Category Archives: Politics

Links about people behaving badly.

I’m always amazed how much anti-gay pastors turn out to be bottling up either a closeted gay side or something actually horrible For example, anti-gay preacher Ken Adkins and his taste for underage sex.

Being a conservative talking head is sometimes just a way to scam your followers.

Rep. Steve King, who insists white supremacist didn’t use to be an offensive term, doubles down.

Speaking of white supremacists, Richard Spencer’s National Policy Institute is falling on hard times.

The right keeps talking about civil war if they don’t get their way. For example.

How corporate culture crashed the Boeing 737 Max.

Global warming has Australia on fire. But media magnate Rupert Murdoch wants everyone to know it’s arson and environmentalists.

Eric Metaxas argues that as we’re all sinners, Christianity Today shouldn’t call for Trump’s impeachment.

Jamelle Bouie on why Trump is a Lovecraftian monster.

“Chauvinist American commentators always presume America has the best intentions, and that the American military is composed of saintly warrior-poets. The reality is that the lumbering American colossus has unleashed a Thirty Years’ War-level of violent chaos all around Iran for no good reason at all. ” — Ryan Cooper on why if Soleimani is a bad guy, so are we.

It’s not the first time I’ve heard bullshit that if Democrats win, Christians will be the new Jews.

Harvey Weinstein’s lawyer warns women that if #metoo keeps up, they’ll never get another date!

And right-wingers complain about liberal political correctness!

Incels freak out that even if they sleep with prostitutes, the sex workers have had other lovers.

5G cell service may be a major problem for weather-forecasting satellites.

Chuck Todd of Meet the Press is stunned to realize Republicans tell lies.

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So we might be at war with Iran soon …

We killed an Iraqi commander with a drone strike. If it goes to war, the outcome will be ugly. And the treatment of Iranian-Americans too.

A lot of the responses, even from the liberal side, have included declarations that while the decision, and bragging about it so Iran knows we’re responsible, may be a mistake, Commander Soleimani was a bad dude who killed Americans and we shouldn’t feel bad for him.

Well, fair enough, though given that our drone strikes kill grandmothers, day laborers and good Samaritans, I don’t know that’s really a moral argument: if Iran or any Middle East group started executing drone operators, we’d be screaming about how monstrous it was to take them out.

More generally, we didn’t kill the dude because he’s bad. We take out people because they’re either threats or they’ve pissed us off (e.g, Chilean President Salvador Allende: Nixon didn’t want a socialist in office, so he overthrew Allende). If “bad dude” was the issue, we’d do something about the Saudis (repressive sexists who murder journalists) or Duterte in the Philippines. We don’t, because it’s not in our interests. We don’t take out North Korea’s Kim because the retaliation would not be in our interests.

Was killing Soleimani and then announcing it in our interests? Probably not. It’s good for Trump because he gets to strut and brag a lot, but as noted in that Vox link above, it makes it a lot harder to avoid a messy war (and we and Iran have a long history of misunderstanding each other). While the Trump administration is talking about stopping an imminent threat, I don’t believe that without iron clad evidence — we’ve entered into far too many wars based on similar bullshit claims.

In other news:

fA cop claims a server wrote “F–ing pig” on his receipt. Turns out the cop lied.

An NYPD officer staying in Nashville broke into the neighboring house, terrorized the residents and called them racial slurs. He got two weeks in jail.

The Trump tax cuts were very generous to big business. Under pressure from lobbyists, the Treasury department was even more generous about interpreting the law.

Incels are horrified that even hookers have probably slept with men before the incels patronize them.

White supremacist Augustus Sol Invictus was running for president. Now he’s been arrested for domestic violence.

A dispute over gay marriage will literally split the United Methodist Church in two.

Crackpot political paranoid Liz Croker argues that Tom Hanks appeared in The Man With One Red Shoe, red shoes are a symbol of pedophilia, ergo Hanks is a pedophile.

“We’ve been governed by idiots in eras and ages past, and occasionally we’ve gotten a break because men and women of good will decided to buck the tide, and we’ve still got a few of those despite the massive pressure our society applies to make them and all of us more idiot-friendly.” — Roy Edroso on not giving up hope.

“The rich often get what they want, even when most of the public want the opposite.” — Paul Krugman about the excessive influence of the wealthy in politics.

