Wednesday, May 17, 2017


This is what happens when incompetence and bluster merge together in one man on an international stage ...

It was the summer of 1940 and Italy's Benito Mussolini was tired of sitting on the sidelines, watching Adolf Hitler and the Germans set the world on fire. To show the world, and Hitler, that the Italians were a force to be reckoned with, Mussolini unilaterally decided to invade Greece, telling a confidant "[Hitler] will find out from the newspapers that I have occupied Greece."

Unfortunately for Mussolini and the Italians, things didn't go as planned. Greece fought back, and were preparing to hand Mussolini's military a stinging defeat. Hitler was forced to postpone his plans to invade Russia by five weeks so he could come to the aid of his incompetent ally in 1941.

Fast forward 76 years, and we have similar Mussolini-like blustering incompetence occurring, only on a much smaller level ...

Like Benito Mussolini, President Donald Trump wanted to show his authoritarian-minded Russian friend that he's a big man on the world stage.

He's already blustered about North Korea, with the Chinese and South Koreans sitting idly by, unafraid, and bemused by all the commotion. Trump has also spouted nonsense about the Germans being "behind" on their NATO payments, which only opened him up to ridicule from the Germans and others in the international community. He's also boldly threatened to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexican border, only to have the project stall because Trump doesn't understand how Congress or real policy initiatives work.

With the world snickering and laughing at America, this past week Donald Trump thought it would be a good idea to try and impress his Russian friends by sharing highly classified intelligence. Specifically, what Trump did was brag about information "so sensitive that American officials did not share it widely within the United States government or pass it on to other allies."

Ignore, for a moment, that President Trump would not allow U.S. or other western media outlets into the Oval Office during this meeting with the Russian foreign minister and ambassador (he did, however, allow Russia's foreign ministry photographer). Ignore that Trump once called divulging secrets to Russia treason. Ignore, as well, that Israel (the source of the intel) might not share sensitive information in the future, which could compromise national security.

The real important development here is that Russia's Vladimir Putin is now offering to come to President Trump's rescue, claiming that the Russians 'can provide record' of Trump's Russia meeting. Like Hitler did with Mussolini in 1941, Vladimir Putin is coming to the aid of a blustering buffoon.

He understands that America's running train wreck is in trouble.

To be sure, the scale of the circumstances here are far less serious than they were in 1941 with Hitler and Mussolini. So far we're only talking about general incompetence and diplomatic ignorance on a relatively small scale. The ripple effects are relatively modest, for the moment. But that's precisely the point.

Donald Trump is making so many little mistakes on a regular basis that the scale of power in his hands insures that one of Trump's little mistakes, or his constant misstatements, will one day cost the United States, and quite probably the world, bigly.

Seriously, following Trump around is like watching a reckless kid play with a loaded gun.

Sooner or later, as long as Donald Trump is in the White House, Trump's baby steps of incompetence are going to do some real damage. And when it does, Vladimir Putin's assistance - or his ire - will be the last thing Trump, or the United States, will want.

- Mark

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