The Fainting Couch Award: A New Award For Those Shocked by the Trump Administration
The coming of President-elect Trump is not for the faint-hearted.
He is not even President and he is sending shock waves which are impacting on the feint of heart and sending them to what may call the “fainting couch”.
This has been suggested by Ed Timperlake when discussing the impact of the Taiwan call on the US Chinese experts.
“There is the possibility that history may record with Donald Trump taking a phone call from President of Taiwan that just taking the call may resonate with the same moral imperative of Reagan’s call to “tear down this wall”
Before the bought and paid for China apologists and Panda-huggers unleash their expected barrage of criticism and retreating to their fainting couch while also trying to petrify America, Some perspective on President-Elect Trump’s new way to reach out and communicate directly is very evident-
The President of Taiwan CALLED ME today to wish me congratulations on winning the Presidency. Thank you!
Interesting how the U.S. sells Taiwan billions of dollars of military equipment but I should not accept a congratulatory call.
Our new column will highlight those weak of heart or arrogance of mind who needed to be awarded with the Fainting Couch Award.
Shaping a Trump Template in Foreign Policy: The Taiwan Case
It should be no surprise that President-elect Trump is going to neither follow the traditional approach to foreign policy nor accept the existing order inherited from the previous administrations.
Apparently, there still is surprise with regard to the fact that he considers the inherited foreign policy “elite” more as high priests of the past than as sirens for guiding future policy.
Although such a stance, as he shapes his own policies and style, is creating discomfort.
But if one believes that the current system which gave us the Iran deal, endless engagement in ground wars in the Middle East, and a China which has expanded its soft and hard power with little regard for the “global commons,” and a Russia led by a man pursuing realpolitik, then why would you follow the inherited template?
But what we learn from The New York Times is only that Trump is not performing as a President should and that his “breezy calls to world leaders leave diplmots aghast.”
President-elect Donald J. Trump inherited a complicated world when he won the election last month.
And that was before a series of freewheeling phone calls with foreign leaders that has unnerved diplomats at home and abroad.
In the calls, he voiced admiration for one of the world’s most durable despots, the president of Kazakhstan, and said he hoped to visit a country, Pakistan, that President Obama has steered clear of during nearly eight years in office.
Mr. Trump told the British prime minister, Theresa May, “If you travel to the U.S., you should let me know,” an offhand invitation that came only after he spoke to nine other leaders.
He later compounded it by saying on Twitter that Britain should name the anti-immigrant leader Nigel Farage its ambassador to Washington, a startling break with diplomatic protocol.
Mr. Trump’s unfiltered exchanges have drawn international attention since the election, most notably when he met Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan with only one other American in the room, his daughter Ivanka Trump — dispensing with the usual practice of using State Department-approved talking points.
On Thursday, the White House weighed in with an offer of professional help. The press secretary, Josh Earnest, urged the president-elect to make use of the State Department’s policy makers and diplomats in planning and conducting his encounters with foreign leaders.
“President Obama benefited enormously from the advice and expertise that’s been shared by those who serve at the State Department,” Mr. Earnest said. “I’m confident that as President-elect Trump takes office, those same State Department employees will stand ready to offer him advice as he conducts the business of the United States overseas.”
“Hopefully he’ll take it,” he added.
But this is hardly the only interpretation.
He is clearly shaping his own style and seeking to break what he sees as the log jam of global policies, and then to allow him to have additional room for maneuver to reshape global policy.
For example, in the case of Kazakhstan, we have argued for some time that the current Administration has ignored Central Asia and has not focused on how enhanced relations in the region can be very helpful to shaping a new policy towards dealing with Putin and Afghanistan.
And we argued as well, that Kazakhstan’ key role in shaping a real nuclear non-proliferation policy needed to be not only fully recognized but leveraged, a fact that Trump clearly highlighted in his call.
But no issue is more important than a new policy towards China and reversing its use of trade as a key driver in the de-industrialization of the United States.
Trump has frequently and clearly linked trade, industrial decline, China and the need for a new approach and policy.
The Chinese government apparently feels free to expand its influence in the region militarily, most notably in the South China Sea without real fear of the United States shaping a proactive response.
Why should they when this was the policy under Clinton at the State Department.
Light was shed on that policy by Secretary Clinton’s emails.
“The Japanese government has been very clear with regard to their approach and the US has been quite PUBLICALLY supportive of their evolving strategy.
Allowing China at the table to veto allied actions in the legitimate defense of their interest’s undercuts deterrence, not strengthen it.
Thanks to the revelations rolling out from Secretary Clinton’s private email survey we are becoming privy to the Administration’s strategy of doing just that!
An architect of such an approach apparently was Clinton’s key aide on Asia, Kurt Campbell.
A recent article published in The Japan Times provides insight into the let China at the table to veto an allied approach strategy.
The United States urged Japan to consult with China before its provocative Senkaku Islands purchase in 2012, a declassified email forwarded to then-U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has revealed.
In the email, dated Sept. 3, 2012 — roughly a week before the Japanese government bought three islets in the chain from their private Japanese owner — then-U.S. Assistant Secretary for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Kurt Campbell said he had urged Japan via Kenichiro Sasae, Japan’s vice foreign minister at the time, to “consult and advise Beijing on their plans.”
Campbell said he had requested Japan’s prior consultation with China when he met with Sasae on Aug. 7, 2012, in Tokyo. At that time, the Japanese government had “just concluded a round of deliberations and apparently their PRC (People’s Republic of China) counterparts were irate,” he said in the email.
“Sasae however believes that China actually understands the necessity of these actions and will accept them. (I’m not so sure.),” Campbell said in the message sent to senior State Department officials.
The Japanese government, which administers the Senkakus, purchased three of the five main islets on Sept. 11, 2012, effectively nationalizing the uninhabited chain, which lies in the East China Sea. The action stoked widespread anger in China and sparked a wave of anti-Japanese protests across the nation.
The email, entitled “Sasae call,” was written shortly after the vice foreign minister conveyed to Washington over the phone that the central government had intended to nationalize the Senkakus.
It was declassified Friday by the State Department in connection with Clinton’s risky use of a private email server during her recent stint as America’s top diplomat. Republicans are focusing on the unfolding security issue to criticize Clinton’s presidential bid.
In the message, Campbell also said that although the government and the owner of the islands had agreed on a price, then-Tokyo Gov. Shintaro Ishihara, a nationalist who kicked off the whole issue by raising funds for the Tokyo Metropolitan Government’s bid for the uninhabited islands, was “unlikely to consent” to the central government’s interference.
Enter Trump who is not “learning” from the China experts on how he should accept rising Chinese hegemony.
As Ed Timperlake put it with regard to the call from Trump to the President of Taiwan:
“There is the possibility that history may record with Donald Trump taking a phone call from President of Taiwan that just taking the call may resonate with the same moral imperative of “tear down this wall”
Before the bought and paid for China apologists and Panda huggers unleash their expected barrage of criticism and retreating to their fainting couch while also trying to petrify America.
Some perspective on President-Elect Trump’s new way to reach out and communicate directly is very evident.”
The President of Taiwan CALLED ME today to wish me congratulations on winning the Presidency. Thank you!
Interesting how the U.S. sells Taiwan billions of dollars of military equipment but I should not accept a congratulatory call.
We have argued that Taiwan is a key player in shaping any effective US and allied defense in depth strategy and it is difficult to see how following the advice of the current cast of China experts would yield that result.
It is not about Trump “learning” but about Trump disrupting the inherited legacy to shape a new one.
It is about a pivot to the Pacific that includes a significant rewrite of policy towards the Chinese regime in Beijing, one which will includes soft and hard power and strategic redesign.
As we wrote in our book on Pacific strategy published three years ago, Taiwan is considered by Beijing from the perspective of holding together their control over the centrifugal forces in their empire; and we can consider as clearly part of a strategy to do the opposite.
The conflict with Taiwan is subsumed in Chinese thinking as part of the core territorial-integrity challenges.
The Island of Formosa was part of China since its conquest in the Qing Dynasty in the 17th century. It was ceded to Japan in 1895 and returned to China after the war.
