There was a time when I hated the idea of extravagant military spending. Back in my more liberal days, I saw it as a total waste of money that we could better use in schools, science, and infrastructure. I hated the idea of having this massive military and playing world police and the neoconservative ideas of global interventionist policies would infuriate me. Of course, I was a total neophyte in the arena of geopolitics so I couldn’t articulate particularly well to any degree of depth why, but as a general rule, I wanted a lot more domestic spending over fueling the military industrial complex. I remember seeing a photo about ten years ago of a mechanized “graveyard” of unused tanks and planes, which just sat immobile for years that we continually fed with our tax dollars. To say I was opposed to massive military budgets would be a gross understatement.
As I’ve learned more over the years, I gravitated more to the right politically. The more books I read, the more documentaries I watched and the more experience I gained, the more I found myself on the right side of the spectrum. Of course, the left going absolutely bonkers over the last ten years contributed, and the deterioration of our culture also played a significant role. I began to study and read several conservatives like Krauthammer, Kristol, and Goldberg to get a more informed perspective, and develop my own views. The “Steve Doctrine” one might say. Over the years, our leaders have had various “doctrines” as it related to national security. I will break down a few for you in entirely oversimplified terms.
Monroe Doctrine: America isn’t going to be colonized, or we will destroy you.
Eisenhower Doctrine: We will help others stop any Communist aggression.
Nixon Doctrine: We will help allies, but we aren’t the world police.
Carter Doctrine: If you try to take the Persian Gulf, we will crush you.
Reagan Doctrine: We will assist revolutionaries against Communists.
Bush Doctrine: Obliterate terrorism wherever is necessary, unilaterally.
Obama Doctrine: We aren’t getting involved unless we have no choice.
What then, is the Trump Doctrine? I believe it to be as follows:
We want to be friends and make deals, but if you are a threat to us or allies, you face total extermination.
As it happens, this completely aligns with my own views. This is why I am now in full support of massive military spending, on this one particular occasion. I still consider myself a non-interventionist, as I don’t want us playing world police and gallivanting all over the globe overthrowing regimes. However, I recognize a new dimension to military spending that I never did before: as a persuasion and negotiating tool. Trump understands that in any negotiation you need leverage to move an intractable foe. In this case, those foes are North Korea, Iran, ISIS, Russia, and potentially Venezuela. No President, ever, has spoken in such stark terms about the reality that faces the enemies of the United States, and he is backing up those words with a massive military force. Think of it, if you are North Korea or Iran you really ought to ask yourself:
Do I want to piss off Donald Trump and risk being wiped off the map?
Trump has left no room for interpretation. You will get in line, or be obliterated. Fire and Fury, as it were. The left assured us that Donald Trump would be a danger to global order, maybe he might nuke someone on a whim. There is actually a kernel of truth in that assessment, after all, if the media and left in our own country believe the President might nuke someone, what does Kim Jong Un think? Trump’s unpredictability in this regard I consider to be an asset, as North Korea and Iran cannot be absolutely sure he won’t devastate them. Notice how many times Trump has referred to “modernizing” or “upgrading” our nuclear capability. Do you think these regimes didn’t hear that? He is making it quite clear that if they want to go down the path of war, he is perfectly willing to use anything necessary to crush them. In a way, we have already been at war with North Korea since he took office. We have been waging an economic war that is crippling their economy at a level they have never experienced, all while watching us build a massive war machine. In addition, they watched us missile strike Syria, and drop a MOAB bomb in Afghanistan. We have made it increasingly clear that any military action against the United States or its allies would be the end of not only that regime but likely a significant portion of the country.
The “peace through strength” mantra has been touted by conservatives ever since Reagan’s massive buildup during the Cold War. Neocons took that idea and ran with it, deciding it would be a good idea to nation build, which the mainstream in this country ultimately rejected. President Trump is trying a new tact: using military force as leverage in a deal-making process. Will it work? Every expert has rejected every move he’s tried up to this point, mostly the same experts that failed to deal with North Korea in any substantive way over the last 20 years. Trump is adding to his negotiating leverage by talking tough and having the massive military to back it up. He also added a new twist to the mix: John Bolton, Destroyer of Worlds, Ultra-Hawk 6000 is now at the table. This move is not an accident, after all, there is possibly no one alive whose reputation precedes them in the way John Bolton’s ultra-aggressive stances do. As scared as the liberals are of him, imagine you are now Kim Jong Un. You are facing down the United States run by Donald Trump and John Bolton, with the greatest war machine of all time at the ready. My prediction is that there is no chance that North Korea is not denuclearized within the year. Trump has managed to convince North Korea that he is quite willing to wipe them out if necessary. It’s not enough to have a big stick; the other side has to be convinced you will use it on them. Where other experts and administrations might be viewed as unwilling, is there any doubt that they would think differently about the Trump administration?
