Harry C. Blaney III

I have diverted a bit away this weekend from analysis of 2017 and 2018 because of the recent extraordinary acts of partisan obstruction by members of the key GOP Congressional committees that are supposed to be investigating the Russian hacking and influence in the 2016 election and possible collusion or other illegal acts by the Trump group. These new partisan acts are so outrageous in terms of undemanding fair and impartial justice and they move towards efforts to discredit the Special Counsel Muller efforts to see what really took place in a fair but through examination. Already they have gotten moved forward prosecutions and a plea of guilty by one of  Trump’s associates. Now  the GOP/Trump likely aim is to engineer the doing away with of the Special Counsel’s efforts or to discredit the entire effort. This is a mortal danger to both our democracy and our national security. It is the acts of those that are moving our nation away from democracy, impartiality and the rule of law.

From the only way to read what the GOP is doing and especially the GOP on the Hill, is to deflect attention from what the Steve Bannon has called treason, to taking on not its purpose collusion with Russia, but which seems now fairly well established, taking on the author Christopher Steele, former MI6 officer, of the Trump “Dossier” which has clearly some very bad news for Trump camp. Instead the GOP is trying now to direct attention from proven Russian influence on 2016 election to meaningless diversions.

Add also the GOP diversions by asking FBI to investigate again the Clinton Foundation after its looking into this question twice and finding nothing. This looks like to me to be “obstruction of justice” in substance if not in law. I think DOJ/FBI is being bent towards action against Trump opponents and its like Hitler’s action in the 30s against his opposition destroying the free German media, and authoritarian acts against those not in line with his brutal rule. Sound familiar?

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Harry C. Blaney III

As I listened to the speech by Trump that was billed as a serious national security statement, it became very soon a nasty partisan campaign speech of self justification and harsh criticism of every one and especially our allies and those that did so much good for out nation in the past. It sounded a like he was taking revenge on all the wonderful things that were accomplished by others for our nation.

I wanted to run and hide and cringed as so many misstatements and the kind of half crazy petulance that only added to the fear and worry of those who looked for us to lead our international community towards solutions. But he has mostly increased even more to our dangers. Trump’s demand for more money from our allies, while cutting us off from trade and cooperation with others, along with belittling of international institutions that were the great creation after WW II for a more decent world, were signs of a bitter man doing harm to our constructive leadership.

Cooperation for him was simply grabbing all for us, and nothing for them. Not win-win but you lose was his byword. More hostility or “America First” rather than we are here on this common earth to make the entire world better.

Today’s so-called “National Security” speech by Donald Trump was plainly an embarrassment from start to finish. It was an irrational and nasty rant at the rest of the world. It was a denouncement of all that was good that other US leaders did, an attack on our allies, and not least a set of lies about all the wonderful things he has done to make “America great again.”

There was a glaring difference in both tone and substance between the official national security written strategy of 55 pages and much of Trump’s statements in his speech. The document contains some areas of serious policy analysis while Trump’s speech was often much like is irrational tweets and filled with self-praise for things he had no influence upon and just for his own greetness.

He ignored the issue of Russian interference in our elections. Indeed he had praise for Putin and what he call his help in sharing intelligence with Putin on possible terrorist attacks in St. Peterburg.

The document and to a degree Trump acknowledged the “great power rivals” and that Russia and China challenge “American influence, values, and wealth.” But his policies and words in his campaign and in office contradict that phrase regarding values. He had no specific understanding about what needed to be done about these difficult issues. Indeed his “destructive” approach at home and abroad have only exacerbated these potential challenges and lead to more conflict than cooperation.

The disconnects were bizarre with castigating of our friends and allies while the document acknowledges the value of working with our allies. Further, the main document was short on specific solutions often just pointing to problem areas or goals. His language seemed like an off the top confused campaign speeches and having little that is coherent, practical or even beneficial. Trump defaulted to more hate towards his critics and opponents….except for Putin. On China and Russia the document saw them as “strategic competitor.” But no solution for interfering in our elections.

There was also no acknowledgment of the need to act on climate change and none to deal with Russian political interference in US elections. And the repetitive statements of “America first” only increased the sense of our nation being sent off the rails on the global stage.

