Trump’s foreign policy.

As a school kid, I discovered the game of chess and played it enthusiastically for a few years, to the extent of even buying a miniature set that when closed, fitted neatly into a blazer pocket. On days when kicking a tennis ball around the playground didn’t appeal, I’d play a game with a friend and at end of break, the cushioned lid could be closed to preserve the board position for continuation at another time.

It saw such usage that after a few years living in a blazer pocket, the plastic covering abraded into tatters and the cheap brass hinges failed, but two stout elastic bands prolonged its usefulness. I do wonder whatever became of that precious object used to while away so many hours of my youth.

In the way of youthful enthusiasms, my interest in the game waned, to be replaced by an equally enthusiastic interest in playing poker. I put this down to the fact that chess is a game, whereas poker is a game of chance with much more intriguing possibilities. With chess all the pieces are visible on the board, as is an inkling of whatever plan your opponent is trying to hatch, but with poker there’s no such simple clarity.

The classic variant of poker in vogue at the time was draw poker. Each player was dealt five cards after which you had the option of discarding up to three cards, which were replaced from the deck. Depending how many cards a player discarded, you could make certain inferences about what they were holding. When all players once again had five cards, the betting phase began in earnest.

At that point all you knew for certain was the five cards you were originally dealt and the replacements for any cards you’d discarded. In terms of strict mathematical probabilities, you weren’t quite at a dead end but nearly there, so from then on you had to judge what the other players had from their betting patterns and most especially watching their body language and listening to them. There is no element of certainty since instead of a player having a strong hand, it might be middling and he is just bluffing the others off the pot.

All too often the comparison made about foreign policy is that it’s just a hyper-complicated game of chess, played on an international scale between nations, but it’s a very inappropiate framework to hang your thinking on. Poker is a much more apt comparison, especially as not only are you formulating plans based on known unknowns, but also unknown unknowns, as US Secretary of Defense David Rumsfeld observed. In a similar vein, Will Rogers remarked that often it’s not the things you know you don’t know that can really hurt you, but the things you’re certain about.

A rational foreign policy is based on a realistic assessment of your strengths and weaknesses, which you should know, followed by a similar but always less accurate exercise for each particular country you’re interacting with. There’s never a one size fits all approach, but there are groupings that are treated similarly.

Leaving aside the compulsively aggressive and expansionist policies of the mad dogs like Hitler, Stalin, Mao, Saddam et al, the aim of most countries is to maintain amicable and mutually beneficial relations with other countries. Disputes will always arise and in the main are settled by diplomacy and a process of negotiation rather than being escalated into a war, otherwise all the countries of the world would be in a constant state of war, which they patently aren’t.

Wars are something to be avoided where possible for a number of reasons. They’re costly in terms of blood and treasure, but also a situation notorious for the unknown unknowns coming into play, in the form of Lady Luck. Towards the end of the thirteenth century, a huge Mongol fleet arrived to conquer Japan. Everybody knew such a force was unstoppable but the Lady intervened.

A massive typhoon caught most of the invading fleet at sea and reduced it to a few crippled ships which were easily disposed of by the defending Japanese forces. In passing, the Japanese thought the typhoon was sent by God, which is why they named it the Divine Wind. The Japanese word for that is Kamikaze, something you put your hope in when all is lost.

In one of those weird instances of history repeating itself via the Lady’s intervention, the Spanish Armada was intended to lead an invasion of Britain, but after what could best be described as a few harrying but inconclusive naval skirmishes with the defending fleet, it was scattered all along the east coast of Britain and over the top of it by a ferocious gale that came out of nowhere. Napoleon by repute interviewed all people about to be promoted to general and asked the question of them – were they lucky?

History can repeat itself without the intervention of the fickle Lady. Napoleon invaded Russia and it turned out to be a complete disaster because General Winter came to the Russian’s aid when all was not going well. Hitler repeated the same move with equally disastrous results, which was again blamed on General Winter, but while the weather’s devastating effect on both the Grande Armée and the Wehrmacht in terms of losses was considerable, another culprit was steadily at work on both occasions.

An army marches on its stomach, as the saying goes. If you can’t keep a steady supply of bullets, beans and bandages going, it will eventually grind to a halt. Russia, even in its modern day slimmed down form, has still got twice the land mass of America. If you can’t keep supplies flowing to the troops, disaster becomes inevitable. In military matters, amateurs tend to discuss strategy, but professionals always discuss logistics. Strategy is irrelevant to an army that’s starving, low on ammunition and still dressed in summer uniforms facing the full ferocity of a Russian winter.