Alex Pareene looks at why the Obama years didn’t produce permanent liberal gains.

“Seeing this “Christmas spirit” at work is encouraging because it demonstrates that we’re capable of it. It proves that generosity and sympathy and magnanimity and charity are possible as a way of being together in this world. It shows that we can, in fact, choose to be overwhelmingly kind and gracious to one another.

But it also demonstrates that we’re not able — or perhaps not willing — to sustain such grace and generosity. We can heed the better angels of our nature, but only once a year and only for a very brief period. We tend to spend the rest of the year refusing to be generous or merciful because, come on, it’s not Christmas.” — Fred Clark on the paradox of the Christmas spirit.

Greece prosecuted a budget official for presenting accurate figures.

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Chaos at the Romance Writers Association (and other links)

Romance novelist Courtney Milan criticized a book as racist. The author filed an ethics complaint against Milan with Romance Writers of America, which sided with the author. At the link, Camestros Felapton details a fairly complicated mess in which the RWA seems to be digging itself in deeper every day. Plus a from Camestros here about the challenges for RWA and similar groups as what’s acceptable regarding racism/gender/homophobia shifts.

“The opinions of critics and reviewers should be used as guidelines for where to spend our time and money, not as a means of completely outsourcing all the work of critical judgement to other people.” Foz Meadows on accepting stories don’t have to be perfect to be worthwhile.

“If you can’t afford $4 to rent a movie, or $10 a month for a streaming service, or whatever it is you’re trying to watch or listen to, then you don’t get to do it.” — Creative Future cracking down on pro-piracy arguments.

Subsidy presses lie to make themselves look like legitimate publishers, for example claiming traditional publishers also require you buy a ton of books. Given how many aspiring writers I know who were clueless about legitimate publishing, I don’t doubt it’s effective.

How to write satire in the age of Trump.

John Scalzi on the possibility of becoming “problematic.”

How not to write a Hanukkah movie.

What Scooby-Doo teaches us about writing.

An answer to the perennial question why do ebooks cost so much?

There are trolls posting fake reviews on Goodreads. Because some people suck.

Laurie Penny on what she learned from fanfiction.

Joker director Todd Phillips says “woke culture” killed comedy. Joker actor Marc Maron counters that the only thing you can’t get away with is “shamelessly punching down for the sheer joy of hurting people, …For the sheer excitement and laughter that some people get from causing people pain, from making people uncomfortable, from making people feel excluded.”

#SFWApro.

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Owning the liberals, and more

Several liberal bloggers have argued persuasively that upsetting liberals is the prime directive for a lot of conservatives. Perhaps that explains why Trump is encouraging right-wingers to start arguments with their liberal relatives. Who are, you know, wimps for not wanting to debate with Real Americans.

NRA head Wayne LaPierre has been under fire for calling federal agents jackbooted thugs, the belligerent tone of NRA-TV and for funneling personal expenses through NRA’s advertising firm (NRA then paid them). He insists none of it is his fault.

As I’ve mentioned before, right-wingers mock the need for safe spaces, but they also insist liberals stay out of “their” safe spaces. So when the Hallmark Channel shows a lesbian kiss it’s a clear sign liberals are seizing control of a gay-free safe space and lesbifying it.

Stephen Miller proposed embedding ICE agents in a refugee agency as a way to round up more immigrants.

As climate protests become louder, Australia tries to criminalize the protests. Back in the U.S., the University of North Carolina monitored anti-racism protesters’ phones during a dispute over a Civil War monument.

The Love Joy Feminism blog argues that Matt Bevin pardoning dozens of criminals is not bad in itself. It’s just that the pardon list is very white, and includes a child rapist Bevin thinks can’t be guilty. LGM points out that the pardon power is a poor substitute for legal reform.

Is revenge porn protected by the First Amendment?

The downside of life in Disney’s Celebration community in Florida.

Washington State Rep. Matt Shea is very keen on a civil war with liberals where Christian true believers kill all males. I presume that’s so the women can be taken as breeders in his new Gilead. He’s refusing to resign.

Evangelical conservatives strongly believe atheists and Muslims would crush Christianity if they had the power. In reality, conservative Christians are much more eager to crush other people’s religious freedom.

Seattle works on solutions to SWATting.

The Republican plan to let people order cheaper drugs from Canada is … flawed.

