Trump’s unpresidented overreaction after a next terrorist attack


By ann summers

Lacking any precedent for appreciating intelligence and relying on negotiating based on posture and force, Trump will for the US be an even greater counter-terror disaster than previous GOP administrations. We will count ourselves lucky to have a Panama-like incursion but have the potential for the first historical use of theater tactical nuclear weapons.

Because of the potential for lack of attention and seconding of military analysis to more extreme ex-military advisors, Trump’s fitness or lack of it as evidenced so far will make the next four years more problematic. Think of the state of GW Bush national intelligence in August 2001 and then the invisible WMDs in Iraq.


the US was unpresidented (sic) in an unprecedented vote

Trump’s preferred cinematic depictions of Patton-MacArthur rather than the reality of Eisenhower-Bradley will signal a lack rather than excess of strength to cooperating intelligence partners. An intentional reluctance to be briefed coupled with a desire to act with any sense of deliberation has already given enemies foreign or domestic some confidence that there could be a greater range of indecisiveness and deliberation in counter-terrorism planning and response from the Trump administration.

only the Electoral College can autocorrect this mistake

In technical terms Trump’s ex-post regret for any attack will actually encourage greater frequency of attacks in terms of supply side effects for the MIC, and will ironically reward greater procurement and increase deficits while benefiting the 1%.

The Russian attack on the US election and Trump’s real or imagined complicity make the likelihood greater for repeated conflict. That there is now a tacking to confront China and being manipulated by Taiwan not only agitates the one-China position, but while benefiting US oligarchs, will also encourage the kinds of trade war skirmishes that will destabilize the international economy.


And on the domestic front, as indicated earlier the paramilitarization of the US will continue to support an ethno-nationalist agenda by revitalizing the PIC rather than address the causes of domestic terrorism.

The key for U.S. intelligence agencies, as well as for other agencies involved in the worldwide fight against terrorism, will be to find the right quid pro quo with their liaison partners, while protecting their own sources, methods, and information in reaching both their common and separate objectives.…

Peter Bergen: Is the threat level here in the United States and also in Europe declining? And also, with the transition and the new presidency — we saw 9/11 happened early in Bush’s presidency and we saw the “underwear bomber” plot early in Obama’s presidency — are you concerned about something happening in the early days of the new administration?
Lisa Monaco: Well I’m always concerned about something happening, and that’s pretty much what I get paid for. But I think it’s a fair question. And it’s one of the reasons we are so focused on a smooth and professional and comprehensive transition. Because, particularly in the national security, homeland security, counterterrorism space, there needs to be a clear transition of what we know and what we’re doing and how we’re going about taking the fight to terrorists. We always have to be concerned. They are relentlessly focused on attacking the United States. We’re all vulnerable to (ISIS-inspired attacks), and that is something we are very concerned about because it’s much harder to detect. How do you know when something goes wrong in somebody’s head and will inspire them to act? That person doesn’t have to travel to get training and then travel back to conduct an attack…
Bergen: Are you concerned about a son of ISIS or the grandson of ISIS? After all, ISIS is merely the son of al Qaeda in Iraq?
Monaco: I am because I am concerned about the underlying conditions that have allowed ISIL to take root. And really what that comes down to is grievances that are unaddressed and rising sectarianism across the Middle East, and until we address those issues and until those governments can get a hold of those issues I worry greatly that we and our partners have a continued challenge on our hands, which is why President Obama has taken the last eight years to put in place a sustainable, transparent counterterrorism architecture that can withstand a long game when it comes to fighting the terrorist fight.
Bergen: Final question: What will you be doing on January 21, 2017?
Monaco: Napping.

The rightward tilt of the intelligence community is now driving greater fragmentation as the oligarchs become more involved with national security apparatuses and their broader policy communities.

Sir Richard Dearlove, the ex-chief of the Secret Intelligence Service and former master of Pembroke college, Stefan Halper, a senior foreign policy adviser at the White House to presidents Nixon, Ford and Reagan, and Peter Martland, a leading espionage historian, have resigned as conveners of the Cambridge Intelligence Seminar — an academic forum for former practitioners and current researchers of western spycraft — because of concerns over what they fear could be a Kremlin-backed operation to compromise the group.

