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Keep your friends close, your enemies… February 8, 2019

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
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If you’ve ever wondered how the likes of Lindsey Graham, once one of Trump’s most stinging critics, and now an ally and close supporter, justify their about-turns, well wonder no more. This piece in Slate.com outlines how Graham (a close friend of the late John McCain as it happens) has quite openly noted that he ‘wants to be relevant’. Graham is a foreign policy hawk, and has made considerable, and not unsuccessful, efforts to blunt Trumps frank disinterest and somewhat isolationist tendencies in that area.

What intrigues me about this is how Trump regards those like Graham and Marco Rubio (who is super-hawkish on Venezuela and has part led the administration response in that area). Does he admire the willingness to cut a deal, or have contempt for their willingness to shift, or what? Or perhaps he simply doesn’t care, he is – after all – President and they are not.

But there’s a broader issue too. So often reading about Washington and this administration there’s a sense of it being swaddled by concentric circles of people attempting course correct in one way or another. I’ve long felt that the administration has, bar some rhetoric, actually been anything but a rupture despite arguments that he represents some sort of inter-elite conflict or break with same, and indeed been closer to an accentuation (in limited ways) of long pre-existing dynamics within the US right and Republican circles in particular. That Trump comes complete with not much political or policy baggage is idiosyncratic, surely, but it is actually of enormous use to those who want to shape a conservative future. He has his obsessions, but these are relatively limited and mostly containable (the wall though, interestingly, perhaps not, or not at this time).

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