Lies and Distraction from Trump, Putin’s Dangerous War in Syria

Donald Trump lashes out at Democrats. Vladimir Putin is playing a dangerous game in Syria.

American president Donald Trump and his wife, Melania, arrive at King Khalid International Airport in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, May 20, 2017
American president Donald Trump and his wife, Melania, arrive at King Khalid International Airport in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, May 20, 2017 (White House/Shealah Craighead)

First the lies:

Just like they don’t want to solve the DACA problem, why didn’t the Democrats pass gun control legislation when they had both the House & Senate during the Obama Administration. Because they didn’t want to, and now they just talk!

  1. It’s the president who unilaterally ended the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program last year and who is now blocking a compromise. Democrats and center-right Republicans are ready to do a deal.
  2. Democrats tried to get tougher guns laws under Barack Obama. They were frustrated at every turn by Republicans, who turned the filibuster into standard operating procedure in the Senate, as a result of which it now takes sixty votes to get anything of consequence done. When Democrats could briefly muster sixty votes in the early years of Obama’s presidency, they used that opportunity to reform health care.


Now the distraction:

[T]he results of the 2016 election were not impacted or changed by the Russians… the only Collusion was between Russia and Crooked H, the DNC and the Dems. Remember the Dirty Dossier, Uranium, Speeches, Emails and the Podesta Company!

As I argued here a few days ago, pointing the finger at Hillary Clinton is always Republicans’ last resort.

Who cares what Clinton did? Two wrongs don’t make a right.

There is now no doubt Russia interfered in the 2016 election, despite Donald Trump’s repeated denials to the contrary. He has moved on to argue there was no collusion with his campaign — and he still inexplicably refuses to take Russia to task for sabotaging American democracy.

Putin’s war in Syria

Two readings on Vladimir Putin’s war in Syria:

  • Mark Galeotti argues in The Atlantic that Putin is playing a dangerous game. Average Russians only tolerate the war so long as it doesn’t cost them too many lives. Nationalists are demanding a response to an American airstrike that killed Russian fighters — the last thing Putin needs. “Russia is learning the lesson of so many imperial powers past: It’s much easier to get into a Middle Eastern conflict than to get out of one.”
  • Fred Kaplan argues in Slate that Putin is running up against the same limits the United States are facing. “There are many wars going on in Syria. Allies in one war are deadly foes in another. All the wars overlap politically and, to an increasingly alarming degree, geographically. Therefore, as long as the wars intensify and there’s no clear road for diplomacy, any one country can amass only so much power — and is likely to lose much of that as the fighting gets thicker.”

Two problems with two-headed government

Pro-independence parties in Catalonia are looking to set up a two-headed government, partly led from Barcelona and partly from Brussels, where Carles Puigdemont and other deposed ministers remain in self-imposed exile.

Puigdemont is wanted by Spanish authorities for organizing an independence referendum on October 1 that had been ruled illegal by the Constitutional Court in Madrid.

There are two problems with their strategy:

  1. Puigdemont would still need to be sworn in to serve another term as president, which would almost certainly require his physical presence in Barcelona.
  2. Spain is unlikely to restore home rule if Puigdemont were to lead another Catalan government.