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So what is the counter argument to this Trump talking point?

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blubarb
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So what is the counter argument to this Trump talking point?

Post by blubarb » December 24th, 2018, 12:16 am

As many are aware, Donald Trump has declared a US withdrawal from Syria after talking to Tayyip Erdoğan. Many were taken by surprise are arguing against his position but the talking point (and I think it's a talking point) coming from the right side of the Republican Party in defence of his position is: "why are you surprised? The president told you that is what he would do and that's what he has done". It is correct that he did say this, but that somehow doesn't seem to negate the consequences of the decision that seems to extend beyond the perceived truth of that statement that may have serious implications for the US national interest. My question is, how is the claim of "I said it and then I did it so what's the problem" countered? If I, for example, tell you that I intend to steal from my neighbour and then I do exactly that why should you be surprised. The only argument I can see going forward is to separate the act of disclosure from the consequences of the act to others. Does declaring I will do something can't abrogate me from the consequences of the act? Is that not the argument against those who would say, "well he did say he was going to do it..."

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Re: So what is the counter argument to this Trump talking point?

Post by Greta » December 24th, 2018, 2:47 am

Perhaps it would be better if there was a plan to avoid leaving the Kurds who supported them in the war to be slaughtered?

If the US was to go to war in another country again, why would locals trust the Americans not to leave them high and dry again? What is the benefit of providing help? A policy may be well directed but poorly implemented. Making a snap decision to leave your allies vulnerable after cosying up with their enemy without conferring with military experts or allies is a hugely risky way to operate.

To be fair, I see this is very much less problematic than GW Bush's invasion of Iraq.

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Re: So what is the counter argument to this Trump talking point?

Post by Burning ghost » December 24th, 2018, 3:43 am

I said that I would lend you some money. I’ve recently lost some money and lending you money now would mean I’d lose my house and job.

Obviously circumstances change. Being willing to change your mind once circumstances have changed is obviously responsible. Sticking to promises in order to avoid a difficult choice is irresponsible.
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Re: So what is the counter argument to this Trump talking point?

Post by ktz » December 24th, 2018, 5:26 am

Not sure if I'm stating the obvious here, but Syria is the grounds for several proxy wars besides the face-value action of the global coalition versus ISIS. One is the US against those who support the Assad regime -- Russia, Iran, and Hezbollah. Another is Turkey versus the US's Kurdish allies, as nearly a fifth of Turkey's population is Kurdish and they fear the creation of Kurdistan as much as Saddam did back when he was around, and that was quite a nasty business if you happened to be Kurdish to say the least.

Whether the US really ought to have gotten themselves involved given the terrible track record and accumulated debt and casualties of the last decade and half is one thing, but it doesn't take mastery over all things of a geopolitical to imagine that explicit deference to a known autocrat like Erdogan isn't a great look for a country the purports to represent democracy and the free world. Besides what Greta mentioned about betraying a hard-won alliance forged in the blood of tens of thousands of American soldiers and Kurdish soldiers/civilians, it's just... well, maybe I can just defer to Mattis's resignation letter.
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Re: So what is the counter argument to this Trump talking point?

Post by Steve3007 » December 24th, 2018, 5:34 am

Greta wrote:Perhaps it would be better if there was a plan to avoid leaving the Kurds who supported them in the war to be slaughtered?...
Yes, it's government by sudden Twitter-announced presidential whim, without any planning or thought for consequences, that is the problem. The US has a president who, by all accounts, constantly bemoans the fact that he can't simply do whatever he wants without having to consult anybody. He seems disappointed that when he pulls on the levers of power he doesn't necessarily get an instant and dramatic result. Just imagine what would have happened by now if he'd got the absolute power he thought came with being president!

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Re: So what is the counter argument to this Trump talking point?

Post by blubarb » December 24th, 2018, 6:12 am

Many seem to have been taken by surprise by his decision to withdraw and are arguing vehemently against his stance, but to be fair why are so many people so surprised and angry when he is doing what he said he was going to do?

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Re: So what is the counter argument to this Trump talking point?

Post by cavacava » December 24th, 2018, 6:57 am

I agree with Trump the USA should get out of Syria.

The Military has already said it will support the Kurds with air strikes and drones and besides that I don't think the Military will leave Syria, regardless of what they tell Trump, Obama never got GITMO closed down the US Military does what it wants.

"Last and hardly least, the U.S. is not closing down its military presence in Syria. It is digging in for an indefinite period, making Raqqa the equivalent of the Green Zone in Baghdad. By the official count, there are 503 U.S. troops stationed in the Islamic State’s former capital. Unofficially, according to The Washington Post and other press reports, the figure is closer to 4,000—twice the number that is supposed to represent a “full withdrawal” from Syrian soil."
[consortiumnews.com]

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Re: So what is the counter argument to this Trump talking point?

Post by Greta » December 24th, 2018, 8:35 am

Now I'm confused. If military are operating in an unauthorised manner, why would they still be paid? Or are they making their own money locally?

If Trump is saying that the US is pulling out of Syria, yet the US forces are still engaging in air strikes and drone attacks, doesn't that mean that the US is not actually withdrawing from Syria as the POTUS promised and stated, just reducing its presence?

It's hardly "mission accomplished" when one still needs airpower and drones for an indefinite period to keep allies from being slaughtered.

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Re: So what is the counter argument to this Trump talking point?

Post by Scott » December 24th, 2018, 10:10 am

To address this question and point philosophically, I believe we should avoid talking about Trump specifically or Syria specifically, lest we get into a political discussion rather than a philosophy of politics discussion.