In reality he has made us a laughing stock. In my 50+ years of following national security statements and polices (and contributing to them), this was the worst ever and shows again Trump ignorance and that of his far right partisan supporters. They are a major danger to America’s constructive leadership and proved e confusion to the rest of the world.

In short, his speech gave no indication that he had learned anything in his time in office.



Harry C. Blaney III

One of the most idiotic event of my lifetime happen just the past week when it was reported that the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) told the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta (CDC) what words they could not use. This immediately set of alarms both triggered by history and by understanding what is the basics of true national security for a democratic nation.

The “bad’ or forbidden words were:

“vulnerable,” “entitlement,” “diversity,” “transgender,” “fetus,” “evidence-based” and “science-based.”

I think you get the drift of what was intended. It was to politicized our language, get it written into our budget process words with malevolent ideological intent.

Worst was the substitute words or phrases that were suggested by the Trump overseers they were: Instead of “science-based” or -“evidence-based,” the suggested phrase is “CDC bases its recommendations on science in consideration with community standards and wishes,” In short, the local village idiot like Roy Moore or climate deniers would be equal to science based facts. Is it because the Republicans on the Hill are equally dense on science and facts, or are they influenced by the likes of the Koch Brothers, billionaires who have written the tax for the rich bill, the lobbyists for the oil and coal industry and their big fat checks for reelection or the treats of withholding money if they are not obedient?

Think of the implications for our health, for honest and tested science, and for free speech and implications for such an action in our America. Also it is reported that other agencies including the Department of State also received limitation on words they could use which is un-presidente. Further, the Trump people even gave misleading and insulting and politicized new words to use in the same way that Hitler did.

It is just the most recent signs of authoritarian rule and of the simple fact we are being led by both a man of deep ignorance and one who has demonic and dangerous tendencies that threaten in a fundamental way American democracy and frank and open and free debate.

My fears go back to a lecture I heard from the great Christian and controversial theologian Paul Tillich in the 1950s at a college conference in Ohio. He said that one of the great crimes that the Nazis committed was the destruction of the German language by changing the meaning of past words that were commonly understood among thinkers and philosophers into words that aimed to take new meaning to support Nazi rule and propaganda lies and rid the thinking by Germans of words that had real meaning supporting humane values. I have never forgot those thoughts.

The second example that I studied intensely was the Soviet revolution and likewise the period in Germany that lead to Hitler. Both were regimes where words were used to spread hate and as ways of limiting free speech. They used the banning of words and phrases that threatened recognition of true freedom of thought, tolerance, and speech. Now we have in full view the exact same methods of coercion and same methods to destroy truth and fact based discourse.

This move is as dangerous as any act of terrorism and Russian plot against our elections…it is now the deep mad “enemy within” the White House and the GOP that is trying and could caused us to fear the truth and have forced upon us a lexicon of hate, lies and falsehoods.

Efforts to “wash our minds” and silent those who are our truth tellers is as un-American as any external act and leads to a darkness that many of have seen in the past and is appearing in many authoritarian states like Egypt, Turkey, Russia, China and many more.

Words matter and the truth matters and we need the right words to tell the truth.

We Welcome your comments.



Harry C. Blaney III

On Friday North Korea sent another missile over Japan with a range of about 2,300 miles. The Trump administration’s response was that they had “military options.” There was considerable “tough” military talk coming from all of the key national security actors. One pithy remark by NSC head McMaster was “For those ….who have been commenting on a lack of military option, there is a military option” ….adding that it would not be the Trump’s preferred choice. To add another quote: North Korea’s Kim Jong Un is “begging for war,” US ambassador Haley said at an emergency UN Security Council meeting.

No kidding,  all of this silly bullying along with outcome of  millions of deaths!!! We must remember that Trump promised not to allow North Korea to threaten the United States with a nuclear-tipped missile. Already we have had the “threat, and just the “threat” by NK, which has been on going for a decade.

On the other side, North Korea’s Kim Jong Un, as quoted by the NK news agency KCNA, saying “it aims to reach an equilibrium” of military force with the United States. his actual quote: “Our final goal is to establish the equilibrium of real force with the U.S. rulers dare not talk about military option.”

