Trump is Already the Most Successful U.S. President Since Ronald Reagan: Conrad Black, National Post, Nov. 17, 2017— It is distressing to read and listen to the nonsense in the Canadian media about Donald Trump.
Trump's Unsung Success in the Middle East: David P. Goldman, PJ Media, Nov. 14, 2017— President Trump's Middle East policy is simple: Back our friends and scare the hell out of our enemies, and negotiate where possible with our competitors like Russia and China.
Trump, One Year After the Election: Achievements and Failures: Prof. Eytan Gilboa, BESA, Nov. 20, 2017— Donald Trump’s victory in the presidential elections held a year ago surprised veteran politicians, renowned election experts, prominent journalists, seasoned commentators, and senior academicians.
The GOP Better Wake Up to the Lessons of this Election: Salena Zito, New York Post, Nov. 11, 2017— A Republican friend of mine is a suburban businessman who dutifully votes in every election, always straight party.
The Outlines of Trump’s Asia Strategy: Daniel Blumenthal, American Interest, Nov. 17, 2017
Trump: No More Nation-Building Abroad: Dr. Jiri and Leni Valenta, BESA, Oct. 17, 2017
Border Walls Are All the Rage Worldwide Because They Work: Michel Gurfinkiel, PJ Media, Nov. 7, 2017
Hillary Had to Know all About the Dossier: Douglas E. Schoen and Andrew Stein, New York Post, Oct. 27, 2017
National Post, Nov. 17, 2017
It is distressing to read and listen to the nonsense in the Canadian media about Donald Trump. It is too early to predict whether he will be a successful president or not. But no one relying on the Canadian media would be aware that he has more than doubled the economic growth rate, reduced illegal immigration by about 80 per cent, withdrawn from the insane Paris Climate accord, helped add trillions to U.S. stock market values, created nearly two million new jobs, led the rout of ISIL, and gained full Chinese adherence to the unacceptability of North Korean nuclear military capability. He will probably pass the greatest tax cuts and reforms since Reagan, if not Lyndon Johnson, by Christmas, and may throw out the most unpopular feature of Obamacare, the coercive mandate, with it.
He can be a tiresome and implausible public figure at times, and the reservations widely held about him, in the United States and elsewhere, are understandable and not unfounded. He is, however, the most effective U.S. president since Reagan. In the 20 pre-Trump years, over $5 trillion and scores of thousands of American casualties were squandered in Middle East wars (while most Iraqis were handed over to Iranian influence), an immense humanitarian refugee tragedy was provoked, along with the greatest world economic crisis since the 1930s, American GDP per capita growth and capital investment shrunk by 75 per cent, the work force lost over 15 million people, millions of unskilled, illegal migrants were admitted, and the national debt of 233 years of American independence more than doubled in the last seven years of Obama. Those 20 years were the only time of absolute decline in American history, as well as a period of prolonged economic stagnation. Americans, unlike the older great nations of Europe and the Far East, have never experienced such setbacks and stagnation, and don’t like or accept them. It was in these circumstances that this unusual president was elected.
In addition to these American problems, there is the international phenomenon of ever-widening disparity of wealth and income, with no obvious solution — taking money from people who have earned it and giving it to those who haven’t will just drive out the high economic achievers who provide most of the personal income tax revenue already. And there is the problem that, for the first time, higher technology produces unemployment rather than employment, and increased productivity, unlike in the Reagan years, has not, until Trump was elected, led to job creation.
In many advanced democratic countries, the political systems have begun to fragment. The German Social Democrats have half-disintegrated, the British Labour Party has been taken over by outright Marxists, France has practically obliterated its traditional parties except for the residue of the Gaullists, and in elections where only 30 per cent of eligible voters voted, the French handed the legislature to a party that was only invented, out of whole cloth, 15 months ago. The Austrian and Czech electorates have divided their support among a variety of parties and elevated, as France has, men in their thirties, who could be young nephews of Justin Trudeau. It was in these circumstances that Hillary Clinton narrowly kept her Democratic Party out of the hands of Senator Bernie Sanders and his socialist option, and Donald Trump, as he smashed the Bush-McCain-Romney tweedle-dee near-Democrats, also defeated the Ted Cruz far-right Republicans.
