I was nine years old when Reagan met Gorbachev in Reykjavik, Iceland in 1986. I remember virtually nothing about it, given that I was too busy playing with Transformers or G.I. Joe to care, yet I do remember a general feeling of it being a big deal. It’s hard to explain to younger people what it was like growing up in the 80’s; it always felt as though America and the Soviet Union were heavyweight boxers on a collision course. Every movie seemed to be pitting us against one another from Rocky 4 to Red Dawn, and we always thought in terms of us vs. them, and whether or not we were going to end up in a nuclear showdown. As a kid, the only summit I cared about was the face-smashing kind that Rocky Balboa and Ivan Drago were having, which occurred before the Reykjavik summit in the real world. Interestingly, Rocky and Drago ended up bringing the two countries together, even though Reagan and Gorbachev initially failed. Neither leader came away with what they sought, yet it laid the foundation for the eventual collapse of the Soviet Union as well as the eventual INF treaty over a year later.
Fire and Fury seems like a lifetime ago. Those words on August 8, 2017, ignited a firestorm around the world, yet people seem to forget that another American President said something very similar:
“When you can't make them see the light, make them feel the heat.” – Ronald Reagan, tweeted by Donald Trump - April 2015
Fiery rhetoric to be sure, but there’s another element to the “Fire and Fury” statement:
It signified the moment President Trump decided to solve North Korea once and for all.
President Trump understood what Reagan always did: Peace through superior firepower and maximum leverage works, yet there is another component: the will. You see, Bush, Obama, and Clinton all wanted to fix the North Korean problem; and therein lies the issue. There is a world of difference between wanting something and deciding to have it. Everyone wants things, whether it be a great spouse, tons of money, or power. Wants are like wishes floating up into the ether; they mean absolutely nothing without the will to act on them. Previous administrations came in with the attitude of “Hey, we want to solve this North Korean situation.” Donald Trump came in with “I’ve decided to solve this North Korean situation.” Once you decide what the end state is going to be, the only variables are how much work, pain, and suffering it’s going to take to get there. In my own life, I just finished writing a book, Forging the Iron Mind (available soon). I had no experience writing, having never written more than a paragraph or two, and I had no reason to believe I was even capable of taking on such a monumental project. However, I decided I was going to write a book, so I did precisely that. I decided the end state: my book existing, and set about doing all the things necessary to make it a reality. Donald Trump decided to solve the North Korea problem, and the outcome is a foregone conclusion. He has presented them with a choice, we can be buddies and be happy, or we can destroy your entire economy and possibly your entire country militarily. As I talked about in The Trump Doctrine, the tools to solve North Korea have always been there via China, military, and economics.
Scott Adams touched on this in a periscope, as well as my father. My Dad used to say, “If I get in a fight, I’m going to win no matter what.” In other words, my dad thought that if it were severe enough of a situation to get into a fight, he would decide to win, no matter the cost. He used to tell me he’d have no problem fighting dirty, even resorting to cheating to win a fight. The same applies to losing weight or any self-improvement project you undertake. Here again, there is a galaxy of space between wanting to improve and deciding to improve. When you decide to lose weight, it’s going to happen, no matter how many hours on the treadmill it takes. The reason I go into all this is to create an understanding of what’s happening in Singapore. Donald Trump has already decided North Korea is not going to possess nuclear weapons. That decision is made, the only variable is how much pain they (and China) are going to have to take economically or militarily to get there. This is why I and many others are so confident of the eventual result. Even when President Trump canceled the summit, we understood it was a necessary step to exert leverage. We hold all the cards, and unlike the Soviets in the 80’s, there is no comparison regarding strength. We have enough economic and military firepower to level North Korea 100 times over, so there’s no reason we won’t get the result we want eventually. Even if we have to destroy Chinese banks to get there, the result is set in stone.
Virtually every expert in the country over the past 30 years should be embarrassed right now. How many hours collectively have these people toiled trying to find a resolution to the North Korea problem? How many of them went on TV and derided President Trump for his approach? I see people that failed at dealing with this problem for decades lecturing the President on how he is doing everything wrong, yet he is the one that is showing how inept they were. The reason I know all of this is going to work out is that the end state has already been decided. I’m sure there will be addition walk-aways, posturing, and rhetoric; make no mistake though, at the end of this there will be peace and no nuclear weapons on the Korean Peninsula. Solving the North Korea problem was never a matter of military power or economics; it was a matter of mindset and deciding to use those things to achieve peace.
Take a lesson from all of this: To be a winner, one must examine their premise from the very beginning:
Do you want it?
Or are you deciding to have it?
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Steve is the author of Forging the Iron Mind, and is the founder and CEO of Americana Prime.