President Trump’s journey to the Middle East illustrated yet again how the country central to the spread of this terrorism, Saudi Arabia, has managed to evade and deflect any responsibility for it. In fact, Trump has given Saudi Arabia a free pass and a free hand in the region.
.. For five decades, Saudi Arabia has spread its narrow, puritanical and intolerant version of Islam — originally practiced almost nowhere else — across the Muslim world.
.. the Saudi government, along with Qatar, has been “providing clandestine financial and logistic support to [the Islamic State] and other radical Sunni groups in the region.” Saudi nationals make up the second-largest group of foreign fighters in the Islamic State and, by some accounts, the largest in the terrorist group’s Iraqi operations. The kingdom is in a tacit alliance with al-Qaeda in Yemen.
The Conventional Threat to Trump
Republican orthodoxy might co-opt him.
His candidacy combined utterly conventional Republican positions with a few signature policy heterodoxies and a flame-throwing populist message. If it’s comforting that he doesn’t seem intent on waging war on his own party in Washington, the opposite risk is that he loses some of his political distinctiveness in the grinding legislative wars to come.
.. This is why the Democratic approach to Trump so far, besides being insane, is wrongheaded. The Democrats are preparing to fight what they consider a kleptocratic handmaiden of Vladimir Putin, an unprecedented threat to the American republic that justifies cockamamie schemes like calling for the Electoral College to ignore the results of the election.
.. There is no doubt that Trump is unlike any prior president. But Democrats will in all likelihood find their opposition to Trump running in a familiar rut — Republicans are heartless tools of corporations and the wealthy. They don’t care if people lose their health insurance. They are cutting taxes for the rich. They are deregulating bankers. Etc., etc. This is the critique that Hillary Clinton didn’t make of Trump, opting instead to emphasize his outlandishness.
.. The candidate who issued thunderous jeremiads during the campaign against a globalized elite that had literally stolen from small-town America has assembled a Cabinet that by and large could have been put together by Ted Cruz or, for that matter, Mitt Romney.
.. What’s the point in having a populist Republican in the White House if congressional Republicans can’t find a way to couple some replacement measures with their Obamacare repeal to give people other options for getting health insurance? Or if congressional Republicans can’t make their tax plan more oriented toward the middle class, perhaps including a cut in payroll taxes?
Read more at: http://www.nationalreview.com/article/443307/donald-trump-republican-normalizing
Can the GOP Civilize Trump the Barbarian?
The thing about barbarian conquerors, though, is that they need the help of the conquered to run their empires. And this gives the conquered people power – the power to keep things the way they are.
.. Trump’s efforts look like more amateurish and exaggerated versions of precisely the sorts of “plans” that GOP candidates have been proposing for the past several cycles. They involve enormous tax cuts for the top income brackets and corporations, and ripping up ObamaCare to replace it with nothing.
.. Once he was emperor, Kublai Khan famously decreed the building of a stately pleasure dome at Xanadu — just the sort of thing one can imagine Donald Trump doing. But to govern China, he relied on Han Chinese advisors, and ran his empire according to traditional Chinese models. Trump the barbarian may wind up being “civilized” by his conquest in much the same manner.