Conservative radio host Chuck Bonniwell said he’d like a school shooting as a break from impeachment. He’s been fired, though I imagine someone will hire him for dynamic conservative thinking like that.

Republicans keeps complaining Democrats were ready to impeach Trump from “day one.” Which is exactly what they planned had Hilary Clinton won.

LGM argues that when the media call Trump’s anti-impeachment letter “fiery” or “passionate” or anything but “bullshit”, they help normalize Trump.

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Hobbits or heroes? Or can we be both?

Lance Mannion made an interesting argument a couple of years back that most of us, at heart, are hobbits: “Most people don’t want lives full of adventure and achievement and the acquisition of treasure. They want to stay at home in the Shire. They want lives full of comfort and contentment, in the company of family and friends.”

Mannion’s argument is that this is a mixed bag. Hobbits are at peace with themselves and their lives; they don’t chase the next promotion, they don’t fret they’re not climbing the ladder of success fast enough, they don’t build their self-image around lording it over others. On the other hand, “contentment can be hard hard to distinguish from complacency. Being satisfied with one’s self is not the same as being self-satisfied, and the latter is much more common.” And a lot of times, it takes the restless, unsatisfied people to get stuff done.

I think there’s a lot of truth to that. But there’s also a lot of truth to George Orwell’s observation about Hitler having “grasped the falsity of the hedonistic attitude to life … Hitler, because in his own joyless mind he feels it with exceptional strength, knows that human beings don’t only want comfort, safety, short working-hours, hygiene, birth-control and, in general, common sense; they also, at least intermittently, want struggle and self-sacrifice, not to mention drums, flag and loyalty-parades … Whereas Socialism, and even capitalism in a grudging way, have said to people ‘I offer you a good time,’ Hitler has said to them ‘I offer you struggle, danger and death,’ and as a result a whole nation flings itself at his feet.”

As with Mannion’s view, this is true of some people, not all. And it can be true of the same person at different times. Lots of people performed heroically in WW II, for instance, but when it was done the citizen-soldiers turned around, went home and settled into normal, everyday life. Some entrepreneurs have a nostalgic fondness for the days when they had to struggle and count pennies to keep the company afloat. After 9/11, when I went to make my regular blood donation, the Red Cross office was absolutely packed. I’d never seen so many people queued up and ready to give. I’m sure, even so, that they’d have preferred 9/11 not happen and we could live our lives without a global war on anything.

I think a healthy country should be able to find a balance between the two views. Life shouldn’t be a struggle for existence, but it should have options for struggle and challenge and danger for those who want it. As Raymond Massey says in Things to Come, “Our revolution didn’t abolish danger or death, it simply made danger and death worthwhile!” Struggle (to write a novel, to bring peace to the Middle East, to save species from extinction, to invent AI) is worthwhile when we choose it. A country that gives us that choice, where we can be hobbits if we choose, heroes if we prefer, is doing it right.

And in some ways, hobbit-hood can be a launching pad for struggle. People who have to fight to keep a roof over their heads and food on the table may never get the chance to tap their full talents or abilities. If people can find good jobs and not worry about the basics, that can free them up to wonder, “Hmm, what next?”

A number of people don’t see it that way. Pundit William Bennett has wondered why we don’t raise more courageous heroes like the Donner Party; apparently a world where few people need to survive by cannibalism loses some of its charm for him. Businessman Pete Peterson thinks we should end Social Security so people can’t spend the last decades of life not working.

Warhawk Donald Kagan was horrified the death of the USSR led to a “happy international situation … haracterized by the spread of democracy, free trade, and peace. Fellow hawk Irving Kristol (also at the link) was equally upset that post-USSR America wasn’t establishing itself as the new imperial power, shaping the world to its will. Several pundits celebrated 9/11 for putting an end to peace and prosperity: now America would have get out there and give them an exciting war to enjoy!  Okay, that’s not how they phrased it, but that’s what their laments feel like, especially as none of them were lining up to enlist. Peterson and Bennett are likewise wealthy men who show no signs of giving up their own comfort and privilege to live a life of character-building hardship. As Orwell once said, those who talk like this never fight; tough rhetoric is their substitute for fighting.

As Mannion says, a world with nothing but hobbits would grind to a stuffy halt. But there’s something to be said if more people have the hobbit option available.

