The Trump Doctrine

 

About one thing John Maynard Keynes was right. “Practical men, who believe themselves to be quite exempt from any intellectual influences, are usually slaves of some defunct economist.”

Leaders are driven by worldviews, whether they know it or not.

From their actions, we can see that President Obama was primarily driven by Jeremiah Wright’s doctrine: “White folks’ greed runs a world in need.” Obama tried to liberate the world from the arrogance of America and its white Christian predecessors.

President George W Bush was driven by the doctrine that if we liberated people from oppressive tyrants we could help them increase life, liberty and happiness. Sadly, this doctrine proved mistaken.

Bush’s error was compounded by the Pottery Barn Rule: You break it, you own it. This effectively allowed only total intervention or none at all.

President Trump’s doctrine is: Unapologetically advance American interests and values.

To pursue this strategy, he hires the best generals and executives. And Mike Flynn.

He rejects his predecessors’ doctrines and their Utopian, totalitarian, and Manichean implications.

He shares President Bartlet’s view of disproportionate responses.

He follows the Ugly doctrine: When you have to shoot, shoot, don’t talk.

And the Shaw doctrine: Usually we’re just haggling over price.

Trump will not hit Syria with a brutal blast of adverbs. And he won’t take American ownership over the problem. He will let his generals pursue powerful strikes to nudge nations to consider our interests and values.

His MidEast “peace” gambit will not have the Utopian goals of an Israeli embassy in Riyadh and a joint Netanyahu-Abbas statement that the Palestinian-Israeli conflict is fully and permanently solved.

Instead he will focus on military and economic alliances to pursue common goals and fight common enemies. This will likely include massive US arms sales to Saudi Arabia and a reduction in the Arab boycott and demonization of Israel.

Will he move the US Embassy to Jerusalem? Depends what price each side is willing to pay.

We’re not going to sing kumbaya. We are going to advance the interests and values of America and her allies.

If he can stop Tweeting long enough to not get himself impeached.

Published in Foreign Policy
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Members have made 19 comments.

  1. Profile photo of Muleskinner Member

    Keynes is also supposed to have said, “the market can remain irrational longer than you can remain solvent.” I believe that you are generally correct about the president, Keynes’ quote not withstanding.

    • #1
    • May 18, 2017 at 9:42 pm
    • Like2 likes
  2. Profile photo of I Walton Member

    I share those views, maybe they’re hopes, or projections, but none of them is a reach too far. However, free trade under the rule of law is one of those things we were supposed to believe in as well, one of our values, and his doctrine isn’t as clear on that score as it should be. Free trade within the US among the 50 states of goods or services produced in any state, like insurance and banking, or any product almost none of which are produced only in the US is absolutely crucial. Without strong belief and practice of freedom under the rule of clear simple fixed law, there is no defense against the administrative state, crony capitalism run wild, and the continued deterioration of the culture and economy. This too is a crucial aspect of our foreign policy , a central aspect of promoting US interests.

    • #2
    • May 19, 2017 at 3:43 am
    • Like2 likes
  3. Profile photo of Gil Reich Member
    Gil Reich Post author

    I Walton (View Comment):

    Agreed. His “fair trade” economic populism may be an example of him unapologetically pursuing American interests in a way that is misguided and harmful to American interests and values.

    • #3
    • May 19, 2017 at 4:07 am
    • Like0 likes
  4. Profile photo of Bob Thompson Member

    Gil Reich (View Comment):

    I Walton (View Comment):

    Agreed. His “fair trade” economic populism may be an example of him unapologetically pursuing American interests in a way that is misguided and harmful to American interests and values.

    But are we not facing many even more important issues at the present before even discussing this one where Trump’s stance is likely questionable?

    • #4
    • May 19, 2017 at 4:56 am
    • Like1 like
  5. Profile photo of I Walton Member

    Bob Thompson (View Comment):

    Gil Reich (View Comment):

    I Walton (View Comment):

    Agreed. His “fair trade” economic populism may be an example of him unapologetically pursuing American interests in a way that is misguided and harmful to American interests and values.

    But are we not facing many even more important issues at the present before even discussing this one where Trump’s stance is likely questionable?

