“You know General, sometimes the men don’t know when you’re acting. It’s not important for them to know. It’s only important for me to know.”
The more I observe Donald Trump the more I’m convinced he’s more bark than bite, that his instincts on foreign policy are correct but his method is mad.
I was on Radio Sputnik Moscow recently discussing Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov’s speech at the United Nations General Assembly. They did a very nice write up of the interview which you can read/listen to here.
And in that interview I touched on a number of things I’ve been writing about currently that I think are very important to remember as events spiral out of control.
President Trump’s and his top administration officials’ behavior in foreign circles have created a lot of chaos. That’s not news.
And we know that chaos is part of Trump’s method. He likes to stir the pot and get people, “on tilt.”
It helps him cut through the barriers people put up and get right to the heart of a matter. It’s a style that is very unnerving and, I think, creates a lot of confusion not only on the part of who he’s negotiating with but also observers of his negotiations.
We never quite know where we stand with Trump. And that’s exactly the way he likes it.
And the more he ratchets up pressure on those he’s negotiating with the harder it is for people with a conscience and a desire to see the violence in this world drop to watch it and not throw up our hands in disgust.
There is a tendency among libertarians to simply fall back on first principles and take the moral high ground when confronted with this type of situation. I get it. It’s easy.
I spent a few years being that guy.
Every once in a while I regress to that guy, especially when Trump does something monumentally stupid, which he has a few times so far as President.
But, that doesn’t mean that what has been is what will necessarily be. One of the fallacies of modern political discourse is linear thinking. Extrapolating short-term trends over the long-term holding all variables constant and coming to some inane and equally catastrophic conclusion.
If you want to know where global warming hysteria comes from, here’s your sign.
There is a willful ignorance in politics to view anything cyclically. Cooler heads prevailing doesn’t get people angry enough to hit the ‘donate’ button on a candidate’s website.
And once you have people in a heightened state of fear it’s easy to keep them there.
The same thing goes in analyzing Trump’s behavior. Just because he’s been full-throated in his support of Israel, for example, is not incontrovertible proof he’s simply another stooge for the evil Zionists in Tel Aviv.
Just because he’s ratcheting up Cold War tensions with Russia as part of his energy dominance policy does not mean he’s worse than Hillary Clinton would have been, since she was the architect of the current policy on Syria and would have never let Assad and Putin run the table like they have to this point, even if Trump has put up some opposition to it.
Trump is learning on the job. He will contradict himself. He will change course without ever admitting a mistake. That’s who he is.
He’s surrounded by people actively sabotaging him and who fundamentally disagree with his instincts for peace.
He’s got a hostile Congress, disobedient underlings, bureaucracies in full revolt, an open insurrection, and a media trying to portray all of it as so chaotic that we would all be better off if we just got rid of him.
That may sound like excuses to the overly-woke on the Right but it’s reality.
Trump isn’t Orange Jesus.
He’s a man with all of the faults, strengths and biases of any man.
That was the picture I was trying to paint to a Russia-sympathetic audience to help cut through the noise Trump creates. I wanted to help them look at what who we are actually dealing with, not the public persona he puts on to confuse and infuriate people.
As I told Sputnik yesterday:
Donald Trump is a very interesting and mercurial figure, and I’m both happy and sad that he’s my president, because he’s like half good and half bad. I do believe that he feels that the current geopolitical world order that the US has been paying for since the end of World War 2, the post-WW2 institutional order, doesn’t work for the United States anymore.
But I also feel that at a certain level, he doesn’t quite understand that we also don’t have a manifest destiny to tell the world how it’s going to run, and how it’s going to operate, either. That’s a conflict between the practicalities of the real world, and I hate to use the term, but Donald Trump is the quintessential baby boomer in that respect. He really has that kind of messianic American exceptionalism burned into his psyche. And while it’s laudable at a certain level, it can also be really toxic if taken to an extreme.
So I really think that with his personality being the way it is, and his negotiating style, that some of what he’s being doing is real bluster, and some of it is real – his real honest anger.
Trump is angry that the America he adores is in the position that it’s in. He’s furious at how poorly Washington operates. He’s despises the globalists for having done this.
I don’t think he quite understands that Russia is his ally in this because, to him, America comes first and that means geostrategically opposing the growing alliance between Russia and China.
His frustration with the Obama administration et. al. creating that alliance in their incompetent implementation of the Brzezinski Doctrine to keep Central Asia weak and divided is immense.
But, as Baby Boomer he sees Israel as an indispensable part of the American empire, but up to a point. And his proposal to Netanyahu this week of a ‘two-state solution’ was his way of reminding Bibi who wears the pants in this relationship.
Notice how Trump hasn’t said one word about the major provocation of Russia implementing a de facto ‘No-fly zone’ over Western Syria, Lebanon, Israel and the western Mediterranean.
That is yuuuge tell. It tells me we are closer to a deal in the Middle East than things look. Just like with North Korea.
But don’t think for a second Trump will blink on Iranian sanctions until the rest of the pieces fall into place. It’s not his style.
He also has certain members of his cabinet to placate while he deals with his domestic troubles.
I believe the hardest part of analyzing the situation in the U.S. right now is grasping at the order of operations. What problem needs to be solved first before the next one gets solved, etc. etc.
Trump is taking on everyone all at once. It’s ambitious and bold, interesting and frustrating, for everyone. His foreign counterparts know the score by now. I don’t worry for a second Putin and Xi Jinping right through Trump. He doesn’t scare them. But, he scares his domestic opposition to death because they can’t control him and that’s why they won’t stop until either the U.S. has been destroyed for all intents and purposes or he wins.
Those are not, unfortunately, mutually exclusive outcomes.