Friday, 3 February 2017

Of Innocent Mistakes and Political Lies

Kellyanne Conway strikes again.  Shortly after entertaining the nation with the notion of “alternative facts”, she regales us once more, this time with tales of a massacre that never was.  “The Bowling Green massacre”, which Kellyanne referenced in an interview on MSNBC’s “Hardball” with Chris Matthews, never happened.  She was trying to defend President Trump’s migration ban, but delivered the next chapter in what is fast becoming a ridiculous comedy of PR errors.

Yes, Ms. Conway has owned up to part of this mistake and said she was referring to the “Bowling Green Terrorists”.  However, the point of her message was to justify Trump’s ban by saying that Obama had done something similar.  The whole attempt fell flat on its face because:

1.       There was no Bowling Green Massacre

2.       The terrorists were not planning an attack in the U.S., but were planning to ship weapons to Iraq

3.       Obama’s administration did not at any time place a ban on refugees from Iraq.  They did however review vetting procedures for Iraqi refugees and Special Immigrant Visa applicants in 2011, which slowed down the process.

I can see how one could make a mistake on live TV and say “Massacre” instead of “Terrorist”.  Totally. Almost.  Anyway, that doesn’t address the rest of the issue; the total basis for the statement was untrue.  But of course, we don’t use the word “lie” anymore, do we? 
Another case of "alternative facts" perhaps?

Tuesday, 24 January 2017

Trump vs. Putin

So, in 2014 Trump called Russia a threat, but now if we got along with Russia “it wouldn’t be so bad”.  I sort of agree with that.  It would be great if the US and Russia were to work together towards the furtherance of world peace and stability.  It would be an absolute nightmare if the two countries where to work together to nefarious self-serving ends, such as colonizing countries and “taking their oil”.   However, I strongly suspect that the reality will be very different.

I don’t think either Donald Trump or Vladimir Putin trust each other very much.  I think there is the hope that they will get along, but I’d be very surprised if Russia’s interests are found to align with those of the United States in most cases.  Consequently, with Donald Trump pursuing an aggressive isolationist philosophy, I expect “America First” to ultimately fly in the face of any proposed long term alliance with Russia. 

Does Vladimir Putin hope to profit from the Presidency of Donald Trump?  I’m quite sure that he does. Will he do so?  Maybe for a while, maybe for no period of time at all.  Once the dust clears, words turn into action, speeches turn into policy and Twitter diplomacy gives way to real substantive conversations, I expect both sides to have a rude awakening; and that awakening will probably be ruder on Putin’s side.  Donald Trump remains unpredictable on the world stage and if Russia banks on his support and friendship, they’d better have a good back-up plan.