Clearly, the picture is very gloomy and one has to hope, in time, clearer heads everywhere will prevail, but that will take good and massive efforts by all and a change of tone and substance and actions. But that means that there is a need for a systemic change in the landscape and in leader’s minds. Let me add a “military” option by either side is collective mass suicide.

We and nobody else has found a neat and risk free answer to the nuclear threats from North Korea.  Everyone is playing the most disastrous game possible named “chicken racing” where each car races at high speed at the other waiting for the other to blink and get out of the way!! The result of this game we all know.

This topic is on the minds of many of our global leaders from Putin, May, Merkel, Xi, Abe and Kim. Of course Trump has it in his gun sights but it seems has little understanding so far of paths which both sides can accept and live with. The hope is this will, in time, change before we end in a nuclear cataclysm.

While the landscape is dangerous and complex solutions exist that both sides can accept and would be a “Win-win” for all providing they are seeking mutual security, not aggression against others and willingness to get rid of nuclear weapons on the Korean Peninsula and accept third party inspection.

The main problems are that most analysts think that Kim is committed to having a large arsenal of nuclear warheads and missiles so that they can powerfully  threaten and make other nations fear him and gain benefits especially goods, investments, and recognition as a major player in the region if not the world.  The great irony is making peace could achieve many key rational goals!

The problem is compounded in America with the instability of Trump and his blindness to reality, but we don’t know if Trump fears war less than the distraction of our citizens by being a war president, and perhaps free himself from the danger of losing his office.

One approach which has been put forth  argues as a more realistic policy, is on deterring Pyongyang from using its nuclear weapons rather than pursuing unlikely attempts to denuclearize the peninsula. The problem with this is that is what we are trying to do now, but the reaction has been more aggressive behavior. It has risks of error and craziness of Kim, and it all means added continued uncertain high risk for the entire world.

What are the key “change elements” that just might redirect this massive disastrous trajectory that makes our globe a very ugly place to survive no mater where we may be?

The first is for Trump to see this challenge not an opportunity for conflict or via mutual threats but via a sustainable true long-term strategy and the gains of bringing stability to all of Korea. That means using all the tools of diplomacy.

The second, is for China to see that a nuclear war on their border is more dangerous to their national interests and for their population and economy, than gains from continued support for the Kim dynasty and all their madness and threats. They need to recognize the ensuing instability and that a better option is a negotiated solution that likely they and all could easily live with. That means negotiations while NK nuclear program is hopefully  at least in a “standstill”…something NK is strongly against now. But there is US talk of a true ban on Chinese trade if they do not cease trade with NK and fully implement the UN sanctions.  The same goes for Putin’s Russia which right now has an ambiguous stance, agreeing to limited UN sanctions but continuing to secretly trade with North Korea. They would too be harmed by a nuclear war in the region.

The third, is for the international community including the United Nations Security Council, our European allies, Japan and other Asian nations, and other key actors to agree on a package of “carrots” that could be put on offer to North Korea that might tempt them to put away their nuke for a model of a normal and decent and prosperous nation.

Forth, is acknowledging that there should be a nuclear free zone in all of Korea, that NK withdraw its artillery and conventional missiles well beyond range of hitting SK cities and especial the capital, and most important there would be a dismantlement of the nuclear weapons and long range missiles in the NK verified by the IAEA similar but beyond to the ”deal” with Iran. Further, the border between NK and SK be policed by UN armed troops to keep both side apart and as a deterrence to armed action. We would recognize SK under any agreement and we would have a peace treaty to end the Korean war. We and our allies would pledge non-aggression to a NK that acts peacefully.

Fifth, is a consensus “verboten” idea, simply at some point of “regime change,” either internally or externally but not engendered by America. But the outcome of such a change would have to be rational leaders that would see both prosperity and external help as a positive and not make nuclear weapons the fundamental requirement of their nation. This option most likely would be discarded absent major changes/crisis in NK.

One condition that would help which is rare in our new “Trumpain” age is  return to the quality of sanity, search for common ground, thoughtful judgement, sense of proportion, of seeing ahead and, not least, decency and caring for all the planet.

We welcome your comments (see “Leave reply” box  below).