    Not really. The strength of our economy is at the heart of everything. It cannot grow, prosper and the people cannot flourish if the administrative state continues to dominate everything. Nor does our ability to lead, reach and influence countries and people around the world grow if we continue down the path of becoming just another top down administrative state like France or all of Latin America. What does this mean now? Dismantle the regulatory state, the tax code, decentralize programs to the states. Our bilateral trade agreements were efforts to extend the administrative state. Once we’ve dismantled it, and that can take some time, we can review those trade agreements, so in that sense, yes trade as discussed in the campaign is not a priority.

    • #5
    • May 19, 2017 at 5:21 am
    • Like1 like
  6. Profile photo of Front Seat Cat Member

    You should invite Mona Charen out for coffee.

    • #6
    • May 19, 2017 at 6:42 am
    • Like6 likes
  7. Profile photo of Gil Reich Member
    Gil Reich Post author

    Front Seat Cat (View Comment):
    You should invite Mona Charen out for coffee.

    Meaning?

    • #7
    • May 19, 2017 at 6:50 am
    • Like0 likes
  8. Profile photo of Front Seat Cat Member

    Gil Reich (View Comment):

    Front Seat Cat (View Comment):
    You should invite Mona Charen out for coffee.

    Meaning?

    Meaning Mona spits out a smokescreen on most commentary by mentioning insignificant others, but the real story is about how much she despises Trump. It comes through fast, and it’s just not new. Your piece was fair and balanced, that’s what I’m saying. Have an interesting discussion at Starbucks, along with some good coffee.

    • #8
    • May 19, 2017 at 3:15 pm
    • Like2 likes
  9. Profile photo of Stad Thatcher

    Gil Reich: If he can stop Tweeting long enough to not get himself impeached.

    I don’t want Trump to stop tweeting. This is how he bypasses the MSM. Reagan was able to bypass the MSM, but only because they still existed at the time-they had to broadcast his addresses to the nation. However, there was always the inevitable “rebuttal” afterwards.

    In this day and age, The Donald can tweet away, and the naysayers can respond, but he gets his message out. I don’t give a rat’s rear end about the opposition any more. They are rabid, they are evil, and now they are turning violent.

    If Trump is impeached, it will be the end of this country. I lived with the results of the 2008 an 2012 elections, and the other side has to also-even our side! Republican dudes, he won for a reason . . . figure it out!

    These weak-kneed Republicans in the House and Senate had better get the $@#&! on with Trump’s agaenda, or I’ll be damned if I’ll ever vote for any of them ever again.

    I want someone who will fight for not necessarily everything I believe in (ultra-right wing conservative here), I want someone who will fight for what I voted him into office for.

    The spineless Republicans in the House and Senate had better get on board, or the party as we know it is toast. Yes, this is a rant . . .

    • #9
    • May 19, 2017 at 3:34 pm
    • Like5 likes
  10. Profile photo of MLH Member
    MLH

    Front Seat Cat (View Comment):
    Starbucks, along with some good coffee.

    Huh?

    • #10
    • May 19, 2017 at 3:39 pm
    • Like1 like
  11. Profile photo of Jocher Member

    Stad (View Comment):

    Gil Reich: If he can stop Tweeting long enough to not get himself impeached.

    I don’t want Trump to stop tweeting. This is how he bypasses the MSM. Reagan was able to bypass the MSM, but only because they still existed at the time-they had to broadcast his addresses to the nation. However, there was always the inevitable “rebuttal” afterwards.

    In this day and age, The Donald can tweet away, and the naysayers can respond, but he gets his message out. I don’t give a rat’s rear end about the opposition any more. They are rabid, they are evil, and now they are turning violent.

    If Trump is impeached, it will be the end of this country. I lived with the results of the 2008 an 2012 elections, and the other side has to also-even our side! Republican dudes, he won for a reason . . . figure it out!

    These weak-kneed Republicans in the House and Senate had better get the $@#&! on with Trump’s agaenda, or I’ll be damned if I’ll ever vote for any of them ever again.

    I want someone who will fight for not necessarily everything I believe in (ultra-right wing conservative here), I want someone who will fight for what I voted him into office for.

