From Finland, With Lunacy

Now we're supposed to start fights with nuclear-armed powers?

To listen to the news, one might think that Donald Trump's meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki, Finland, was the worst act of treason and betrayal since Hamlet killed King Duncan, or perhaps when George Washington rebelled against his rightful King.  In an unusual twist, this outrage is bipartisan, with both Republicans and Democrats piling on.

Yet, as with just about everything else thrown at Teflon Don, it seems that he's going to come out of it in pretty good shape.  Doesn't everybody know that "jaw-jaw" is better than "war-war?"  Even the rank-and-file lefties, used to swallowing whatever Kool-aid their masters serve out, are beginning to ask questions - wait a minute, isn't talking to our enemies about avoiding war rather than just starting one, a good thing?  Indeed, isn't that what we've rioted and frothed about for years?

There are limits to jaw-jaw, of course.  We've been intermittently and indirectly talking with the Norks since the armistice that didn't end the Korean War.  During all that time, the Norks have built more and better nuclear weapons and the rockets to deliver them in spite of promising many times not to do that.

That's why Mr. Trump hinted that he might have to destroy North Korea if that sorry country kept threatening the rest of mankind.  As we all know, the best negotiating tactics involve a combination of credible threats and glad-handing diplomacy; it seems like President Trump is the first leader who's bothered to try this with the Kims.

So he's doing both at the same time, as best practice dictates, and getting pilloried for both.  When Mr. Trump started criticizing "Rocket Man" for putting his nation in danger of preemptive attack, Democrats assailed him for being mean to the Koreans.  They totally ignored the fact that Mr. Obama's idiocy in killing Mr. Qaddafi after he'd given up his nukes made it that much harder for anyone to achieve a peaceful resolution in Korea.

Then, when Mr. Trump announced that he and North Korea's leader Kim Jong-Un were going to meet, in an historic first presidential visit ever, Democrats yelled that he was giving away the prestigious presidential meeting the Norks had wanted for decades without any preconditions.

Then he canceled the meeting; they were outraged at such rudeness and un-diplomatic behavior.  Was what he said "hate speech"?  Liberals certainly didn't like it.

When he reinstated the meeting, they accused him of not having a plan and of ignoring all the briefing books his enemies in the State Department had prepared for him.

Sure enough, after the meeting, he was criticized for showing a video which framed Mr. Kim as a leader of equal importance to Mr. Trump even though his conduct was the very opposite of the "Ugly American" bossy approach that the Left has complained about for decades.  What's wrong with letting Mr. Kim feel "good about himself?"  Isn't that what our public school teachers strive to do for their students without first demanding concessions such as learning the material?

Surely the Left doesn't believe that America and President Trump are better than the People's Republic of North Korea... do they?  Haven't they been telling us that all cultures are equal, even Muslims who throw gays off buildings and subject young girls to genital mutilation?  If that's OK, what could possibly be wrong with North Korean culture?

Lost in their own world, the media left seem to be incapable of understanding reality: that, as the possessor and sole arbiter of the use of some very nasty nuclear weapons, Mr. Kim has the power to start World War III all by himself - likely starting with reducing New York City and Los Angeles to their component atoms, including the personal bodies of just about all the talking heads so loudly decrying everything their President does.

If that shouldn't justify Mr. Trump's seeking a meeting with Mr. Kim, we can't imagine what would.  Even if the probability of being able to talk him into giving up his nukes is very small, any logical, sane person would want Mr. Trump to give it his best shot - what have we got to lose?

We see the same sort of deranged reaction to Mr. Trump's meeting with Mr. Putin, the man who forcibly annexed Crimea after Premier Khrushchev gave it back to the Ukraine and who gave away an anti-air missile with which Ukrainian separatists shot down a civilian airliner - and, by the way, the man who possesses the keys to many times more nukes than Mr. Kim, most of which probably work.

To be precise, Mr. Trump was heavily criticized for stating that he did not trust our intelligence agencies and that he believed Mr. Putin's assurances that Mr. Putin hadn't interfered in the 2016 election.  As usual with our media, they didn't quite report what he actually said.

