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The Trump Doctrine: Foreign Policy with THE DONALD Captaining the Ship of State

(Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

“40 Wall Street actually was the second-tallest building in downtown Manhattan, and it was actually, before the World Trade Center, was the tallest — and then, when they built the World Trade Center, it became known as the second tallest. And now it’s the tallest.” [Donald Trump in radio interview with WWOR as reported by Timothy Bella, The Washington Post: it’s always about him]

From time to time, Presidents of the United States become known for their foreign policy doctrines. Washington had “no entangling alliances.” Monroe had the Monroe Doctrine. Teddy Roosevelt spoke softly and carried a big stick. Truman had the Truman Doctrine.

Certainly, it is not incumbent on a President to develop a formal doctrine or set of principles by which he is guided in his foreign policy decisions. Sometimes it is only after the fact when outsiders seek to make sense of what has occurred can some semblance of a coherent doctrine be determined. On the other hand, sometimes people lurch from event to event as they occur simply reacting to the chance circumstances of whatever happens.

And then there is the Trump Doctrine. It wasn’t always clear that there was a Trump Doctrine. So much of his decision-making seems impulsive and happenstance devoid of any coherent principles. Perhaps the best known and most consistent policy has been his submissiveness to Putin and other alpha males plus his love of theatricality centered on him. He does love playing with his Hollywood-casted toy soldiers. At least until they think they are actual people with minds of the own with loyalties to the Constitution and have to be fired/resigned.

Foreign policy has not been a big part of his administration until now. As I have written, for THE DONALD except for Mueller much of his presidency has been playtime. Now he is operating in the adult world and he is out of his league. The continual revealing of his actions taken in the Ukraine and to cover up those actions are important for two reasons. One, they will lead directly to his impeachment. Two, they provide insight into how this President who eviscerated the State Department conducts foreign affairs. His actions in Syria are a beacon to the world: he can be rolled by dictators and abandons allies without any awareness of there being consequences to his actions – there are no adults in the White House.

What does this all mean?

MIKE MULVANEY

Let’s begin with Mike Mulvaney, a former adult who regressed into being a babbling baby. He actually was a pretty good predictor of his own situation.

Mulvaney added he believed Trump’s emotional appeals and cavalier attitude might prompt him to try going around the Constitution.

“I wonder who is more interested in going around the Constitution in order to get things done. Barack Obama or Donald Trump,” Mulvaney said. [CNN, December 21, 2018]

We all know the answer to that debate! We all know that once Mulvaney became a member of this administration he had no qualms about circumventing the Constitution. Of course there was a quid pro quo! Get over it – perhaps the very words that will define him for all eternity on his tombstone.

In my blog entitled Mick Mulvaney Parachutes onto a Ship in Chaos the Rats Are Abandoning, written at the same time as the CNN article, I wrote the following about Syria then:

The more the real world presses in, the more the immature child president will lash out without any concern for the consequences. He lacks the mental necessities to understand the concept of consequences or even to care. He must give in to the impulse of the hissy fit not just in his tweets but in his decision-making. Consider his decisions to withdraw from Syria and half-withdraw from Afghanistan. Far from being well-thought decisions carefully implemented, they are case studies in the decision-making process of our immature child president who feels more and more trapped by the real world. Look at what has happened in just a tweet.

– He has granted Recep Tayyip Erdoğan the coveted 00 O.J, license to kill previously awarded to Putin and MBS.
– He has shown no loyalty to the Kurds who put their lives on the line to fight with us as allies against ISIS.
– He has shown that the very concept of “allies” has no meaning to the transactional President – unless you can offer something to him he could not care less about you.
– He has no interest in America being a world leader and does not care who fills in the vacuum.

All things considered, I think I nailed that one. While I did not exactly predict the current situation, I think I described a reasonable facsimile of what has and is transpiring.

What I did not formulate was the Trump Doctrine of foreign policy that now can be seen more clearly.

