Unraveling Donald Trump

“Government remains the area of folly, because it is there that men seek power over others – only to lose it over themselves” [Barbara Tuchman]

Writing in the June 6, 2018 edition of Mosaic, Michael Doran states that, “With the death of Bernard Lewis, the Age of Academic Giants Has Come to an End. Not to detract from the greatness of Lewis, but to agree that academic giants are indeed in significant shortage , the subject is addressed as follows.

Victor Davis Hanson’s credentials most certainly loom large in dispute with Doran’s assertion. Hanson is Professor Emeritus of Classics at California State University, Fresno, a senior fellow at the Hoover Institute and the author, most recently, of The Second World Wars: How the First Global Conflict Was Fought and Won, Commentator on modern and ancient warfare, contemporary politics for National Review, Washington Times and other media outlets, author of Carnage and Culture: Landmark Battles in the Rise of Western Power [2001], a New York Times best-selling book, to name a view.

His “Elites Value Mellifluous Illegality over Crass Lawfulness” [National Review, June 5, 2018] is a remarkable, insightful and highly original study in how to view Donald Trump. By way of an introduction, he states that while Obama defies the Constitution but sounds “presidential”, Trump follows it but sounds a loudmouth from Queens.
Hanson’s observation regarding Trump:

* blusters non-stop
*offers contrasting messages about whether he might fire Special Counsel Robert Mueller, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, or Deputy Attorney Rod Rosenstein.
* tweets are certainly not presidential — as the adjective is understood.
* engages in mocking his critics at perpetual campaign rallies, caricaturing their voices and slamming them with adolescent epithets as “Cryin’ Chukie Shumer” and accusing House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of being an enabler of M-13 gang members following her chastisement of him for calling the psychopaths “animals”. Noted that Trump has defined his own unctuousness, which so incenses his opponents as “the new presidential”.

On the other hand, Hanson points out that to date, Special Counsel Mueller has found no evidence that Trump or his associates have ever colluded with Russian government interests to hijack the 2016 election. In fact, the latter has displayed a desperation to indict almost anyone connected to the Trump campaign with almost any charge he can imagine, other than collusion with the Russians, discounting his original mandate.

Victor Davis Hanson muses that one may consider Trump paradox “crass lawfulness”. However, what really drives his critics absolutely crazy is the fact that no evidence has been shown that he has broken the law. Even more so, there are no criminal statutes against a president “boorishly ” acting “un-presidential in his loud quest to supercharge the economy, while undoing the entire agenda of his predecessor, who was so dearly beloved by the media, universities, Hollywood, and identity-politics groups.”

Hanson’s mastery of the English language enables him to depict Obama as no other writer has. He refers to the former president’s teleprompter speeches as being mellifluous and describes him as “some sort of postmodern preacher often sermonizing Americans about the predetermined ‘arc of history'” which “purportedly bent all of us inescapably towards his own just moral version of the universe.” he is merciless in his detailed account of Obama’s misdoings. Consider the following abridged account:

*Obama lied when he stated that he knew nothing about Hillary Clinton’s unlawful server, although emails prove that he himself had communicated over it on several occasions.
* Obama on a hot microphone not only was caught reiterating to a Russian leader the conditions of Putin-Obama election cycle collusion, but he also spelled out the exact quid pro quo: promised Russian quietude abroad during his reelection campaign in exchange for “flexibility” [i.e. cancellation] of US-Eastern European missile-defense projects. Should Trump ever be found making a similar “deal” in 2020, he would probably be impeached.
* The Obama administration institutionalized deception as a tool of government: hiding from the American people all the side agreements to the so-called Iran deal, itself a blatant effort to bypass the treaty making responsibilities of the US Senate; fabricating yarns to sell the disastrous Obama care; using executive orders to enact immigration amnesties after warning that doing so would be unconstitutional; lying repeatedly about the circumstances of the Bowe Bergdahl prisoner swap.
* The weird juxtaposition of the vacuous and often law-breaking, but melodious Obama administration next to boisterous and rowdy presidency has taught us a lesson about our own moral blindness.
* Having engaged in illegality during the Obama administration is better on a resume than following the law in a Trump government.
* Lying under oath was an Obama-administration requisite for a high position in the intelligence community.
* Lawlessly “presidential” is a misdemeanor; lawfully un-presidential, a felony. A bankrupt agenda delivered by experts is sanctified; an effective one packaged by amateurs is heretical.
* Credentials empower illegality; their mere absence is seen as almost illegal in itself.
* This one constant keeps reverberating throughout the hysteria: Our elite always values the messenger over the message.

