Saturday, June 20, 2020

What Will The Consequences Be?

     The deliberately fomented rioting, looting, and destruction of the past week have transformed several American cities into war zones: places where you don’t belong if you’re not willing to be taken for a combatant. While the “rationale” is “police racism,” supposedly exemplified by the still-contested death of George Floyd and the fully justified shooting of Rayshard Brooks, the real motivation is to render the country, or a large part thereof, ungovernable. The Left intends thus to effect a transition of federal power from Right to Left.

     There are two conceivable federal responses to this insurrection:

  1. To declare that the responsibility for restoring order rests on the afflicted cities and states;
  2. To intervene with military force, in effect imposing martial law on those cities and states.

     If there’s a third approach that differs significantly from those two, I can’t think what it might be.

     Unfortunately, federal law presents an ambiguous argument. The first responsibility, according to the Insurrection Act of 1807 as amended in 2007, lies with the state governments. The president is authorized to use federal forces only if “domestic violence has occurred to such an extent that the constituted authorities of the State or possession are incapable of maintaining public order.”

     The argument turns on the meaning of the word incapable. In those cities worst afflicted by rioting and looting, the state governments have largely declined to act. But incapable does not mean unwilling. State garrisons of the National Guard might well be adequate to the task, were they permitted to undertake it. We can’t know in advance of the attempt.

     It seems from this that the president lacks a legal basis for using the U.S. Army. In effect, the unwillingness of the state governments to act has denied him the legal rationale he would need. However, there’s a fly in the ointment the size of a B-52: the possibility of a Presidential Finding that by tolerating the rioting without responding to it, the relevant state governments have aligned themselves with the rioters and are therefore in a state of insurrection.

     And the legal tangle doesn’t end there. Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution puts the authority for suppressing an insurrection in the hands of Congress. While the Insurrection Act seems to be Congress’s full and appropriate contribution to the matter, persons adverse to the use of federal force against the rioters and complaisant state governments could still argue that funding for such an operation requires explicit Congressional appropriation.

     A fine mess we’ve gotten ourselves into, eh, Ollie?

     As the calendar advances toward November 3, the political consequences of the riots and the possible responses to them are likely to overshadow the practical consequences to the rioters, their organizers, and the cities and states that continue to tolerate them.

     It seems indisputable that the organizers of these riots have as their object the removal of President Donald Trump from the Oval Office. Indeed, a founder of “Black Lives Matter” has said so openly. That makes the political reaction to the riots among ordinary Americans a critical consideration.

     Tucker Carlson, with whom I (and a great many other viewers) usually agree, seems to be demanding a forcible federal response:

     He’s likely to get a lot of concurrences for that view, especially from decent Americans in or near the affected cities. However, Kurt Schlichter has an argument for not deploying federal forces:

     There are two types of operations relevant here – kinetic and information. A kinetic operation is actual warfare. It’s violence designed to defeat the enemy and cause his surrender by either physically destroying him or occupying his territory and compelling surrender. An information operation is designed to affect the perceptions, and thereby the actions, of the target. Kinetic ops tend to do something to the enemy; an info op tends to get the target to do something to himself.

     Elections are usually information operations. They attempt to build a narrative and play on perceptions and cause the target to take the action that will lead to victory. That is, get the target (the electorate) vote for the candidate the info operator wants elected.

     Okay, so what is the 2020 elections, with the rioting, vandalism, violence and occupations?

     This still an information operation, not a kinetic one.

     They want to convince us we are powerless, that everyone else supports their commie agenda, that we cannot win. Their tactics are designed to create that impression and crush our morale. These include the 24/7 media hype, the outright media lies, the movie stars with their dumb PSAs, the staged statue attacks, the corporate solidarity proclamations, the social media cancellations, and the craven kneeling by people who are supposed to stand up for us. But another tactic, familiar to any student of insurgencies, is to provoke an overreaction by those in power in order to undermine its moral authority. They want is to make us (including the president) think this is a kinetic operation, and get our side to make fundamental strategic errors by failing to recognize the true nature of the threat. They hope that such a mismatch between perception and reality will then lead to gravely damaging blunders. One of those would be Trump succumbing to his legit frustration and sending in a bunch of federal troops to crack skulls in Seattle.