Leaving aside the justified invasion of Afghanistan to bring down the Taliban in order to root out the Al-Qaeda terrorist organisation who’d just killed two thousand American civilians, Trump inherited an out of control mass of wars. They had originally been engineered by the neo-cons, who were riding high in terms of influence after 9/11 and under Obama the proliferation of armed entanglements continued unabated. In the dying days of Obama’s reign, his Defense Secretary Leon Panetta was asked in an interview how many wars America was involved in. He was perhaps getting demob happy because he knew his tenure was over the moment Trump entered the WH, but his three word answer was unusually candid – he didn’t know.

The much bigger problem was America was no longer held in respect by foreign countries.

In foreign relations, Obama’s tenure is often described as an eight year apology tour for America, because that’s what it was. Putin took one look at him and decided he was a weak leader and just took what he wanted and ignored all the sabre rattling and lines, red or otherwise, that he wasn’t supposed to cross. He wanted a major port on the Black Sea, so he just annexed eastern Crimea with nothing in response but a few empty bleats from Obama.

Other leaders of lesser states simply followed that example, and Obama buckled every time. You want your imprisoned American tourists back? Then slip us a few million. It grew, as all successful blackmail does. You don’t want us to develop an atomic bomb? Then pay us billions, which he did, but they still went full steam ahead to develop a bomb anyway.

Some attitude correction was top of Trump’s list in that policy area, but that involved letting them know he wasn’t another Obama and was happy to exert some military muscle should circumstances dictate it. The first to test his resolve early on was obligingly Assad of Syria who used nerve gas on his opponents. Within 24 hours and without a word of warning, a quarter of his air force was destroyed by US cruise missiles. From then on, all the tin pot dictators have stayed safely in their tin pots. They, like Assad, had operated on an assumption that had proved true with Obama and had just been violently disabused on any such notion in any dealings with Trump. That assumption was that like Obama, Trump would refuse slapping them down because of a storm of public outrage at home.

If there’s a lesson to be drawn from the first term of the Trump presidency, it’s that he simply doesn’t give a damn about outpourings of public outrage as expressed by the news media, because he knows that’s just fake news who’ll damn him for whatever he does. They do not represent the views of the people they purport to be speaking for and are no longer trusted by an American public, who see them as just another propaganda organ of the Democrat party.

Trump, it should be noticed, has not started a single war and indeed is following an unusual policy of disengaging America from foreign entanglements, which has gone down very badly with some people.

The supposed big bogeyman of foreign relations is Russia, but put bluntly, Putin is happy with the gains he made by bluffing Obama and realises as long as nothing untoward develops, he’s happy to get along with Trump and concentrate on internal problems, of which he has many. Once you put aside all the retro McCarthyite scares of Reds under the beds emanating from the Dem camp, Trump and Putin understand each other well. Don’t jerk me around and I’ll do likewise in return

The big enemy is China, who for a lot of reasons, embarked on an expansionist course under Obama, mainly because they they could get away with it. Little islands in the China sea were occupied and hitherto international shipping lanes were proclaimed to be under Chinese sovereignty. Trump’s response was to have his navy sail right through such unilaterally declared sea grabs, if there’s such an expression. The message was abundantly clear. We’re coming through here come hell or high water, if you want to make an issue of it, I’m ready to rock n roll. Such nibbling at areas and islands in the China sea have since decreased.

If he’s obliged to go to war, he has at his disposal the most powerful armed forces in the world, and in the last four years has spent trillions to rectify the decay that had occurred in the eight years of the Obama presidency. To put that might in perspective, the American navy has more aircraft carriers than all the navies of the rest of the world combined. Russia has one, which has been in and out of dry dock for years.

Trump doesn’t need to use military force. Being the biggest dog in the room is more than enough influence to make other countries see things his way without resorting to violence. He’s happy to come to equitable solutions with all parties involved in a dispute, since that’s the stable and peaceful course to take, but he’s very direct when he sees America being taken advantage of. You want to set high tariffs on American imports? That’s fine, but expect equally high tariffs to be levied on imports from you to America. Trade agreements that operate to America’s disadvantage are renegotiated or just plain renounced.

It’s often said that Trump’s policy in matters both domestic and foreign, is simply America first, and that’s true. But what’s not often understood is that America first is his response to globalism, which he regards as the biggest threat to America. He has an impressive array of enemies from several quarters, but they all share one common thing. They’re all owned by the same people and made full use of by their masters.

Fake news is owned and reports as it’s told. The entertainment industry is owned and churns out the quasi-propaganda it’s instructed to do. The sports industry is owned and used nowadays, even to the detriment of profits, to churn out propaganda. The judiciary, especially the lower levels of it, is owned and know the judgements they’re expected to make, irrespective of the constitution, what’s on the statute books and even common law. The Democrat party is owned and been tasked with getting rid of Trump, irrespective of the damage to the country. Education is owned via large endowments and turn out nothing but politically activated fodder for “peaceful” protests. Antifa and BLM are both owned and their activities burning down all the major cities are financed.

They’re all conscious or unconscious pawns in a much bigger game.

Under the righteous cloak of globalism, the industrial heart of America was brought to the brink of destruction by closing down manufacturing and shifting production to countries with a cheaper workforce, thereby reducing costs. Borders are dropped to allow hordes of cheap illegal labour in to replace the expensive citizens. Scandalously unfair trading agreements like NAFTA were signed up to with an equally destructive effect. Pointless and endless wars are fought in far away countries for no discernible benefit to America or anybody else except the military-industrial complex. Supplying an ongoing and unwinnable war is an incredibly profitable business, especially as the material supplied is destroyed in the process and you get to supply its replacement.

When you rip away the mask from globalism, it’s all about money, even at the cost of destroying countries. Trump is the worst nightmare of the international capitalist interests pushing globalisation. He’s first and foremost a patriot, is too damn rich to be bribed and most dangerous of all, has mobilised and united middle and working class America against globalism.

He’s intent to rid America of the curse of globalism, which is why the people at the top of it are fixated on his destruction at any cost.

©Pointman

Related articles by Pointman:

Goodbye and good riddance Obama.

The workers of the world have picked their leadership, and it isn’t you.

Biden gets repackaged, but as a puppet president.

Donald vs Goliath – How Trump took down fake news.

How to get run over by the Trump juggernaut.

Click for a list of other articles.

Comments
15 Responses to “Trump’s foreign policy.”
  1. Margaret Smith says:

    This essay really pulls together all the various strands of evil. Plutocracy seems to be the desire but how long before it ‘degenerates’ into tyranny?
    Thank you for this great essay.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Piggy says:

    This has to be one of your very best writings 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Fraizer says:

    Thanks Pointy for your essays. Clear expression is indeed a talent, but something that must be honed. I always look forward to seeing what you have to say, even if I don’t always agree.

    RE Trump Putin: They understand each other. Both are nationalists. More importantly they respect each other. One must respect a formidable competitor, but most importantly one must ensure that that competitor respects you. IMO, one of the worst fall outs from the Russia collusion hoax was the inability of Trump to negotiate meaningful agreements with Putin.

    RE Luck: Yes, men make their plans and angels laugh. But “luck” favors the prepared.

    RE Military Industrial Complex: Trump has understood the absolute waste of endless wars, but understands the necessity of being prepared to fight the next one (as opposed to the last one). A reasonable compromise with the money men. Update the equipment, spend on R&D, rebuild decimated equipment, but don’t put people in harms way unnecessarily. All of that aside, I believe he has a lot of compassion for the innocents caught in the crossfire.

    RE China: See all of the above. Don’t dare F with the United States militarily, don’t think that you can take untoward economic advantage. But come, let’s reason together and find an equitable path forward.

    Fundamentally, Trump recognizes the pure power of the American economy. His message is join us, we can all have a brighter future, or sit on the sideline and watch the world pass you by.,

    Like

  4. John Garrett says:

    Minor correction:
    “…He wanted a major port on the Red sea, so he just annexed eastern Crimea…”

    That would be the Black Sea.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. JohnTyler says:

    Trump’s policies, domestic and foreign, are based on pragmatism and reality; what is best for the American citizen guides Trump’s policies.

    For the “intellectuals” (self anointed or otherwise) , the lifetime bureaucrat/diplomat, academics, etc., (am I repeating myself?) their worldview is based upon some idealistic, sort-of-a-utopian vision of how the world should be, and the policies they promote are informed by this worldview.
    Imposing this idealistic worldview is the end goal of these folks, irrespective if their implementation harms the American worker or citizenry.
    (This worldview is not unique to the elites of the USA; it’s ubiquitous in the advanced nations).

    So, for instance, the geniuses in the US State Dept along with Obama decided that sending over a few billion $$$$ in cash to Iran will show the really nice guys who own and operate Iran that , “hey, we realize you have some issues with us, and to show you guys we can be pals, here are a few billion $$$.”
    Obama and the “experienced” State Dept officials (bet you they have a bunch have PHDs in International Relations or some-such) somehow figured that “helping” a nation that wants you dead, will no longer want you dead because you gave them money.
    What on earth motivated this line of thinking?
    Did they ever hear of the Sudetenland? “Peace In Our Time?”

    Look at Trump’s actions towards N.Korea; basically, we do not have to be enemies, but you need to de-nuke and stop tossing missiles over Japan. Only then will the USA open trade and provide other opportunities to N.Korea.
    And, oh yea, we in the USA can wait; no rush. It’s all up to you folks.
    Contrast this policy to that of Bill Clinton; he sent N.Korea shipments of oil (and food?) with ZERO preconditions. In response , N.Korea told the USA to go F itself.
    What on earth motivated the Clinton policy??
    Did they actually believe N.Korea would genuflect in gratitude and just reverse their 65 year hatred of the USA? Did they believe that N.Korea would tell the Chinese, ” see you later pal.”
    Just what were these diplomats thinking?

    An interesting note re: N.Korea; Obama upon leaving office informed Trump that the biggest problem Trump would face would be N.Korea. Obama/Hillary actually believed a hot war with N.Korea was possible.

    The idealistic worldview that has informed US foreign policy began with Woodrow Wilson’s 14 points back in 1915 or so. Wilson, in his arrogance and conceit actually believed that he could impose his worldview upon the entire planet, or at least upon the Western Powers.
    This has led the USA from one war to another – mostly smallish; but a never ending involvement in the affairs of other nations, as well as the implementation of polices, foreign and domestic, that have screwed over the American citizen.

    Foreign trade deals in pursuit of the idealistic concept of free trade (which can only work as intended if all parties engages in the “free” part of free trade) which have produced job losses in the USA do not bother in the least the genius negotiators nor the elected elites in govt., that worked out or approved these harmful agreements. What matters to them is the pursuit of the “ideal” world of trade that economists (i.e., astrologists who use higher math) have theorized.
    But it bothers Trump, and he terminated these one sided trade deals.

    It may be a coincidence, or not, but Wilson was very direct in opining that the US Constitution was outdated and should no longer be adhered to; better to have the elites (like himself) direct how the govt and the nation should be directed and controlled.
    This point of view is EXACTLY what the demokrat party today believes and strives to implement.
    Yep, liberal progressives never , ever change.

    Trump sees the world as it is and he formulates policies based on the real world as it exists and what will most benefit the American citizen. He has exposed the incompetence, the idiocy, the stupidity of the “experts,” of the bureaucracy, that have implemented policies harmful to the citizenry of the USA.
    The “experts” and the bureaucracy, the deep state hate him for this. He has exposed them to be the Wizard of Oz; a bunch of smooth talking incompetents.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. philjourdan says:

    We had a show here back in the 70s. called Happy Days. The 2 main characters was a “hood” named Fonzi and a goody 2 shoes named Richie. One day Richie got humiliated by some other hoods. He wanted to get even, so Fonzi, his best friend, gave him some advice.

    The advice was to act tough around the hoods. SO Richie did, but the hoods did not back down. They came for him. Richie then asked Fonzi why his advice was not working and his answer was – you had to have hit someone at sometime.

    That was the Assad strike. It just took the one. But now They know Fonzi Trump.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Peter Shaw says:

    Thank you Pointy. Things are hotting up, with the 3rd November just around the corner.
    I wonder how things will look on the 4th. The course of the world will depend on the outcome.

    Like

  8. Another Ian says:

    Hi Pointman

    Some interesting comments on today’s debate at

    http://www.smalldeadanimals.com/index.php/2020/09/30/huh/#comment-1359896

    Particularly that Hispanic poll result and the one following it

    Like

  9. beththeserf says:

    A masterly essay.

    Speak peace and carry a big stick. How Trump negotiated with Nth Korea as well. May he win the next US election.

    Like

  10. NoFixedAddress says:

    I have had to increase the writing to 150% because I’m the deaf, dumb and blind kid but it is good to see your self.

    Kind regards.
    NoFixedAddress

    Like

  11. Another Ian says:

    Pointman

    This might have been posted before but a repeat wouldn’t hurt IMO

    “Kulak is the Russian Word for ‘Deplorable’ ”

    https://www.americanthinker.com/articles/2020/03/kulak_is_the_russian_word_for_deplorable.html

    Not good reading for small operators in agriculture

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: