Looking into all kinds of unchecked powers.
The impeachment season just opening begins to look like a required scandalous course for citizens on how your government actually works, and as the New York Times noted this week, it will not be pretty. Not President Trump’s strong-arming the government of Ukraine to trash his enemies and get himself reelected in 2020. And not the reckless routines of a surveillance state that bends the rules to spy on people, and apparently the Trump campaign of 2016, then smear them with gossip known to be sketchy. Speaking of un-pretty: there was the Washington Post report this week that the Pentagon knew through our 18-year, two-trillion-dollar war in Afghanistan that the US had no workable strategy, and as a top general put it, “We didn’t know what we were doing.”
Still, finally the impeachment fat is in the fire. It’s a smaller fire than it might have been, a short bill of just two particulars: that President Trump tried to shake down Ukraine for help in Trump’s own reelection campaign in 2020; also that he’d stonewalled Congress’s investigation. It is nothing like a frontal attack on the Trump presidency—on his climate denial, say, or breaking the anti-nuclear deal with Iran, or profiteering on public office, or cruelty to migrants at the border. In the week’s news of the American empire, it could seem a smaller story than the Pentagon’s confession about our losing war in Afghanistan.
Professor at Harvard Law School.
Sterling Professor of English at Yale University.
Professor Emeritus at the Boston University Frederick S. Pardee School of Global Studies.