Trump on the Warpath

The US suffers from an arrogance of military power disconnected from today’s geopolitical realities. The US is on this path again, heading for a collision with a nuclear-armed adversary, and it will remain on it unless other countries, other American leaders, and public opinion block the way.

NEW YORK – Fifteen years after George W. Bush declared that Iraq, Iran, and North Korea formed “an axis of evil,” Donald Trump, in his maiden address to the United Nations, denounced Iran and North Korea in similarly vitriolic terms. Words have consequences, and Trump’s constitute a dire and immediate threat to global peace, just as Bush’s words did in 2002.

Back then, Bush was widely praised for his response to the terror attacks of September 11, 2001. It’s easy to rally the public to war, and that was especially true after 9/11. Yet, on every front – Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, and North Korea – US militarism squandered global trust, lives, finances, and precious time. And Trump’s approach is far more belligerent – and dangerous – than Bush’s.

For Trump, as for Bush, there is Good (America) and Evil (Afghanistan under the Taliban, Iran, North Korea, and Iraq under Saddam Hussein). America the Good makes demands on the evildoers. If the evildoers do not comply, America can exercise the “military option” or impose punitive sanctions to enforce “justice” as the United States defines it.

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