In the ensuing Chinese civil war, the forces of Chiang Kai-shek were pushed off the Chinese mainland and relocated to Formosa. Here the Republic of China was established. Over time, the Republic of China has evolved into a vibrant democracy, and it is the quality of Taiwan as a modern democracy that is a major challenge to the authoritarian Chinese leadership on the mainland.
And Taiwan certainly demonstrates that Chinese civilization is compatible with democracy and answers at least some of the questions that the well-known expert on China, Joseph Leveson, posed in his classic Confucian China and Its Modern Fate.
A major thrust of military development in the PRC has been to shape forces and capabilities that would allow them to seize Taiwan if the opportunity presented itself and seemed desirable.
But the proximate cause of Taiwan inclusion is now simply a stimulus to shaping greater power projection capabilities in the region that could allow the PRC to incorporate Taiwan into a greater zone of security inclusive of the Korean and Japanese challenges to China itself.
Laird, Robbin; Timperlake, Edward; Weitz, Richard (2013-10-28). Rebuilding American Military Power in the Pacific: A 21st-Century Strategy: A 21st-Century Strategy (Praeger Security International) (pp. 25-26). ABC-CLIO. Kindle Edition.
We have argued consistently over the years that a new Taiwan policy and indeed a new approach to Pacific islands is a key part of any new “constrainment strategy” towards China.
For example, Ed Timperlake highlighted the key role which Army ADA might play in both Taiwan’s defense and the defense in depth which the US and the allies need to deal with the PRC military outreach in the Pacific.
Looking at the geography of the Strategic Quadrangle in the Pacific, it is clear that Taiwan plays a key role.
The Republic of China owns a key dominant piece of Pacific Island real estate and it is imperative that now more than ever the US and the allies must not lose that Island cluster as part of a Pacific defense effort.
And the emphasis clearly is upon DEFENSE effort.
In the 20th Century Taiwan had two key features of significance.
First, it was a template for a Chinese free open dynamic society, which must scare the PRC totalitarian leaders to their core, and this intangible is just as important today as it was years ago.
It is not about the PRC as currently constituted swallowing up Taiwan; it is about the democratic traditions which have developed on Taiwan transforming the Communist state and leading to its collapse.
This is not just about geopolitics but about the future of what kind of China plays what kind of role in the world.
Simply having seminars in Washington with the current class of Chinese Communist leaders will not lead to a better China or a better world.
Second, if one looks only at 20th Century “stove piped” military thinking made up of discreet independent elements, an independent Air Battle, Sea Battle, and Big Army land war, then Taiwan was important.
But true then, and even more significantly now, Taiwan lies at the juncture of effective Pacific DEFENSE.
With US and Allies evolving toward a “no platform fights alone” AIR/SEA cross-domain joint Pacific defense, then it is essential that Taiwan stay aligned with the democracies.
Thankfully, if PLA wants to fight “feet wet,” the US and Allies can still make them fight alone in the dark and die.
How long we keep this edge is a guess, but US forces do train rigorously and have realistic testing in the field and at sea. US and Allied technology with our better-trained and more combat experienced human elements appears be our significant advantage.
For example, of all the combat forces in the world today, the USAF is still a quantum step ahead on their ability to “turn out the lights.” It is a demonstrated war tipping capability and not just assertional capabilities.
However, if the PRC makes a military move a well designed and executed Air/Sea/Land Battle US battle plan leveraging presence, scalability and multiple access can make such an attack become the PLA’s equivalent of the US WWII Battle of the Bulge.
The “Fighting Navy” is fully capable of executing a combat engagement strategy –“if it floats it sinks.”
Now, with the ever increasing lethality of anti-ship missiles, especially potential hyper-sonic cruise missiles, if the PLA establishes themselves on Taiwan, and has time to dig in, and modernize to their version of “no platform fights alone” it will position the expanded PRC position in the Pacific.
A PRC dominated Taiwan would be militarily poised to disrupt US and allied operations and significantly disrupt the ability to operate in the strategic quadrangle.
If the PLA (generic for all PRC military forces) is given time to dig in and build a robust redundant ISR network from survivable hardened ground facilities and dug in and hardened 2nd Arty missiles batteries, it would be a significant new combat challenge.
The PLA combing survivable ISR 100 plus miles off the China coast linked with sea based platforms, PLAAF attack planes, and their satellites (if they are allowed to survive) can be very deadly at sea for USN.
With the PLA propensity for digging, they will literally dig in, and shape combat capabilities at the heart of the strategic quadrangle.
Taiwan’s geographic position negates the entire concept of the Strategic Quadrangle, ultimately this could be a combat show stopper.
It is no wonder that the self-declared ADIZ was yet another round of the PRC trying to assert its reach and affecting Taiwan.
Losing Taiwan, especially as PLA weapons modernize would be a challenge to any Pacific Air/Sea campaign battle plan.
One mitigating factor is culturally all indicators are that the PLA is still a “hub-spoke” top down military,” which is so 20th Century. Such con-ops can be deadly and get better but still beatable with US Allied Air/Sea evolving technology and con-ops.
The challenge is simply the PLA military concept of “mass” (a lot of combat capability) and survivability if protected correctly.
The US Army could play a key role in providing the kind of allied capabilities which would bolster Taiwan’s ability to DEFEND itself.
How can the US Army play a core role in Taiwan defense?
The first is their making a huge contribution by proliferating their world class Air Defense Capability.
Any country that requests US Big Army support with Air Defense Artillery should be encouraged and engaged….
Proliferating ADA throughout the Pacific Rim and rotating appropriate ground combat units on and off Taiwan is tactically and strategically relevant.
There is no reach here with regard to the strategic relevance of the US Army.
It is imperative, as expressed in the Army’s own FM-1 thinking, to engage with the one country in which they can actually make a difference other than ADA. Rotating units of Big Army on and off Taiwan is their ultimate test case for Pacific Pathways relevance.
A US Army Division (or less to start) rotating in and out of the ROC would be a huge signal to PLA and make a difference in the event of war.
More” Big Army” is not needed in Japan, Korea, Philippines, Singapore et al.–ADA Army is.
Advocating for Big Army to focus on defending Taiwan should be the core element of their Pacific Pathway.
Rotating significant Big Army Units on and off Taiwan legally falls under two major provisions of The Taiwan Relations Act.
The US Army is not an offensive fighting force in the Pacific, unless they advocate fighting a land war in China, which will not and should not ever happen. It is clearly a DEFENSIVE force.
Stationed on Taiwan the Army does not have the ability to maneuver to engage in combat off the Island. Rotating US Army units is purely a defensive signal and falls inside provisions of the Taiwan Relations Act (TRA).
The TRA clearly permits such actions:
“In furtherance of the policy set forth in section 3301 of this title, the United States will make available to Taiwan such defense articles and defense services in such quantity as may be necessary to enable Taiwan to maintain a sufficient self-defense capability.”
Defense Articles are weapon systems which US provides and also are allowed are “services.”
Taking into account the recent courageous fighting skills honed by the US Army from over a decade of combat it would be important to share their insights and provide large unit combined arms training “services” for the ROC Army.
One simple example is the ROC just purchased Apache Helicopters and Army combat experienced pilots could provide realistic training services.
From an American strategic viewpoint, and a signal to all our Pacific Allies, rotating Army units meet the minimum standards of prudent strategic planning as expressed in this provision:
“To maintain the capacity of the United States to resist any resort to force or other forms of coercion that would jeopardize the security, or the social or economic system, of the people on Taiwan.”
History has shown that the PRC loves to tunnel so why not reverse that skill and have the US Army “dig” in on Taiwan.
Like the Army in Germany during the Cold War such a move is a signal of US and Allied resolve. Unlike the cold war victorious US Army in Germany it would be seen as a 100% defensive move.
If not the US Army who will provide allied defense of Taiwan?
If not now when?
President Trump has started the process of setting in motion a new policy.
How about the State Department thinking about shaping a new approach to defending US interests, rather than accommodating US decline?
