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Trump 1; Congress 0

January 7, 2020

Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) appeared on CNN this morning, Tuesday January 7, to argue that the verdict is out on whether Donald Trump acted lawfully when he ordered the killing of Iranian leader Qassem Suleimani, who was killed in a US drone strike in Iraq on Friday, January 3.  His funeral in the city of Kerman, world famous for the quality of its oriental rugs, led to the death of dozens of Iranians killed in a stampede to participate in Suleimani’s funeral.

As we reported on October 22, the idea that the Congress is coequal to other branches of the national government is a myth.

Whether President Trump committed an act of war in violation of his powers to engage in the defense of the United States is within the power of Congress to decide.  The U.S. House of Representatives has already voted to Impeach President Trump.  That, too, is their prerogative.

The problem with the argument of Democrat Party leaders that President Trump’s killing an Iranian leader exceeded his powers as Chief Executive is whether the American people–who elected current members of Congress–agree.

In my opinion, President Trump can be convicted for his bad management practices, but not for this one act of assassination.

Yes, his military action was avoided  by two of his predecessors, President Bush and President Obama, but they followed a form of foreign policy of the “Internationalist” system that sought to replace balance of powers with international law and organizations. That system too often has been a safe way to “pass the buck” to organizations that do not act in the interest of the United States.

President Trump has claimed that he places “America first,” and those who disagree may run against him in 2020.

There are some weak links in President Trump’s defense–Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) and Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME)–who are not in agreement with the President on important issues of law and foreign policy.

But the outcome turns on what the American voters think. Frankly, they couldn’t give a damn when military acts are taken in defense of the United States.

 

Attack the Mullahs in Iran

January 3, 2020

In light of military actions in Iran, I thought it would be good to ask what is entailed in any military engagement with the Islamic radical regime in Iran.

Below is the text of an essay I published in the American Spectator, March 13, 2015.

A residue of Christianity remains in the American soul despite one hundred and fifty years of secularization and defines what America is. That may explain why a consensus among American voters is forming in support of intervention in Iraq and Syria. Historically Americans have responded to moral appeals, thus the increase in support for “troops on the ground” is connected to ISIS’ execution of hostages. Disseminated via the Web in produced videos, the American response to these murders is disgust, anger, and moral resolve. A similar resolve to go to war developed early in the twentieth century when Spain used “reconcentration camps” in Cuba deter revolution. In the nineteenth century, resolve to end slavery sustained the resolve of the North in America’s Civil War.

Few appeals to go to war on the basis of balance of power have been successful. When
Woodrow Wilson successfully made that appeal during World War I, it was not to sustain the balance of power in Europe, but to destroy it.

Cultural forces in the United States supporting military intervention on idealistic grounds have been developing since the administration of Woodrow Wilson. For many, therefore, the word “Realism” means “cold hearted,” and in the case of American support of Israel, a “realistic” foreign policy is often interpreted as anti-Israel because realists argue that commitments in foreign relations should be based on balance of power not morality.

For some realists, however, advocacy of a realist foreign policy cannot exclude idealistic support of the state of Israel. The Judeo-Christian tradition justifies support of Israel against hostile acts by its Muslim neighbors. It is clear, however, that there are limits to considerations of morality in foreign policy. Balance of interests, of power between nations, is the fundamental reality that underlies the conduct of foreign policy. Disruption of balance of power in a region or internationally is a danger that statesmen must strive to avoid at all cost. Yet, twice, American presidents disrupted the balance of power with disastrous consequences. President George W. Bush and Woodrow Wilson each destroyed the balance of power; Wilson in Europe by committing the United States to entry into World War I, and “W” by invading Iraq and deposing Saddam Hussein.

The destruction of the Russian, Austrian, German, and Ottoman empires that was the result of World War I created a vacuum into which stepped Lenin, Stalin, Hitler, and Mussolini. The balance of the twentieth century preoccupied us with the consequences of Woodrow Wilson’s arrogance.

Similar conditions were created by President George W. Bush when he destroyed the balance of power in the Middle East by invading and deposing the regime of Iraq’s Saddam Hussein. It is likely that the national interest of the United States will be challenged for all of the 21st century by that crucial mistake.

With removal of Iraq from the balance of power in the Middle East, Iran has benefited and given the upper hand in a contest with Egypt and Saudi Arabia for hegemony in the region. Smaller, less wealthy countries like Jordan will be fortunate to find a way to accommodate Iran. The national interest of the United States lies in blocking Iran’s domination of the region, even with military force.

Clearly, a nuclear Iran is not in the American national interest, but if appeals to the national interest are not effective without a moral ingredient, it is likely that no American president will authorize military action against Iran’s nuclear program. In addition, several mistakes in judgment by American presidents placed the United States at a very serious disadvantage. Military action aimed at destruction of Iran’s developing nuclear capabilities would be very difficult.

The primary disadvantage we face can be traced to our ignorance. We do not know where Iran’s nuclear facilities are located. We have significant conventional and nuclear
armaments to burst the bunkers where these facilities may be housed. But, we don’t know where all of them are located and after the bombs burst, American ground troops will have to search for installations we may have missed.

In World War II the United States engaged in a campaign against Japanese forces in
Okinawa. Dug into the hills of that island, it took American forces from April 1 to June 22nd, 1945 and 49,151 casualties to subdue Japanese forces.

An attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities will require ground troops that survey the success or lack of success of an American bombardment of supposed areas where Iran is developing its nuclear capability. How many will be required must be left to professional military planners. But, it is likely that we cannot accomplish this mission with fewer casualties than we sustained on Okinawa in 1945.

The American people have not been prepared for that level of casualties of American boys (and girls) and any American president who sustained those losses without first warning the American people and obtaining their assent would be impeached.

That might be the end of this story, but there is another strategy to consider: decapitation.

Iran is not a democratic regime. Democratic regimes are sustained by frequent elections and a democratic regime’s survival does not depend on the survival of leaders at the top of the administrative state. They are, quite simply, replaceable. That is not the case with autocratic or theocratic regimes like Iran. A decapitation attack that destroys the leaders of the Iranian theocracy will destroy the regime. The great question whose answer will shape the balance of power in the Middle East is whether the American electorate will support a strategy of decapitation.

 

 

A White House Christmas

December 31, 2019

The White House is a wonderful and historic site that few have an opportunity to visit. One of the benefits of working on a successful campaign for President is the opportunity to attend meetings at the  White House. One of my colleagues took me and some MPs from Japan on a special tour that I’ll never forget. This year, Melania Trump has decorated the White House in ways that cause us to remember how great it is to celebrate Christmas at the White House.

“Xmas”  is back!

December 18, 2019

Sorry, but this posting at Wikipedia misses the point.

We live in a secular age that is anti-Christian.

Today, I searched for Christmas music on my car radio and found none.

Hey, in a few days we will celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ to a virgin woman, Mary.

If that isn’t worth a song or two, I don’t know what is.

 

Trump’s History of Bad Management

December 17, 2019

If you are ambitious and a citizen of the United States, you might give some thought to a career in politics. Apparently, over more than a quarter century, Donald Trump considered running for the office of President of the United States five times before seeking that office in 2015.

Put yourself in the shoes of someone as ambitious as Donald Trump and you might prepare for the possibility that you’ll run for high office and conduct yourself in a manner that prepares for that  office.

You might read histories of past Presidents, study economics and cultivate persons who are masters of foreign policy, economics, taxation and who share your philosophy of government.

If you had inherited substantial wealth, you might also create a charitable trust and found your own “Think Tank.”  You might also affiliate with a “mainline” church and strive to live a life in keeping with the Ten Commandments.

But, most important, you would study the differences between managing a business and the administration of government.

Donald Trump founded a charity that was forced to close and paid a $2 million fine.  He founded a University but violated regulations and paid a $25 million fine and closed that venture. He built a casino in Atlantic City that might have succeeded, but for bad management practices. Tomorrow President Trump will become the third President of the United States who was Impeached.  That might not have happened but for bad management.

Let’s give President Trump credit for seeking the GOP nomination, defeating Republican politicians who also sought the nomination and his  Democrat opponent.

But, here’s the problem:  President Trump has difficulty reading and is an “ear learner.” What he knows he learned by listening and watching.  All that can be known by serious reading was lost to him and he became focused on a career of an entrepreneur.

Though he succeeded in starting several enterprises and became a master marketer of himself, even the ventures he started that showed signs of success were riddled by bad management–and failed.

It isn’t unusual for entrepreneurs to engage in a series of ventures until they find one that is a “fit” for their level of education, knowledge, interests and skills until the right opportunity appears.

That seems to explain Donald Trump’s career.  Now he must overcome the bad management practices that caused so many of his early enterprises to fail and led to his Impeachment.

We Shall Overcome

December 16, 2019

In an essay published at Theimaginativeconservative on Sunday, December 15,  I attempt to explain “Why America Is in Decline… and What to Do About It.”  I  hope some of the ideas in this essay point to ways we all may contribute to cultural renewal.

 

Republic of China’s Future

December 15, 2019

Richard Nixon gave political “realism” a bad name when in 1972 he visited Mao Tse-tung in Beijing and on this date, December 15, 1978, forty-one years ago, President Jimmy Carter granted diplomatic recognition to the People’s Republic of China.

By that time it was not fashionable to refer to the PRC as “Communist China,” but the PRC had not changed: the PRC was and is a totalitarian regime. A “bit long in the tooth,” perhaps, and using every means of modern technology to control a restive population, the PRC’s totalitarian leaders are facing riots against oppression in Hong Kong and, now, protests in Taiwan.

Aroused by courageous Hong Kong youth, Taiwanese citizens have begun protests against commercial businesses that publicly support the PRC’s “One China” policy.

Taiwanese “Tea Party” supporters of an independent Republic of China don’t stand a chance of success, of course. The Communist government of the PRC will never give up the Republic of China to “the free world.” It holds the future of every citizen on Taiwan to its commitment to subject the break-away government on Taiwan to a future under Communist control.

Only weakness of the PRC to trade relations with the West restrains the PRC’s military from invading Taiwan.

That game has a time limit of about ten years, however.

I predict that, if the resolve by the United States to maintain Taiwan’s free society is undiminished, in ten years, the people of China will throw off the yoke of their Maoist leaders. If America’s resolve is lessened, totalitarian control of China will be heightened and Taiwan invaded.

For now, citizens of the Republic of China may hope to remain a free people, but this game will end in ten years–one way or the other.