Harry C. Blaney III

Adding to the commentary of my last post, unbelievably Donald Trump has just doubled down in the last three days or so going yet further towards a very dark zone where our nation’s integrity, constitution and laws are at risk. There seems no ceasing of his aberrant and threatening behavior toward especially the institutions and officials carrying out the necessary requirements of our constitution, the process of justice and laws in America and protecting our security.

Here is a brief list of some of Donald Trump’s actions which reinforce that the man has lost or never had any level of rationality that he might have had before becoming president.

Here is a brief list without any doubt, shows a man with complete disrespect for morals, the rights of others, our laws and most scary tendencies to act as if he were America’s authorized elected dictator:  He has continued an even higher level attacks on AG Sessions and now Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller III as he did with former FBI Head James Comey. He has now threatened “a red line” if Mueller looks at Trump’s financial dealing which he needs to do to see what connection exists with Russian financing and is within his authority of his Department of Justice mandate. Trump and his family have hired a large team of outside lawyers not to just defend Trump and his people but to attack Mueller and his staff, a sign of a desperate man.

He has, not least, suggested that he has complete unquestioned rights of pardons….hinting that includes himself. He continues to attack “Fake News” about Russian contacts and still refuses to tell us what he said to Putin in his G-20“solo” meeting. His family has repeatedly held back information on their security clearance application forms on meetings with Russian agents. But now he seems to promise pardons for others like those of his campaign staff, including all those who took part in the June 2017 meeting with Russian agents to obtain dirt on Hillary Clinton and meetings with the now-former Russian Ambassador. One must now wonder if this statement is a way of getting silence or inducing lies from these individuals about his own role in all of this which is also being discussed?

Thus it is hard to not interpret these as the acts of a cornered guilty man.

All this, especially the Trump Tower meeting in June, with the background of a promise to tilt the election towards Trump are not going away. That event could raise the specter of possible felonies combined with questions about what secrets or deals he might have again shared with Putin that we know not of.

But also our national security is equally at great risk over Trump’s questionable and poorly thought through dealing with our allies some who he has insulted. The same goes with his approach to North Korea, on climate change, on degrading democracy at home and abroad. This is now old hat but we need to ask how can we repair the damage he has done to our respect and leadership?

In place of reaching out to Russia to restore peace and to reduce the chance of nuclear war, Trump has focused on statements of aggression towards Iran, withdrawing US support for our Syrian allies and ignoring Syrian President Assad and Russian deliberately killing of innocent civilians. He continues supporting the most brutal dictators in the world, and undermining democracy of our allies and our own democratic institutions.

No progress has been made, or it seems even attempted, to negotiate a reduction of nuclear weapons and address the problem of accidental war and use of such nuclear weapons. This should be the main priority of both sides. Some believe our show of “weakness and unilateral gifts’ to Trump will encourage Russia towards further acts of infamy and destruction, and continued efforts aimed at America losing its global influence. But engaging with them in an open way on reducing risks must be tried.

 His recent statements, tweets and further revelations of a number of new areas of possible collusion or shady dealings with Russians reinforce these views. Recently, even against his own views, he has had to accept a just slightly watered down version to get his agreement, of a new Congressional bill that takes some of his power to unilaterally lift sanctions on Russia, perhaps for fear that it would be an acknowledgment of Congresses’ lack of trust in him to act in America’s interest.

The totality of Trumps acts and statements and the now unquestionable actual meetings of his people with Russian agents combined with lies about these contacts and their multiplicity may not yet be the last word we will hear. These all have led now to the more often raised questions of possible criminal indictment or even impeachment as now not a totally outlandish outcome.

So much for “making America great.” We need a leader that will move toward a stable and cooperative future for both nations and supporting our democratic allies, not one that is bent on inflecting even more conflict and instability and more authoritarian rule abroad….and even here in the USA.

We welcome your comments



Harry C. Blaney III

We are coming closer and closer to some kind of determining of the trajectory of both the Trump regime at home and the direction and risks of the inherent divide between Putin’s Russia and its goals and Trump’s own goals or perhaps just incoherent daily utterances and thoughtless unknown schemes. For America this landscape is filled with unknowns and ever growing risks. If we continue as we have with Trump, the ending will likely be danger of more conflicts and with more calamities for both sides and the rest of the world.