Intelligence Liars

After repeatedly wondering why the FBI hasn't investigated the DNC server which they claim was hacked by the Russians, Mr. Trump said:

So I have great confidence in my intelligence people, but I will tell you that President Putin was extremely strong and powerful in his denial today.

He doesn't actually say he believes or disbelieves in either of them.  This is exactly where he ought to be, since our intelligence-service Democrats and Mr. Putin are both proven liars.

For instance, we know that John Brennan, the Obama-era CIA Director, seems to have pushed for the FBI to investigate the Trump campaign based on the known-unreliable Steele dossier, paid for by the Clinton campaign and the FBI, and recently said that Mr. Trump's meeting constituted "high crimes and misdemeanors" - the qualifications for impeachment.  In contrast, we can't help but recall that former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper leaked classified material to undermine the newly-formed Trump administration, lied to Congress on multiple occasions, and has repeatedly said deranged things about the President, yet has never answered for anything in court.

Mr. Trump has ample reason to distrust our intelligence agencies along with the courts and other organizations that supposedly oversee them.  As one pundit put it:

After all the selective leaking to frame the Trump administration for obstruction, after a U.S. presidential campaign was spied on by the opposing Party's administration, after years of botched or politicized intelligence assessments, after years of arming bad guys around the world, and after multiple revelations of spying on Journalists, Congress, and American citizens - of course it is appropriate to doubt the U.S. intelligence agencies. [emphasis in the original]

There's a domestic political angle to Russian meddling as well.  From the moment the Electoral College tally was announced, the Democrats, instead of accepting the Will of the People, have tried to undo Mr. Trump's victory by any means they can find or make up.  Although Jill Stein's recount found that Hillary had been credited with more Detroit votes than there were ballots in the sealed containers, she didn't find any cheating by Mr. Trump.

When their efforts to suborn members of the electoral college failed, Democrats accused Mr. Trump of having been elected due to Russian interference in our voting process.  Mr. Comey illegally leaked a classified memo to the press in a successful effort to have Mr. Mueller appointed special counsel to investigate the matter.

After more than a year of expensive gumshoeing, all he's been able to do is to bring charges against a number of Russians who, conveniently, can't be tried because they're in Russia.  The futility of bringing charges against inaccessible Russians notwithstanding, Democrats continue to breathlessly announce the coming of Mr. Trump's being driven from office with each pronouncement from the "investigation."

Given the background, why would Mr. Trump add fuel to the flames by admitting that the Russians might have intervened helpfully on his side?  Note that he didn't say they hadn't, only that Mr. Putin had denied that they had, a surprise to exactly nobody.

Mr. Trump has also said that the Mueller investigation has made our relations with Russia a lot worse.  This is manifestly true, regardless of the guilt or innocence of the Russians charged by Mr. Mueller.  As a result of the ongoing furor, sanctions have increased, Mr. Trump's energy policy threatens Russia's markets and political influence in Europe, and American forces in Syria recently killed dozens of Russian mercenaries.

Increased tensions between nuclear powers aren't good for the planet or other living things.  Why, then, are many elected officials - especially Democrats - so against Mr. Trump sitting down for a chat with Mr. Putin, and maybe another chat in the near future?

We don't know whether Mr. Putin or Mr. Kim should be the highest priority for a jaw-jaw - Mr. Putin is more powerful, but also more sane and less unpredictable - but they're both on any responsible leader's to-jaw list.  What's wrong with Mr. Trump talking to them?  Would his critics prefer nuclear war, as Mr. Trump theorizes?

The Russia Meme Has Passed Its Sell-By Date

Polls are showing that ordinary voters have become exhausted with the constant Democrat drumbeat of accusations of Mr. Trump colluding with Russia.  For more than a year, Democratic senators have been promising that evidence of Mr. Trump's evil will soon be revealed.  Instead, we have seen more and more evidence that Mr. Trump's enemies in the State Department, the FBI, and our intelligence agencies conspired to try both to cover up Hillary's lawbreaking and to frustrate Mr. Trump's presidential campaign - and failed at both.

