Federal Politics Indiana Kentucky Local Politics Minnesota North Dakota Political Analysis State Politics United States White House

Is THIS the post-COVID-19 normal?

Four now-former Minneapolis (MN) Police Department (MPD) officers killed George Floyd in broad daylight. Riots are occurring, or have occurred, in multiple U.S. cities, including one in Minneapolis where the 3rd MPD precinct was overrun by rioters. The President of the United States sent out a highly inflammatory tweet calling for the military to kill U.S. civilians. In Grand Forks, North Dakota, a police officer was among two people who were killed while the officer was trying to serve an eviction notice. In Fort Wayne, Indiana, police officers fired tear gas into a group of peaceful protesters. In Minneapolis, a CNN news crew that was covering the unrest was arrested for no valid reason whatsoever. In Louisville, Kentucky, a news crew for NBC affiliate WAVE-TV was attacked by law enforcement.

As America slowly reopens while the COVID-19 pandemic continues to claim lives, there is one question on my mind. Is this chaos a preview post-COVID-19 pandemic normal in America?

America has faced turbulent times before, and America is facing turbulent times right now. Racism is as old as America, but it is now being recorded on video, and it is horrifying the sensible people of this great country. The sight, forever recorded onto video, of Officer Derek Chauvin forcing his knee onto the neck of George Floyd, depriving him of air and killing him, is horrifying to watch.

Use of lethal force by law enforcement should be the last resort, not the first resort, and should only be used when officers’ lives are being clearly threatened by suspects. Those who have the responsibility for enforcing the law in this country should not be above it, and that those in law enforcement who abuse their power and hurt or kill others in doing so should face very serious consequences.

While journalists should not be above the law, they shouldn’t be arrested or attacked for simply doing their jobs. The American system of government and way of life is dependent on an existence of a free and adversarial press. By free and adversarial press, I mean that journalists should be free to hold those in power accountable to the truth in a journalistic manner.

The President and other political leaders in this country should not be using the trappings of their offices to incite violence and encourage authoritarian behavior by themselves and others in positions of power. Use of the military against U.S. citizens should be reserved for armed rebellions against the United States by treasonous individuals or in self-defense of their own lives. I do not, in any way, encourage rioting and looting, but looting property, while a serious crime, shouldn’t automatically result in the perpetrators being killed.

These past few days have led part of me to believe that America might simply be better off if we went back to full stay-at-home orders across the country, like the ones we were under just a couple of months or so ago. However, there will be, someday, a new, post-pandemic normal, but hopefully not one where chaos, racism, destruction, brutality, violence, hate, and tyranny rules over justice and equality.

America is burning. It is past time for justice and equality to prevail over racism and brutality. However, chaos, destruction, violence, and tyranny isn’t going to make America a more just and equal union one second sooner.

Congress Federal Politics Geopolitics Other U.S. States Political Analysis United States White House World

Did Donald Trump just start a major war against Iran?

AUTHOR’S NOTE: This is a blog post about a breaking news event. Any information and analysis in this blog post is based on information of the author’s knowledge at the time of the blog post being published.

In response to a recent attack on the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, Iraq, the United States launched a strike in Iraq that killed Qasem Soleimani, the commander of the Quds Force of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard. The Quds Force is Iran’s primary vehicle for carrying out their military and intelligence operations outside of Iranian territory; as a result, Soleimani was one of the most powerful people associated with the Iranian regime.

If the United States is not already at war against Iran, it likely will be in the very near future, and this would be a logistical nightmare for the United States and/or any other country, in no small part due to Iran’s geography, which has long been an obstacle for Iran and its predecessor states, as well as, conversely, any entity that has tried to invade Iran:

It is not immediately clear how this will impact Donald Trump’s re-election chances here in the U.S., although the recent events in the Middle East will likely have massive political ramifications not just in the United States, but in many other countries as well.

In a scenario that is more politically favorable to Trump, Trump would get a sizable rally around the flag effect, similar to the affect on U.S. public opinion that politically benefited George W. Bush after the 9/11 attacks. Remember that defeating a sitting U.S. president while he is up for re-election during a major war has historically been extremely difficult, and, in many cases, virtually impossible. One thing that would likely benefit Trump politically is if a large coalition of nations is assembled for a large-scale war effort against Iran.

In a scenario that is less politically favorable to Trump, few nations would decide to formally support a U.S. war effort against Iran and/or significant domestic political opposition to a U.S. war effort against Iran forms. There is already some evidence of domestic political opposition to a U.S. war effort against Iran trying to form, with U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT) issuing this statement via Twitter voicing concerns about potential consequences of the strike against Soleimani. It is not immediately clear how traditional U.S. allies like the United Kingdom, France, Germany, and Canada will react, nor is it immediately clear how nations like Russia and China will react, to a looming war in Iran.

One advantage that Trump has, from a political standpoint, is that it is easier for Trump to, despite serious concerns about the strike’s legality, portray the strike against Soleimani as justified than, for example, George W. Bush’s attempts to justify his war against the Saddam Hussein regime in Iraq. The strike against Soleimani was in response to an attack on the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad perpetrated by groups aligned with the Iranian regime, whereas it was harder for GWB to portray the Saddam Hussein regime in Iraq as a threat to U.S. national security before the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

However, Trump probably has more political disadvantages than political advantages going into a war against Iran. First, due to Iran’s geography, invading Iran would likely result in another U.S. military quagmire. Second, the U.S. is a more war-weary nation nowadays than it was in the early 2000’s. Third, the Vietnam War, the post-9/11 War in Afghanistan, and the 2003 Iraq War serve as cautionary tales of military quagmires that are relatively fresh on the minds of many Americans. Fourth, Trump is seen as a far more unstable leader than most previous U.S. presidents. Fifth, Trump is facing a pending impeachment trial over trying to use the U.S. foreign policy apparatus for his personal political benefit, and many Americans will view Trump’s actions in the Middle East as an attempt to distract from his political corruption. Sixth, Trump’s actions are expected to have ramifications threatening U.S. national security, as retired U.S. Army Captain Jason Kander pointed out on Twitter.

I am a loyal American and always will be, but I have grave concerns about a war against Iran under Donald Trump. While Soleimani was a bad guy and a half, the strike that killed Soleimani may have just gotten the United States into a situation that jeopardizes our nation’s national security in a huge way.