Waiting for a 21st Century Reichstag Fire


Science fiction author Charlie Stross has canceled future trips to the US:

As for my worst case nightmare scenario? Given the reshuffle on the National Security Council and the prominence of white supremacists and neo-nazis in this Administration I can’t help wondering if the ground isn’t being laid for a Reichstag Fire by way of something like Operation Northwoods. In which case, for me to continue to plan to travel to the United States in eight months time would be as unwise as it would have been to plan in February 1933 to travel to Germany in September of that year: it might be survivable, but it would nevertheless be hazardous.

Charlie is a socialist Scot or some such, so we might expect him to be more than normally apprehensive of Donald Trump. But I’m a pretty ordinary California Democrat, and I feel the same way.

I don’t mean that I think we’ll be at war with Mexico later this year, but George Bush used 9/11 as a justification for the PATRIOT Act, ubiquitous surveillance, the resumption of torture, and an insane war in Iraq. But even Bush was smart enough to always make it clear that we were fighting terrorism, not Islam. Trump has no such smarts and no such restraint.

So what will Trump do if there’s another major terrorist attack on US soil? He’s practically begging for one, after all. I don’t know, but I might not want to be a foreigner traveling in the US when it happens either.