The Canadian media has almost uniformly bought into the line of the Trump-hating national U.S. media, that he is already a failed and probably illegitimate president. I was on CTV with my friend Evan Solomon about 10 days ago, and the preceding commentators claimed that “the noose is tightening around (Trump’s) neck,” and another said that it all “reminded (him) of Nixon,” as if Trump were about be convicted of “high crimes and misdemeanours.” The stupidest of these inescapable divinations of impeachable skullduggery I have seen is Scott Gilmore’s Maclean’s piece of Nov. 11, titled “Donald Trump; Putin’s Manchurian Idiot,” though he in fact excuses Trump from the charge of being a Manchurian candidate. Gilmore baldly states that there was heavy collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign, though Trump, in his simplicity may not have known of it. The only person in American history elected president who has made billions of dollars and had never sought or held a public office, elected or otherwise, or a high military position, is dismissed as an imbecile who has no concept of what forces, treasonous as they obviously were, propelled him to his great office.
One of Canada’s most eminent emeritus journalistic personalities approvingly just sent me a really insane piece from the droolingly Americophobic (U.K.) Guardian, fortunately on the verge of bankruptcy and reduced to a pitiful variation of crowd-funding, which asserts that Putin has manipulated the entire American political system for many years. This astounding surge of Russia to the status of a bogeyman greater than it ever enjoyed in the febrile ravings of Joseph R. McCarthy is piquant. Russia is an economic basketcase with a GDP smaller than Canada’s though it has more than four times our population. It is a geographically important country and a distinguished culture but has no durable political institutions, has never had a day of good government by Western standards, and could be bankrupted and swept out of the seas and skies of the world by the United States in a couple of weeks. The only danger it presents to America is that, if the Americans rebuff Russia too robustly, it will drive them into the arms of the Iranians and Chinese in a way that would be counter-productive to the U.S. national interest.
Canadians of all people should recognize that what is really going on in the United States is the tawdriest political charade in the country’s history. The Clinton campaign commissioned, through intermediaries, a dossier of salacious gossip and outright fabrications about Trump, from unidentified, unverifiable Kremlin sources, desperately shopped it to the U.S. media (remember the “Golden Shower” of Trump-synchronized urinating prostitutes in a Moscow hotel?), and managed to hand off the dossier to the FBI, politicizing that organization. Trump fired the FBI director, James Comey, who, in revenge, removed a government document, a much contested memo to himself about a conversation with the president, to force the appointment of a special counsel, who turned out to be none other than Comey’s chum and mentor and preceding FBI director, Robert Mueller…
[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]
David P. Goldman
PJ Media, Nov. 14, 2017
President Trump's Middle East policy is simple: Back our friends and scare the hell out of our enemies, and negotiate where possible with our competitors like Russia and China. By and large it's working, unlike the catastrophically failed polices of the previous two administrations. Trump did what he said he would do and succeeded. You wouldn't know that from the #fakenews media.
Start with Israel: The Muslim strategy to destroy Israel hasn't envisioned war–not at least since 1973–because Israel in all cases would win. Instead, the objective is to ring Israel with missiles and force Israel to retaliate against missile attacks in such a way that the "international community" would respond by imposing a "settlement" on Israel that would leave Israel vulnerable to further missiles attacks, and so forth. This is stated explicitly by Palestinian strategists cited by Haviv Rettig Gur in The Times of Israel.
