From The LA Times: http://www.latimes.com/opinion/op-ed/la-oe-kirchick-trump-coup-20160719-snap-story.html
James Kirchick July 19, 2016
viewing the recent failed coup attempt in Turkey as some exotic foreign
news story -- the latest, violent yet hardly unusual political
development to occur in a region constantly beset by turmoil -- should
pause to consider that the prospect of similar instability would not be
unfathomable in this country if Donald Trump were to win the presidency.
is the most brazenly authoritarian figure to secure the nomination of a
major American political party. He expresses his support for all manner
of strongmen, and his campaign manager, Paul Manafort, has actually
worked for one: former Ukrainian president and Vladimir Putin ally
Viktor Yanukovich. At the Republican National Convention here Monday,
Manafort put some of the tricks he learned overseas as a dictator
whisperer to good use, employing underhanded tactics to avoid a roll
call vote on the convention’s rules package and quietly removing
language from the party platform expressing support for Ukraine’s
Throughout the campaign, Trump has
repeatedly bragged about ordering soldiers to commit war crimes, and has
dismissed the possibility that he would face any resistance. “They
won’t refuse,” he told Fox News’ Bret Baierearlier this year. “They’re
not gonna refuse me. Believe me.” When Baier insisted that such orders
are “illegal,” Trump replied, “I’m a leader. I’ve always been a leader.
I’ve never had any problem leading people. If I say do it, they’re going
to do it.”
Oh really? Blimpish swagger might fly within the
patriarchal confines of a family business, a criminal operation (the
distinction is sometimes blurred) or a dictatorship. It does not,
however, work in a liberal democracy, legally grounded by a written
constitution, each branch restrained by separation of powers.
to imagine, then, a situation in which Trump commanded our military to
do something stupid, illegal or irrational. Something so dangerous that
it put the lives of Americans and the security of the country at stake.
(Trump’s former rival for the Republican presidential nomination, Marco
Rubio, said the United States could not trust “the nuclear codes” to an
“erratic individual.”) Faced with opposition from his military brass,
Trump would perhaps reconsider and back down. But what if he didn’t?
that case, our military men and women, who swear to uphold the
Constitution and a civilian chain of command, would be forced to choose
between obeying the law and serving the wishes of someone who has
explicitly expressed his utter lack of respect for it.
They might well choose the former.
would be incredibly concerned if a President Trump governed in a way
that was consistent with the language that candidate Trump expressed
during the campaign,” retired Air Force Gen. Michael Hayden, who served
as head of the CIA and the National Security Agency under President
George W. Bush, said in response to Trump’s autocratic ruminations.
Asked by TV host Bill Maher what would happen if Trump told American
soldiers to kill the families of terrorists, as he has promised to do,
Hayden replied, “If he were to order that once in government, the
American armed forces would refuse to act.”
“You are required not
to follow an unlawful order,” Hayden added. “That would be in violation
of all the international laws of armed conflict.”
Continue reading at: http://www.latimes.com/opinion/op-ed/la-oe-kirchick-trump-coup-20160719-snap-story.html
Trump News Of The Day, 3/28/2017
17 hours ago