    The spineless Republicans in the House and Senate had better get on board, or the party as we know it is toast. Yes, this is a rant . . .

    Reagan had a substantive message and program. Name one tweet in the last 30 days that furthered any conservative goal.

    • #11
    • May 19, 2017 at 5:42 pm
    • Like2 likes
  12. Profile photo of Suspira Member

    Stad (View Comment):
    I don’t want Trump to stop tweeting. This is how he bypasses the MSM. Reagan was able to bypass the MSM, but only because they still existed at the time-they had to broadcast his addresses to the nation.

    What if he stops tweeting stupid things (such as the Comey/tape system tweet)? Reagan said witty things that had depth beyond the chuckle. I fear Trump is incapable of that, so he should let go of the phone.

    • #12
    • May 19, 2017 at 6:12 pm
    • Like3 likes
  13. Profile photo of Damocles Member

    Jocher (View Comment):

    Stad (View Comment):

    Gil Reich: If he can stop Tweeting long enough to not get himself impeached.

    I don’t want Trump to stop tweeting. This is how he bypasses the MSM. Reagan was able to bypass the MSM, but only because they still existed at the time-they had to broadcast his addresses to the nation. However, there was always the inevitable “rebuttal” afterwards.

    In this day and age, The Donald can tweet away, and the naysayers can respond, but he gets his message out. I don’t give a rat’s rear end about the opposition any more. They are rabid, they are evil, and now they are turning violent.

    If Trump is impeached, it will be the end of this country. I lived with the results of the 2008 an 2012 elections, and the other side has to also-even our side! Republican dudes, he won for a reason . . . figure it out!

    These weak-kneed Republicans in the House and Senate had better get the $@#&! on with Trump’s agaenda, or I’ll be damned if I’ll ever vote for any of them ever again.

    I want someone who will fight for not necessarily everything I believe in (ultra-right wing conservative here), I want someone who will fight for what I voted him into office for.

    The spineless Republicans in the House and Senate had better get on board, or the party as we know it is toast. Yes, this is a rant . . .

    Reagan had a substantive message and program. Name one tweet in the last 30 days that furthered any conservative goal.

    • #13
    • May 19, 2017 at 6:32 pm
    • Like0 likes
  14. Profile photo of Owen Findy Member

    About one thing John Maynard Keynes was right. “Practical men, who believe themselves to be quite exempt from any intellectual influences, are usually slaves of some defunct economist.”

    Ayn Rand would’ve said ,”philosopher”. I suspect economists are slaves of philosophers.

    • #14
    • May 20, 2017 at 6:40 am
    • Like1 like
  15. Profile photo of Muleskinner Member

    Owen Findy (View Comment):

    About one thing John Maynard Keynes was right. “Practical men, who believe themselves to be quite exempt from any intellectual influences, are usually slaves of some defunct economist.”

    Ayn Rand would’ve said ,”philosopher”. I suspect economists are slaves of philosophers.

    Not so much anymore, economists tend now to be slaves of mathematicians.

    • #15
    • May 20, 2017 at 7:04 am
    • Like2 likes
  16. Profile photo of John Hanson Thatcher

    Muleskinner (View Comment):
    Not so much anymore, economists tend now to be slaves of mathematicians.

    Well, to a limited extent. Mathematics lets us build models of economic effects, and study the model behavior, or to enumerate measured results of the real world. It still requires the economist to from the data develop some economic thoughts, translate them into a ‘Theory’ and then use the modeling to first check if the model agrees with what happened in the past, and then make projections about the future.

    One hopes the process does not involve too many lets stick this magic number here, because then the model predicts the past OK, One wants valid reasons for introducing magic numbers, not just that they make one or more model runs seem closer to reality.

    Then the model is run to predict the future, and if it had all the significant parameters, and the questions asked are within the competence of the model, then for very limited uses the model may be valid.

    But it is the economist who develops the economic concepts and then uses mathematics to develop a model, and ask questions of the model.

    The model is only as good as the input. Most are terrible, or the wrong questions are asked of them. A model, by its nature is a vast simplification of reality, and its results must be understood in that light. Useful, but never defining.