1. Be submissive to alpha males especially if there is the prospect of a business deal with them.
2. Actions 7,000 miles away do not matter.
3. There are no allies, everything is transactional.
4. There are no alliances, everything is individually transactional.
5. We should only help people fighting for their land if they were with us at Normandy.
6. We should only help people fighting for their land if they cover our costs.
7. We will ask you to provide dirt on political opponents even if it is not true.

Hard as I may seem to believe, these guidelines one day will be studied in school along with the other doctrines previously mentioned. Students will even be tested on their ability to recall and recite the Trump Doctrine.

In the present, countries have no problem understanding what the Trump Doctrine is. They may have grave fears about what it means for them but they have no doubts that as long as the current President remains in office, these guidelines remain in place.

Saudi Arabia can afford us even though it was not at Normandy. And it buys Trump properties. Yet we did nothing when Iran attacked it. One has to wonder what our President will do even if our troops are paid for when Iran attacks again.

The Baltic States cannot afford us and they were not at Normandy. If Russia ever decides it has the resources to invade the Baltics, we will do nothing. In this regard, the Ukraine imbroglio works to the advantage of the Baltic States. The longer Russia is bogged down there and the sanctions remain, the less likely it is to attack any Baltic State.

Taiwan can afford us but was not at Normandy. Even if it does not pay us now, China is probably too preoccupied at present to invade so there is no urgency to Taiwan paying us. However, if that moment of truth comes in the present administration, Taiwan better cough up the money fast if it wants our assistance.

Israel can afford us but was not at Normandy. Even if it does not pay us now, Iran is probably aware of what Israel would do in retaliation to an attack. In addition, Hezbollah is too busy trying to maintain control in Lebanon to attack Israel now even if it acquires sufficient precision missiles to eliminate Israel’s retaliatory ability.

The Trump Doctrine marks the end of the post-World War II era of international diplomacy. We have been in transition since the fall of the Iron Curtain and the “end of history.” Now a new doctrine has been implemented. Coalitions and alliances have been replaced by the rule of alpha males, transactional relationships, and foreign interference in American Presidential elections on behalf of the President. The old saying of “commander in chief and leader of the free world” is obsolete.

Allies are abandoned, enemies are emboldened. They don’t watch Fox, They don’t attend his professional political rallies. They don’t worship THE DONALD. They know the truth of the immature child masquerading as the adult THE DONALD. Trumpicans are still living the lie. Perhaps by the time of the impeachment and the trial to remove him, the Trumpicans finally will see the truth behind the act. Perhaps watching THE DONALD be rolled will achieve what the Mueller report did not. Perhaps the sacrifice of the Kurds will achieve what the Democrats have been unable to do. Perhaps the real world will expose the lie that is THE DONALD and bring this show to a close.

The White House Ship of State (The Sequel)

The White House ship of state is not the Love Boat. Is it the Titanic? Perhaps a better metaphor than something crashing into an iceberg would be the meltdown of the ship where the motto is “ABANDON SHIP! ABANDON SHIP!” Let’s examine the different components of the ship of state and determine what if any general observations may be made separate from the “Breaking News” limitations of the cable TV talk shows.

The Crew

For the crew of the White House ship of state life is a combat zone. To some extent such a description would be apropos for any White House. It is a high pressure environment of relentless stress punctuated by moments when it all seems worth it. There is a burnout factor associated with the job even in the best of times and these are not the best of times when people are dropping like flies.

Each day begins never knowing when Kratatoa east of Java will erupt. Under ordinary circumstances, White House staff know that on any given day something outside their control – a mass shooting, a North Korean missile launch, a terrorist attack – could disrupt their day. However in this White House, the explosions are internal. At any given moment our insecure immature child President could unleash a barrage of hissy tweets leaving the stressed staff to clean up the bull trump. No preparation or advance planning can be brought to bear since there is no telling what will trigger the outburst. It’s a little like the situation with the 7th grade smart-aleck-dumb aleck student. The teacher never knows exactly what will generate a smart-aleck-dumb-aleck remark by the student, but you know sooner or later it will happen. It is inevitable.

