Trump’s Triumphs - A Tale of Two Dictators
Trump Tower was built in 1979. In 1988, according to the New York Times and Fortune Magazine, 75% of construction in NYC was still controlled by gangsters. Therefore, it’s likely that both President Trump and his builder father dealt with the mob. Whether they dealt directly or indirectly, to survive and succeed, they had to understand how the ruthless think, feel, and operate. Having built luxury buildings all over the world, the president understands the ruthless on an international scale.
Yet, after Singapore, he was chided for not ironing out details with Kim. And, after Helsinki, the president was criticized by the Main Stream Media for appearing too conciliatory to Putin.
But actions speak louder than words. When Trump criticized Angela Merkel for making an oil deal with Russia, he reminded the world that he’s not just building up the US as an energy supplier, he’s threatening Russia’s economy. With nuclear weapons alone giving Russia cache on the world stage, Russia eeks out a GDP of $8,733 per capita, compared to the US GDP of $57,467. In short, Russia can’t afford to lose business. By expanding Obama era sanctions against Russia, the president limits Russian access to technology and, according to Bloomberg, threatens to decrease the Russian economy by 10%. So, with the pressure on, Mr. Putin openly agreed at the Helsinki press conference to Trump’s demands regarding Syria. Success.
Why does Syria matter, aside from protecting Israel? According to Breitbart’s Carol Glick, “North Korea…would interpret Iranian deployment along the Syrian border as a sign of American weakness, and U.S. allies around the world would once again lose confidence in America’s protection, as they did under…Obama.”
Plus better relations with Russia speaks loudly to China. “According to Mark Leonard, director of the European Council on Foreign Relations, ‘For the Chinese… Mr Trump’s sycophantic press conference …in Helsinki had a strategic purpose. They see it as Henry Kissinger in reverse. In 1972, the US nudged China off the Soviet axis in order to put pressure on its real rival, the Soviet Union.' Today, Mr Trump is reaching out to Russia in order to isolate China.”
Kim, with his faux marble palaces and starving populace, may appear more as a nuke obsessed James Bond villain than the leader of a country. But by wooing him, President Trump not only begins to dismantle the DMZ - the Asian equivalent to the Berlin wall - he brings a feeling of peace to Americans whose relatives fought and died there. True, Kim may not be dismantling his nukes, but he has stopped testing. And, by sending back American remains, the dictator is reaching out. That alone is of historical importance.
But perhaps the purpose of courting Kim is not just to reign him in; perhaps it’s to further isolate China. As Leonard’s Asian contacts report: “Look at how [Trump] handled North Korea…He got Xi Jinping to agree to UN sanctions [half a dozen] times, creating an economic stranglehold on the country. China almost turned North Korea into a sworn enemy of the country…[The Chinese] describe [Trump] as a master tactician, focusing on one issue at a time, and extracting as many concessions as he can. But they also see him as a strategist, willing to declare a truce in each area when there are no more concessions to be had, and then start again with a new front.”
So, perhaps the president didn’t push for exact details with North Korea because the word of madman Kim can’t be trusted anyway. Therefore, the document is symbolic and operable agreements were probably not the goal. And perhaps Trump conciliated to Putin in public because doing so would make the dictator look (and feel) good after having conceded on hard issues in private.
What do foreign affairs have to do with ’70’s gangsters? While communication, technology and trade are gently, peacefully creating an educated class in Russia and China (and India and everywhere) who hold mores much in common with the American way of life, the governments of these countries reflect their bloody histories. Sure, the US has its dark side; but in Russia and China, human life is still fairly cheap.
In The Art of the Deal, Mr. Trump depicts his younger self collecting rent for his father in the New York of Charles Bronson’s Death Wish. He learns to stand to the side in case delinquent renters shoot through the door. The president learned young to dodge a bullet and get crooks to pay up at the same time. So, why wouldn’t Mr. Trump know how to handle two international leaders known for assassinating enemies? Perhaps a president who has confronted the darkest side of humanity will be the guy to bring us world peace.