The Trump Doctrine: America First - and more

On zig-zagging, keeping hands off Americans, and America First.

Rabbi Prof. Dov Fischer

OpEds Donald Trump
Donald Trump
צילום: PR

These past few days, the Left Democrats and their Journalist Corps have given voice to a zillion reasons to attack President Trump’s decision to OK the killing of Qassim Soleimani, the arch-terrorist arch-mass-murderer. A key criticism has been that the President has no discernible foreign policy, that he just has no idea what he is doing, why, or what the consequences will be.

For three years we have heard from the same crevices the same exact criticism of his approach to the economy. His approach to energy expansion. His approach to trade with China. His approach to NATO. His approach to illegal immigration.

If there were any real truth to that calumny, a sensible response would be: “Gimme more!  Please — Give me more no idea of what he is doing!  More no idea of why!  More no idea of consequences! I love it!”  For a guy who has no idea what he is doing, no idea why, no idea of consequences — just an unguided bull in a china-tariff shop — he ain’t bad. Would that all American Presidents could be this utterly clueless!

The American economy has been amazing since Trump walked in the door and swept Obama out with the morning trash. Even if the President never actualizes all of his NATO objectives nor all of his China-trade-showdown aspirations, history will record that he accomplished more on those fronts than did any other President since China became communist and since NATO was created. 

On the one side of history’s ledger: Truman, Eisenhower, JFK, LBJ, Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan (yes, Reagan), Bush I, Clinton, Bush II, Obama. On the other side — Trump.  Indeed,

Obama said that Trump’s economic goals were unattainable, so impossible and foolish even to opine that they would require a magic wand. And yet Trump realized his economic promises, while Obama now paddle-boards shirtless, flopping into the water and incapable of grasping how Trump has done it, with the Obamas satisfied to know that at least they became multimillionaires on everyone else’s dime.

Likewise, under Obama we still relied desperately on Saudi oil. Even on sunny days in California, Solyndra could not produce enough energy to power a two-watt night light. All the windmills in New Mexico could not do it either, even if every American would agree to sneeze at the same time.

And now to foreign policy, as we evaluate the Trump Doctrine in the shadow of the enormous attainments of his predecessor, regretted Nobel Peace Prize Winner Obama. The man who kept the peace while Putin took the Crimea and eastern Ukraine. Who kept the peace while ISIS grew from a “Junior Varsity” to a caliphate. Who kept the peace while China expanded into man-made islands in the Pacific, while the Castro Brothers extended their death-grip over Cuba, while Hugo Chavez suffocated and enslaved Venezuela and then personally endorsed Obama for reelection. 

Wow, Trump faced a tough act to follow.  So it may well be that Trump has absolutely no idea what he is doing. Could be.  But maybe, just maybe, an actual doctrine is emerging.  I imagine he might describe it in his own words something like this:

“I want American boys back home.  I want our ground troops out of all the foreign entanglements that have cost America trillions with no discernible results. I don’t care what the experts and smart people say, because the one and only thing that history teaches is that America’s experts and smart people are morons: 

"Take the Bay of Pigs. They did not see the Iranian Revolution taking down the Shah. They did  not anticipate the fall of the Soviet Union. They were the last ones to find out about 9-11. They mis-read Afghanistan. They advised that China would be a fair player in trade in the World Trade Organization. They told us that ‘The Arab Spring’ marked a breakthrough that would see Western-style democracies emerge all over the Arab Muslim world. They told us that the West Europeans in NATO never would increase their payments.  They told us that a World War and an Armageddon would erupt in the Mideast if we recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and moved our embassy there from Tel Aviv. They took a beautiful eternal war between Iraq and Iran, where half a million Iraqis and Iranians killed each other in only eight years, and managed to unite them both against us while we spent trillions to make it happen.

Who was the idiot who had the bright idea that there beats in the heart of every Iraqi a burning desire to adopt the Bill of Rights?  Where did that come from? What expert decided that regime change in Baghdad would create a liberal democracy? The only part of the whole Bill of Rights that they ever wanted was a variation on our Second Amendment: the right to bear rocket-propelled grenades. So we sent brave boys to liberate them from one tyrant so that they could veer towards another? What — They yearn for free speech, for a free press?  They yearn for habeas corpus and eminent domain?  They yearn for freedom of religion?  They yearn for a penumbra of rights?  Who came up with this idiocy — Klapper? Brennan? Comey? Or was this another doozy from the Bush-McCain-Romney wing of the Democrat Party?

“So I want American boys back home.  I want us out of these places. To the degree that we have alliances — frankly, I don’t trust the friendship of almost the whole lot of them.  Saudi Arabia is our friend? Gimme a break.  As long as they face obliteration from Iran, they are our friend.  And on other days, they impose crippling oil boycotts against us or educate their kids to grow up and tear down our Twin Towers.  Or Germany is our friend?  So how come they are building a pipeline to Putin’s Russia to buy energy from him, which bolsters his pathetic economy and finances his ability to arm Iran, Syria, and America’s other enemies? 

"And don’t tell me that the Kurds are our ‘friends.’ Sure they are — now, while they face destruction from our enemies. So, other than maybe England, Canada, Australia, and Israel, don’t talk to me about ‘friends’ — because we cannot count on them in the United Nations, cannot count on them on any thing, even to join our sanctions on Iran.

“I have been in business — in the real world — all my life. Everyone is in this thing for themselves. When I made money for NBC, they loved me. Once I gave the show to the muscle guy, and he tanked it, they turned on me. So don’t tell me about loyalties other than family.

