10. Respect for America and its willingness to project military strength are back. The strike in Syria two weeks ago against Assad did that. To his credit, President Obama’s caution kept the U. S. far away from a 2 $ trillion, 6000 casualty, 50,000 severe injuries, 15 year wasteful war like the Iraq War. But due to Obama’s dithering and unwillingness to enforce his own red line, no country in this world nor its leaders, and certainly not Assad, worried about anyone stopping them from doing anything so inhuman as Assad using chemical weapons. With Trump as the U. S. President, they do now.
9. Iran had no virtually no concern under President Obama that the U. S. would do anything significant to stop it from cheating on the JCPOA, the Iran six country Nuclear Agreement, or do anything to the Iranian military. Now Iran is not so sure, under Trump. Iran, or a similar rogue nation, will at least give a second thought before it grabs U. S. sailors in neutral, or close to neutral, waters and humiliates them and the U. S. Although Trump is unlikely to start a nuclear war over such an incident, he might take out 20% of Iran’s aircraft, as he did with Syria. As Trump constantly reminded us during his election campaign, sometimes uncertainty among nations is a good thing.
8. Recently, Secretary of State Tillerson told us Iran has not violated the letter of the Iran Nuclear Agreement. Trump, at yesterday’s press conference with the Italian Prime Minister, said Iran has violated “The spirit,” of the Iran Agreement. It’s about time someone in a presidential administration spoke the plain truth. Sometimes, nuanced public differences within an administration are a good thing. Tillerson works his side of the Street. Trump works his. This might be a very effective, if novel, way to conduct foreign policy.
7. Jen Psaki, who started out with Obama as someone to check IDs at an Obama U. S. Senate campaign political event in 2002 and ended up helping to run Obama’s foreign policy, told Jake Tapper on CNN yesterday she was “Clueless,” as to what President Trump meant by Iran violating the Spirit of the Iran Agreement. And, I am sure she was. Grown-ups, like Tillerson and Trump, have now replaced uncredentialed PR/political kids like Psaki, et al, who permeated the Obama Admininstration. Psaki and Axelrod have now joined CNN as CNN’s Jake Tapper’s experts to comment on Trump. Trump, Tillerson, National Security Adviser Gen. McMaster and even Bannon know quite clearly that Iran violates the spirit of virtually every agreement they sign. Obama, Kerry, Hillary, Psaki and Axelrod, in their naive idealism, never will have a clue about that.
6. Prompted by a question at yesterday’s press conference, Trump made it clear he expected Italy and other NATO nations to at least move in the direction of keeping their commitment to spend 2% of their GDP on defense. And, Italy’s Prime Minister, Paolo Gentiloni, committed his country to continue to move in that direction of spending 2% of GDP on defense, as Trump wants. So, although only five of the twenty eight NATO countries are meeting their 2% commitment, Trump is getting them, one by one, to make progress in carrying their share of NATO’S defense. And Trump, who said NATO was obsolete now concedes it is not obsolete-- as the member countries commit to meet their responsibilities and take up arms against ISIS. Unlike Obama, Trump is leading effectively, even NATO, from the front, not ineffectively from behind.
5. When asked which he wanted to accomplish more next week, Trump said yesterday he wants to keep Government running and repeal and replace Obamacare in the House next week. He may not do both, but he is aiming in the right direction as President and he has a good shot at accomplishing both. This is another instance of Trump being surprisingly thoughtful and Presidential.
4. Asked at yesterday’s press conference if the U. S. will play a role in “Stabilizing,” Libya, it was clear that the Italian Prime Minister, standing right next to Trump, wanted Trump to say yes. But, Trump said “No, the U. S. has enough roles to play.” CNN’s expert from the Obama State Dept. told Tapper that of course the U. S. has to play a role “Through the U. N.” in Libya. As if the U.N. ever accomplished anything under Obama that was worthwhile. Ultimately the U. S. might provide some assistance to other countries carrying the laboring oar in Libya, but Trump is right that the U. S. cannot do everything everywhere. The U. S. can still lead from the front and get others to be the major military players in Libya, if military action is needed there.
3. If the Trump Administration is weak anywhere in its first 92 days, it is that it has no bona fide economist advising Trump who understands anything about monetary and fiscal policy and is trained and knows how to think like and advise Trump as an economist. Gary Cohn, as Trump’s, National Economic Policy Council chair, knows how to make a lot of money as a trader, understands financial regulation (and some of its negatives) and knows how to help run Goldmans Sachs, but that does not mean he knows how to advise Trump on such matters as trade, job growth, tax policy, antitrust, Federal Reserve appointments, promotion of human capital, a variety of economic regulatory matters, Council of Economic Adviser appointments and economic growth. For that, Trump needs a solid, academically credentialed micro and macro-economist. He needs to get one of those on board soon. Cohn doesn’t know the first thing about economics. The same is true for Treausry Secretary Mnuchin, a former hedge fund manager. Having Cohn and Mnuchin disguised as economists is like putting a few traffic court judges on the Supreme Court.
2. On North Korea, our nation has had a terrible policy of “Strategic patience,” from George H.W. Bush to Bill Clinton to George W. Bush to Barack Obama. Throughout the last three decades, four presidents have combined to have ignorant, naive and incompetent policies that allowed North Korea to become a nuclear power. The sign of insanity is to continue to do the same thing and expect different outcomes. So, Trump says to China, “Help us with North Korea and you’ll get much better trade deals with us.” So far, China’s President Xi seems to have told Trump he will try “Really hard,” and words seemed to have been backed up with action. It is far from a done deal, but you have to give Trump credit for trying a rational, thoughtful new action to move North Korea away from being able to explode a nuclear bomb over the U. S. mainland.
1.Most importantly, Trump has managed to get a supremely knowledgeable, articulate and skilled conservative, strict constructionist, textual jurist, now Justice Neil Gorsuch, confirmed to the Supreme Court. Moreover, Gorsuch is almost uniformly accepted by thoughtful Democrats and Republicans as exceptionally qualified to sit on the Supreme Court. At the same time, conservatives are delighted that this restores, if not improves, the 4 conservative, 4 liberal, Kennedy swing vote composition of the Court prior to Justice Scalia’s death. Moreover, there is a reasonable likelihood that Justice Kennedy will choose to step down for age reasons, or Justices Breyer or Ginsburg will step down for declining health reasons, this year. If that happens, Republicans will almost surely be able to place someone comparable to Gorsuch on the Court, resulting in a 5-4 true conservative majority on the Court for the first time in more than a half century. That alone would justify Trump’s Presidency, in conservatives’ minds.
So, because Democrats continue to suffer from Trump derangement syndrome, they tell all that Trump is minutes away from impeachment for failure to release his tax returns or because somebody, somewhere, somehow had a drink with a Russian. Moreover, Democrats are sure that Trump’s plummeting approval ratings mean Democrats will surely win back the House and the Senate in 2018, despite Democrats failure to meet their expectations in the last few weeks in special elections in Kansas and Georgia.
But, more thoughtful and objective pundits will tell you the above paints a surprisingly positive and “Presidential,” behavioral profile of Trump’s first 92 days in office.
Take a look at what I wrote in June, 2015 about Trump. If you had extrapolated from my blog post a prediction of whether Trump could win the Presidency and appear as presidential in his first 92 days, as indicated above, you would have said the chances of that were zero. So, I have to admit I was wrong, so far. Know anybody who has said that about Trump or will say that in 8 days? I don’t.
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