     Which argument – the demand for bold leadership and swift suppressive federal action, or the counterpoised demand to let the riots hang the Left electorally – is likely to prevail in the president’s mind? Trump is a supremely practical man. He’s guided by his convictions about what will work. If Carlson is correct, only a swift federal response will guarantee Trump’s continued occupation of the White House. If Schlichter is correct, that would be the mistake that would make Trump a one-term president.

     My viscera speak as does Carlson. My reasoning powers speak as does Schlichter. I suppose it’s a good thing that I’m not president at the moment.

     If President Trump can face the relevant state governments with the prospect of consequences unacceptable to them should they continue to refrain from acting against the rioters, he might achieve both the objectives in view: the quelling of the disturbances and his re-election (hopefully with a cooperative Congress) in November. Let’s not kid ourselves; Trump’s re-election is vital to the restoration of economy, the securing of the borders, the reformation of important federal institutions, and something approaching sane federal governance. A Biden Administration would be a witch’s brew of corruption, Constitutional violations, arrogations of authorities never granted, and general chaos as those behind him rise to the levers of power and act to implement the far-left agenda that has captured the Democrat Party.

     And all a voluble novelist / commentator from Long Island can do is wait and see.


Linda Fox said...

I'm leaning to Kurt's ideas. Let's face it, we could have a lot of fun tweaking the pretensions and hypocrisy of the Left in the run-up to the election. That mode is MADE for Trump, as it plays to his strong points.

If the riots don't destroy the country by bringing about outright war by the end of summer, we should make it. Other than assassination, there isn't much else they have in their toolbox.

Master Guns said...

I understand the quandary you see but I propose another method. Give the City and the State a time limit to resolve the crisis or the Federal Government will move to protect citizen's lives and property. Do not use the military. Use DHS and use soft power. Give the folks that live in the area a chance to get out. FEMA would house them. That shows concern and compassion for the people who live there. Surround the three blocks and cut off power and water. Nothing in or out. Arrest all who attempt to leave after the deadline and charge them with sedition. Arrest and charge anyone who tries to assist. Take on the media with a campaign that they are supporting terrorist. Whether proved or not the ten years to resolve and the expense to the individuals concerned will cause others to hesitate. Start a public relations campaign against the terrorist. America doesn't like terrorist. Ship to Guantanamo those that ultimately captured as domestic terrorist is another option. If the individuals that remain try and shoot their way out then its on them and Americans will find it hard to show sympathy. I would also consider charging public officials after it is over with assisting terrorist.

Dusty said...

President Trump is a deal maker. He has the ability to with hold money from the states/cities in question. The pandemic pandemonium is hurting those states thus providing an Avenue to the President

Andy Texan said...

Perhaps a shot or two across the bow will concentrate the demon mind. The President must act against the DC mayor and city council, and put the city in the hands of a military governor to restore and keep order and insure that no more historic statues and buildings are harmed. Mayor Bowser should be jailed for insurrection. In addition he should call the heads of the media conglomerates and threaten to jail the CEOs for insurrection. There is no reason in the world that the CEO of Comcast should not get an offer he cannot refuse.

pc-not said...

I agree with Linda. At first I was on board with DJT utilizing the Insurrection Act. Given the obvious reaction to that by the enemy, the smarter move would be to let the miscreants' utopia be seen for the failure that it is. This option would bear out my ideology in a fantasy I have had for some years. Secession should have been allowed in 1861, why not now? Is it not the ultimate expression of federalism and the 10th amendment?

The end game at this point seems to be, "give them their space while we live as we choose in our space.

Andy Texan said...

By the way, allowing the American Sheeple to see demoncrat policies in action is not really going to make a difference because the cities controlled by demoncrats (all of them) are going to massively pad the vote (i e no relationship between voters and the vote totals). The era of fair or mostly fair voting ended in 2016. Fake voting will join fake news. It will be totally obvious and they will dare the President to do anything about it. He might as well do the right thing and stop this insurrection prior to its successful conclusion. We are not going to vote our way to MAGA.