George W. Bush and Obama gave aid and comfort to the encircle-and-strangle strategy by tying Israel's hands. Then Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice wouldn't let Olmert attack Hezbollah with full force in 2006. Rice thinks the Palestinian movement is a branch of the U.S. civil rights movement (if you don't believe that characterization, read her book "Democracy," which I will review for Claremont Review of Books). Obama sandbagged Israel during the 2014 Gaza rocket attacks, suspending delivery of Hellfire missiles to the Jewish State. Israel is the only country in the world that embeds human rights lawyers in every infantry company to make sure that its soldiers keep collateral damage to a minimum.
Hezbollah, Iran's Lebanese militia, has 150,000 rockets aimed at Israel, and many of them can hit any target in the country. In the case of a major rocket attack from Hezbollah against Israel, military logic dictates the preemptive neutralization of rocket launchers embedded in civilian populations–what an Israeli strategist close to the PM described to me as "Dresden." There would be tens of thousands of civilian casualties. Trump will not tie Israel's hands in the case of attack, and will not interfere with Israel's ability to defend herself. That makes Israel's deterrent against Iran credible.
Hillary Clinton insisted that the "technology of war," in particular the rockets ringing Israel, would force Israel to accept a phony peace agreement whose main effect would be to bring the rocket launchers closer to Israel. The photograph below shows the runways and main terminal building of Israel's international airport from an Arab village in Judea: Hand this over to the Palestinians and primitive short-range missiles can shut down the Israel economy. There's an easy way to stop the rockets, which is to kill the people who shoot them. That might mean killing the human shields whom the cowardly terrorists put in front of the rockets, but under international law, a country acting in self-defense has every right to kill civilians. For that reason alone, anyone who claims to be a friend of Israel must support Trump against the alternative. One can criticize Trump all day with justification, but the existential issue of Israel's survival requires Jews to support him. Jewish never-Trumpers are infected with what our rabbis of antiquity called "baseless hatred."
The second big issue is Saudi Arabia, which competed with Iran for decades as the biggest funder of terrorists and religious extremists. After Trump's March 2017 trip to Saudi Arabia, where he read the riot act to assembled Arab leaders, Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince has centralized control of the government and seized hundreds of billions of dollars of royal family assets. The $800 billion of royal family wealth targeted is larger than the national reserves of the kingdom. As I wrote in Asia Times last week, Saudi Arabia has gotten its first real government, as opposed to the family regime that allowed every crazy cousin to write checks to terrorists. Of course, the kingdom well might get its second, third and fourth real government in short order if Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman fails. But the de facto coup is a huge blow to Sunni jihadism and a victory for American policy.
Prince Mohammed and his father King Salman had visited Moscow in late September, and the Russian and Chinese press express guarded optimism about the regime change (see the cited Asia Times article). Russia and China have a great deal to fear from Sunni jihadists (virtually all their Muslim citizens are Sunni) and a Saudi ruler willing to close the tap is good for them. As I wrote, its win-win-win-win for the U.S., Russia, China and Israel. That ought to scare the Persians plenty. The Saudis get very bad press for chopping up the Houthi-led tribes in Yemen, Iran's allies. They are making a horrible example of the Houthi for the edification of Iran. That is disgusting, to be sure, but that's the way things are done in that part of the world. The Assad government in Syria did much worse, deliberately bombing civilians to drive out the Sunni majority in order to replace it with Shi'ite colonists.
The Saudis don't have much of an army, and their air force depends on Pakistani mercenaries, but they do have nearly 300 fourth-generation aircraft (F-15's, Eurofighters, and Tornadoes) as well as a huge stock of Chinese-made medium range missiles. They can hire Pakistanis or Egyptians to fly them if necessary. Iran has tough soldiers but no air force to speak of. If it comes to war (which it shouldn't) between Iran and Saudi Arabia, Iran will suffer badly. A dozen power plants provide more than half the country's electricity, for example, and could not be defended in case of war. There isn't much to do about Iran now that its economic ties point eastwards to China, except to terrify the Tehran mullahs. That's old-fashioned balance of terror–not my favorite way of doing things, but a policy that worked reasonably well during the Cold War. It's easy to talk about tearing up the Iran nuclear agreement–but now there are two rail lines linking Iran to China, and the West's influence in the region has vastly diminished. Unfortunately, grand gestures may not bring grand results, and the U.S. has to play tought and sometimes dirty…
[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]
Prof. Eytan Gilboa
BESA, Nov. 20, 2017
Donald Trump’s victory in the presidential elections held a year ago surprised veteran politicians, renowned election experts, prominent journalists, seasoned commentators, and senior academicians. Few believed that a real estate tycoon lacking political or public experience and exhibiting an unruly and excitable style could be elected to one of the world’s most important positions. Experts failed to grasp the degree of alienation and revulsion felt by voters in the face of the failing conduct of Washington politicians.