For the first time since the War of 1812, White House staff may qualify for combat pay. This time the White House may not be literally burning but it is a metaphorical “Is the Bronx Burning?” This is not what they signed up for. PTSD was not part of the job description. The white trumper is the most recent casualty following a day after the resignation of her close friend Josh Raffel. You can’t tell the players without a scorecard and in a moment’s notice that scorecard may be obsolete. Suppose there is a real emergency and We the People need the White House staff to be a its best to steer us through the crisis. Given all the effort and energy to deal with self-imposed crises, what will be left for the real ones?

The Lawyer-Facilitator

In the original Battlestar Galactica series, the facilitator was a (female) member of the crew whose job it was to facilitate the needs of the (male) members of the crew on their long voyages. The network decided that such a job description no matter how realistic would not play well in Peoria. As a result, the position was redefined in something more like Julie McCoy, Love Boat cruise director.

In some ways, the issue of the adultery with a porn performer has come and gone. People, especially evangelicals, don’t care if their President committed adultery before becoming President or while President. The irony of the situation is that he paid $130,000 for nothing. The story came out and his supporters are just as likely to be high fiving and back slapping each other shouting “You the man! Way to go Donald” as they are to condemn him.

The issue here is not sex but “follow the money.” Although not part of Mueller’s probe, the payment of the funds through the lawyer-facilitator has spawned its own investigation and legal case. At some point, the source of the money may be traced back to the President. In the meantime, isn’t it comforting to know the lawyer-facilitator of our President has no ethics?

The Abuser

Besides the stressed out staff and the unethical lawyer-facilitator, our White House ship of state has a crew including abusers, in this case, men who beat women. Naturally, the abuser in-chief takes the word of the men in these situations.

He took the word of Putin over his violation of America in 2016 elections.

He took the word of Judge Moore.

He took the word of senior aide Bob Porter.

So far this decisions have led to the indictment of 13 Russians, a Republican defeat in Alabama of all places, and a resignation. Truly it is shame that good men can be ruined by mere allegations and from women who are always wrong. Look at his own life as proof.

But the abuse like the adultery is the mere tip of the iceberg for the White House ship of state. There is a lot more going on below the surface than realized. The most immediate issue is security clearance. The revelations of Porter’s actions unexpectedly shone the light on an aspect of White House operations in complete chaos. Instead of being an isolated case of an overlooked person lacking the proper security clearance for a given position, the number of people without such clearance mushroomed into the dozens. Did anybody outside the military and intelligence agencies actually have the required clearance to do their assigned job?

People have been wondering when Mueller’s investigation will hone in on Jared Kushner, son-in-law to the current president and husband to a future one but the F.B.I. may beat him to it.  In a still unfolding story, the senior advisor now has been stripped of his access to meetings and files he is supposed to have access to given his vast responsibilities. The revelation that four countries admit to seeking to manipulate the financially-exposed naïve son-in-law inevitably leads to the issue of the Russian manipulation of the father-in-law. It will be interesting to see what the F.B.I. turns up in its investigation of Kushner’s financial dealings and whether the first “pardon” will be to grant this compromised person who lied on his application through omission. In the meantime, the internal war in the White Hosue heats up to the level of the Congressional Schiff/Nunes conflict. As Steve Bannon of all people correctly noted, the House Intelligence Committee is a misnamed joke. If it had been tasked with determining who bombed Pearl Harbor we never would have entered World War II.

Related to this commotion over security clearance is the entire issue of chaos. After more than a year of operation, the White House should not have had this issue. The fact that it does is another reminder of the management by chaos style that defines this presidency. I have seen people on cable TV talk shows expound on how this President prefers the chaotic style that puts him at the center. This viewpoint makes it seem as if the Wharton student made a careful study of the different styles of management and then came to an informed decision that the management by chaos style is the one he preferred the most. What nonsense! As an immature child the management by chaos style is the only one in which he is capable. He simply lacks the mental necessities and emotional maturity to manage in any other way. Chaos isn’t his choice, it’s his nature.