And apparently it has not dawned on the MSM or the strategic analysts inside the Beltway that the President-elect does not have to give Ambassadorships either to career “professionals” or to high paying donors.
He could actually apparently experts and knowledgeable persons to posts globally who will support the new template?
And shock of shock, there are plenty of good people available!
Instead of Trump learning from the specialists on how to accelerate US decline, a new learning process is being set in motion to shape an American policy for playing a great power role in the decade ahead.
A Trump Presidency: Shaping a Way Ahead
The election of Donald Trump as the next US President surprised most pollsters, political leaders in both major political parties, and the mainstream media. Broadly based political unrest seems to have materialized in the form of a populist revolt against Congress, the President, federal bureaucracy, lobbyists, and leadership of both Republican and Democrat parties.
Donald Trump believes he has achieved the Presidency without being bound by political promises and obligations to large financial supporters.
In other words, Trump will not feel limited by Republican Party orthodoxies, and will likely feel free to intervene in specific business interests and disputes when he sees that as effective.
World financial markets responded to Trump’s unexpected election by embarking on a surprisingly strong US stock market rally.
The market upturn was surprising in 3 respects: Just before the elections, some of the biggest fund managers publicly declared their expectations that stock markets were about to fall.
Instead, a strong, sustained upward breakout materialized.
Second, even though Trump had not presented a specific economic policy agenda, investors assumed that his aim would be to accelerate economic growth and that whatever measures he chose would likely be inflationary.
Third, investors seemed to assume Congress under its emergent Republican majority in both House and Senate would join in unified implementation of whatever Trump proposes.
However, it is unlikely that wide differences among Republicans in Congress will vanish, and that strong Republican aversion to further growth in Federal debt will be easily overcome.
The post-election rally also overlooked the political reality that devising and approving new legislation on taxation, a healthcare substitute for Obamacare, trade, immigration, and regulatory deregulation necessarily would take many months. It is inevitable that after the White House introduces draft legislation in any of these policy areas a deluge of interest groups would fall upon Washington in efforts to “revise”, neutralize, or nullify proposed legislative changes that would directly affect them.
Republicans in both the House and Senate are still strongly divided. In recent years party “teamwork” fell away and was replaced by aggressive rivalries of power and agendas for action. Previous Speaker of the House John Boehner was rendered powerless by repeated insurrections within his Republican majority. Ultimately this resulted in his resignation and retirement from Congress.
Current Speaker of the House Paul Ryan is distrusted by some of the House Republicans, especially among the House Freedom Caucus. That caucus group only numbers around 40, but enough to halt procedural steps and force the leadership to seek votes among the opposition Democrats.
Ryan has been able to overcome serious party insurrections so far, and the emergence of a new Republican President will likely provide a few months of “honeymoon” cooperation.
Thus, for the next few months Republicans will likely work together in devising legislation.
However, Republican rivalries with each other and with the President will likely resume later in 2017 and definitely will be more disruptive in 2018 as the next round of Congressional elections gains momentum.
Many Republican politicians seem to be assuming that Trump will only seek one term as President, so jockeying for the Presidential nomination for the 2020 Presidential elections has already begun.
Near the end of November, Trump’s Treasury Secretary designate, Steven Mnuchin, began to discuss details about the taxation reforms that would be proposed by the new Administration. Among the proposals under consideration would be significant cuts in corporate rates of taxation, and cuts in personal income taxes for “the middle class.” The middle class was not defined.
Taxation of the wealthiest households would be altered by reducing various “deductions” such as home mortgage interest, in such a way that tax rate cuts would be offset by elimination of tax deductions, leaving the net effect of changes in taxation neutral.
This technical complexity immediately gave rise to an awakening of lobbying activities on behalf of various groups that might be adversely affected, such as mortgage providers and homebuilders.
Historically, major changes in taxation have always required major revisions to the US Tax Code, which entail thousands of pages of legislative changes. Typically, major tax legislation passed in one Session of Congress has in past years been followed by a second round of new legislation in the following Session of Congress, in the form of a “technical corrections bill.”
As virtually every interest group in the US is potentially affected by tax revisions, lobbying on behalf of all interest groups ranging from charities to corporations and financial institutions is directly involved. This requires each member of Congress to listen to a wide variety of interest groups and balance the different constituent interests one against another.
The process of drafting and approving major tax reform has often in past years taken 18 months. In other words, taxation changes might not be applicable to the US economy until 2018 or possibly 2019.
There would be little impact on the economy during the first half of 2017.
Legislation to cancel Obama’s healthcare insurance reforms might be passed early in the new Congress, but the effective date would likely be set at some future time when a new healthcare insurance program was ready to be proposed for Congressional action.
Trump might take some administrative or enforcement actions on immigration, but a change in immigration law would likely take months, not days.
Trump has already declared that he would not pursue TPP, and that he expected to begin placing greater emphasis on negotiating or renegotiating bilateral trade agreements. The President has authority to make such changes in US trade policy.
However, the President does not have authority to alter present US trade laws. Article 1 of the Constitution specifically provides that Congress shall regulate foreign commerce. In other words, the President may engage negotiations with other countries. He cannot negotiate Treaties or other agreements that might require alterations in current trade laws without approval of enabling legislation by both House and Senate.
To alter US trade restrictions, the President must propose to Congress changes in US trade law, and only the Congress can then consider and approve or revise present trade law to adapt to Presidential proposals.
The President does not have unilateral authority to alter either access for or restrictions on US imports. There are exceptions for Presidential action in the event that he determines that antidumping action or countervailing duties are required to offset “unfair trade.”
In past years, Presidents have sometimes negotiated “voluntary” export restrictions implemented by other governments in order to relieve competitive stresses on US agricultural or industrial producers, but such voluntary agreements would not fall within the framework of US trade law.
Although Donald Trump has openly criticized past US trade agreements and promised to renegotiate some or all of them, he would need Congressional approval of changes in US laws that have already been made to accommodate past trade agreements.
In the case of the NAFTA agreements with Canada and Mexico, Trump has said he wanted them to be revised. The governments of both Canada and Mexico have already declared willingness to consider renegotiation, but of course they would also likely wish to make revisions of interest to their own economies.
Renegotiations would likely be a multi- year process, entailing revisions by Congress in current trade laws.
Trump has made clear his interest in scaling back Federal regulation of businesses, particularly small businesses and regulation of financial markets. Changes in labor market, environmental, and food safety regulations are likely under his Presidency.
Many regulations could be eliminated by Presidential action, but some would require changes in law, which Congress would have to enact.
President Obama also used Executive Orders and Presidential Memoranda signed by him personally to provide authority for regulation and law enforcement changes. It is said that he used these Presidential authorities in thousands of cases.
President Trump could eliminate all or much of this accumulation of unilateral Obama Presidential orders or memoranda by simply cancelling them. This could result in dramatic rollback of environmental regulations, for example.
In other words, Trump clearly will set in motion a new approach and shape his own template for policies and governing.
But the interactivity between Trump and the Congress will shape new outcomes as the President shapes his approach and Congress adjusts to the new reality; and in turn, Congress and its divisions will shape the new realities in the wake of the election of President Trump.
It is in foreign policy where the President will have more freedom to put his stamp on policy from the outset, and he is already in the process of doing so, even before taking office.
Connecting Directly with the Electorate: How A Popular President Governs
The 2016 campaign focused many American’s on a fundamental question about the impact of essentially a dishonest media:
Will the media be greatly empowered to be the judge, jury and very public executioner of what and who is acceptable in the great American debate about our lives and future?
With the smashing victory of Donald Trump to the abject disappointment of the Main Stream Media (MSM)elite. America saw a new way for a President to connect to the American People.
President Trump will be unfiltered in his quest to reach out across the board directly to explain how he intends to make our lives safer, more secure and economically better off.
The evidence is already accumulating that many in the MSM are already trying, before his hand comes off the Bible in front of the US Capital to delegitimize our new President.
The battle at Harvard between campaign staffs set the tone for what to come:
Jennifer Palmeiri and Finney charged the Trump campaign with providing a platform for white supremacist views by hiring Breitbart Chief Executive Steve Bannon.
