Wednesday, May 17, 2017

A Double Standard for Trump?

Our text comes to us from Rudyard Kipling:

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;

Former Federal prosecutor Andrew McCarthy assesses one of the current Trumpian firestorms: the one that involves mishandling classified information.

He finds, among other things, that the media and the Democratic Party shockingly have a double standard when it comes to Trump. 

In his words:

When Democrats mishandle classified information, they are earnest progressives who understandably suffer the occasional lapse while struggling to make the international community a better place. When Republicans do it, they are incompetent morons.

I’m not suggesting that Trump be cut slack. This seems like it could be a serious error, and one that was easily avoidable. But after a couple of years of hearing the Iran deal and Mrs. Clinton’s homebrew server explained away, I’m just wondering when the media suddenly got so interested again in harmful White House dealings with hostile powers and the proper safeguarding of classified information.

The next question is: did Trump do something that was completely out of the ordinary or did he do something that other heads of state routinely do?

McCarthy continues:

All that said, how unusual is this sort of thing, really? It is a good question that Steve Hayward raises at Power Line — along with a Washington Post report reminding us that, less than a year ago, the Obama administration was offering to share with Russia intelligence about ISIS operations in Syria . . . which sounds an awful lot like what Trump was doing.

He makes his case:

When Osama bin Laden was killed, President Obama was not content to explain that fact to the American people. His administration gratuitously disclosed that the raid on the al-Qaeda emir’s compound in Pakistan produced a “trove” of actionable intelligence. From a national-security standpoint, this political grandstanding was a foolish: It gave al-Qaeda operatives a heads-up that their cells and activities had likely been exposed, providing them the opportunity to disappear before our forces could roll them up. And then there is the Obama administration’s leak disclosing (to the Washington Post) General Michael Flynn’s conversations with Russian ambassador Sergei Kislyak. This was done with obvious malevolence to hurt Flynn and Trump (who had named Flynn national-security adviser). The beneficiary, however, was Russia. It received valuable information that its ambassador was under surveillance and that whatever countermeasures the Kremlin’s intelligence services had been taking had failed. This is apt to make Russian operatives more difficult to monitor in the future.

As for President Obama’s relationship with Putin, we all know and have known for a long time that Obama was the best thing that ever happened to Putin.

McCarthy explains:

More to the point, does anyone believe that American presidents other than Trump do not make highly questionable disclosures in their negotiations with hostile regimes? Remember when Obama told Putin’s factotum, Medvedev, to tell ol’ Vlad he’d have much more “flexibility” to accommodate Russian concerns after his 2012 reelection — patently signaling that Putin should just be patient and not pay too much attention to campaign rhetoric about dealing sternly with Moscow?

Undoubtedly, the most dangerous action Obama performed in office was giving Iran a path toward acquiring nuclear weapons. We recall that Bill Clinton did a similar deal with North Korea. Now that we are facing a nuclear North Korea no one wants to talk about who made that possible. 

McCarthy offers some comments about another deal that was far more dangerous than anything Trump is accused of doing:

And what of the to-and-fro over Obama’s coveted Iran nuclear deal? Is it necessary to remind Democrats that Obama entered secret side deals with the “death to America” regime that were withheld from Congress and the American people? That was not an instance of what Trump was apparently doing — sharing some intel with a hostile government in the (probably na├»ve) hope of getting cooperation from that government against a common enemy. Obama was actually partnering with a hostile regime through arrangements that were against American interests and that promoted Iranian interests.

And also:

Of course, the media and the intelligence bureaucracy happily gobbled up the Ben Rhodes fiction that the Iranian regime was “moderating,” and that Obama’s nuclear deal was the only alternative to war. So it was “anything goes.” That wasn’t planeloads of intel that Obama was covertly sending to the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism; it was planeloads of cash. But to judge from the coverage, this was apparently okay because, after all, he’s Obama — the smartest, most thoughtful, most sophisticated negotiator in the history of negotiators.

And, let’s not forget the general media insouciance about Hillary Clinton’s private email server, something that risked compromising all of her classified intelligence.

McCarthy explains:

You should read the FBI reports of interviews with Mrs. Clinton’s former State Department staffers sometime. In explaining their actions, in the context of an investigation about the mishandling — the serial mishandling — of classified information, one of the themes that comes through is: Statecraft involves a lot of exchanges of sensitive information with foreign governments; sometimes tough calls about transmitting information have to be made in the heat of the moment, and it’s not always practical to weigh carefully the need to safeguard information against the imperative of getting it into the right hands promptly.

The lesson appears to be that if administration officials repeat often enough the party line that “we were all working really hard, we all understand that classified information is really important, and we all really did our best to protect it,” the media and intelligence-agency chiefs will forgive the transmission and storage of even thousands of classified e-mails on an unsecured server that was undoubtedly hacked by hostile intelligence services.

Double standard anyone?


trigger warning said...

President Buraq Obama left an advanced RQ-170 drone on the ground in Iran and allowed the Mad Mullahs of Persia to swarm it and loot billions of dollars in top secret technology development. Which, naturally, was made available to Persian allies like North Korea.

Double Standard?


Affirmative action.

Sam L. said...

"He finds, among other things, that the media and the Democratic Party shockingly have a double standard when it comes to Trump."

You KNOW what they say: If it weren't for double standards, the Democrats and the Media would have no standards at all.

Ignatius Acton Chesterton OCD said...

This minute-by-minute media hysteria is comical. Too bad it's not cathartic.

Ignatius Acton Chesterton OCD said...

Loretta Lynch met Bill Clinton on the tarmac at the Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport to talk about their grandchildren.

There is no way that such a meeting would not have been cleared in advance by Attorney General Lynch herself, Valerie Jarrett and her ultimate boss, President Obama.

The fix was in: no federal indictment for Hillary.

Bill Clinton claimed the PHX meeting was happenstance. Believe that and you'll believe the Russians arranged it.

And citizen Obama was cheered in the Washington Post press room yesterday.

This is all not just indicative of a double standard. It's a disgrace.

Ares Olympus said...

The Kipling quote the the opening line of his excellent poem "if".

And of course there is a double standard in partisan politics and it always has to do with trust. If you trust someone to do the right thing, you'll tend to rationalize what he did was the best he could do, and if you distrust someone, you'll fear his decision wasn't in our country's best interest, and project personal motives, like a desire to be liked.

Myself, I'm glad President Trump confessed his actions, and expressed with similar conviction as Pee-wee Herman after falling on his bicycle saying "I meant to do that."

Trump's real problem is not that the Democrats don't trust him. Its that his own White House Staff are willing to expose his actions to the world. That's an extreme betrayal that can't be ignored.

Ignatius Acton Chesterton OCD said...

Who knew that a sensible idea like "America First" could be so threatening to so many loud voices? Makes you wonder where the opposite of "America First" has been getting us the last 25 years. Maybe it's not a double standard... maybe it's a single standard that's become the D.C. conventional wisdom, and it's being threatened. I don't view them as a very sympathetic bunch.

Ares Olympus said...

Yes IAC, it's all about winning, trophies for everyone, right?

"We are gonna win, win, win. We're going to win with military, we're going to win at the borders, we're going to win with trade, we're going to win at everything. And some of you are friends and you're going to call, and you're going to say, 'Mr. President, please, we can't take it anymore, we can't win anymore like this, Mr. President, you're driving us crazy, you're winning too much, please Mr. President, not so much, and I'm going to say I'm sorry, we're going to keep winning because we are going to make America great again." Donald Trump: You gonna win so much you may even get tired of winning