My latest piece published on conterpunch.org.
Early in Richard Nixon’s presidency, he told his chief of staff Bob Haldeman that his secret strategy for ending the Vietnam War was to threaten the use of nuclear weapons. Nixon opined that President Eisenhower’s nuclear threats in 1953 brought a quick end to the Korean War, and that he planned to use the same principle of threatening maximum force. Nixon called it the “madman theory,” getting the North Vietnamese to “believe…I might do anything to stop the war.”
The unanimous rejection of the Trump administration’s efforts to reinstate the ban on travel from seven Muslim countries will lead to the first test between this White House and the intelligence community, particularly the CIA. The three-judge panel indicated that the travel ban did not bolster national security in the United States and that there was “no evidence” that anyone from the seven countries had committed terrorism in the United States.
If November was the “stepping off” point, then December is the “hurtling towards the hard landing” of January’s Trump presidency. Libertarians, and what remains of the Left who took cold comfort in the candidate’s expressed wish to draw in America’s military talons must today be nervously eyeing Mr. T.’s Manhattan aerie as one after another military man is added to his foreign policy cast of hawks; even as the bellicose Commander-in-Chief to be runs roughshod over diplomatic norms and protocol niceties.
President-elect Donald Trump probably never read Fletcher Knebel and Charles Bailey’s “Seven Days in May” in 1962 and never saw John Frankenheimer’s film version in 1964, which dealt with the threat of a military coup due to opposition to a nuclear disarmament treaty with the Soviet Union during the Cold War.