#SFWApro. Covers by Barbara Remington (top) and Jack Kirby, all rights to images remain with current holders.

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Christianity links for Christmas week

The conservative magazine Christianity Today has come out with an editorial saying Trump should be impeached. As Fred Clark says at the link, they deserve credit for that even though they show more concern with understanding Trump supporters than they do Trump opponents (“When someone is stomping on another person’s neck, charity — and justice — for the stomp-ee must come before “patient charity” for the stomp-er.”). And despite the fact the editor in chief only took a stand right before stepping down.

Meanwhile, young white evangelicals continue to support Trump. National Review goes with “both sides,” arguing that Democrats are as unwilling to compromise on abortion rights and identity politics to build an anti-Trump coalition than evangelicals are. But as Vox points out, evangelical conservatives don’t want to oppose Trump — they think he’s awesome. I’ll add that moderates and conservatives have been saying since the Clinton years that Democrats can recapture the white working class if they compromise on abortion, gay rights, etc. They have compromised, and it’s never worked.

Unsurprisingly, evangelicals see themselves much more positively than the rest of the country does.

I used to worry that if Trump stepped down Mike Pence would become a far more vicious anti-gay president. But whatever Trump’s personal feelings about gays, his actions are solidly in the tank for crushing gay rights.

“Politics is a transactional game, and presidents don’t need to be moral to be effective.” Rolling Stone on how money and power politics rallied evangelicals behind Trump.

Millennials are leaving organized religion behind.

Trump’s impeachment is more horrifying than the crucifixion!

A lot of conservatives believe if Christians refuse service to gays, that’s their right. If they’re religious groups resettling refugees, government has the power to stop them.

“To this day, the attitude I associate most with evangelicals is a sneering contempt for moral striving” An excerpt on Slacktivist from an essay about growing up evangelical.

To end on a positive note,  Baptist minister Mark Wingfield says when it comes to race, gender and such, Christian churches should learn to say “We were wrong.” And for another, a North Carolina church is trying to grow by shifting left.

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One type of dog-whistling, and other political links

How to dog-whistle about immigration fears: No, the writer has no problems with it himself, but why don’t we respect the views of hard-working who are uncomfortable with having more Hispanic people in the country?

This is not new. Richard Cohen claimed some years back that Tea Party conservatives with “conventional views” aren’t being bigoted when they’re offended at NYC Mayor Bill deBlasio’s biracial family, they’re fighting down a “gag reflex.” But he’s totally not a racist himself (even though he’s a firm believer in profiling black men), he’s just saying what other people are thinking (similarly, he believes George Zimmerman confronting a law-abiding Trayvon Martin was perfectly reasonable).

In other news:

Right-wing anti-gay bigot Bryan Fischer declares that in caving on allowing a lesbian kiss in an ad, Hallmark caved in to “the gay gestapo.”

The cops built a case against alleged sex trafficker Randy Volar, but never arrested him. One of his child sex slaves shot him; now she’s on trial for murder.

In Georgia, a politician’s wife dumps a drink over the head of a reporter, saying she had it coming. Elsewhere in the state, a city councilor resigns in the face of flak over his statement that interracial marriage “makes his blood boil.”

New Jersey is considering ending religious exemptions to vaccinating kids. Antivaxxers have stalled the bill in the state senate.

To its credit, the right-wing Christian magazine Charisma has published criticism of slimeball anti-Semite Rick Wiles, but it also gives him space to respond because they respect him.

Speaking of antisemitism, desecrating Torah scrolls in that Beverly Hills synagogue is more serious than I realized. This FB post goes into it in detail.

“We are rapidly becoming prototypes of a people that totalitarian monsters could only drool about in their dreams. All the dictators up to now have had to work hard at suppressing the truth. We, by our actions, are saying that this is no longer necessary.

Slacktivist on ads for Clint Eastwood’s film Richard Jewell: “That ad campaign calls Jewell ‘the real victim’ of the Atlanta Olympic bombing — which conveys a weird disregard for Alice Hawthorne and Melih Uzunyol who actually died in that attack, and for the 111 people injured in that crime. It also callously erases Officer Robert Sanderson, who was killed in one of the bomber’s subsequent attacks.”

Holy crap, the DoD used photos of a Nazi war criminal to salute the troops who died in the Battle of the Bulge.