If you don’t believe me, just look at Biden and Pelosi and Schumer. For every single thing they say against me today, they said the exact opposite ten and twenty years ago when the President was Clinton and Obama. Then they were against open borders and illegal immigration.  Then they opposed impeachment of a popularly elected President. Then they cheered taking down Bin Laden and targeting even American citizens in Yemen for drone assassination. Did they go to Congress before they targeted Anwar al-Awliki or his 16-year-old son for assassination by drone in Yemen? Then they opposed FBI wiretapping of American citizens and the abrogation of personal privacy and rights. So don’t tell me about ‘friends.’ And don’t tell me about what they say.

“Here is the thing:  Life is about shared interests. You want to make money, and I want to make money, so we make a deal. That’s how it works. At this particular moment we happen to have certain shared interests with Saudi Arabia and the Kurds. Iran wants to kill them and wipe them out, and they don’t want to be wiped out. So now they are our friends. OK, so we have given or sold them billions and billions of dollars worth of highly advanced weapons, and we have sent our people there to train them how to use them.  We did not send them that stuff as Ramadan presents. 

The idea is that we gave them the wherewithal to protect themselves, and that is now on them. Use it or lose it. Iran bombed their oil wells? Not America’s problem — now that Obama is gone, we have more oil and natural gas than we can use, so we sell the stuff abroad. And when the courts finally let me have that Keystone XL pipeline and Dakota pipeline and all the other stuff in a small section of ANWR in Alaska — Who knows? Maybe we will be giving the oil away for free. So if Iran and their surrogates are going to take out Saudi oil fields, let the Saudis respond with all that advanced weaponry we sent them and reciprocate by taking out Iran’s oil fields. Make believe that every Iranian oil pump and derrick is another Khashoggi. But I am not going to send American boys to do Riyadh’s fighting for them. Let them take those thugs they are teaching in their elementary schools and madrassas with their anti-Christian and anti-American Wahhabi Islam, and let them re-direct them from our World Trade Center and point them at Tehran.

“If the Kurds need weapons, OK. We have given them what Obama and Hillary and Kerry never did. Now let them go fight for themselves. I don’t want American boys on the ground in dirt holes around the world, dying for others. I want American boys home. America First.  BUT . . . BUT . . . BUT . . .

“Let the word go forth, as clearly as can be, that if anyone anywhere hits one of my men, one of my American boys, then you have crossed a red line that I call ‘America First.’ Then all bets are off. If you launch a rocket at an American base and kill an American working for us, even a contractor not even in the military per se, then I will bomb a whole bunch of your installations and will kill 25 or more of your people working there if they have the bad luck to be there that day. And if you dare attack any single one of my embassies, then I will take out whoever came up with the idea. They won’t even be able to identify him by his dental records. OK, maybe I’ll leave a finger. So just keep your hands off America and Americans.

“And don’t get any crazy ideas that I am going to refrain from hitting back because a handful of misfits in the House — the Washington Gnats — are passing articles of impeachment.  First of all, you in Iran have no idea how our system works. We have checks and balances — not just one Ayatollah rules all. So anything the Democrat House does means nothing at all unless the Republican Senate agrees. They cannot accomplish a thing unless they work cooperatively  with the Senate. So the impeachment is a joke. It is going nowhere.

"Secondly, don’t believe what your diplomats are telling you about the Washington Gnats passing some kind of ‘War Powers’ resolution to tie my hands. Under the rules of this country, the American Constitution, I am the commander in chief. If I see a ticking time bomb like Soleimani, and if I have a two-minute window to take him out, I am not going to ask permission from Pelosi. Let her add another article of impeachment. Big deal — she won’t send it to the Senate anyway. And I am not going to consult first with Adam Schiff so that he can leak it to a friend who can leak it to Iran. And I am not going to have a three-week floor debate in Congress while Soleimani goes around seizing American embassies all around the globe and watching TV each night to find out when and where we are going to whack him.

“Look, if that all sounds erratic and zig-zagging, well — good! If it makes you happy to think that I am nuts, out of control, liable to do insane things — good!  Go ahead and think that. Think that I do not know what I am doing, or why. Or what the consequences are. That’s OK. Convince yourselves that I am not as smart as Obama, who — for all we know — got into Columbia college on Affirmative Action, or that I am not as smart as Kerry who married a millionaire’s widow faster than you can say ‘Swift Boat,’ or as smart as Hillary who met her husband at Yale and even figured out how to move her email server to be near her toilet. I don’t care what you think. 

But just know this:

1. If you hit America’s strategic allies, I will load them with deadly counter weapons like the Javelins I gave Ukraine after Obama only would give them blankets and pillows. But I will not send American boys there. The Kurds, Saudis, Ukrainians and others will have to learn to be like the Israelis and fight their own battles.

2. But if you hit an American target, I will hit you back ten times as hard because I care about America First. And we are not Israel, OK? So the U.N. can pass resolutions against Israel all day — and those Jew-haters do — but let them just try passing a resolution against us. Let them just try. I dare them. We are America, and our response will be as disproportionate as I feel like.

3. And if you dare insult me personally by going after one of my embassies, daring to imply that I am the same kind that Jimmy Carter or Obama or John Kerry was, then it not only gets personal to my country that I love but to me also. I am not going to respond like Carter by boycotting Olympic games and thereby punishing American kids who devoted four years of their lives to excel, and I am not going to send some entertainer with a guitar to go and sing “You Have a Friend.

In case you didn’t notice, I just got Congress these past two years to give me some two billion dollars to rebuild the American military that Obama allowed to decay. It is up and ready, locked and loaded. I am going to use it, and I won’t even put boots on the ground if I can help it.

4. And if none of that makes sense, and you cannot figure out what the heck my strategy or end-game is, good. Because that is my strategy and end-game.

“And that is my doctrine, if you want to call it that: America First. Keep your hands off my country and my people. And don’t tread on me.”