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To be fair, Spicer didn't invent the "Poison gas is the weapon so evil even Hitler didn't use it" trope. But you need to add, "On the battlefield, where everyone could see it" to avoid looking like a complete idiot. Spicer didn't, and my God, his attempt at "clarification" was just painful to listen to. A reporter threw him a lifeline, and he used it to hang himself.

 

Dean Shomshak

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(From Jesse McLaren's twitter)

 

PEPSI: Check out this PR disaster.

 

UNITED: That's amateur hour. Watch -this-!

 

SEAN SPICER: Hold my beer.

 

The variation I saw was:

Pepsi: That didn't go over well

United: Hold my beer.

Sean Spicer: LEEEEEEEROOOOY JEENNNNKKKINNNSSS!!!

CES 

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The fact that Sean Spicer spawned his own recurring sketch on Saturday Night Live underlines his repeated breaking of the cardinal rule for a political press secretary: you never, ever, allow yourself to become the story. If the media focus is on you instead of the government line you're supposed to deliver, you've failed at your job.

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Putin must be having severe buyer's remorse by now. Trump is too emotional and unpredictable for foreign governments to trust his word, and the Syria incidents (I don't know that it's a full-fledged crisis yet) are trying even normal ties between the US and Russia.

 

The Russians thought that Trump would give them a free hand in Syria, and he did for a while, but then they went too far. The gas attack wasn't just obscene -- it was also stupid. It was virtually guaranteed to produce an emotional response from other governments at a time when the Russians and Assad did not need outside scrutiny. Whether the Russians initiated the attack or simply failed to remind their "ally" of the possible consequences is unclear. Now everyone is wondering what compelled the Russians not to seek another leader in Syria who would do the same things for them Assad did without the baggage that comes with his brutality.

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Putin must be having severe buyer's remorse by now. Trump is too emotional and unpredictable for foreign governments to trust his word, and the Syria incidents (I don't know that it's a full-fledged crisis yet) are trying even normal ties between the US and Russia.

 

The Russians thought that Trump would give them a free hand in Syria, and he did for a while, but then they went too far. The gas attack wasn't just obscene -- it was also stupid. It was virtually guaranteed to produce an emotional response from other governments at a time when the Russians and Assad did not need outside scrutiny. Whether the Russians initiated the attack or simply failed to remind their "ally" of the possible consequences is unclear. Now everyone is wondering what compelled the Russians not to seek another leader in Syria who would do the same things for them Assad did without the baggage that comes with his brutality.

I wouldn't be too quick to look at Putin's actions as being either unexpected or miscalculated. What I suspect he's doing, what I expected from the moment Trump won the election, is following the same playbook Kruschev used against Kennedy. While Trump is obviously no JFK (if you're comparing him to the myth, neither was JFK), but like Kennedy, he's an inexperienced outsider who only trusted advisors are equally inexperienced and ignorant.

 

I predict this is just the opening shot, and we're going to see more naked aggression from Russia in the coming months and years. Trump already failed the first test, and his chances aren't looking good for whatever comes next.

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The fact that Sean Spicer spawned his own recurring sketch on Saturday Night Live underlines his repeated breaking of the cardinal rule for a political press secretary: you never, ever, allow yourself to become the story. If the media focus is on you instead of the government line you're supposed to deliver, you've failed at your job.

 

I don't know if that is true.  After all "Sean Spicer is an idiot" is a better story for the administration than "Donald Trump is an idiot".

 

 

To be fair, Spicer didn't invent the "Poison gas is the weapon so evil even Hitler didn't use it" trope. But you need to add, "On the battlefield, where everyone could see it" to avoid looking like a complete idiot. Spicer didn't, and my God, his attempt at "clarification" was just painful to listen to. A reporter threw him a lifeline, and he used it to hang himself.

 

Dean Shomshak

 

To be fair, Spicer didn't invent the "Poison gas is the weapon so evil even Hitler didn't use it" trope. But you need to add, "On the battlefield, where everyone could see it" to avoid looking like a complete idiot. Spicer didn't, and my God, his attempt at "clarification" was just painful to listen to. A reporter threw him a lifeline, and he used it to hang himself.