The main question in this topic appears to be something like this: What is the counter argument to a decision by a President being defending on the grounds that the President said in advance he would do what he did?

I think that question requires more information before it can be reasonably and rationally answered. Namely, I think the question needs to explicitly state which of the following are true or not true:
  • 1. Was the philosophically hypothetical president in question democratically elected?
  • 2. Did the philosophically hypothetical president say he would do the thing he did before being democratically elected or only after?
  • 3. Does the philosophically hypothetical president have a track record of honesty and non-contradiction?
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Re: So what is the counter argument to this Trump talking point?

Post by blubarb » December 24th, 2018, 10:49 am

Scott wrote:
December 24th, 2018, 10:10 am
To address this question and point philosophically, I believe we should avoid talking about Trump specifically or Syria specifically, lest we get into a political discussion rather than a philosophy of politics discussion.

The main question in this topic appears to be something like this: What is the counter argument to a decision by a President being defending on the grounds that the President said in advance he would do what he did?

I think that question requires more information before it can be reasonably and rationally answered. Namely, I think the question needs to explicitly state which of the following are true or not true:
  • 1. Was the philosophically hypothetical president in question democratically elected?
  • 2. Did the philosophically hypothetical president say he would do the thing he did before being democratically elected or only after?
  • 3. Does the philosophically hypothetical president have a track record of honesty and non-contradiction?
Correct, Scott. I envisage this as a more of a philosophical question looking for a philosophical answer that challenges the logic presented - more than a political discussion.

1. Elected by vote but not by the popular vote and was given office by American Electoral College
2. Stated before he was elected but seemed to take on the established position once in office
3. A poor track record of honesty based on objective verification of facts

If all of these elements/markers are met then what is the counter argument?

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Re: So what is the counter argument to this Trump talking point?

Post by Greta » December 24th, 2018, 7:51 pm

What of flexibility, the capacity to adapt to changing circumstances?

Another consideration, does the hypothetical president have commercial conflicts of interest.

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Re: So what is the counter argument to this Trump talking point?

Post by Alias » December 25th, 2018, 12:26 am

Scott wrote:
December 24th, 2018, 10:10 am
[*] 1. Was the philosophically hypothetical president in question democratically elected?[/*]
No. The process of political party funding, nominations, voter registration, polling and tallying have all been so corrupted - overwhelmingly by Republican states - that we can't call any Republican victory democratic.
[*] 2. Did the philosophically hypothetical president say he would do the thing he did before being democratically elected or only after?[/*]
He did say it before. He did not, however, say that it would be done suddenly, unilaterally (advice and consent of government is tacitly understood in all such decisions), without recourse to knowledgeable counsel and without a strategy in place to deal with the consequences.
[*] 3. Does the philosophically hypothetical president have a track record of honesty and non-contradiction?[/*]
Not so's you'd notice....

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Re: So what is the counter argument to this Trump talking point?

Post by Alias » December 25th, 2018, 12:35 am

blubarb wrote:
December 24th, 2018, 10:49 am
If all of these elements/markers are met then what is the counter argument?
What was the counter-argument to Obama's attempt to close the Guantanamo facility?

A candidate, in the heat of campaigning, may announce intentions that are sincere and sound desirable, but once in office, that elected official may discover aspects of the situation to which he was either not privy as an outsider, or that he had not had to contemplate in practical detail. This is why a newly elected official depends on experienced staff to supply information and put forth recommendations, and why a head of state may be obstructed from precipitous action by the body of elected representatives.

We shouldn't be surprised that he wants to do whatever he said he would do; we should be surprised that he is not more often prevented from doing so by the checks and balances of constitutional government.
Those who can induce you to believe absurdities can induce you to commit atrocities. - Voltaire

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Re: So what is the counter argument to this Trump talking point?

Post by blubarb » December 25th, 2018, 3:22 am

"We shouldn't be surprised that he wants to do whatever he said he would do; we should be surprised that he is not more often prevented from doing so by the checks and balances of constitutional government."

Yes!

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Re: So what is the counter argument to this Trump talking point?

Post by LuckyR » December 26th, 2018, 4:39 am

blubarb wrote:
December 24th, 2018, 12:16 am
As many are aware, Donald Trump has declared a US withdrawal from Syria after talking to Tayyip Erdoğan. Many were taken by surprise are arguing against his position but the talking point (and I think it's a talking point) coming from the right side of the Republican Party in defence of his position is: "why are you surprised? The president told you that is what he would do and that's what he has done". It is correct that he did say this, but that somehow doesn't seem to negate the consequences of the decision that seems to extend beyond the perceived truth of that statement that may have serious implications for the US national interest. My question is, how is the claim of "I said it and then I did it so what's the problem" countered? If I, for example, tell you that I intend to steal from my neighbour and then I do exactly that why should you be surprised. The only argument I can see going forward is to separate the act of disclosure from the consequences of the act to others. Does declaring I will do something can't abrogate me from the consequences of the act? Is that not the argument against those who would say, "well he did say he was going to do it..."
As Scott tangentially noted you are creating a false set of choices. If you think about it, the argument you quote from Republican pundits only makes sense if addressed to those who voted for the mango. That is you got what you voted for. However for the majority of voters and likely media critics, "surprise" is not the sentiment being voiced, rather pointing out the known downside of the decision, regardless of when it was proposed. Which is completely logical, since part of voting against the policy's proposer originally is completely consistent with again disagreeing with it now.
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