After Trump entered the White House, many believed or at least hoped that the sheer weight of the position and the responsibility would render his conduct more presidential, but this did not happen. Personality changes are not easily made, especially at an advanced age. Trump is one of the strangest presidents in American history. He is blunt and sometimes rude; he likes to confront and humiliate both individuals and whole sectors; he is temperamental, at times to an extreme; and he takes almost everything personally. Many share the sense that he sees himself and his job as nothing more than as host of a reality show – a sequel of sorts to “The Apprentice,” a program he hosted successfully in the past.
At times, it seems Trump is driven solely by the desire to systematically undo the legacy of his predecessor, Barack Obama – its good parts as well as its bad. Whether or not that was his original intent, he frequently changes his mind and sometimes contradicts himself. Trump was unable to create a functioning system in the White House, and broke records in terms of bizarre appointments and quick layoffs. For almost the entire first year of his term, complete chaos ruled in the White House. Within a few months, he had fired or forced the resignation of senior officials and confidants. They included his political adviser, widely considered the architect of his victory, Steve Bannon; White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer; his replacement, Anthony Scaramucci; White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus; and National Security Adviser Michael Flynn.
Trump broke many conventions. He was the Republican Party’s nominee, but some of its leaders viewed him as a foreign element, criticized his style, and objected to his positions on important domestic and foreign issues. Those within the party who have been opposed to Trump included John McCain (the Republican presidential candidate against Obama in the 2008 elections), Senators Marco Rubio and Lindsey Graham, House Speaker Paul Ryan, and former President George W. Bush. Senator Bob Corker, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, who was Trump’s confidant and candidate for secretary of state, described the president as unstable. He said Trump has turned the White House into “an adult day care center,” and suggests that he is a dangerous man on the path to bringing about World War III.
From the onset of his term, Trump has struggled with the authorities and the media. He condemned judges who canceled his immigration restrictions, dismissed FBI Director James Comey on the grounds that he had been negligent in the Hillary Clinton e-mail investigation, and nearly fired Attorney General Jeff Sessions for not rising enough to his defense on the “Russiagate” investigation. He also confronted Congress for rejecting his efforts to cancel Obamacare and to pass laws he advocated. Trump also conducted an unprecedented campaign against the media, both print and electronic, which he accused of disseminating “fake news” about his conduct and policies. Indeed, the media, especially east coast liberal outlets such as The New York Times, The Washington Post, MSNBC, and CNN did attack him with a fair amount of bias, but his retorts went far beyond focused, substantive responses. He used his Twitter account to lash out against his rivals both domestically and abroad. Never has there been an American president who acted in such a way, with all attempts to reduce or moderate his tweets coming to nothing.
In one area – a very important area to him and to the public – he has succeeded greatly. The US economy is flourishing, showing mostly positive data: growth reached 2.4%, and industrial productivity went up about 3%. Wall Street investments are up almost a third. At the same time, unemployment fell to 4.3% and inflation to 1.6%. Trump also blocked the transfer of whole factories from the US to Mexico. These results were not, of course, achieved in a week or a month, and some are the product of Obama’s economic policies. Still, it seems that the aura of Trump as a successful businessman has contributed to the flourishing of the economy…
[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]
New York Post, Nov. 11, 2017
A Republican friend of mine is a suburban businessman who dutifully votes in every election, always straight party. His best friend is a rabbi, a respected member of the community and a progressive liberal. On Tuesday the rabbi stood in line to vote for a new governor at 6:50 a.m. in the pouring rain. The Republican? He made his way to the polls eventually, five minutes before they closed.