Captain   

What does all this mean about the captain of the White House ship of state? We can learn that in a real emergency or crisis he has no experience to draw on. His preferred venue is the professional wrestling arena where the action is scripted and the results are predetermined. Even his vaunted “You’re fired” was scripted and based on the decisions of others. He’s not even man enough to fire Jeff Sessions face to face, he needs to act through Twitter and hope Mr. Magoo gets the message. The real world, however, isn’t scripted and his shortcomings are exposed every time he makes a decision on the spur of the moment. In the movie or TV show in his mind, he can charge unarmed into a building consumed in gunfire; in the real world, not so much. Here he is in the eighth decade of his life, still playing hero in his imagination just as 7th graders do when they read comic books and watch John Wayne or the superheroes.

Our insecure immature child President is relentless in his need to belittle others to assert himself. His Republican primary opponents were little and losers. His Democratic investigator is little and a loser. The North Korean leader is little and will be a loser to the man with the bigger button. The only foes he doesn’t call little are female. He doesn’t belittle them as individuals the way he does his male foes, he demeans the gender. They are someone he would grab, they are unworthy of being treated as an equal.

From this perspective, it is easy to understand his devotion to macho-macho man himself, Vladimir Putin. It is easy to understand why the insecure immature child would want Putin to be his BFF. What more validation of himself as a real man could there be than to be Putin’s BFF? Even putting aside the Russian money that rescued him or his escapades during the Miss Universe pageant in Russia, one should not lose sight of the importance of Putin’s appeal to him. “Macho, macho man. I want to be a macho man.”

Courtesy discogs.com

America doesn’t need a parade, he does. How many people will have to die so Trump can prove he is a real man? How many will have to suffer? Let us pray that in the real world, our ship of state never hits an iceberg, because the person who is supposed to be at the helm lacks the right stuff to be captain.

St. Valentine’s Day Massacre to the Titanic: The White House Ship of State (Part I)

Adult: It's about time you learn the universe doesn't revolve around you. Teenager: Maybe YOUR universe. Zits by Jerry Scott and Jim Borgman

When the President of the United States learned of Japan’s attack on America on December 7 did he exult or strike back?

When the President of the United States learned of Al Qaeda’s attack on America on 9/11 did he exult or strike back?

When the President of the United States learned in 2018 of Russia’s attack on America from 2014 to 2016 did he exult or strike back?

To even ask these questions serves notice of the perilous world in which we live. For the first time in the history of the United States, the President of the United States declines to fulfill the constitutional responsibility to be commander in chief, the one job title/description actually in the Constitution.

To some extent on a human level, it is reasonable to understand why the target of the Mueller investigation would breathe a sigh of relief when the Russian indictments did not include him or his staff and went back to 2014. Indeed the Bull Trump network shared in this exultation declaring it a day of victory and vindication for the President.

To be fair, the Mueller indictments reflect no loss of American life, occurred years ago, and were well known to the American intelligence community, Facebook, and Twitter, and the American public excluding Republicans. In this context there was no sense of urgency as there was on 12/7 and 9/11. So for a first reaction, the sense of triumph is understandable.

What about the second reaction?

Did it occur to him or the Bull Trump network that there might be a second and equally exhaustive report on the hacking of the DNC?

Did it occur to him or the Bull Trump network that there might be an equally exhaustive report of money laundering for the Russian mob in violation of U.S. law and sanctions?

Did it occur to him or the Bull Trump network that there might be an equally exhaustive report and detailed timeline of the contacts with Russia during the campaign?

Did it occur to him or the Bull Trump network that there might be an equally exhaustive report of the obstruction efforts to prevent the documentation of the Russian violation of America?

Exactly what to Devin Nunes, Jeannine Pirro, and Sean Hannity have to celebrate about their efforts to prevent Mueller from exposing the Russian violation of America? The new indictments of Manafort and the guilty plea of a lawyer following Gates’s cooperation hints at the indictments to come given the still-secret information Mueller has. The lawyers who don’t want their president client to testify because he cannot tell the truth undoubtedly realize how much greater the risk is now. Don’t they realize that these indictments are the beginning and not the end? It’s not going to be over soon.