Hanson discusses in great detail the less than lawful conduct of numerous Obama affiliates – Hillary Clinton, Susan Rice, Samantha Power, James Comey, James Clapper, John Brennan, Eric Holder, Loretta Lynch, Bill and Hillary Clinton, Andrew McCabe etc.

His observation that “Our media and popular culture, as well as our cultural elite, value style far more than substance.” speaks volumes.

“A Conversation with Bret Stephens” by Eric Mandel is a remarkable piece of journalism. It appeared in the Jerusalem Post Magazine of February 6, 2015 and featured an interview of the famed Pulitzer Prize 2013 winner and Wall Street’s Deputy Editorial Page Editor and the Director of MEPIN [Middle East Political and Information Network, himself a doctor and well established foreign policy advisor. Referencing a few questions and responses relative to Obama:

Q How much of what is now occurring in the Middle East i.e. Syria, Syria, Islamic terrorism – is directly related to US President Barak Obama’s foreign policy?

A I think much of it is. When you go round announcing that you are creating power vacuums by withdrawing American troops and American power, the vacuums will inevitably be filled – and they won’t be filled by peace-loving people. They will be filled by aggressive, often fanatical regimes or organizations – as we have seen in Yemen, Northern Iraq and eastern Syria.
It is not an accident that just 6 months after Obama allowed his red lines to be crossed in Syria on chemical weapons [Russian President] Vladimir Putin seized Crimea because Putin understood he would pay only a small consequence ; in fact, no consequence at all.

Q Obama has said that the recent Islamist terrorist attacks are “the senseless violence of the few.”

A It’s such a terrible comment, because it is not senseless violence – it’s logical violence, and it’s targeted violence. It’s quite frankly, viewed from their demented or evil perspective, astute violence.

Q Does the president believe in ‘American exeptionalism or are we just one among the nations of the world?

A It is the concept of American indispensability which politicians and statesmen of the Left and Right agree with, that I think Obama rejects. He tends to see an America in the world that is as much a sinner as it is a sinned-against nation. People say:” What’s Obama like; is he a Marxist?” I think Obama is like every other liberal I met in college. This is the standard view of progressive America. Obama is like any other progressive on campus. In the present day, these people -if not active sponsors – are sympathetic to the BDS Movement, they think Israel runs the risk – if it isn’t already – of becoming an apartheid state., they are adamantly opposed to our wars overseas , they are infatuated with [NSA whistleblower] Edward Snowden, the list goes on.
Obama is an 80’s progressive who became a professor , who became a president.

Q Which is a greater long-term threat to US national security interests – Sunni Islamists, or Shiite Iran and its allies Syria and Hezbollah striving for regional hegemony?

A The enemy of American national security interests is radical Islam, which comes in two flavors: chocolate and vanilla.

Bret Stephens December 30, 2017, The Hill headline, “NYT conservative columnist: I’m still a ‘never Trump ‘after first year.” One would have thought that he would have been in Trump’s corner given the positions he supported in opposition to Obama. Two recent columns are suggestive of Stephens possibly reconsidering his evaluation on President Donald Trump. The Columbus Dispatch of May 22, 2018 featured, “Bret Stephens: Comment backlash helped Trump make his point” included this statement:

Consider last week’s implication by major news organizations that the president described all illegal immigrants as “animals” during a White House round-table with California officials. That would indeed be a wretched thing for him to say – had he said it. He did not.

In the NY Times of May 8, 2018 “A Courageous Trump Call on a Lousy Iran Deal”, Bret Stephens says, “The Obama administration refused to submit the deal to Congress as a treaty, knowing it would never get two thirds of the Senate to go along.” His column also included, “The JCPOA is not a treaty or an executive agreement, and it is not a signed document———–[and] it’s questionable whether the deal has any legal force at all.”

Presumably upon Trump succeeding on Korea, Stephens will truly became a serious advocate for President Donald Trump.

About the Author
Alex Rose was born in South Africa in 1935 and lived there until departing for the US in 1977 where he spent 26 years. He is an engineering consultant. For 18 years he was employed by Westinghouse until age 60 whereupon he became self-employed. He was also formerly on the Executive of Americans for a Safe Israel and a founding member of CAMERA, New York (Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America and today one of the largest media monitoring organizations concerned with accuracy and balanced reporting on Israel). In 2003 he and his wife made Aliyah to Israel and presently reside in Ashkelon.