While both Virginians cast votes (and didn’t want their names used in this article), the rabbi’s enthusiasm represents the problem Republicans are facing right now. Many Democrats are energized to vote against Donald Trump — and on the first Election Day since the president was inaugurated, they voted in droves. Despite all the polls that showed the two candidates for Virginia governor were neck and neck, Ralph Northam clobbered his Republican opponent Ed Gillespie by 300,000 votes. Northam also won 600,000 more votes than his party’s gubernatorial candidate in 2009. “The Democrats finally woke up. Last year we were complacent, and we didn’t have a great motivator. Now we do,” said Dane Strother, a Democratic strategist and Virginian. Strother said this is no different from when highly motivated Republicans showed up to vote against President Barack Obama in the 2010 and 2014 midterms, bringing independents and moderate Republicans with them. Even though Gillespie played down his endorsement from Trump, he lost because of his association with the president. “I’d argue that the Trump coalition didn’t fall apart, it’s still intact,” Strother said.
But now there is a large number of “motivated people who didn’t vote for Trump” ready “to make their mark.” Freed from the burden of the uninspiring and controversial candidacy of Hillary Clinton, Democrats were finally able to vote for a person who is low-drama and likeable. Northam is a nice, pragmatic moderate (he voted for George W. Bush not once but twice) who talks with a twang. The newly elected governor is the first model for a successful Democratic candidate in the Trump age, and if others like him run for office, Republican majorities in congress and state legislative bodies across the country could be in jeopardy in the 2018 midterms.
All 435 congressional House seats are up for reelection next year and Democrats need just 24 seats to win back the majority. “Fear is a much greater motivator than love,” said Strother, adding that Trump stokes fear among Democrats. The effect was seen across the country as Democrats performed well in Washington state, Westchester and Nassau counties, and in New Jersey where Democrat Phil Murphy defeated a Republican to take the governor’s seat. In Virginia, the Democrats won for a few reasons, but none of them were to do with the national party apparatus. Not only did Northam beat Republican Gillespie, he triumphed over former Virginia congressman Tom Perriello, a strident progressive who enjoyed the support of both Obama and liberal icon Bernie Sanders, in the primaries. Perriello was set to be a progressive standard bearer for the Democrats in the first big post-Trump statewide election, but his radical platform flatlined. Northam handily beat Perriello by over 10 percentage points…
[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]
The Outlines of Trump’s Asia Strategy: Daniel Blumenthal, American Interest, Nov. 17, 2017—During its long and eventful trip, the Trump Administration laid down important markers as it fashions its strategic approach to Asia.
Trump: No More Nation-Building Abroad: Dr. Jiri and Leni Valenta, BESA, Oct. 17, 2017—On September 27, 2017, during a visit to Kabul, US Defense Secretary James Mattis – having escaped being targeted by insurgents during the visit – was unambiguous about the challenges the US faces in Afghanistan. Those challenges are serious: the Taliban now controls 40% of Afghanistan and a third of its population.
Border Walls Are All the Rage Worldwide Because They Work: Michel Gurfinkiel, PJ Media, Nov. 7, 2017—One may support or oppose the Trump administration's grand design in terms of home security: the building, or the "updating," of a 3200-kilometer barrier between the United States and Mexico. One cannot deny, however, that such structures – hermetic and heavily monitored separations, instead of merely classic borders – are quite common today.
Hillary Had to Know all About the Dossier: Douglas E. Schoen and Andrew Stein, New York Post, Oct. 27, 2017—This week, the news broke that Marc Elias, general counsel to Hillary for America and a partner at the law firm Perkins Coie, hired the research firm Fusion GPS to commission the infamous Steele Dossier on President Trump.