Last updated on December 3, 2020
Trump’s doing nothing about the continuing rise in Covid cases, and is spending his time at golf and continuing to sow chaos on the path to the bunker. Meanwhile the derangement spreads to Newt Gingrich.
Unhingery continues, because Twitter is a bigger national security threat.
Donald Trump has angrily declared Twitter a national security threat after #DiaperDon went viral following a news conference in which he repeatedly complained about perceived injustices.“Twitter is sending out totally false ‘Trends’ that have absolutely nothing to do with what is really trending in the world. They make it up, and only negative ‘stuff’,” the US president tweeted without providing evidence in the early hours of Friday morning.Mr Trump did not say which trending topic upset him, but following Thursday’s press briefing, which saw him furiously assail a reporter from behind a surprisingly small desk, the hashtag #DiaperDon surged towards the top of Twitter’s trending list in the US and UK.“For purposes of National Security, Section 230 must be immediately terminated!!!” Mr Trump added, in reference to part of a 1996 law which protects websites from lawsuits over content posted by users. Any changes to these protections would fundamentally change how the internet works.
Trump could be hoping for retaliation from Iran.
— The Washington Post (@washingtonpost) November 28, 2020
— Guardian US (@GuardianUS) November 28, 2020
The assassination on Friday of Iran’s leading nuclear scientist has heightened suspicions that Donald Trump, in cahoots with hardline Israeli and Saudi allies, may be trying to lure the Tehran regime into an all-out confrontation in the dying days of his presidency. Trump’s four-year-long Iranian vendetta is approaching a climax – and he still has the power and the means to inflict lasting damage.
Speculation that Trump might soon initiate or support some kind of attack on Iran, overt or covert, kinetic or cyber, had swirled across the Middle East in the wake of last weekend’s unprecedented meeting in Saudi Arabia between Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, US secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, and the Saudi crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman.
What the three men discussed remains a closely guarded secret, a fact that has only served to encourage conspiracy claims. In the absence of an official statement, it’s suggested they may have agreed to intensify efforts to provoke and weaken the Tehran regime. Any ensuing retaliation by Iran might then potentially be used to justify an attack on its nuclear facilities before Trump leaves office on 20 January.
The meeting in Neom, a city near the Red Sea, and the possibly deliberate leak revealing it had taken place, served another important purpose. By presenting a united anti-Iran front, the participants put US president-elect Joe Biden on notice that his plans to resume dialogue with Tehran, and revive the 2015 nuclear deal abandoned by Trump, will face fierce resistance and may have to be rethought.
And tension spreads.
Israel's military is preparing for the possibility that the Trump administration will launch a military strike against Iran, Axios reported on Wednesday.
Senior Israeli officials told the outlet that the Israeli government instructed military commanders to prepare for a potential strike during the “very sensitive period” between now and when President-elect Joe Biden takes office on Jan. 20.
Israel is reportedly making preparations with the expectation that they would receive advance notice from the U.S. regarding any military action, but with concerns that such notification might come too close to the attack.
Israel is also preparing for the possibility of a retaliatory strike by Iran, either directly or through proxies in nearby countries.
The New York Times reported last week that President Trump was considering a military strike against Iran in an attempt to stop Tehran's growing nuclear program. The International Atomic Energy Agency a day earlier had reported that the country’s uranium stockpile was 12 times higher than allowed under the Obama-era nuclear deal that the Trump administration withdrew from in 2018.
Trump reportedly held a meeting Thursday in the Oval Office to discuss his options, but Vice President Pence, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, acting Secretary of Defense Christopher Miller and Gen. Mark Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, dissuaded him against such actions.
Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz has spoken twice over the past two weeks with Miller to discuss Iran, Syria and defense cooperation.
On Sunday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met in Saudi Arabia with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. The main topic of conversation was Iran, Israeli officials told Axios.
— Tim Kaine (@timkaine) November 26, 2020
— Department of State (@StateDept) November 25, 2020
Fortunately, some things didn’t come to pass before election day.
The United States said it had confiscated four Iranian fuel shipments that had been bound for Venezuela, disrupting a key supply line for both Tehran and Caracas as they defied US sanctions.
- The first threat is that continued protests on city streets will once again raise the prospect of Trump deploying active-duty troops to support local law enforcement. When Trump first went down that road in June, military leaders really did not want the regular military to get that assignment. A recent survey by the Military Times makes clear that this view is shared widely among career military professionals. But such an assignment would not be unprecedented and Trump seems to believe he enjoys a political advantage in stoking the violence—and then taking a heavy-handed approach in response. Unfortunately, it’s reasonable to assume that this issue will return before Election Day.
- The second threat that could draw the military even further into electoral politics is the Trump campaign’s reliance on portraying him as the flag-embracing, pro-military candidate. …. The threat is that Trump will overreact and overcompensate.
- The third threat is Trump’s history of anti-military statements, which are available to be dredged up and deployed as campaign fodder. This happened most vividly in the recent story by Jeffrey Goldberg in the Atlantic….Of course, each new report of Trump mocking soldiers risks driving him to overcompensate in some other way that further drags the military into the daily campaign gyre.
- But the really ominous threat is the fourth one: the prospect that the military will be asked to resolve a contested election by forcibly preventing the losing candidate from keeping or grabbing political power. Unlike the other three threats, there really is no precedent in U.S. history for the military playing this role.
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