 

Dean Shomshak

 

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To be fair, Spicer didn't invent the "Poison gas is the weapon so evil even Hitler didn't use it" trope. But you need to add, "On the battlefield, where everyone could see it" to avoid looking like a complete idiot. Spicer didn't, and my God, his attempt at "clarification" was just painful to listen to. A reporter threw him a lifeline, and he used it to hang himself.

 

Dean Shomshak

 

Even then the real reason why Hitler didn't use it was because he suspected that that Britain had a lot more poison gas and would use it all if they got so much as a whiff of German nerve gas.  And in fact that was true.  

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I don't know if that is true.  After all "Sean Spicer is an idiot" is a better story for the administration than "Donald Trump is an idiot".

 

If those are your only two choices, that's probably true. But connecting "idiot" to any prominent member of a presidential administration is never a good thing. It reflects on the perceived competence of the country's leaders. On top of that, even if your president is an idiot, the press secretary is supposed to make him sound less like one, not join him in it.

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I'll admit, I relaxed slightly when the news seemed to indicate that the North Koreans were likely to go for an underground nuke test rather than a missile launch.

 

Then I saw this afternoon we decided to (very publically) use a MOAB in Afganistan.

 

When it comes to saber rattling this administration is about as far from 'subtle' as you can get.

 

Now, are we crazy/stupid enough to try and pre-empt a nuke test by dropping another MOAB?  Or do we honestly think Kim will call off Grandpa's (presumed) nuclear b-day present just because Trump decided to act all threatening at him?

 

Or are both sides just posturing at each other.

 

I probably won't get out of needing to go to work Monday regardless unless things spiral out of control in a truly spectacular fashion.

 

That's the big danger with saber rattling -- you might accidentally draw the blade and cut someone...

 

 

 

"It's a feat that we've never achieved before but there is a new sense of resolve here," the official said, referring to the White House.

 

I'm not sure 'resolve' is the word I'd use...

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I'll admit, I relaxed slightly when the news seemed to indicate that the North Koreans were likely to go for an underground nuke test rather than a missile launch.

 

Then I saw this afternoon we decided to (very publically) use a MOAB in Afganistan.

 

When it comes to saber rattling this administration is about as far from 'subtle' as you can get.

 

Now, are we crazy/stupid enough to try and pre-empt a nuke test by dropping another MOAB?  Or do we honestly think Kim will call off Grandpa's (presumed) nuclear b-day present just because Trump decided to act all threatening at him?

 

Or are both sides just posturing at each other.

 

I probably won't get out of needing to go to work Monday regardless unless things spiral out of control in a truly spectacular fashion.

 

That's the big danger with saber rattling -- you might accidentally draw the blade and cut someone...

 

As much as I agree with all of that, I'm not even sure that's the biggest danger here. There are some very good documentary shows from Britain that got added to Netflix a few months back which go into a lot of interesting detail about the run up to WW II. One of them focuses on the role that the growing pains of democracy played. The way over simplified version comes down to a discussion of the tension between making the world safe for democracy vs making democracy safe for the world.

 

Despite the significant differences, there are striking similarities between post WW II Europe and the modern day Middle East. I'm not saying that WW III is right around the corner, or even inevitable, but the ingredients are pretty clearly there, and the last thing we should be doing is just kicking the hornet's nest and then walking away - especially given the proximity of Russia, both geographically and politically.

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Here's another scary thought:

 

Assuming the Trump administration is in fact not sheathed in the armor of invincible ignorance (I did say 'resolve' wasn't my intuitive word choice), what exactly did Trump offer Xi if China sits on its hands while we try booting Kim3 off his throne?

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In this instance it was clearly intended as a weapon of intimidation, meant to strike fear in the enemy at the kind of force the US can bring to bear. There are mixed signals as to whether it will have the desired effect: http://www.msn.com/en-ca/news/world/it-felt-like-the-heavens-were-falling-afghans-reel-from-moabs-impact/ar-BBzQ4fI?li=AAggNb9

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The MOAB strike killed 36 enemy fighters, according to the Afghan government.

 

Thirty-Six.

 

How much did that bomb cost?

$16 million, but I have read that the target was a tunnel network that ISIS was dug into. It could be a valid strategic use of the weapon. At least no Navy SEALs or American kids died.

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