    • #16
    • May 20, 2017 at 8:59 am
    • Like0 likes
  17. Profile photo of Muleskinner Member

    John Hanson (View Comment):
    It still requires the economist to from the data develop some economic thoughts, translate them into a ‘Theory’ and then use the modeling to first check if the model agrees with what happened in the past, and then make projections about the future.

    Except that atheoretical economics is a thing, especially in macroeconomics. Theory accounts for causal relationships between variables, which can be tested statistically. But, economists also use time-series forecasting models that just assume causation between a small group of variables, without a theory to tie them together. The odd thing is that these “atheoretical models” generally forecast better than models build on theory with a high degree of theoretical structure. The problem with atheoretical models is that they can’t really “explain” the relationship between the variables. The upshot is that if you want to know what is going to happen, use a time-series model, if you want to know why something happened, use a structural model.

    • #17
    • May 20, 2017 at 10:01 am
    • Like0 likes
  18. Profile photo of Herbert Member

    Damocles (View Comment):

    Jocher (View Comment):

    Stad (View Comment):

    Gil Reich: If he can stop Tweeting long enough to not get himself impeached.

    I don’t want Trump to stop tweeting. This is how he bypasses the MSM. Reagan was able to bypass the MSM, but only because they still existed at the time-they had to broadcast his addresses to the nation. However, there was always the inevitable “rebuttal” afterwards.

    In this day and age, The Donald can tweet away, and the naysayers can respond, but he gets his message out. I don’t give a rat’s rear end about the opposition any more. They are rabid, they are evil, and now they are turning violent.

    If Trump is impeached, it will be the end of this country. I lived with the results of the 2008 an 2012 elections, and the other side has to also-even our side! Republican dudes, he won for a reason . . . figure it out!

    These weak-kneed Republicans in the House and Senate had better get the $@#&! on with Trump’s agaenda, or I’ll be damned if I’ll ever vote for any of them ever again.

    I want someone who will fight for not necessarily everything I believe in (ultra-right wing conservative here), I want someone who will fight for what I voted him into office for.

    The spineless Republicans in the House and Senate had better get on board, or the party as we know it is toast. Yes, this is a rant . . .

    Reagan had a substantive message and program. Name one tweet in the last 30 days that furthered any conservative goal.

    Worked for him? Where would Trump be if once elected he had stopped tweeting and putting his mouth in gear trying to explain how he is a victim and had instead focused on a positive agenda…. His daily tweets remind everyone of just what kind of person we elected.

    • #18
    • May 20, 2017 at 12:17 pm
    • Like1 like
  19. Profile photo of Damocles Member

    Herbert (View Comment):

    Damocles (View Comment):

    Jocher (View Comment):

    Stad (View Comment):

    Gil Reich: If he can stop Tweeting long enough to not get himself impeached.

    I don’t want Trump to stop tweeting. This is how he bypasses the MSM. Reagan was able to bypass the MSM, but only because they still existed at the time-they had to broadcast his addresses to the nation. However, there was always the inevitable “rebuttal” afterwards.

    In this day and age, The Donald can tweet away, and the naysayers can respond, but he gets his message out. I don’t give a rat’s rear end about the opposition any more. They are rabid, they are evil, and now they are turning violent.

    If Trump is impeached, it will be the end of this country. I lived with the results of the 2008 an 2012 elections, and the other side has to also-even our side! Republican dudes, he won for a reason . . . figure it out!

    These weak-kneed Republicans in the House and Senate had better get the $@#&! on with Trump’s agaenda, or I’ll be damned if I’ll ever vote for any of them ever again.

    I want someone who will fight for not necessarily everything I believe in (ultra-right wing conservative here), I want someone who will fight for what I voted him into office for.

    The spineless Republicans in the House and Senate had better get on board, or the party as we know it is toast. Yes, this is a rant . . .

    Reagan had a substantive message and program. Name one tweet in the last 30 days that furthered any conservative goal.

    Worked for him? Where would Trump be if once elected he had stopped tweeting and putting his mouth in gear trying to explain how he is a victim and had instead focused on a positive agenda…. His daily tweets remind everyone of just what kind of person we elected.

    Sorry, I don’t know what to say to members of the sourpuss wing of the Republican party!

    • #19
    • May 22, 2017 at 10:31 am
    • Like0 likes