The Trump team had elevated the so-called alt-right movement into the mainstream, they said, with Palmieri adding that Clinton’s speech denouncing the extremist movement was the proudest moment of the campaign.
Thankfully it was an open and on the record event, as opposed to Clinton Inc. and Democrat talking points being sent out to all. It was reported that over 60 journalist were essentially “in the tank” for the Clinton Campaign.
So why trust the media to be both fair and balanced?
Consequently, Kelly Anne Conway could knock down the attacks, for they are not arguments, from the Clinton Inc. sore losers.
They made it obvious that they could not help embarrassing themselves in showing no class all while demonstrating their blind ignorance on why they lost.
“Do you think you could have just had a decent message for white working-class voters?” Conway asked.
“How about, ‘It’s Hillary Clinton, she doesn’t connect with people?’
How about, ‘They have nothing in common with her?’
How about, ‘She doesn’t have an economic message?’”
And now the great Presidential Communication process enters a new era because Donald Trump has pioneered a new and innovative way to connect using 21st Century Technology, by making direct short unfiltered comments to all.
Already carping in the MSM shows that they cannot stand the loss of their power because President Trump can keep them honest and always set the record straight by not allowing anyone to interpret what he says or means.
His tweeting and use of You Tube is changing yet again the dynamics of communication.
In trying to discredit and delegitimize President Trump, many are using “Populist” as a pejorative term.
It actually isn’t that evil a word unless connected to demagogy, incipient fascism and in U.S. used with “white supremacy” which is exactly where Clinton Inc. Democrats and their media puppets are trying to take it.
So rather than having a semantic fight with individuals who control headlines, reporters covering news stories, actually which are now more blogging opinion pieces, it is simply that Donald Trump is following in the great popular tradition of communication pioneered by NYC Mayor Fiorello Enrico La Guardia , President Franklin Delano Roosevelt and President Reagan.
Different times and different technologies are involved but all three very admirable men were popular and did not allow themselves to be pigeonholed into being characterized by the ugly side of “populism.”
These three very popular and visionary elected leaders became popular on their own merits by pioneering ways to communicate directly to the voter.
When the newspapers went on strike “The Little Flower” reached over them and read the funny papers. This was a brilliant move and his closing comments reading Dick Tracy resonates to this very day
“Dirty money always brings sorry, misery and disgrace”
Soon after his inauguration in 1933, President Franklin D. Roosevelt gave his first national radio address or “fireside chat,” which was broadcast directly from the White House.
He focused very personally on the economic wellbeing of all Americans with reassuring insights about the “banking crisis.”
President Reagan ran against the popular wisdom, which more or less accepted the immortality of the Soviet Union.
Rather than accepting Soviet Communism, he challenged it directly at its symbolic epicenter – the Berlin Wall.
“Tear down this Wall,” was the Reagan challenge which was met by the German people and set in motion the end of the Soviet Empire.
On December 1, 2016 President Elect Trump delivered a masterful speech: “What we’ve created is a movement, and it’s a beautiful thing”
This fact must scare the heck out of his critics.
Because this is also how he communicated his message on the very same day.
Thank you Ohio! Together, we made history – and now, the real work begins. America will start winning again! #AmericaFirst.
Ironically, by attacking Trump from the moment the election was called, many in the MSM already hurt themselves for any future accountability, and President Trump can hold them accountable appealing directly to the American People—from anytime and place on twitter or releasing a new You Tube Video.
Welcome to a new world technologically but one which Mayor Laguardia, and President’s Roosevelt and Regan would recognize.
The popular leader speaks directly to the people, without the MSM of “high priests” interpreting your words.
Technology and Enhanced Border Security: The South African Case
That South Africa has a particularly porous land border is well-known and almost as well-known are the efforts of mainly SA Army regulars and reserves to ensure some integrity with the oft repeated “shortage of funds” pointed out as the biggest contributor to the thousands of illegal immigrants, smugglers and traffickers who seemingly come and go as they please.
The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) maintains notwithstanding the limited scope for technology investment, the opportunity for novel and innovative thinking can lead to ways of doing more with what exists.
Border safeguarding in South Africa, says the national scientific research and applied knowledge organisation, entails the challenge of an extensive borderline and several hundred ports of entry.
The borderline consists of close on two thousand eight hundred kilometres of coastline, 4 800 km of land border and more than 1.2 million square kilometres of airspace. There are more than 700 registered airports of which 10 are recognised international ones, at least 52 formal land border posts and 111 seaports.
“Rich in valuable, sought-after natural assets (precious minerals and stones, rhino horn, abalone), located on an increasingly active trade route and with often non-existing, inefficient land border structures, the risk expands to economic losses through piracy, poaching, smuggling, illegal entry and the potential to unhinge regional safety and security.
“Improved border safeguarding requires close co-operation and integration between government departments responsible for defence, immigration and policing. Beyond safety and security, border breaching and protection also has social, economic, education, health, transport and migration issues,” the CSIR says.
For border control to be effective, the CSIR maintains the practical implementation of command, control, communication and surveillance technologies are key.
As an option it sees the use of an integrated concept development and experimental process to surface optimal solutions. This entails incorporating existing infrastructure, using readily available surveillance technologies and ensuring better integration of different platforms.
Field experiments are conducted in border zones to test the use of sensors, communication mechanisms and networks in combination. The ultimate aim is to manage a solution as an interoperable system adding scope to detection and providing intelligence guided command decisions and patrols, the CSIR said.
Challenges are created to add more stringency to testing. These include geographic spread and smart phone technology integrated with other communication platforms. Technology options include use of unmanned aerial systems capturing video views, cellular telephone intercepts, GPS jamming, video and audio conferencing and sharing of remote computer desktops.
The key, according to the CSIR defence and security focus section, is effective collaboration and synchronisation.
“The pivotal requirement is the means to facilitate and enable inter-departmental collaboration. This implies that the interplay between humans and processes must be interoperable for optimal and effective collaboration.”
The CSIR’s concept development and evaluation centre becomes the nerve centre of a mission where various sources are integrated into a single comprehensive view. Information from diverse systems such as radar, satellites and video feeds from unmanned aerial telemetry systems, communication devices and others can be displayed on screens to provide an integrated overview of a defence scenario. The centre is used for operations planning to create border security response strategies, centrally monitoring counter-poaching efforts and training.
Taking counter-poaching operations as an example, the CSIR sees the integrated war room as a space where officials and decision makers can instantly see collated data, for instance on poaching incidents. These are mapped out in near real-time with statistics showing number of rhino killed, number of shots fired, number of poachers caught as well as ranger and poacher movements.
By integrating a large amount of information on a central platform, patterns can also be analysed and anticipated, for instance identifying when poachers routinely target a certain area or a specific part of a fence for easy access.
The research and development organisation sees data from aerial views and camera surveillance (called in on radio or mobile phone and detected through sensors then channelled through an interoperability gateway into a software system) as giving the full border picture and pinpointing areas of concern as what can be cost-effectively achieved.
“This means improved surveillance – without sending armies of patrol staff – and the information as a deterrence mechanism or best-suited combat tactics is available to commanders.
“Smuggling, alien influx and illegal grazing across South Africa’s borders are the results of lacking or vandalised fencing and insufficient capacity to deploy on patrol. By combining various surveillance and detection technologies in integrated communication and command systems, the CSIR works to assist its defence client by expanding the ability to watch over the country’s territories,” the CSIR’s defence and security focus group says.
Editor’s Note: President-elect Trump has certainly highlighted the importance of enhanced border security in the United States.
In many ways, he is going back to the discussions and potentially could adopt some of the approaches discussed in the first three years after 9/11 in the United States.
There was much creative thinking about the way ahead with regard to border security that was never acted on.
With regard to a program called SBI net, it would have been possible for example, working with ways to enhance the reach and effectiveness of the border patrol to provide for improved border security.
Unfortunately, DHS focused on a pure technology solution set which really did not address the fundamental requirement, namely to enhance the performance of the border patrol.
A number of the solutions offered in the RFI to SBI net could be revisited and adopted in the new strategic initiative suggested by the President-elect. In many ways, its back to the future, and keeping the promises made in the wake of 9/11 to the American people and not delivered.
Can the Veterans Benefits Administration Be Saved — From Itself?
Be it a Republican or Democrat Administration, historically the Department of Veterans Affairs has tried to always be responsible in helping America’s Veterans.
But something changed in the last few years.
It is a tragic tale of mismanagement, incompetence and cover-ups that has violated the VA’s sacred motto:
“To care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and has orphan.”
The media has been inexorably awash for years exposing the ongoing horror show and systemic failure of leadership at many VA Medical Centers nationwide.
The scandalous behavior and unsavory cover-ups have crept through the food chain to Washington DC and landed with a resounding thud on 10th Floor desks at VA Central Office.
Notorious data manipulation, falsification of appointment records, and lengthy delays in the provision of life-saving health care has led to unnecessary pain, suffering, and death of veterans who honorably served our country.
Why has this happened you ask?
The answer is neither complex nor difficult for most thinking adults to discern…it is easier to cheat than do the heavy lifting!
Heck, why not?
All the other directors are doing it and if I don’t, my facility will look bad and I will be identified as a inept, ineffective manager.
And that is exactly what too many directors did by choosing the easy route to “fix” the stats and bonuses at the expense of the very veterans they were mandated to serve.
Regrettably, too many stats were bogus and counterfeit.
Inexcusably, veterans were left to suffer and some undoetedly died as the result of rogue director’s reprehensible behavior.
Why has this been allowed to happen?
The VA Central Office “top knockers” have a litany of lame excuses but no creditable explanation for the distorted stats rolled out by scurrilous VA managers whose actions effectively allowed veterans to suffer, some in intractable pain.
These veterans relied on the VA for help that in too many cases, never materialized.
Reports from whistleblowers and the VA Office of Inspector General continue to illuminate the scores of obstacles veterans face when accessing the provision of high-quality, timely health care.
Since the past too often is tragically prologue to the future, simply changing the top VA leadership will change nothing.
As the old political appointees are ushered out of 810 Vermont Avenue concurrent with Inauguration Day 2017, it will require a root and cut policy within the VA itself to achieve accountability.
Shamefully, a horde of VA bad-actors persist in putting their own careers and bonuses ahead of the well-being of our nation’s veterans.
Unless the new Trump/Pence VA leaders relentlessly roots out these abject ne’er-do-wells, too many of the “burrowed in” apparatchiks will loiter in critical policy and decision-making billets.
Regrettably, the not so slow-motion failure of the Veterans Health Administration in both the field and Washington, DC continues unabated with a dash of persistent scandals.
It is a pernicious systemic problem for both The Veterans Health Administration (VHA) and the Veterans Benefit Administration (VBA).
It is a tragic truth that a plethora of onerous scandals that plagues the VA Health Administration can also be found at the Veterans Benefits Administration.
The Benefits Administration has repeatedly proven by word and deed that the organization is adrift, rudderless, and failing miserably.
Unfortunately, many of the most disreputable VBA managers have deeply burrowed into its bloated bureaucracy.
Affirmative change can only commence when new leadership cuts the unethical and dishonest managers out of the herd.
Recently, while VHA has dealt with richly-deserved scrutiny by the press and congressional committees, VBA furtively skulked behind the scenes avoiding media investigation thereby also evading public examination.
Tragically for veterans in need, VBA is hiding behind the recent debilitating scandals facing the VHA’s healthcare operation.
VBA is emotionally and morally bankrupt side-stepping demonstrable issues such as favoritism, scandalous cronyism, and unabashed incompetence.
Painting with a broad brush is not the focus because there are many conscientious VBA directors and staff that do their very best every day to overcome the bureaucratic inertia and nonsensical poppycock that emanates from DC.
VBA field directors have no autonomy, are micromanaged by VA Central Office in DC, told what and how to do things, and then held accountable when things don’t work out.
Just take a look at the VBA Monday Morning Workload Report from a decade ago and then compare that to today’s indecipherable psychobabble that is purportedly accurate data.
A decade ago the performance numbers of veterans helped was as accurate as possible.
Now VBA has become exceptionally adept at subdividing data points to statically demonstrate how much they have improved.
This report resembles hieroglyphic “happy talk” more than an honest reflection of workload status, backlogs, and deliverables.
Today’s Benefits Administration’s Monday Morning Report is actually a joke although a joke without a punchline.
The inherent misdirection of the Monday Morning Report by DC managers is cleverly designed to confuse and mislead all who attempt to make any sense of it.
The report purposefully disguises the truth behind a smokescreen of numbers that, taken out of context, and serve no useful purpose other than gleeful obfuscation.
In this VBA, it is impossible to accurately hold directors and VA Regional Offices responsible for poor performance.
Chronically underachieving stations are “bailed out” by DC supervisors by moving work around the system lest the whole organization appear to ineffective and defective.
How can any benefit system survive if poor performers are not identified, rehabilitated, or fired?
Where is the accountability when senior managers can quickly shift work around and consequently skew the data to suit the desired outcome.
The challenge to identify a broken system in crisis is not abstract.
Hard evidence shows all Americans VBA’s systemic leadership failures.
Case after case has been identified by VA whistleblowers, the Veterans Affairs Committees, media, my Senior Level personal observations, and the VA Office of Inspector General:
~VBA staff changes claims folder dates to make their work appear more timely
~VA’s answer to “doctoring dates” on claims folders — it wasn’t a deliberate action
~Staff cherry-pick easier claims to reduce the backlog stats quickly while old cases get older
~Regional offices accused of hiding incoming mail and shredding claims folders
~Incoming mail, some from veterans with information about their pending claims, has been routinely stacked in boxes for months with no action at some stations
~System-wide failure to discipline senior management wrongdoing
~Thousands of veterans mistakenly declared dead had their benefits terminated were actually were alive and well — in response, VA insists their accuracy rate is 99.83 percent
~VBA is notorious for data manipulation and stonewalling — the bureaucratic shuffle
-VBA “spoliation of evidence” has been documented
~VBA continues to game the data system
~VBA continues to kick the can down the road engaging in “willful blindness” against veteran claims.
-VBA “comp and pen” physicals contracted out to a private sector firm QTC have been demonstrated to not be in contract compliance for a twenty day turn around — three times that of the Congressional and legal requirement.
VA’s Benefits delivery organization epitomizes the proverbial house of cards standing in a stiff breeze.
And of course, the all time, scandalous topper is the fiasco with two senior VBA officials who were evidently “first amongst equals.”
This is a tale of deceit, corruption, and blatant cronyism.
It’s scope is breath-taking and exceeds the usual deception, ineptitude, and incompetence exhibited by VBA’s leaders in Washington, DC.
For those of us who know the protagonists in this mythological saga, none were surprised by the arrogance and disdain top VBA leadership consistently displayed for integrity and honesty.
Their belief appernetly is that the rules for top management are different than the rest of us…rules are evidently for the little people, not the cartel bigwigs.
It is time to drain this particular swamp and bring back a true sense of integrity and morality based on competence.
For those who are not familiar with the scandal surrounding these two VBA officials, one was a very senior DC executive and the other a highly placed field director. Both VBA leaders wanted new positions in locations of their choosing.
Unfortunately, the positions they coveted were encumbered by competent directors.
They initiated a scheme to pressure and force subordinate directors under their management control to relocate to other field offices.
Did I mention these two senior managers sweetened the deal with bonuses for the forced dislocation of two competent directors?
After the targeted directors no longer occupied their positions, the principal characters in this melodrama requested transfers to the newly vacated director positions…no competition, no fairness, no adherence to the Merit Protection System.
Adding insult to injury, their new positions were less complicated requiring less experience and yet both “saved salary” in their new Senior Executive Service jobs.
The kicker was $400,000 in unnecessary relocation payments taxpayers forked over for these two executives for job openings they wanted and forced the vacancies to occur.
Don’t take my word for this storyline…it can be easily found on the VA’s Inspector General’s website.
The VAOIG investigation revealed that the two directors who concocted this scheme “gamed the system” by pressuring two subordinate directors to relocate to other less desirable Regional Offices so they could in turn be appointed to the newly vacated positions.
The IG referred criminal complaints in this matter!
These two VBA “senior leaders” unconditionally abused their positions of trust and authority thereby abdicating any moral authority to manage and lead government employees who are desperate for real leadership.
Well, the plot was uncovered and these so-called “VBA leaders” as well as the Undersecretary for Benefits, Gen. Allison Hickey (USAF-Ret) were subpoenaed to testify before the House Veterans Affairs Committee.
Undersecretary Hickey would have been a devastating witness since she knew about the scam that was foisted on the taxpayers because she approved both transfers for her subordinates.
The VA’s attitude—nothing to see here so move along folks…
Gen. Hickey sensed which way the wind was blowing and immediately resigned.
She skipped the hearing and refused to provide testimony about the scandal.
VA Secretary McDonald accepted Ms. Hickey’s resignation with regret.
In my judgement, he should make an example out of any VA employee, manager, or leader who violates the trust accorded them as veterans advocates.
VA top leadership has stated that you can’t fire your way to excellence—well you sure as heck can’t get there when some VA senior staff have larceny in their heart or an unwillingness to make the tough decisions!
The two culprits who launched this travesty appeared, in what can only be termed, dramatic stagecraft at a House Veterans Affairs Hearing.
Both repeatedly invoked their Fifth Amendment Right against self-incrimination.
They did what?
You heard correctly…they invoked their rights against self-incrimination!
Obviously they and their lawyers knew they had something to hide and without Ms. Hickey’s testimony, they had a good chance to escape employment termination.
Consequently, they were summarily dismissed from the hearing by the Chairman.
Both of our not so heroic characters received minor punishment by being demoted and reassigned to lesser jobs in the VBA system.
In an unbelievable reversal of fortune, both of these “bad actors” were reinstated by a judge because VA was incapable or unwilling to appropriately discipline other senior executives involved in this appalling episode.
It is abundantly clear that the missing link at VA’s Benefits Administration is unfettered, scandalous mismanagement practices and a lack of serious leadership.
Evidently, the status quo is alive and well at VA with two sets of rules — one for the senior leaders and another for their subordinates.
The Trump Administration has a once in a lifetime opportunity to drain the swamp at VA starting with the Benefits Administration.
The bureaucratic ineptitude and chronic incompetence so outrageously and unapologetically displayed by senior officials in this scandal is unseemly, patently deplorable, and outrageous.
It is well past time that VBA was energized with competent leadership that is accountable and focused on providing accurate, honest, and timely adjudication of veterans’ benefits.
Before adding much needed additional funds accountability must come first.
It is time to appoint VBA leaders that know the organization; know where the politicos have burrowed in; have an appreciation for the hard-working employees who are willing to do the heavy lifting; and, make the hard decisions to change VBA’s present course.
If not, VBA should not be saved from itself and should be replaced with a non-governmental contractor that can do the job.
Mr. Poteet is a former Army gunship pilot with two deployments to the Republic of Vietnam; an unapologetic veterans advocate formerly with the Veterans of Foreign Wars on Capitol Hill; VA Deputy Assistant Secretary for Congressional Affairs; Director of three VA Regional Offices; a VA Medical Center Director; Executive Director of the President’s Task Force To Improve Health Care Delivery For Our Nation’s Veterans; Life Member of the VFW; member of the Vietnam Helicopter Pilot’s Association; NRA member; and, appointed member of the Texas Veterans Commission Advisory Board, Fund For Veterans’ Assistance.
Rebooting Western Values: The Case of the French Presidential Election
Yesterday, against all odds (at least the odds defined by the general media buzz for months), François Fillon, the French initial outsider for the Republican Primaries won by close to 70% of the votes against the initial favorite Alain Juppé.
This was in the second and last round of a long campaign aiming at designing who, out of seven candidates, would be best suited to win against incumbent socialist President François Hollande.
There is still a long way to go for the LR – “Les Républicains” – candidate to become the next President of France in May 2017.
There are several “nextgen” leftwing candidates who are pushing the door to fill in part the vacuum left by the defeat of center right candidates such as Juppé and the current President Hollande.
The next six months are going to be very conflictual on the left and on the right to win the hearts of a divided French population.
Speaking The truth, Overcoming Divisions
Divided politically, economically, socially, ethnically… 1789 is back but with colors, and it is going to take a real Leader to gather all these colors.
These colors are not necessarily the rainbow ones but the national ones. The same “blue-white-red” flag of French history can recall the past to shape a more viable and dynamic future for France and for Europe.
This is indeed the challenge posed to François Fillon already labeled since last week’s victory as a divisive ultra-rightist.
Sounds familiar to American voters?
One may not agree politically with a Donald Trump or a François Fillon who are rather different both in style (actually quite at the opposite of the spectrum in characters, although seemingly outspoken) and philosophy.
But there is an undeniable common force on the move being currently unleashed: a force opposed to “political correctness.”
This is referred to in French as the “unique way for thinking” — a force opposed to the way the main stream media has been trying to influence the public opinion.
We are already seeing a different style of reporting – there is more emphasis on fact-checking and less opinion-preaching.
In addition, the thrust of debate is highlighting the need to shift from state-assistance versus hard-work and self-reliance;
A debate challenging a naïve globalization pulling everyone towards the lowest common denominator as opposed to a greater good based on well-understood self-interests;
An emphasis away from the revisionist view of national histories which has been underscored by the current socialist government in which only “minorities” can – and maybe – recognize themselves…
There is a true return to national pride and the need for traditional milestones both in the United States and in France.
Contrary to the way critics (will increasingly) portray François Fillon, he is very far from the far right, from a Marine Le Pen.
He is perceived (at a minimum by 70% of the nearly 4 million Republican Primaries voters) closer to what a Charles de Gaulle or an Antoine Pinay have been in the French psyche: no less than a savior, militarily in the first case, economically in the second case.
During this first part of the presidential election campaign, he talked the truth, restored a certain vision of the authority of the Presidential function (especially hurt by President Hollande’s recent confidences to Le Monde’s journalists), but also of the role of France in the world: speaking one’s mind and not being a Russian or American pawn; being back to lead as the first Power in Europe “not for the sake of it” but built on renewed economic strength…
Transatlantic Clash or Joint Strength?
A Franco-American relationship under the twin impact of Trump and Fillon governments – if Fillon wins in France next May – might look more like the “love-hate” relationship which characterized much of the 1960’s transatlantic bond, but was one of mutual respect, and above all, a fundamental respect for each other’s own expression of national interest.
Based on each political leader’s statements, trade and environment negotiations will probably be rockier than they have been in the past.
But common ground is clearly there for solving the ISIS threat by riding the Russian Trojan horse might be a rational common course of action.
There is on both sides a clear priority to eradicate the terrorist Islamist threat affecting both countries and there is room for a fruitful cooperation which has been built up ever since 9/11.
Linked to the above, there is also the same desire to free oneself from oil dependency and Middle-Eastern politics and entanglements.
The US via renewed domestic oil and related energy production; France via relaunching nuclear energy self-sufficiency.
A new uncharted foreign policy territory may therefore open up for cooperation in which both systems seek to restore themselves to what would be perceived by each national electorate to their proper place in the world and in history.
There is also a similar determination to give the police and military – and their chiefs – the means and politico-legal backing to enable them to fulfill missions more attuned to serving national interests and global stability than the past decade of nation-building and long-term and open ended entanglements.
In any case, toughness and authenticity – as opposed to globalization photo ops -could be the new motto of a Fillon government willing to reboot the system by fully “changing software.”…
 Antoine Pinay restored a « strong France» as minister of Finances in the 50’s at a time when the French economy was suffering and the French population was doubting about its future. (see for instance >>> http://www.lepoint.fr/histoire/personnages/pinay-antoine-1891-1994-31-08-2013-1719732_1617.php)
 See: Un président ne devrait pas dire ça >>> https://www.amazon.fr/pr%C3%A9sident-devrait-pas-dire-%C3%A7a/dp/2234075483
 François Fillon, in last Republican Primary Debate, November 24th, 2016
 « changer de logiciel », cité dans : François Fillon, Republican Primaries’victory speech, November 27th, 2016
Shaping a Trump Template for Change: Breaking from the Past
We are in the midst of significant global change.