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Time travel: significant people, the surge of history and dumb luck

In The Future of Another Timeline, Annalee Newitz’s characters debate whether history is shaped by social cause or by “great men.” If, say, you shot Christopher Columbus, would that change the history of colonial oppression? Or was he just a vessel on the flow of events, and someone else would have stepped into his shoes? It’s an old debate but one I’ve been thinking about since reading Rick Perlstein’s The Invisible Bridge, charting the persistent right-wing themes that endured through the 1970s after supposedly being crushed, and resurfaced with Reagan’s presidency.

Clearly the forces of white supremacy, male supremacy and authoritarianism were stronger than most people in the 1970s grasped. And those trends in American life have endured since, culminating in Trump and his die-hard Republican followers. It’s a good argument for the social-change theory of history.

Or is it? While clearly the trends were there, Perlstein’s book points out how nobody but Reagan seemed to perceive them; where other conservatives backed off Nixon, Reagan kept the faith and assured Americans they were good, their country was good, nothing to worry about here. He had a real gift at winning people over and making bullshit sound plausible; without him exploiting that pool of white, right-wing resentment, would things really have gone the same way?

Ditto Trump. Clearly the rest of the Republican Party is comfortable with his views; he’s an outlier, but he’s not unique. If Ted Cruz or Jeb Bush had won, we’d see a lot of the same policies (Bush did plenty of voter-disenfranchising in Florida, and I’m sure they’d be pushing through shitty conservative judges) but would they have the same impact shoving the country rightwards? Trump broke with a lot of orthodoxy, criticizing the Iraq war and proposing to give better social benefits. He openly made fun of veterans. It turns out Republican voters liked a lot of his proposals and were willing to forgive the rest for a healthy dose of racism and male supremacy without the usual efforts to say the quiet parts quietly.

So if I were writing a novel about changing history, I’d probably play with both forces interacting. A time-traveler who prevent a Trump or Reagan presidency wouldn’t remove America’s conservative underbelly but I suspect they would change history quite a bit.

But it doesn’t take someone Great to shape history; someone can be a significant turning point without being an important person. John Wilkes Booth triggered a turning point when he shot Lincoln; when Yigal Amir murdered Israel’s Yitzhak Rabin, he accomplished his goal of derailing the Israeli/Palestinian peace process. That’s not to say we’d have had utopia if Rabin or Lincoln had lived, but we might have gotten a better world than this timeline. FBI Director James Comey’s contributions to the non-scandal of Clinton’s emails was one of multiple factors that swung the election to Trump; again, while Republicans would be just as cutthroat — Ted Cruz was proposing the Senate not confirm any Supreme Court judges she nominated — Trump’s disastrous shitgibbon presidency would not be a thing. Little people count as much as great people.

And in all that, there’s chance to consider. The black death, for example, reshaped European society by massively wiping out a large part of the population. Spanish flu killed 50 million people; who knows what they or their descendants might have accomplished for good or evil? There are several turning points that might have averted or altered WW I significantly. Edvard Radzinsky says in The Rasputin Files, for example, that if Rasputin hadn’t been in the hospital when Archduke Franz Ferdinand was stabbed, he might have averted Russia going to war (he’d done it a couple of times before). If Russia doesn’t get involved, Germany has no reason to send Lenin back there to destabilize the government …

I have no idea for a novel that uses all these insights (if such they are), but I think there’s definitely potential there.

#SFWApro. Cover design Will Staehle, all rights remain with current holder.

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So feeling democracy depression isn’t just me?

“When I contemplate the sort of illiberal oligarchy that would await my children should Donald Trump win another term, the scale of the loss feels so vast that I can barely process it.” — Michelle Goldberg, on the state of our country and “democracy grief.”

It feels oddly comforting to know it’s not just me feeling upset about the shredding of democracy. Roy Edroso looks at how long Republicans have been working for this. Paul Campos points out that Trump ripping off his own charities for $2 million in funds for veterans “would have simply ended a presidency in the Before Time, now barely even qualifies as a news story, because nobody cares. The reason nobody cares is because any news confirming that Donald Trump is a sociopathic thief is not really news: everybody already knows this. ”

And even though we know Moscow Mitch will exonerate Trump, Democrats are settling for saying his statements “raise serious questions.” As Campos says in another post, they’re going to get Trump off, “not because they claim there is no merit to the charges that the House is voting out against Donald Trump, but because they have decided to give Trump impunity to act outside the law without consequence.” [italics in original]

And the Republican-dominated court is on Trump’s side. Democratic Senator Pat Leahy helped by making it easier for Republicans to block Obama judicial nominations. And Mike Huckabee’s talking about giving Trump a third term.

