History reveals that as power ebbs desperate leaders undertake desperate actions. Some monarchs have launched wars and Nero watched Rome burn, as the legend goes. And in the most powerful democracy today, there’s rising concern about an erratic President Donald Trump who thrashes around in a worrisome manner as his polling support sags.
“Presidents fabricate incidents that are counterfeit to get us into war,” said American historian Michael Beschloss in 2018 during an interview about his book Presidents of War. “They can get us into war to improve their own popularity, and they know that’s a very quick way of getting your numbers up and winning elections.”
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“In 2011, Donald Trump himself tweeted repeatedly that Barack Obama would get us into a war to get re-elected. Now, I think that’s a very dangerous thing in the mind of a president to connect war with winning elections,” said the historian.