Words Matter, Mr. President

Leaving aside the inane use of adjectives and qualifiers [both verbally and tweet based], one would think that by now, POTUS would either have a grasp or keep somebody close at hand, to avoid making empty, false or confusing statements.

Donald Trump said he has given the military “total authorization.” That may sound great, but “total authorization” has no meaning. The military’s dictionary, (yes, it has its very own) includes “diplomatic authorization” and “letters of authorization,” but does not include “total authorization.” Perhaps Mr. Trump chose a non-existent term when he actually meant to say that he, as the commander in chief, had issued an order giving the military specific authorization to conduct operations limited in time and space.

Alternatively, perhaps Mr. Trump simply wanted Americans to know that he will exercise less oversight and control of the U.S. military as compared to his predecessors. Without clarification, we cannot be sure. There are at least fifteen different types of orders that the President, Secretary of Defense and military commanders can issue to those under their charge. They cannot, however, issue “total authorization.”

In the same vein, Mr. Trump’s characterization of recent military operations as “so successful” reveals that he has little idea what military success looks like. Trump’s crowing over a single missile strike against Syria or the use of the “Mother of All Bombs” in Afghanistan suggests that he equates action and aggression with success. As history has made clear, nothing could be further from the truth.

President Trump owes the nation – and the world – more careful language. Trump’s empty words may thrill his supporters, but they will not defeat the Islamic State or bring peace to a troubled region. If the American public is to trust him and intelligently support his foreign policies, especially with lives on the line, he must communicate coherently. The president should weigh his words before he speaks, provide clear explanations for his actions and measured assessments of progress. In short, Trump’s words need to mean exactly what they seem to mean.

Why Trump’s Words Matter, RealClear Defense – http://www.realcleardefense.com/articles/2017/04/20/why_trumps_words_matter_111211.html

Updated – Peeling back the Trump-Russia Onion

A long read, posted at Just Security……but worth it, to get at the multiple ties and circumstances of Trump financial dealings with Russian entities. Ties that must be taken into consideration given the House, Senate and FBI investigations of potential Russian collusion with the Trump campaign.

While names like Carter Page, Roger Stone and Michael Flynn dominate headlines amidst allegations of possible collusion with Russia, there’s another angle to Donald Trump’s connections to the former Soviet Union that’s only beginning to receive the attention it deserves. This is the series of murky financial dealings that often make little business sense. Taken on their own, many of these transactions appear perfectly legal. Viewed together, they show patterns suspicious enough that they should qualify for investigation under U.S. laws aimed at combatting money laundering, tax evasion, and other hard to track financial misdeeds. One particularly good example of this pattern involves Trump’s billionaire Commerce Secretary, Wilbur Ross, and his former role as vice chairman of the Bank of Cyprus. His case is just one piece of the puzzle that may be reflective of other dealings that warrant much closer scrutiny.

Read the rest here: https://www.justsecurity.org/39409/money-russia-cyprus-trump-teams-odd-business-dealings/

Another article speaking to the same set of issues, at War is Boring: https://warisboring.com/trump-aides-and-russian-mobsters-pulled-strings-in-putins-massive-ukraine-gas-scheme-2ec3e6cef803

Before Donald Trump was president or a candidate, and when he was hurting for investors as Wall Street had all but shut down loaning operations to him, his businesses established extensive ties to Russian oligarchs, including some allegedly affiliated with organized crime.

At the same time, associates of Russian President Vladimir Putin, the Russian government and future associates of Trump — most notably Paul Manafort, his future campaign chairman — were allegedly involved in a massive Eurasian natural gas and money laundering scheme worth billions of dollars, and part of Putin’s grand plan to control Ukraine.

At best, Trump may have had no knowledge of this scheme and these ties, but even this scenario highlights serious deficiencies in Trump’s judgment in terms of who he did business and politics with — and it is of urgent interest to the American people as Trump manages the nation as president.