Sunday, April 16, 2017

Robert Reich and The World According to Trump

“As Commander-in-Chief, a president is empowered to manage the military might of the nation.”

To manage ‘military might’ is to handle or direct with a degree of skill: to make and keep compliant; to treat with care and manage resources carefully; to exercise executive, administrative, and supervisory direction of the Armed Forces of the United States.

The four basic skills necessary for any manager are the ability to plan, organize, direct, and control. But Trump doesn’t seem to be capable of any of these skills: he does not show any ability to effectively direct the work of others, in this case, military brass; he is impulsive, impetuous, and mercurial, and does not seem to make well thought out decisions that include information gathering, determining what the alternatives are, and careful consideration of consequences.

As a result, “The world according to Trump is becoming increasingly dangerous”

For the first time in military history, the United States dropped the most powerful non-nuclear bomb it has in its arsenal on an ISIS cave and bunker complex in Afghanistan.

It illustrates the militantism of Donald Trump and his dangerous decision to leave the use of force decisions to the Department of Defense.

The military reasoning: United States commander in Afghanistan, Gen. John W. Nicholson Jr., said, he “ ‘was seeking to showcase Afghanistan’s myriad threats.’ General Nicholson, who has requested reinforcements to the 8,500 American troops stationed there, drew his bosses’ attention by dropping what the Pentagon has nicknamed the ‘mother of all bombs.’” according to the New York Times.

President Trump did not have to personally authorize the bomb's use. Here’s what he said, "Everybody knows exactly what happens. So, what I do is I authorize our military." We have given them total authorization and that's what they're doing."

“The White House was informed of the plan before the MC-130 aircraft delivered its 21,600-pound payload,” according to CNN.

The dropping of the bomb is “part of an effort to reverse a war that is not going well for the Afghan government and, by extension, the United States.” Nicholson said it was tactically necessary.

Hamdullah Mohib, Afghanistan's ambassador to the United States, said the colossal MOAB [22,000-pound GBU-43/B Massive Ordnance Air Blast Bomb] was dropped after fighting had intensified over the last week. US and Afghan forces had been unable to advance because ISIS -- which has expanded into Afghanistan in recent years -- had mined the area with explosives.

All of this falls short of the fact that the United States and its NATO allies, initially British and Canadians, have been fighting in Afghanistan since late 2001. That is we have been fighting in Afghanistan for close to 16 years. The U.S. boasts that its military force is the greatest the world has ever seen, yet it cannot defeat an enemy that has significantly less firepower than the U.S. ISIS, al-Qaeda, and the Taliban in Afghanistan, do have missiles, tanks and bombs. Many are leftover weapons left there from previous wars. There financing is “built upon a logistical network based on black market oil and ransom payments.” They use weapons and ammunition manufactured in at least 21 different countries, including China, Russia, and the United States.

“The United States federal government has spent or obligated 4.8 trillion dollars on the wars in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iraq. This figure includes: direct Congressional war appropriations; war-related increases to the Pentagon base budget; veterans care and disability; increases in the homeland security budget; interest payments on direct war borrowing; foreign assistance spending; and estimated future obligations for veterans’ care.

“This total omits many other expenses, such as the macroeconomic costs to the US economy; the opportunity costs of not investing war dollars in alternative sectors; future interest on war borrowing; and local government and private war costs.

“The current wars have been paid for almost entirely by borrowing. This borrowing has raised the US budget deficit, increased the national debt, and had other macroeconomic effects, such as raising consumer interest rates. Unless the US immediately repays the money borrowed for war, there will also be future interest payments. We estimate that interest payments could total over $7.9 trillion by 2053.

“Spending on the wars has involved opportunity costs for the US economy. Although military spending does produce jobs, spending in other areas such as health care could produce more jobs. Additionally, while investment in military infrastructure grew, investment in other, nonmilitary, public infrastructure such as roads and schools did not grow at the same rate.

“Finally, federal war costs exclude billions of dollars of state, municipal, and private war costs across the country – dollars spent on services for returned veterans and their families, in addition to local homeland security efforts.” Source: Watson Institute, Brown University.

So, how can anyone believe that the U.S. has the world's strongest military, a military superpower, one that can convincingly succeed by overwhelming military might? Or is the U.S. considered strong because of what it spends to maintain its Armed Forces? A force that can drop a 22,000-pound GBU-43/B Massive Ordnance Air Blast Bomb at a cost of $170,000 each, while no one seems to care whether dropping the bomb achieved its purpose.

The World According to Trump