The EU

Google says the EU requires a notice of cookie use (by Google) and says they have posted a notice. I don't see it. If cookies bother you, go elsewhere. If the EU bothers you, emigrate. If you live outside the EU, don't go there.

Thursday, February 20, 2020

Professor Stephen Walt Scores President Trump

For John, BLUFThere is no doubt that the US Presidency has gained powers over the decades, but I think it is a stretch to think this President is more Authoritarian than say a Woodrow Wilson for Frankly D Roosevvelt.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Here is the sub-headline:

After impeachment, the president has been passing most of the checkpoints on the way to authoritarianism.

(I found those two headlines contradicting each other.  The reason is I misread the main headline.  I thought that if President Trump was failing his "Dictatorship Test" it meant he wasn't showing signs of being a good dictator.  Apparently Professor Walt sees the scoring going the other way.  This is the kind of thing that caused me to be in the bottom half of my class in High School and Undergraduate level college.)

From Foreign Policy, by Professor Stephen M Walt, 14 February 2020.

Here is the lede plus one:

Shortly after Donald Trump was elected, I wrote up a list of the “10 Ways to Tell if Your President Is a Dictator.”  I wasn’t saying Trump was in fact an aspiring autocrat; it was merely a list of warning signs to keep track of as his presidency preceded.  In 2017, I offered an updated assessment and concluded that the danger of creeping autocracy was pretty serious.

Now that Trump has been acquitted by a Republican-controlled Senate that couldn’t even be bothered to interview any witnesses with personal knowledge of his possible high crimes and misdemeanors, it seems appropriate to revisit my list once again.  Spoiler alert:  There are some flashing red lights on the dashboard.

Here are the ten items on Professor Walt's list:
  1. Systematic efforts to intimidate the media.
    • Professor Walt gives it a RED check.
    • On the other hand, the media is doing a pretty good job of trying to intimidate the President
    • I score a tie.
  2. Building an official pro-Trump media network
    • Professor Walt gives it a partial RED check, and takes a slam at Rush Limbaugh.
    • I don't see any official pro-Trump media (Fox isn't there).  Maybe The Epoch Times.
    • I score it meh.
  3. Politicizing the civil service, military, National Guard, or domestic security agencies.
    • Professor Walt gives it a flashing RED light.
    • I guess this means that he has never heard of Lisa Page or Peter Stork or James Comey.  Or LTC Alexander Vindman.
    • I go with the flashing RED light and award it to President Barack Obama.  As the Tea Party groups understand.  Or maybe Professor Alan Dershowitz knows.
  4. Using government surveillance against domestic political opponents.
    • Professor Walt gives it a partial RED check.
    • Hello, President Obama?  As for Ukraine, I am waiting for the rest of the story.  This could come back to bite Professor Walt.
    • I give this a partial GREEN check.
  5. Using state power to reward corporate backers and punish opponents.
    • Professor Walt gives it a RED check.
    • If it is about reducing Federal regulations, then it is a good thing, since it seems to mean more jobs and a growing economy.
    • I saw a GREEN Check.
  6. Stacking the Supreme Court.
    • Professor Walt gives it a flashing RED light.
    • The Professor talks badly about Justice Kavanaugh, not not about the Borking.
    • I give this a partial GREEN check.
  7. Enforcing the law for only one side.
    • Professor Walt gives it a flashing RED light.
    • Does the Professor applaud the DOJ treatment of Mr Roger Stone?  Not a nice guy, Mr Stone, but the sentence makes no sense, except in the sense that he associates with Republicans.
    • I give this a flashing BLUE light.
  8. Really rigging the system
    • Professor Walt gives it a RED check.
    • This is the voting system.  Have you seen where Democrats are calling President Trumps outreach to African Americans and Hispanics as "voter suppression."  I think President Trump is opening up the system.
    • I give this a partial GREEN check.
  9. Fearmongering.
    • Professor Walt gives it a RED check.
    • Among the problems listed is North Korea.  President Trump has actually tried to deal with the problem, and in general is playing down external threats.  Remember the take-down of Iranian Terror Leader Major General Qasem Soleimani?  The President has worked to downplay the Iranian reaction, for which he has been belittled.
    • I give this a partial PINK check.  (No President is perfect in this area and neither is the IC.)
  10. Demonizing the opposition.
    • Professor Walt gives it a "Well, Duh".
    • And Visa-Versa.  In the last week the Speaker has declared that President Trump was NOT acquitted by the US Senate and that he will be Impeached for ever.  That is demonizing.
    • I give this a strong, "Well, Duh".
"It is difference of opinion that makes horse-races."--Mark Twain

It might appear that Professor Walt and I have differences of opinions.  And, in general, I like his work.

This is my last free article from Foreign Policy for this month or this year or for ever.  Sad.

Regards  —  Cliff

No comments: