Monday, June 11, 2018

The Trump Doctrine. Brace Yourselves.

Is there a "Trump Doctrine"? Jeffrey Goldberg has an op-ed in The Atlantic. Apparently it sounds like "buck everybody."

Many of Donald Trump’s critics find it difficult to ascribe to a president they consider to be both subliterate and historically insensate a foreign-policy doctrine that approaches coherence. A Trump Doctrine would require evidence of Trump Thought, and proof of such thinking, the argument goes, is scant. This view is informed in part by feelings of condescension, but it is not meritless. Barack Obama, whose foreign-policy doctrine I studied in depth, was cerebral to a fault; the man who succeeded him is perhaps the most glandular president in American history. Unlike Obama, Trump possesses no ability to explain anything resembling a foreign-policy philosophy. But this does not mean that he is without ideas.
Goldberg canvassed a number of people close to Trump including the Brookings Institute's Thomas Wright.
Wright, who published his analysis at a time when most everyone in the foreign-policy establishment considered Trump’s candidacy to be a farce, wrote that Trump loathes the liberal international order and would work against it as president; he wrote that Trump also dislikes America’s military alliances, and would work against them; he argued that Trump believes in his bones that the global economy is unfair to the U.S.; and, finally, he wrote that Trump has an innate sympathy for “authoritarian strongmen.”
The best, however, came from a senior White House aide with "direct access to the president and his thinking."

“There’s definitely a Trump Doctrine.”

What is it?, I asked. Here is the answer I received: 
“The Trump Doctrine is ‘We’re America, Bitch.’ That’s the Trump Doctrine.” 
...“We’re America, Bitch” is not only a characterologically accurate collective self-appraisal—the gangster fronting, the casual misogyny, the insupportable confidence—but it is also perfectly Rorschachian. To Trump’s followers, “We’re America, Bitch” could be understood as a middle finger directed at a cold and unfair world, one that no longer respects American power and privilege. To much of the world, however, and certainly to most practitioners of foreign and national-security policy, “We’re America, Bitch” would be understood as self-isolating, and self-sabotaging.
...But what is mainly interesting about “We’re America, Bitch” is its delusional quality. Donald Trump is pursuing policies that undermine the Western alliance, empower Russia and China, and demoralize freedom-seeking people around the world. The United States could be made weaker—perhaps permanently—by the implementation of the Trump Doctrine.
...“People criticize [Trump] for being opposed to everything Obama did, but we’re justified in canceling out his policies,” one friend of Trump’s told me. This friend described the Trump Doctrine in the simplest way possible. “There’s the Obama Doctrine, and the ‘Fuck Obama’ Doctrine,” he said. “We’re the ‘Fuck Obama’ Doctrine.”


Jay Farquharson said...

"Another distillation of Trump’s doctrine came from a senior national security official: “permanent destabilization creates American advantage,” the official said, arguing that leaving everyone else on shaky ground makes America the sole strong power."

Anonymous said...

Actually the Obama doctrine was the Bush doctrine was the "Washington Consensus" was "American exceptionalism" was raping and pillaging the Middle East, Africa and the Americas as well as the Western economy.

The Trump doctrine is actually about unwinding all this Deep State corruption by taking on its source: free-trade globalization. Instead of Balkanizing democratic governments with free-trade agreements Trump is Balkanizing the global oligarchy with one-on-one trade deals.

Funny how neoprog hippies were bitching about all these things for decades before Trump decided to take action. Now they are outraged! How dare that "Orange Orangutan" implement the policies they parroted! Now they have to find new ones to squawk about!

Now they back neocons, neoliberals, plutocrats, oligarchs and multinational corporations.

(No sense welcoming cattle to the Machine. Livestock are incapable of knowing what a machine is, let alone The Machine. That's the way their masters made them!)

Anonymous said...

Ah, so based on your theory about Trump, universal healthcare is bad yet HMOs should be free to mint money inefficiently, and tax cuts for the rich actually blow oligopoly apart and help the little guy. I get it. Millions wouldn't. He's on the side of the little guy draining that swamp all right. Jeez, you can see that from a million miles away it's so goshdarn obvious. Where did you go to school?

But being such an intellectual animal, Trump is actually going to balkanize oligarchs from various countries by only signing one-on-one country trade deals. Oh yeah, wonder why nobody came up with that genius idea years ago. Huh.

There's nothing wrong with multiple country free trade deals whatsoever EXCEPT for the oligarch-mandated neoliberal ISDS provisions, whose tribunals have power beyond any country's supreme court to decide damages for whingeing foreign "investors" who find a country's own rules are preventing them from making uninterrupted profit on their terms. Remove ISDS and free trade deals are good in general. Instead Trump is going to wipe out the WTO, because well, because the man has no fucking clue about anything.

And neither do you. Must be an American, managing to come up with such a wacko theory to explain the Trump doctrine. Americans love climbing on a bandwagon whether it makes sense or not, then braying like donkeys in rapturous heat as they head the wrong way down a one-way street. Trump's doctrine is to line his own pockets. What yours might be is beyond rational explanation.

And the dimwitted hoi polloi, screwed on healthcare and tax cuts for the rich, actually cheer Trump on. Only in America. If shooting yourself in the foot for fun and pleasure isn"t the definition of rank stupidity, I don't know what is.


Anonymous said...

I don't agree with Trump on tax cuts for the most part. His corporate tax restructuring seems to be competent. US corporations were moving production out of country and using other schemes to avoid their tax bills. The new rate is 27%. Canada's is 26%. (Neocon Doug Ford will slash corporate taxes further. Neoliberal Trudeau kept Harper's whopping corporate tax cuts in place to "grow the middle class.")

Trump cut the top income-tax rate by 2 percentage points: 39% to 37%. Not as egregious a cut as Bush Jr. (15% rate via capital gains) or Reagan (40 pp cut) or JFK (20 pp cut). He's largely wrong on estate taxes, but makes a point about passing on family businesses.

Trump is also wrong on regulations. But that's why democracies are supposed to have opposition parties: not hysteria parties.

Trump tells Congress to repeal and replace Obama's neocon healthcare reform with better. Republican neocons (some of them) and libertarians want to gut Obama's meager reform. Dems play weasel politicking – they don't want Trump to steal their thunder, after having betrayed Americans on healthcare reform under the Clinton and Obama administrations.

(Trump is actually a moderate who has been active in both parties in the past.)

My bet: after Trump unloads a number of neocons in the upcoming midterms, he will have less "Resistance" to his reforms and will make Public Option healthcare reform a priority.

(Obama promised this, but was all talk. It allows Americans to buy into the well-respected Medicare program or purchase private insurance. Competition between public and private will drive down private gouging. He recently allowed sales of health insurance over state lines to increase competition. Bernie's mega-government platinum-level single-payer reform is already dead: dead unicorn prancing.)

Free-trade has taken a wrecking ball to the Western economy. The WTO is where free-trade globalization began. I'd be very happy if Trump destroyed it. Good riddance! The economy was way better off under post-war Keynesian managed trade. (Tariffs were very low: about 7%.) Trump's Fair Trade initiative is even better!

No I'm Canadian. I've studied politics and economics for over 25 years. When Trudeau announced he was running for leadership I thought he was a progressive who would change direction, not expand on the free-trading Harper era. (I even voted for him at the time!)

I never would've imagined in a million years that Trump would follow through on his promises to renegotiate terrible trade deals that allow oligarchs to loot the global economy. Crazy world!

Trump has done an enormous amount of good moving the Republican party Overton Window back towards the center. Looks like he will also move the neoliberal parties back to the center – kicking and screaming, but moving their arses none the less.

Art of the Deal. (Give credit where credit is due. As a liberal-minded person, this has always been my philosophy.)