The strategic dislocation of the Middle East, the Putin Russian revival, the Brexit dynamic, the Euro crisis, the German migrant opening at the middle of Europe, the Chinese power grab, the Chinese economic malaise, the Japanese power reset and one could go on.
The point is that several trends are underway at the same time and they add up to a significant redefinition of the global scene, power and policy priorities.
We will probably see an Italian government fall next week after losing a key referendum which will Italy’s future role in Europe.
A French conservative is likely to become President next year who has an opportunity to shape a de Gaulle type moment as Europe and the Trans-Atlantic community enter a very different phase of development than the past 20 years.
The next decade will be QUITE different from the past two.
Donald Trump will become President in the midst of a significant period of global change and will have his own impact upon it.
He did not invent this decade; but he is coming to power within it.
It is a decade of disruptive change with or without Donald Trump.
It is not Trump who is challenging history; it is history which has challenged the United States.
It is no wonder that the American voters wanted a President who sees the need for fundamental change rather than continuity with the past four presidencies.
The “globalization” template shaped in the post Cold War period is becoming part of the historical past more rapidly than might have been expected.
President Obama stated in Europe that he hoped that President Trump would not revert to realpolitik, but that is clearly what is needed for the free world facing very active and pro-active non-liberal regimes and significant crises of legitimacy at home.
Historical change is a complicated process whereby when one enters a new era, new questions are posed and answers sought, rather than simply seeking new answers to former defining questions.
It is about shaping “order within chaos,” which was the title of my PhD dissertation.
In shaping a new structure for order, new templates are forged and new consensus shaped. It is an art; not a science.
It is clear that Trump has been elected precisely to lead an effort to shape something different from the regimes which preceded him in the post-Cold War order.
Nothing less than a redefinition of American power is in process.
This is coming in the wake of the clear arrival of a multi-power competitive world with an ongoing fight against terrorism which simply does not accept liberal societies, with a small l.
It is surprising then that the vast bulk of writing about Trump shaping a new team seems to be measuring him against the past 20 years when clearly he is trying to put together a team which can shape the next decade.
If he succeeds or fails is a reasonable question; but it is clear that America has elected its first information age war president and with it a team which follow in the path which he is shaping.
As Conrad Black put it well:
Mr. Trump was running against the Bush-McCain-Romney traditional Republicans, the Cruz far-right Republicans, the Clinton-Obama long-term management of the Democrats and the quasi-Marxist Sanders left of the Democrats, and almost all the press and polling organizations.
These were impossible odds against him, except that he won.
Now the same press, which got it wrong and was an attack dog during the campaign, is now pushing out a constant stream of “interpretations” of what Trump is doing or not doing.
The point is that he is trying to move America in a different direction and is trying to forge a team that can do so.
This means that rather than measuring him against the “Bush-McCain-Romney traditional Republicans, the Cruz far-right Republicans, the Clinton-Obama long-term management of the Democrats and the quasi-Marxist Sanders left of the Democrats,” analysis needs to be generated from the challenge of managing a strategic shift.
He has set a different objective for himself and his Administration: to set in motion a strategic shift for America where industry can thrive again, America defends its interests, agreements are transparent and not buried in the obscure language of multi-lateral agreements with no clear enforcement mechanism against non-liberal societies, and a defense team appointed designed to actually win a war against ISIS.
Again, he may succeed or fail; but it is against the template of change he will be judged not on how close he comes to the style, objectives, and criticisms of the “Bush-McCain-Romney traditional Republicans, the Cruz far-right Republicans, the Clinton-Obama long-term management of the Democrats and the quasi-Marxist Sanders left of the Democrats.
Trump Raised the Question about the Future of Extended Deterrence: The Chinese Challenge
During President Obama’s meeting with President Elect Donald Trump, a “big problem for the country” was discussed.
North Korea and its nuclear ballistic missile program was identified in September as the first problem for the Trump Administration.
President Elect Trump will be briefed by the priesthood of China / North Asia experts on the issue, and will hear their pitch for the continuation of multilateral diplomacy based approaches to solving the problem — the approach that repeatedly failed for decades and got us to where we are.
Except that today, or by 2020, the NORK problem have turned from a nuclear ballistic missile threat to allies like Japan and South Korea, and perhaps US bases like Guam, to a problem that directly threaten every major U.S. population center including those of happy go lucky free riding allies like Canada.
U.S. Co-operation with the Beijing regime, administered by the “China Expert” priesthood, produced a direct threat to the United States by one of the most irresponsible, unpredictable, irresponsible, and dangerous powers in the world.
Yet, the priesthood maintain that their approach is the only way even as PRC’s intransience appeared to have risen to a new level with arguments that THAAD based in South Korea threaten the allegedly small nuclear force controlled by Beijing, and Beijing’s insistence on no deployment as a precondition for increasing sanctions on North Korea.
The Beijing Regime alleged that THAAD 10 extra minutes of warning of missile launches from China.
PRC diplomats claim THAAD threatens the “terminal” and “mid-course” phases of their intermediate range and ICBMs.
One perspective is to take Beijing’s statements as technical errors by diplomats poorly trained in the technical details of arms control.
From this, it follows that Beijing’s allegations and opposition to THAAD are technically unsound based on any plausible assessment of THAAD capabilities and the flight path of PRC’s nuclear ballistic missiles.
Chinese nuclear forces are now split between land based silos, road and rail mobile launchers, and SSBNs at very different locations.
The actual numbers of launchers deployed have sharply risen.
However, if it is the case that the PRC regime in fact have substantially more nuclear weapons deployed than they claimed, particularly on intermediate and short range missiles aimed at Japan, S. Korea, and US bases, it will lead to a very different conclusion.
An increase in warning time of 8 to 10 minutes may not make much of a difference for an ICBM attack on the US. Nor will it make much difference for a retaliatory strike against US allies aimed at population centers consistent with the “No First Use” policy declared by the PRC Regime.
However, reducing the warning time will have substantial impact on the ability of Japan, S. Korea, and US bases like Okinawa, Guam, etc. to activate defense systems like Patriots that defend relatively small footprints like military bases.
Extant anti-ballistic missiles like Patriots and sea based Standard Missiles are only “moved out” on alert, with only a small percentage of the systems held at high levels of readiness.
PRC use of “terminal” and “mid-course” terms, rather than being technical errors, it is exactly the right term to describe the course of ballistic missile attacks on Japan and major US bases like Okinawa. PRC knows that early warning and cueing data from THAAD can be flowed to Patriots and Aegis in an integrated ABM system.
If the PRC’s intent is to be able to launch a nuclear first strike at installations protected by Patriots and Aegis systems, then their objection to THAAD is technically sound.
Rather than being threatened by a handful of THAAD interceptors, Beijing’s plans for a nuclear missile attack on Japan would be frustrated by far more numerous Patriot and Aegis interceptors.
If they are given sufficient warning to be deployed.
It is well known that PRC have substantial inventories of medium and short range ballistic missiles.
A nuclear ballistic missile first strike offers the opportunity to destroy the conventional arms capability of US and allies in the region in a lighting first strike.
If the PRC actually have thousands of warheads as opposed to 250 alleged by a number of arms control advocates, a nuclear first strike aimed at allied military installations makes sense.
The PRC’s nuclear arsenal is not subject to any arms control agreements, or any credible verification.
Perhaps Beijing is not as toothless or benign as they want the world to believe.
Editor’s Note: With the election of President Trump, there is the possibility to relink at key security questions with a fresh eye.
Clearly, one of these involves China’s support for North Korea and their nuclear policy and its impact on the region and the United States.
Trump raised the issue of extended deterrence during the campaign, and it is a real challenge, not easily dismissed by pursuing past policies.
There is clearly a need for a fresh approach.