For Trump, the world is closing in and his walls of defense are increasingly more desperate and self-contradictory. His efforts to change the direction of attention away from the Trump-Russian contacts and towards diversionary issues confirm his sense of vulnerability. This includes the intensity of his incoherent tweets and acts that indicate at least that he senses serious risk for him, his family and administration. He perhaps sees a point of final dangerous conclusion by the Special Counsel investigation and Congressional inquires.

To put the situation simply, the Trump “walls” are starting to crack (and we do not mean the non existent one on the Mexican border). All of this is solely due to Trump’s own nefarious behavior, his conflicting lies and those of his family and staff. Now we have proof of real collusion between Russian agents and the Trump family and staff according recent reported news on the now infamous Trump Tower meeting. This meeting was held clearly to work with the Russian government to influence the 2016 election.

The meeting was with a total of eight persons, some with questionable backgrounds. It was focused much more on helping Trump’s election than Trump Jr. reported to the public or US officials originally. The fundamental question that must be in the minds of those alert to the legal and national security implications is that of collusion. The recent revelation of this meeting and that lies were told about it includes the fact that Trump’s son and people were offered Russian government information as a key inducement. And Trump Jr., in response to the offer said that he would “love it.”  Trump Jr. did not put down initially all the people in the room for his security clearance. That in normal times would bar him from access to high level classified information.

The recent revelation of Trump’s “private” and unannounced meeting at the G-20 dinner for about an hour with Putin with only a Russia interpreter present and no American interpreter, has raised many serious questions, not least about Trump’s primary loyalty and judgement. This is, even more so, as it may have been planned earlier with Putin to assure no Americans would know what was agreed.  And we note that Putin had a briefing paper and pen at hand and Trump had nothing!

We have had no real readout of what was discussed at this lone bilateral. Further we initially had strained obstruction regarding getting information on the heart of this meeting by the White House staff.

I can assure all readers, as a former White House staffer and Member of the Secretary of State’s Policy Planning Staff, this was not normal if substance and deals were discussed and there was no planning or debate by officials on what Trump proposed. Efforts to make little of it only reinforce doubt. This was likely a very BIG DEAL! That there was no serious readout of the meeting only intensifies the feeling America may be sold out by our incompetent and unstable president. Does anyone who should be brief on this discussion really know what was agreed? Perhaps his family knows, or others in the White House or the Secretaries of State or Defense??? Or just the Russians?

One further question: is there other material, likely in the hands of the intelligence community or FBI, which should be shared with Special Counsel Robert Muller? If there is full sharing, we may see the start of far more serious inquires by the Special Counsel who already has asked to interview at least one member of that Trump Tower meeting and reportedly more.

At this time — with the President at the lowest point in public opinion polls and with a history of vitriol and lies in almost all that he does — the question is being asked if this nation can stand and be secure for the next three years with this individual and his “disruptive” family and staff. Not least in this regard Stephen Bannon with his Alt-Right views, seems increasingly to be behind some of the more cruel and hateful policies of this administration.

Some say impeachment is not possible with this GOP dominated Congress which itself says a lot about how our democracy has declined and the integrity of our elected GOP officials  as well. Think what the GOP would do if all this was done by a Democratic president? So many have been bought (literally in many cases), by dark wealthy forces wanting to undermine our democracy’s efforts towards fairness, equality, and justice for all. How many disasters will the GOP accept before acting?

Thus the issue is likely in the brave hands of the Special Counsel, the FBI and our overall justice system.  As Robert Mueller and staff examine the case for civil and criminal action against some in the highest levels in our land we many be able to discern who may have desecrated and shown they are disloyal to our constitution. We also need to thank some in the media who have exposed with courage much of the nefarious dealings of this administration.

We welcome your comments! (Click on title and comment section will be at end of post.)



Harry C. Blaney III

Donald Trump is soon again going abroad and if this trip is like that of his earlier Europe trip this Spring with considerable maladroit and indeed dangerous statements and behavior with our allies not least at NATO, then the coming journey seems to be not much better. As others have commented, Trump seems increasingly detached from reality and rationality and taken a turn towards irrational bullying and acting beyond normal. The leaders abroad have taken note!

