It’s a boy/girl thing. It’s a weak/strong thing.
Yesterday, to the horror of his opponents, Donald Trump came out swinging. He went at them, directly, unapologetically. He sounded steroidal.
Unsubtlely, he attacked his predecessor for being weak and cowardly, for refusing to name the enemy as “radical Islamic terrorism.” Trump pronounced the words, not quite to Obama’s face, but clearly and forthrightly. The media was horrified.
Trump declared that he wanted to unite the nation under the banner of patriotism. He declared that there was no room for prejudice when we were all Americans. He wanted to fight against the divisiveness engendered by his predecessor. The media was more than horrified. It was apoplectic.
Barack Obama had submitted to Iran, had surrendered to Islamic terrorism, had happily declared himself to be a citizen of the world, and embraced Angela Merkel’s cosmopolitan “open arms” madness. Trump retorted with an assertion of manliness, toughness and an aggressive posture. He declared that he would destroy ISIS and reclaim America’s inner cities from gangs and drugs.
True enough, he overpromised. One suspects that he will not be able to deliver. And yet, as Chris Matthews said last night, if he makes significant progress in these arenas, he will be counted a success. Surely, it matters that we now have a president is not willing to coddle criminals and to blame crime on white police officers.
If the nation has been fighting what Christina Hoff Sommers calls “a war against boys,” Donald Trump started the counterattack yesterday. Women are going to march today to reassert more womanly values. We shall see how that works. I suspect that it will unintentionally reinforce the Trump message.
After all, how could anyone not be sickened by the spectacle of American college students, traumatized beyond endurance, crying into the towels, hugging their puppies, sucking their lolly-pops, whining, whimpering and moaning over the result of an election? By Trump’s lights, and I am sure he is not alone, the snowflake generation needs to be slapped around… metaphorically, of course.
A little forced discipline, whether by a Trump or by the Tiger Mom, is better than sending out an army of therapists to listen empathetically to their plaintive wails.
Trump would certainly have done better to avoid the discredited slogan “America first.” His nationalistic and patriotic message would have worked much better if he had not evoked a slogan that was at best pacifist and isolationist, and at worst, pro-German.
Of course, Trump now has to deliver on promises that seemed more like threats. He has to do what he said he was going to do, to attack problems and to solve them. Otherwise, we were watching macho bluster, a giant bluff.
Yet, the barely loyal opposition is continuing its fight. It will fight against Trump as it fought against the Tea Party, as it fought against conservatives, as it fought against climate change skeptics, as it fought against Republicans, and as it fought against Fox News. The American Left, the Obamified Left has always known who the enemy is. It has been more comfortable fighting the enemy within, especially the enemy within the American mind than it has been fighting the nation’s enemies.
Recently, the mayor of Jerusalem, Nir Barkat offered this assessment of the Obama policy in the Middle East:
My fellow citizens, during the last eight years, the Obama administration has pushed for a settlement-building freeze, has surrendered to the Iranians and radical Islam and abandoned Israel to a hostile U.N. resolution
And, of course, Obama’s legions, having conceded world leadership to Russia and China now insist that Trump must declare war on Russia. Talk is cheap, especially on the pusillanimous left. For his part Trump has declared that he wants to deal with Russia and with Vladimir Putin.
He laid down another gauntlet yesterday when he repudiated the Wilsonian foreign policy that had been practiced by three prior administrations. When Trump said:
We will seek friendship and goodwill with the nations of the world, but we do so with the understanding that it is the right of all nations to put their own interests first. We do not seek to impose our way of life on anyone, but rather to let it shine as an example. We will shine for everyone to follow.
It brings back memories of John Quincy Adams.
Last week I noted that Stephen Cohen, writing in The Nation, declared that Trump ought to resist those who don’t want him negotiate with Russia. According to Cohen, the true enemy is radical Islam and we might need Russia as an ally to fight and destroy it.
We recall that Wilson was not only the architect of the administrative state. Winston Churchill once intimated that Wilson was the one man who could have stopped World War I. Considering that the Great War was, according to George Kennan, the defining event, that is, the defining catastrophe of the twentieth century, failing to stop it was a world historical error.
As you recall, in early 2015, when Germany sank the British ship, the Lusitania, Theodore Roosevelt argued in his op-ed columns that America should intervene in the war. To which Wilson opined that he was: “too proud to fight.” Cowardice can exact a terrible price.
One notes in passing that yesterday Trump returned the bust of Winston Churchill to the oval office. A symbolic, but meaningful gesture.
Wilson wanted to “make the world safe for democracy.” George W. Bush had a freedom agenda. Trump has rejected those policies and has discarded a moralistic, ideological foreign policy in favor of a Kissingerian Realpolitik, a balance-of-powers policy. The goal of Realpolitik is to balance the interests of the different players, not to try to make the world into a new Jerusalem.
Fortune magazine reported on a recent Kissinger interview. I quote its report at length.
Henry Kissinger is OK with Donald Trump's bromance with Valdmir Putin. In fact, he said he hopes the two leaders get even closer.
Speaking via live stream at the World Economic Form in Davos, Switzerland on Friday, shortly before Trump's Inauguration, Kissinger said that he agrees with Trump's "general attitude" toward Russia. The former Secretary of State said America needed to be less confrontational with Russia, and that that should be a major priority for Trump.
"I hope that an effort will be made for a serious dialogue which tries to avoid the drift towards confrontation and in which Europe, America and Russia come to some agreement about the limits within which military pressure is carried out," Kissinger outlined.
Kissinger also took a jab at outgoing President Obama, saying that the he had withdrawn from areas of the world that he shouldn't have.
At one point, Kissinger said that Russia's leader Putin has "secured equilibrium in the world."
To be continued….