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This Week in the Narrative 71

Nigel Clarke

Dear moderate Democrats,


Welcome to my world.

Perhaps now you can begin to understand progressives who didn’t want to vote for Hillary Clinton.

This week, President Trump fired his Secretary of State … on Twitter, because, of course. To fill the position, Trump tapped CIA Director Mike Pompeo, a noted neoconservative hardliner, “Christian crusader,” and “uber-hawk.”

To replace Pompeo as CIA Director, Trump chose Gina Haspel.

Yes, you read the name right, a woman as the head of the CIA … that’s pretty cool, right?

Except, Haspel’s most notable resume points include both personally overseeing a CIA torture site in Thailand, as well as the torture program of the W. Bush administration. As The Guardian opined this week: “Gina Haspel should be arrested — not put in charge of the CIA.”

As might be expected, and as well it should be, opposition to Haspel’s nomination has been vigorous.

Can we all agree now that opposing a woman for a high-ranking position is not necessarily sexist if the woman is horrific?

The mainstream media’s coverage of Trump’s game of administrative musical chairs has been just as oversimplified as ‘you are sexist if you don’t vote for this woman.’

Their reasoning for Trump’s decisions: that he is stupid, impulsive, perhaps unstable.

Media outlets are stating that Trump is too dumb to realize how naming Pompeo as Secretary of State will antagonize countries around the world, including allies. He is unable to foresee how naming Haspel as Director of the CIA will inflame human rights organizations and their supporters.

This is a well-used narrative. Last week, when Trump suddenly announced (you guessed it, on Twitter) his intention to meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, the coverage was the same.

What North Korea most wants, more so even than the lifting of economic sanctions, is geopolitical legitimacy. Agreeing to a meeting between heads of state gives them this before the discussion even begins. Further, having acquired what they most desire, North Korea gains the option to leave the talks suddenly and whenever they choose, a potentially embarrassing situation for Trump.

The President is too dumb, says the mainstream media, to recognize the long thin branch he has wandered out onto.

I think of the prevailing narrative surrounding the last Republican President — also that he was dumb.

Iraq? Aww, he’s just a cowboy who got a little carried away. I mean, look at him he can barely talk!

Whether or not George W. Bush was an unintelligent man, those around him, those who benefited most from the administration’s actions, certainly were not, nor were their plans accidental.

One need only look at the ‘Project for the New American Century (PNAC),’ a sort of ideological manifesto created by prominent neoconservatives a few years before Dubya was “elected.”

It spoke of a “US power-projection around the world” in order to “pursue Pax Americana.” Among its stated goals, to “increase defense spending,” both for, and by, the “permanent allocation of US forces” globally.

Why is this particular document so important?

Because ten of the original 25 signatories of PNAC became members of the Bush administration — including the future vice-President (Dick Cheney) and Secretary of Defense (Donald Rumsfeld); also, the future Undersecretary of Defense (Paul Wolfowitz), Cheney Chief of Staff (Scooter Libby), a National Security Council member (Elliott Abrams), and the Unocal oil corporation representative who would become special envoy to a conquered Afghanistan, then Ambassador of a conquered Iraq.

The future President was himself not among the initial signatories, though his brother Jeb sure was.

So why did Trump nominate a warmonger to become Secretary of State and the face of American diplomacy? Why did he nominate someone so eager to disregard human rights to head the CIA? Why did he agree to a meeting with Kim Jong-un which has such a high probability of diplomatic collapse and humiliation?

These why’s are not asked in mainstream media, except rhetorically, with the implied answer being: because he’s an idiot.

I’m going to do my friends in the mainstream media a favor and write their future headline for them. This one they can have for no charge.

North Korea Rebukes Trump, Pompeo Urges the President to Take Action’


Quote of the Week:

Written by Nigel Clarke

Writer and notorious vagabond. From the frozen north. Follow Nigel on Twitter @Nig_Clarke.

Nigel Clarke is a Writer for Progressive Army.

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