Instead, recent polls show that 22% of Americans think immigration is the most important problem facing the United States, 19% say dissatisfaction with the U.S. government is the worst, and 7% think racism is the most important.

If this is true, the Democrats' calls for Open Borders won't help them.  Rep. Maxine Waters' calls for Democrats to harass any member of the Trump administration in restaurants and picket their homes won't help either.

The poll showed that the Russia probe didn't make the top 8 of voter concerns.  Why, then, are the Democrats hammering on it so hard?  One suspects that although they excel in getting various population groups to commit violence against each other or are jealous that others have more material goods than they do, Democrats have no idea at all how to appeal to Americans who work for a living and just want to be let alone.  It could be that this aging Russia meme is all they have.

Indeed, the fact that immigration tops voters' lists of concerns suggests that middle America is tried of having foreigners who have no intention of assimilating dumped on them.  Not only that, factory workers are finally realizing that Democrats are not their friends.  The Wall Street Journal reported:

The Republican Party has become the party of blue-collar America.

After the 1992 election, 15 of the 20 most manufacturing-intensive Congressional districts in America were represented by Democrats. Today, all 20 are held by Republicans.

Could it be that unemployed or under-employed workers have realized that every singe job in a Mexican factory that sends autos or auto parts to America could have been filled by an American except for the tax breaks President Clinton granted Mexico?

In 1992, there were 860 counties where at least 25% of the working population was employed in manufacturing. Democrat Bill Clinton won 49% of those counties. By 2016, manufacturers employed at least a quarter of the workforce in only 320 counties. Ninety-five percent of them went for Donald Trump.

During the 1992 debates about whether President Clinton should sign the NAFTA free trade agreement with Mexico and Canada, Ross Perot spoke of a "giant sucking sound" of all our jobs going to Mexico.

...when [Mexico's] jobs come up from a dollar an hour to six dollars an hour, and ours go down to six dollars an hour, and then it's leveled again. [emphasis added]

He was ridiculed by the Democrats, the agreement was signed in 1994, jobs went to Mexico, American wages went down when adjusted for inflation, and Mexican wages nudged up - just as 'ol Ross predicted.  Union leaders are solidly in the Democrat camp - one of the new Republicans gets a 5% rating from the AFL-CIO - but ordinary workers are realizing that Democrats both signed a free trade agreement that hurts them badly and love admitting illegals who swell the welfare rolls and compete with them for jobs.  They've probably noticed that Ford shelved plans to expand its Mexican factory when Mr. Trump started talking about renegotiating the NAFTA agreement.

With respect to what Mr. Trump said to Mr. Putin, such a voter might say, "At this point, what difference does it make?" and vote accordingly.

Will Offensicht is a staff writer for and an internationally published author by a different name.  Read other articles by Will Offensicht or other articles on Foreign Affairs.
Reader Comments

It would seem that we have a battle between the two Unions in the US...Government and Private Sector. The gov't unions obviously rely on the Democrats to keep them employed. In fact the only " new" idea that the Dem's are embracing is 19th Century Marxist socialism. The benefits of this are obvious .... government control of the economy means all jobs are government jobs with more for their employees and consultants/helpers. The folks working hardest to undermine Trump are current and former government employees. They fear that their cushy jobs and " consultancies will dry up.
The Republicans have traditionally favored the private sector and Trump has framed things so that all participants, including the union folks, see what's at stake. His inaugural speech about empty factories like gravestones may have turned off the punditry class, but the former workers at those factories got it. To deliver, he has stimulated the private economy with tax cuts, ended job sapping regulations, and made it harder for countries to snatch American jobs and know-how.
But tax cuts and less regulation mean fewer government jobs. Those job holders won't go without a fight.

July 23, 2018 7:06 AM

I fear that if it were possible to pay every college student in America $100 to read this excellent piece, not a single mind would be changed .....

July 25, 2018 5:00 PM
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