As it turns out there was a second reaction and it was about the legitimacy of the 2016 election. Suddenly the Huckabee Huckster spewed forth the bull trump that of course the President knew and said so all along that the Russians had meddled in the election. Now the line was such meddling hadn’t made a difference (a claim difficult to prove or disprove) and that it was all Obama’s fault since the violation of America began under his watch and he did nothing. Imagine what the Bull Trump network would have said in 2016, if the administration then had announced that Russia was meddling in the election to support Trump!

So maybe the third reaction would be about fulfilling his responsibilities as commander in chief to defend America from outside attack and to attack the attackers. The idea that this third reaction would occur to him is so preposterous and so silly that it is embarrassing that anyone would take it seriously and even ask the Huckabee Huckster about it. Let’s look at the record.

First, any time Putin wants to end this presidency he can do so. He knows the hidden tax returns reveal ties to the Russian mob. He knows that the dossier is true or at least those portions which are. He knows what contacts were made during the campaign and probably could produce reports documenting them if he wanted to. He has the means to destroy the current American president if he chooses to do so.

Having said that, he has no reason to want to at this point in time. His immediate goal is the removal of sanctions. The American President has been a good little boy and not applied the most recent set of sanctions authorized by Congress. The American President has been a good little boy and not called for any additional actions to be taken against Russia for violating America. So why remove him? Who would do a better job of protecting Russia than the current good little boy?

Second, people have forgotten that oaths have no meaning to him. As I previously wrote concepts like separation of powers and oaths to the Constitution are adult concepts beyond the mental necessities of our immature child president. His mind genuinely does not function on that level. He may say the words but they cannot sink because his brain never reached the state of development where he can absorb adult ideas. The question he asks is are you loyal to him? The question he asks is who is his Roy Cohn? He never acknowledges anyone else’s oath to the Constitution, loyalty to We the People, or professionalism so why should it be any different when it comes to him? The oath he took at inauguration was simply lines from a script to be performed; they have nothing to do with how he thinks or operates. The only way he can act to defend America is if he thought not acting would make him a loser.

Although I can’t prove this, my first reaction to the idea of his running for president, was that it was just a stunt. There were two things I thought he had no interest in, couldn’t do, and would not want to do. The first was that he could never be America’s Comforter in Chief. The thin-skinned narcissist was incapable of feeling yet alone expressing the sympathy and empathy necessary for the discharge of this duty. I think it is safe to say that events have proved this prediction true.

The second was that he could not start every morning with a security briefing. It would make no sense to him. He didn’t know where the places were. He didn’t know who the people were. He didn’t know what the issues were? And if he didn’t have resort there, why should he care? Furthermore, during the daily briefing he would be in a room full of people who knew their stuff. How long before they caught on that he was ignorant moron with nothing constructive to contribute? You can fake it in the professional wrestling arena where you have the right to your own facts; that won’t work in the briefing room. I acknowledge that at the time when these thoughts first occurred me I didn’t know that he couldn’t read more than a page. I think it is safe to say that events have proved this prediction true.

Tom Friedman is exactly right to declare that our democracy is in danger but let’s not get carried away. We have seen so many James Bond movies showcasing the vaunted power of Spectre/KGB that we may think it is real. While we should resist and respond to the Russian violation of America, we should not exaggerate its effectiveness. We should not be building Putin up, we have a President who does that!

We know that our President will never act directly against Putin. He will be as dismissive of Russia’s violation of America as he was of Putin’s assassination of political opponents – after all we kill people, too. We meddle too.  It’s no secret that the Republican Party is no longer the party of Lincoln. Now it would seem it is no longer the party of Reagan either. What is the political downside for the failure of the American President to be Commander in Chief? Do the American people really want him to act against Russia? Does his base want him to act against Russia? Who knew that all those white males shouting USA! USA! USA! We’re Number 1. We’re Number 1! We’re Number 1! actually have no objection to being violated by Putin?