This has already alarmed many Americans according to a recent USA Today/Suffolk University poll and another by Pew. One shows alarming lack of trust in Trump by Americans and another show decrease of respect by people abroad for America likely due to Trump’s behavior.

These polls are confirmed by a recent Quinnipiac University poll, where respondents were asked what word immediately came to mind when they thought of Donald Trump: The No. 1 response was “idiot.” This was followed by “incompetent,” “liar,” “leader,” “unqualified,” and finally, in sixth place was “president.” In addition, superlatives like “great” and a few unprintable names came down on the list.

Looking at his behavior and his words and impulses and the mean spirit that is behind his actions, raises questions of Trump’s stability which in turn diminishes America’s leverage abroad and respect.

Looking at the forth coming trip to Europe there are many pit falls and areas of sensitive issues and concerns in Europe. To say that Europeans are looking at this visit with some disturbing thoughts is an understatement. The key problem is some think Trump’s efforts will be to divide Europe and thereby strengthen Putin and Russian power in the region.

The first reason for this concern is that the initial meeting in Europe, little recognized by much of the media, is to an Easter European bloc of nations under the invitation largely of the far right wing and authoritarian and anti-EU government of Poland rule by the infamous Law and Justice (PiS) party.

In this First part of Trump’s trip is a meeting with a gathering of political leaders from Central Europe, Baltic states and the Balkans that has been called the “Three Seas Summit” which indicates the geographical range of its participating nations. While billed as an event convened by Poland to bolster regional trade and infrastructure within the group, others see it as a mechanism by Poland to create an Eastern Europe bloc against the Western European EU leadership and to weaken EU ties and unity and gain support against EU efforts to signal out Poland for its anti-democratic and human rights violations.

Brussels leaders view the July 6 meeting as a Polish bid to increase its influence vis-a-vis the European Union. The nationalist government has repeatedly clashed with the EU and Germany.. One report has a quote from a Brussels diplomat saying “One cannot but feel a bit suspicious if it isn’t an attempt to break up European unity”


So the Poland visit is filled with traps for long held American interests in keeping Europe united and committed to the EU, NATO and democracy and human rights. If Trump take this meeting as another opportunity to criticize the EU or NATO members over added payments for defense, it could end up being, as the earlier trip to Europe, becoming a new Trump debacle. His support for right wing racist and Fascists parties that oppose the EU is part of that concern.

The meeting in Hamburg Germany of the G-20 group of major nations this coming week is another opportunity for Trump ideally to unite the G-20 nations towards cooperation on trade and international financial issues and affirm American engagement towards co-operation. But much of the focus on the Hamburg visit is the side-bar meeting with Russia’s Vladimir Putin which as both American officials and the public are much concerned that Trump will act irrationally and with views against American security interests.

A face to face meeting could amount to nothing and be just pro-forma, but it could also be historic if dangerous “deals” are made without consulting his expert officials and without consultations with our allies. The background of this meeting is the investigation of Trump’s campaign associates in what may be collusion with Russia on sanctions over Ukraine or even the hacking of American election documents and efforts to push Trump for president and against Hillary Clinton as found by our intelligence agencies. In any case the meet is filled with foreboding.

One of the problems will be how the leaders of the Group of 20 will be looking for leadership from America and Trump. Will it be a stable leader with intent to share efforts that are beneficial for all sides or a confronting “America First” tawdry president who will only further the de-stabilization of our globe by his challenging sands and rejection of decades of coordination and shared interests with our friends or strange actions that further hurt American leadership?

Some have suggested that this trip is an effort to create a distraction (as some think is the case with the Trump effort against MSNBC’s Morning Jo affair), from the congressional and inquires into Trump and his associates dubious connections with Russian agents, lying under oath, and possible obstruction of justice. All of this seems to have unhinged Trump and made him vulnerable in the planned meeting with a more knowledgeable and experienced Putin. At this moment we do not know exactly the context or the issues they will discuss, but likely Syria, Iran, disengagement, North Korea, Ukraine, sanctions and efforts at disruptions of our elections and democracy.

Keep tuned and pray!

We welcome your comments.