Rather than assuming than assuming that China is going to do anything constructive about North Korea, a closer look at China’s own nuclear policy is clearly required.
We have done so on an earlier Second Line of Defense Forum on the Second Nuclear Age, and the recent work of Paul Bracken, who generated the process of a strategic rethink would be a good launch point for reworking U.S. policy in the region with regard to nuclear weapons.
And for a graphic characterization of the evolving “Pentapolar Nuclear Order” in the 2020s as seen by Bracken (graphic credited to Bracken):
Press Turned Servile To the Authors Of the U.S. Decline
Recently, The New York Sun, published a piece by Conrad Black which provided some insight into challenges which the Main Stream Media faces on a road to recovering credibility.
As the days have ticked past since the U.S. election, its implications, especially for the press, have been interpreted with agonizing slowness. The polls, so inaccurate, yet uniformly revealed public disrespect for the press. Ninety per cent of conventional press was hostile to Donald Trump, and 90 per cent of polling organizations predicted a comfortable Clinton victory.
As there was no substantive argument for the re-election of the Democrats, their entire campaign was to slag off Trump. The servile press deluged Trump’s followers with disparagements, and generally signed on to Hillary Clinton’s dismissal of 30 million Trump supporters as a “basket of deplorables.” Mr. Trump pointed to the press sections at his heavily attended meetings and drew down on them crescendos of brickbats and fist-shaking hostility.
Mr. Trump was running against the Bush-McCain-Romney traditional Republicans, the Cruz far-right Republicans, the Clinton-Obama long-term management of the Democrats and the quasi-Marxist Sanders left of the Democrats, and almost all the press and polling organizations. These were impossible odds against him, except that he won.
No one can deny that the people were there — Mr. Trump’s rallies were large and overflowing. Mrs. Clinton had to recruit pop stars and others in her Hollywood claque of trendy-chic fundraisers and groupies to pull crowds. Mr. Trump had indicted the whole system: Wall Street, Hollywood, and the log-rolling, back-scratching cadres of both parties were under siege together.
As has often been remarked, it was the first time a complete outsider has been elected president of the U.S., and the first successful campaign against the entire entrenched political and press class since General Andrew Jackson in 1828. Jackson was critical of the genteel elders of the Democratic Party, James Madison and James Monroe; had horrified the recently deceased Thomas Jefferson; and militated against the opposition leaders, President John Quincy Adams and Henry Clay.
Jackson was a frontiersman, a drummer boy in the Revolution and a tough general, and he instituted the Spoils System, by which he dismissed much of the senior civil service on entering office, and eventually perturbed economic conditions by revoking the charter of the Bank of the United States.
(Old Hickory also threatened to hang his vice-president, John C. Calhoun, and others, for proposing to give South Carolina the right to nullify federal laws. Asked if Jackson were not exaggerating, Senator Thomas Hart Benton, an old comrade, replied: “I have known General Jackson a good many years and when he speaks of hanging it is time to look for rope.”)
Mr. Trump’s appeal was precisely that he was untainted by the horrible failings of the bipartisan political cartel of the last 20 years. Mr. Trump spoke forcefully enough about illegal or insidious immigration and trade deals that appeared to export unemployment to the United States that he corralled the anti-establishment vote, but he said nothing outside the mainstream in the rest of his pitch. He supports fiscal responsibility, universal health care and a re-energized western alliance. He attracted the militantly disaffected, but his program is well within the political midfield.
It is now generally understood that Donald Trump ran against the authors of the first period of outright decline in American history. But the national political press, and to some extent the little pockets of foreign press who fancy themselves authorities on interpreting American politics to their national audiences, have barely changed their pitch since the election.
As the only Clinton argument was to demonize Mr. Trump, the press, exposed as impotent stooges of the decayed Clinton-Bush-Obama vieux jeu, instead of recognizing that Mr. Trump is not a racist, sexist madman have effectively implied that there are more sexists, racists, and madmen in the United States than they had thought.
The error, by this line of reasoning, was not theirs — other than that they had not realized the extent to which the rot of extremist bigotry had spread in the land where George Washington’s cherry tree once grew. This response has been almost universal among Mr. Trump’s more vociferous opponents. They are like a swarm of bugs that has just been blasted with insecticide. There is a brief St. Vitus’ Dance of more frenzied activity and incoherent noise than ever, and then they all fall down, silent.
There was almost nothing to support the avalanche of defamation against Mr. Trump, apart from an 11-year-old tape of adolescent jock-talk and a few bombastic flourishes that did not greatly exceed low-brow political name-calling. From this thin gruel, the entire portrayal of Mr. Trump as lurid animal was extracted and propagated to the ends of the earth.
It was not that the country admires the sort of ogre the press and Democratic propagandists (generally interchangeable groups) were selling, the reasoning goes, it was that the electorate itself had sunk to such a paleolithic level.
Van Jones, a pillar of comment on CNN, told the Broadbent Institute of thoughtful New Democrats at the Art Gallery of Ontario last week that Trump is ushering in an era of routine espousal of the virtues of Nazism. I was asked by a pleasant interviewer at Global Television if it were not the case that current American conditions resembled Germany in the 1930s.
I thought not, as unemployment is not at 30%, the country has not recently experienced a crushing military defeat in which 25% of the adult male population was killed or wounded and the United States has not been branded by the world as a criminal state for unleashing world war. The majority of the population is not advocates of totalitarian theories of government, and individual ethnic groups are not being scapegoated as traitors ineligible for the benefits of citizenship.
Nor are private armies of thousands of uniformed thugs roaming the streets of the entire country, beating up and murdering innocent people and destroying dozens of homes and houses of worship every month. These are trifling differences of course, but the vigilant contemporary Canadian journalist might notice them.
The reluctance of the press to recognize the extent to which they have been condemned by the public they serve is understandable.
But Mr. Trump is a moderate, and apart from a few pyrotechnics about the lassitude of the previous regimes in allowing 12 million people into the country illegally and signing some disadvantageous trade pacts, he has spoken moderately, condemned racism, and promised to make an effort to unify the country around shared and unexceptionable goals.
Mr. Trump has a mandate to revise some trade deals, assure that there is a southern border and not just a vast pedestrian walkway into the country, and to effect reform of health care, taxes, campaign financing, government spending, to be more fiscally responsible and to define the national interest in terms that spare the country the impetuosity of George W. Bush, and the naïve pursuit of friendship with sworn enemies pursued by Mr. Obama.
He won’t be going after the Clintons, has made sensible noises about the environment, is fighting to keep jobs in the United States, appointed Sikh-American Nikki Haley to the United Nations and Betsy DeVos as education secretary and is speaking cordially with outspoken critic Mitt Romney. His approval rating has risen nine points since the election.
The stigmatization of Mr. Trump as a fugitive from Jurassic Park will not survive a month of his government, and then the press will have to come to grips with the bankruptcy of their status in America, and, at least in matters of reporting on the United States abroad, in the West generally.
I found myself a few days ago listening with slack-jawed incredulity while two former Canadian ambassadors in the Middle East and a pompous Anglo-Canadian academic historian expressed the hope that Justin Trudeau would advise the incoming foreign policy team of the Trump administration that not all of the world’s 1.4 billion Muslims consider themselves to be at war with America.
It was the clearest confirmation of many I have had in recent years of just how vastly more stupid our press have become and how chronically misinformed the people are.
I have not seen such delusions of Canadian grandeur since the days when Tommy Douglas and Paul Martin Sr. were debating which of them would negotiate the end to the Vietnam War.
Unless Canada’s luck has deserted it, this debate about how to educate the Americans will have cooled before President Trump invoices Canada for its unpaid share of national defense costs, unless it chooses to do without the assurance of the American alliance for the first time since President Roosevelt proclaimed it at Queen’s University in Kingston in 1938.
Stephen Harper left us as a mouse that roared until no one paid heed. His successor, whatever the fantasies of the Canadian press, will soon have the choice of strutting the world stage as a peacemaker while continuing to freeload off U.S. protection, or leading a country no one listens to, informed by a media no sane person can believe. I dare to hope we can do better than that.
email@example.com. From the National Post.