tribal regions fully into the government and giving them some voice in the more formal government, while tricky, seems necessary.

    Either way, though, I hope we can at least find common ground here - whatever the eventual solution is, simply throwing more troops at the situation without defining our strategic objectives is a bad idea.
     
  17. Drew

    Drew Forum MVP

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    You know, I hate to talk about silver linings with something as awful as a white surpremacist rally in the streets of America leaving dead bodies in its wake, but I think we can at least say this - Trump's agenda died that day, too. The business community pulled out, and while they still hope for tax cuts and deregulation, they've cut the White House out of that process, and Trump will be a bit player in any future proceedings, full of sound and fury but signifying nothing.

    So, keeping that in mind... Mueller's investigation is really no longer about politics (and I'm not saying I think it ever was - it wasn't, but tell that to Fox News) in any defensible interpretation of the phrase. With Trump a lame duck you can't call this a political witch hunt, because frankly Pence would be far more likely to be effective in the Oval Office than Trump will be from this point forward. Any desire to "block Trump's agenda" or "preserve Trump's agenda" is a non-factor, since he no longer has a functioning agenda to speak of.
     
  18. Explorer

    Explorer He seldomly knows...

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    Robert Mueller asks IRS for help in Trump-Russia probe - Washington Examiner

    So now Mueller has asked for investigative help from the arm of the IRS which specializes in forensic accounting and transaction investigation.

    And Manafort's notes on Donald Jr.'s meeting, admittedly to attempt collusion with the Russians to influence the election by Jr.'s own statement, had references to political donations.

    Manafort's notes from the Trump Tower Russia meeting reportedly mention 'donations' and the RNC - Business Insider

    Manafort is now being investigated by both Mueller *and* the NY State Attorney General.

    http://www.esquire.com/news-politics/politics/news/a57289/robert-mueller-trump-russia-schneiderman/

    If Manafort is charged with a state crime, Trump will not have the power to pardon the offense.

    And we're only eight months in!
     
  19. Randy

    Randy Ooh, Degrasse Tyson-son Super Moderator

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    This is going to end up being the most substantial development. These last few tidbits making it to the media all but guarantee Trump is going to fire Mueller but now that the NY AG has seen at least some of what Mueller's investigation has uncovered, and obviously NY houses some of the most valuable assets in this case, this will make things VERY interesting.
     
  20. Explorer

    Explorer He seldomly knows...

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    I've seen numbers from 21 to 39 regarding the states which might pursue charges regarding interfering with the elections, meaning Trump will only shift those investigations from federal to state jurisdiction.

    Additionally, any IRS investigation which turns up prosecutable evidence of financial fraud will not disappear upon Mueller bring fired, meaning Trump will have to again use his theoretical pardoning power for himself and his confederates to get out from under it on the federal level.

    If Trump does so, it will force Congressional Repubiclans to either confront the issue, or cost them big in the midterm elections. Any sort of pardon party for contempt, due to Trump associates not complying with subpoenas, is bad news for the Republicans.

    This whole affair has damaged the traditional claim on the part of the GOP to be the party of law and order.
     

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