Last week’s post concerned options for changes in medical insurance in the United States. It was noted that the Republican Party, led by Donald Trump, has been working to eliminate coverage for millions of Americans while also eliminating consumer protection on such things as denial of coverage for pre-existing medical conditions. Republican candidates for Congress in NY27 have been tripping over themselves to indicate which one is the most committed and best supporter of Trump. So last week’s post asked where they stand on health insurance coverage. Don’t hold your breath waiting to hear their responses.
International developments over the past two weeks pose another series of questions for those Republican candidates. Voters in NY27 deserve to know where the would-be members of Congress stand on issues of major consequences.
So, to begin, Private Bone-Spur, aka Donald Trump, essentially encouraged the Turks to go into Syria and wipe out the Kurds. The Kurds, up until very recently, were American allies. They were largely credited, at a great loss of life, with helping to eliminate ISIS as a diabolical force in Middle East politics. But evidently Trump is more concerned with currying favor with Turkey and Russia, who will now occupy the area where the Kurds had established a presence, than worrying about the poor Kurds. The Russians will also occupy an American base that was bombed by American forces immediately after the American military fled. The decision to cut and run was Trump’s.
We have been told over and over again that when it comes to making big decisions Trump ignores the advice of military and diplomatic experts and instead relies on his gut. Since that gut is regularly clogged with the remnants of Big Macs and Kentucky Fried Chicken, having major international actions guided by that gut seems like a pretty dicey thing to do.
Some of us would prefer to listen to the advice and commentary of people who have a much broader perspective on international politics and warfare than Donald Trump. Here is a small sampling of such commentary and advice:
[I]f we don’t care about our values, if we don’t care about duty and honor, if we don’t help the weak and stand up against oppression and injustice — what will happen to the Kurds, the Iraqis, the Afghans, the Syrians, the Rohingyas, the South Sudanese and the millions of people under the boot of tyranny or left abandoned by their failing states?
If our promises are meaningless, how will our allies ever trust us? If we can’t have faith in our nation’s principles, why would the men and women of this nation join the military? And if they don’t join, who will protect us? If we are not the champions of the good and the right, then who will follow us? And if no one follows us — where will the world end up?
President Trump seems to believe that these qualities are unimportant or show weakness. He is wrong. These are the virtues that have sustained this nation for the past 243 years. If we hope to continue to lead the world and inspire a new generation of young men and women to our cause, then we must embrace these values now more than ever. William H. McRaven, retired Navy Admiral, former Commander of the United States Special Operations Command and former chancellor of the University of Texas system.
There is blood on Trump’s hands for abandoning our Kurdish allies… This is what happens when Trump follows his instincts and because of his alignment with autocrats. Retired Four-Star Marine General John Allen.
[Trump’s] decision was made without consulting U.S. allies or senior U.S. military leadership and threatens to affect future partnerships at precisely the time we need them most, given the war-weariness of the American public coupled with ever more sophisticated enemies determined to come after us. Joseph Votel, retired four-star Army General who previously headed Central Command’s military operations in Syria.
We have scorched our opponents with language that precludes compromise and we have brushed aside the possibility that the person with whom we disagree might actually sometimes be right. We owe a debt to all who fought for liberty, including those who tonight serve in the far corners of our planet, among them the American men and women supporting our Kurdish allies. Retired Marine General and former Secretary of Defense James Mattis.
So question number one for the NY27 Republicans: do you support Donald Trump’s actions to cut and run in Syria?
Question number two: do you support Donald Trump’s efforts to foment chaos in the most unstable portion of the world?
Question number three: do you support having Rudy Guiliani, an unstable lawyer who has no formal role in the government’s international affairs, directing actions and policy positions in the Middle East?
I fully expect the current crop of Republican/Trump candidates in NY27 to do everything in their power to avoid discussing these questions. They may think that Republican/Trump party members are overwhelmingly in favor of cowardly actions designed to please a foreign adversary. I doubt that to be the case.
Evasive tactics will most likely be used by Chris Jacobs, Robert Ortt, Beth Parlato, and Stefan Mychajliw. BTW, welcome to Trump-land Chris!
The most interesting actions and commentary on these questions, however, would have come from potential candidate David Bellavia. Bellavia has been honored in all sorts of local and national venues for his receipt of the Medal of Honor. He is well deserving of that Medal and he seems to be carrying it very well. Bellavia’s decision to forego the race avoids the highly partisan political climate that now exists.
He recently told the Buffalo News that he “does not have time for partisan nonsense… At this point in time, I have completely blocked out my calendar for the U.S. Army… I would not use the sacrifice of my friends’ blood for [politics]… My ambitions are not as important as those men. Being a soldier was the experience of a lifetime.” Becoming a political candidate would have probably been a bridge too far.