Observations of an Expat: Crooked or Incompetent?

Reuters photo



Tom Arms


Is the Trump team totally incompetent or crooked? Is it perhaps a combination of the two or an unappealing variation on the political spectrum?

For despite the never-ending stream of White House protestations and presidential tweets, not all of President Trump’s problems are the result of a witch hunt of historic proportions orchestrated by the Democrats, the liberals, “the dishonest media,” immigrants, refugees, Muslims, “so-called judges,” turncoat Republicans, Chinese currency manipulators, Angela Merkel, Mexicans and Canadians.

Next week we may start to learn the answer to the questions posed. It is a major week for the Trump Administration. Three big names from the Trump campaign—Donald Trump Jr, Jared Kushner and Paul Manafort – are all appearing before the Senate Intelligence Committee investigating the Russian hacking scandal.

A bit of background for anyone who has been living at the bottom of a mile-deep Tibetan cave for the past month. Donald Junior—after initially denying he had met with any Russians—published a string of emails which revealed that in the depths of the presidential campaign he was keen to meet with a Russian lawyer who could dish the dirt on Hillary Clinton.

The White House made much of the fact that Trump Junior released the correspondence rather than having it revealed by someone else. Little was made of the fact that he made public the emails after the New York Times said they were going to publish them.

The meeting was held at Trump Tower (of course) and son-in-law Jared Kushner and the then campaign manager Paul Manafort were invited as well. Now it gets a bit murky. Initially the public were told that only the Trump trio and a Russian lawyer attended the conflab. Then it emerged that a former Russian spy was also present. Later additions were a translator and a Russian businessmen who had been investigated for money laundering. All of which begs the questions: Why did the threat of publication have to be used to uncover the emails, and why weren’t the names of all the meeting’s attendees revealed from the outset?

Those questions will probably be dealt with by the Senate Intelligence Committee. Along with questions such as: Did the Trump trio think they were receiving information obtained from hacked Clinton campaign computers?

Personally, I don’t think that the Trump team are guilty of collusion bordering on treason. So, I think the question that the committee should be asking is: “Are you really that stupid?”

It may not be treason, but it is certainly political incompetence on a grand scale to accept information from a hostile foreign power which will affect the outcome of a US presidential election.

Trump Junior can hide behind the fact he is not officially part of the Trump Administration. Not so 36-year-old Jared Kushner. He has emerged as possibly the most powerful man at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue after the president. Kushner has been described as The Shadow Secretary of State who has pushed aside Rex Tillerson to become the go-to person for the ambassadors and ministers from the top two dozen countries in the world.

The Trump Administration has only appointed a handful of the top State Department positions it has to fill. The President blames this on the Democrats blocking nominations. Rubbish. Most of them haven’t even been nominated.

The fact is that Trump does not trust the hotbed of liberalism that is the State Department. In his opinion it has been tainted and corrupted by exposure to foreign ideas.

So he ignores the experience and knowledge of thousands of American diplomats and instead concentrates the conduct of foreign policy—and most of the rest of the running of the government—in the hands of a small politically inexperienced team headed up by his daughter’s husband.

Kushner is now responsible for relations with Mexico, China, international trade, most of Europe, brokering peace in the Middle East, tax reform and improving the government’s use of data and technology. He is also now about to be grilled by the Senate Intelligence Committee investigating the Russian hacking scandal to determine if the Trump campaign broke the law.

To return to the beginning, it is immaterial as to whether President Trump and his team are crooked or stupid. Both are bad for America and the world.




Tom Arms is the editor of LookAheadnews.comSign up now for the weekly diary of world news events.


LookAhead Radio World Report for week commencing 24 July 2017:


Tom Arms

I am a journalist, entrepreneur and historian with extensive experience in print, web and broadcast journalism. I started as a diplomatic correspondent, wrote several books (The Falklands Crisis, World Elections On File and the Encyclopedia of the Cold War), and then in 1987 started my own business (Future Events News Service, www.fensinformation.com) which over 25 years established itself as the world and UK media’s diary. Our strapline was: “We set the world’s news agenda.” I sold FENS in December 2012 but retained the exclusive broadcast rights to all of FENS data. To exploit these rights I set up LookAhead TV which produces unique programmes which “Broadcasts Tomorrow Today” so that viewers can “Plan to Participate.” LookAhead has appeared regularly on Vox Africa, Radio Tatras International, The Conversation and Voice of Africa Radio.

In addition to being a syndicated broadcaster and columnist on global affairs, Tom is also available for speaking engagements and can be contacted on TwitterLinkedin and email[email protected].


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