US VideoCast: Trump’s Unprecedented Presidency by Intimidation

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PHOTO: The men now trying to run America by intimidation? Steve Bannon and Stephen Miller


Late Monday, President Trump fired Attorney General Sally Yates after she said that Friday’s executive order, banning entry into the US of citizens of seven mainly-Muslim countries, is legally indefensible.

Hours later I spoke with Cyril Vanier of CNN International, putting the latest development in the wider context of what is shaping up to be an attempt at authoritarian rule by Trump and key advisors, notably chief strategist Steve Bannon and his assistant Stephen Miller.

See also EA’s Political WorldView Podcast: Trump, the Muslim Ban, and US-UK “Special Relationship”
US Analysis: “Alternative President”? How Alt-Right’s Bannon is Taking Over in Trumpland

This is unprecedented. The Trump strategy, along with Steve Bannon and Stephen Miller — including this order — is that they can count on a minority of people to support them as they steamroller and intimidate anyone who challenges them.

They have been trying this with the media. They have been trying to do this with members of Congress. They have even tried this with the courts.

The question is, “Will this work?” We’re in unknown territory, but having seen the protests the day after the Inauguration — where millions protested over a variety of issues — and having seen the reaction over the weekend to this order, we’re at the start of a defining moment in American politics and American society. Probably the most important since the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s.

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3 COMMENTS

  1. Keep telling your truth, Scott. Scary times, but you are a small light in the darkness which currently overshadows the US.

  2. What did that guy Tocqueville ( or whatever ) say ? All problems in the US are resolved through courts. Trump’s presidency looks unsustainable and I don’t think it can last, one way or another. But the protests don’t seem like they have as much impact as the lawsuits now on motion will have.The occupy wall street protests were majorly significant but didn’t have much impact on Obama, similarily the Keystone XL, Obama pulled the plug on that in 2015 because of problems in the courts, not because of protests ( I think it was like that anyway ).
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    I don’t think it’s uncharted territory, it’s too early to say yet. If Trump gets through the lawsuits he’ll become the new normal and things will quieten down. From my point of view – as a muslim – there isn’t a great deal of difference between Obama and Trump anyway. Obama was possibly worse because he was two-faced. But he understood what Trump doesn’t appear to, which is that US influence in the muslim world is built upon alliances with loyal local groups. If Trump is going to cut those groups off in his phase of the war against Islam started by Bush, then that’s a big step forwards for Muslims around the world and a big step back for US interference in the region.
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    Let’s give a concrete example of the hypocrisy of Obama and the potential problems Trump is going to cause.
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    Drone attacks in Yemen. These attacks killed plenty of civilians but allowed Obama to keep his nice guy image because they were small scale and were barely noticed. It didn’t make much difference to all the civilians who were blown apart in those attacks whether the president was a clean-cut popular nice guy in the eyes of his domestic population or a rabid clueless buffoon that everybody hated.
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    But – and here is what people like that governor from Virginia who made a speech at some airport, and McCain, and others, have alluded to – you can’t carry out drone attacks without local support on the ground.
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    That is, without having people that you pay as informants, recruit, offer incentives to, make deals with, political leaders who accept your presence on the ground, provide local resources and so on and so on, you are unable to carry out attacks like the drone attacks that had become so common in Yemen.
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    So if Trump is going to cut off everything about Yemen, then for the Yemenis in the long run it’s a good thing, because the US will be less able to kill Yemeni civilians with impunity and interfere in local society by propping up people who help it do it’s dirty work.
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    But it’s bad thing for the US because then they have less influence and less control over the region. And that’s exactly what a lot of public figures in the US have come out and said. Without the ability to exercise the carrot of local bribes and the stick of drone attacks, they can’t maintain control and influence in Yemen. And that gives local the chance to run their own lives.
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    So while it’s understandable that there are a lot of Americans who are upset at what Trump is doing, a lot of other people around the world are sitting back with the popcorn and watching the show.

    • But Yemen is already in a three way civil war between the Saudi backed government the Iran backed Houthi renegades, an al-Qeada franchise and it could split into to a four way civil war if the Southern Movement turns on the government. I don’t think no more drones is going to reduce the number of civilian casualties.

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