The solution is to fight harder. Not because that guarantees victory — I have no idea what the odds really are for 2020 or what the right strategy is — but because it’s the right side. As C.S. Lewis once put it, when Ragnarok comes the good guys will be destroyed but “that does not in the least alter the allegiance of any free man.”

It’s worth fighting against the side that invites an antisemite to speak at the White House Hanukkah celebration. Or has Matt Gaetz, a convicted drunk driver, attacking other people over substance abuse. Or outgoing Kentucky governor Matt Bevin pardoning a murderer whose father donated to his campaign. Or the government retiring a tool for finding out about toxic waste near where we live. And where religious freedom applies to turning away gays but blocking religious groups from taking in refugees.

And Nikki Haley can pretend the Confederate flag ever stood for “service and sacrifice and heritage” And that she couldn’t remove the flag from the state capital today because liberals are so mean.

Not that Dems are free of corruption, but no, both sides are not equally awful. I hope we can avert Ragnarok next year (though given Republicans are making it increasingly hard to stop pollution and climate change, I suspect an environmental Ragnarok is coming) but if not?  That does not in the least alter the allegiance of any free man. Let’s fight beside Odin

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This isn’t how I wanted the American century to end

I’m not at all a fan of America playing the world’s policeman. We’ve done some good stuff, such as fighting the Axis and the Marshall Plan after WW II. We’ve also done a lot of crappy stuff: sending combat troops into Vietnam on false pretenses, overthrowing democratically elected governments, invading Iraq on false pretenses, drone strikes on innocent people. And supporters of America doing this simultaneously argue that it’s completely justified by self-interest (even nation on Earth looks out for Number One) and by exceptionalism (we’re America! We’re a force for good in the world!).

Not that I’m saying the U.S. is uniquely horrible. There’s no nation that doesn’t have a bloody history, it’s just that I don’t think that’s an excuse for not doing better. A little more caution about separating the sheep from the goats and then bombing the goats would be a good thing. That said, we do have legitimate interests in the world, and we do need to manage them. Carefully.

Too bad.  As noted at the link, Trump political hacks are firing skilled career diplomats for doing things like mentioning Obama in a speech (our leader has such a fragile ego, have you noticed?) or criticizing Trump (one ambassador, Carla Sands, shut up a Trump critic speaking overseas, while also decrying supposed PC Speech Suppression on college campuses).

The loss of trained diplomats, the number of posts open, the lack of people applying, all these are bad for us. It’s not like our State Department hasn’t pulled its share of boners, but diplomacy is still important. Particularly when Trump pulling shit like backing out and leaving the Kurds on the Syria/Turkey border vulnerable to Turkish attack. Or pulling out of the Iran nuclear deal because Republicans just hate it (they’ve never gotten over the embassy occupation in 1979), plus Obama signed it (I really agree with the theory Trump can’t stand being reminded The Black Man was a better president).  He’s demonstrating to everyone that we’re an unreliable, untrustworthy ally or partner. It’s great for Putin and for China to see the West in diplomatic disarray and to see us losing influence, bad for us. And, of course, it’s not like China or Russia are going to use their influence for good if they step up as superpowers.

Part of the problem is that a lot of Republicans really don’t care about diplomacy. They’d be happy if we just went and blew up everyone who pissed them off overseas, at least as long as they’re dark-skinned. That diplomats actually try to prevent wars is part of why they’re supposedly bad. A lot of conservatives want an American empire. Some were horrified (as noted at the link) by “the happy international situation that emerged in 1991 … characterized by the spread of democracy, free trade” instead of America going out, busting heads and imposing its will on the world. After all, they and their kids aren’t the ones who are going to fight and die to create American dominance.

The one way Republicans are kind of internationalist is that they’re cool with Trump forging ties with the far-right overseas. Which admittedly is nothing new, we’ve done business with tyrants for years. But it’s never been a good thing.

If America wanted to gradually withdraw from trying to shape the world, that might be a plus. But taking a chainsaw to international relations ain’t the way to go.

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