…Sir Richard and his colleagues suspect that Veruscript — a newly established digital publishing house that has provided funding to set up a new journal of intelligence and to cover some of the seminar’s costs — may be acting as a front for the Russian intelligence services.

Spurred by the mounting concern over Russian meddling in the US presidential election, western spooks are rushing to try and get a fuller picture of the Kremlin’s strategy for manipulating information to influence opinion

Some of the academics the FT spoke to suggested that the dispute over the seminar might be tinged by an element of competition: Sir Richard and his colleagues who have departed from the seminar run a separate organisation — the Cambridge Security Initiative — which pursues a similar, though more commercially-oriented, agenda.

The CSI, which also holds regular briefings and discussions, counts Sir Iain Lobban and Sir David Omand, both former heads of the electronic surveillance agency GCHQ, as members of its advisory board.…

On the more technical side the terrorism and intelligence literature only support the trend toward greater conflict with greater costs

In this section, we introduce a signalling model where the government has incomplete information about the type (preferences) of terrorists that it confronts. Information is asymmetric because terrorists can observe the outcomes of elections, implementation of proactive policies and the hardening of potential targets. As is standard, we consider a two-period model with dichotomous type set: {M, P}. Terrorists are M-types if they are militant; that is, they receive a benefit equal to the discounted sum of their attacks in the first and second period when the government holds firm. This is the case if terrorists perceive a positive value from attacking an obstinate government, or if they test a government’s never-to-concede pledge by unleashing their military wing. In addition, fundamentalist terrorists often view violence as sanctified, so that they are less constrained in their carnage.…


Tactical counter-terrorism policies that are orthogonal to these goals do not temper terrorist actions, but instead encourage intertemporal substitution, which then places a further premium on intelligence.

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6 Responses to Trump’s unpresidented overreaction after a next terrorist attack

  1. Terry Welshans says:

    By Associated Press on December 18, 2016 at 9:50 AM, updated December 18, 2016 at 9:59 AM

    BEIJING — China says its military seized a U.S. Navy unmanned underwater glider in the South China Sea, but that it will give it back. President-elect Donald Trump, however, says the Chinese government should be told “we don’t want the drone they stole back” and “let them keep it!”

    This comes after U.S. officials confirmed that they “secured an understanding” for the return of the device. Trump’s tweet Saturday evening may extend one of the most serious incidents between the American and the Chinese militaries in years.

    The man is an idiot.

  2. shortfinals says:

    I’ve seen amoeba with greater wit and native intelligence…….I expect UFO sightings to skyrocket (please allow me a small pun, to raise my spirits). Why? If ‘the truth is out there’, the aliens just will not be able to resist coming to watch this steaming heap of farmyard fertilizer. Best reality show in the known universe!

  3. Terry Welshans says:

    Let’s run this through the “wayback machine” to find how a similar incident played out:

    USS Pueblo AGER-2, 23 January 1968

    The seizure of the U.S. Navy ship and its 83 crew members, one of whom was killed in the attack, came less than a week after President Lyndon B. Johnson’s State of the Union address to the United States Congress.

    The taking of Pueblo and the abuse and torture of its crew during the subsequent 11-month prisoner drama became a major Cold War incident, raising tensions between the western democracies and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and People’s Republic of China.

    The crew was returned 23 December 1968 after General Woodward, the American negotiator accepts General Pak’s terms: ‘The United States must admit that Pueblo had entered North Korean waters, must apologize for this intrusion, and must assure the Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea that this will never happen again.’

    Back to real-time: What would Trump do under a similar incident- say the capture of the ship USNS Bowditch (T-AGS-62), the ship that launched the underwater drone instead of the capture of the drone itself?

    • I would invest in the best fallout shelter I could afford.
      Maybe we should not wait. Start a fallout shelter franchise, because he doesn’t know how to defuse tensions. In the orange gasbag’s world, apologies only go in one direction.

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