Peace through superior firepower, but more than that, the willingness to use it.
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I, like most everyone, watched General John Kelly’s riveting and emotionally charged appearance at the White House podium a few days ago. Speaking for myself, I found it to be an emotional plea to hold things sacred, especially as it relates to the heroes that give their life for this country. The dialogue this past week has been terrible, and our civility has been degraded to such a degree that I can barely comprehend it. And yet, somehow it continues to get worse. Just when you think that it can’t possibly get any worse, that we can’t become even more divided, we get this type of thing:
I would recommend reading this New Yorker article, as toxic as it is, just so you can understand the level of vitriol that’s held for this administration. The writer actually compared General Kelly’s speech to the Soviet Union under a Communist regime which is borderline insanity. She then proceeds to actually make the argument that dead American soldiers aren’t the best of us, they are just ordinary Americans, and we totally shouldn’t rank Americans based on whether or not they died for the country. The author, Masha Gessen, actually lived in Russia for 20 years, and is a journalist and far better educated on a myriad of topics than I. So who am I to attack her perspective? I’m just a miscellaneous guy who hasn’t done a fraction of what she’s done, nor am I a fraction of the writer. Well guess what, if she can attack a 4 Star Marine General, who also lost a son for this country, then I can go in on her. This isn’t her first go at the Trump administration. Back in July, she wrote a massive essay on comparing Trump to Hitler called The Reichstag Fire Next Time, which is just an advanced version of your average “Trump is Hitler” tweet. The entire premise of the article suggests that President Trump is going to false flag a terrorist attack to consolidate power, as it’s suspected the Nazis did in the Reichstag fire. At the very least if not false flagging a terrorist attack, then using one to increase his power.
Over the course of multiple articles she tries to tie Trump to Putin, Trump to Hitler, or Trump to any number of autocrats. The only tie I see is Gessen to Trump Derangement Syndrome. The entire basis of all of these attacks on the Trump administration is that he said Putin was a smart guy once. She, as a gay person who lived in Russia, rightfully hates Putin. To draw the connecting line between Putin and Trump because he said something fairly nice about him once requires some serious mental gymnastics, and a lot of confirmation bias. Gessen is a prime example of how no one is immune to confirmation bias, no matter how “smart” they are. The thing people never understood about Trump not criticizing Putin, was that Trump was trying to set the table for future deals by not trash talking a world leader on TV. I always found it hilarious how Obama or Clinton would go on TV and trash talk world leaders then expect them to deal in good faith on something. That’s not how it works. If I am coming to your place of business to make a deal with you, and you see me on TV trashing you before, how likely are you going to be to make a deal with me?
Now back to John Kelly and the “military coup”. In the wake of his speech, which was clearly from the heart and trying to restore some civility, we got gems like this:
And this winner from when he became Chief of Staff:
John Kelly was right. Nothing is sacred anymore. The left is in full warfare mode, with no quarter given. You served the country and even lost a son? Well you’re still a fascist collaborator. Despite the fact that not one “fascistic” policy has been enacted, it doesn’t matter. General John Kelly is pretty close to being of unimpeachable character, and yet he’s attacked as though he’s robbing a bank. This is a man who is literally doing a job he doesn’t even need, and could easily have retired at any point. After losing his son, it would have been easy for him to retreat into solitude, and become disaffected and separated from the world. Instead, he doubled down. He threw himself into his DHS job, and took on what might be the most difficult job ever, Chief of Staff for Donald Trump. Instead of retreating and falling prey to despair, he leveled up, not only for himself, but for the country. For his heroic and inspirational actions, he is now the recipient of the vitriol usually reserved for one man: his boss.
Now, this modern day American icon has the privilege of being called a fascist and collaborator by people who haven’t given a fraction of what he has to this country. Unlike what Gessen says, there are different rankings for American citizens. John Kelly and the soldiers who gave their lives for us have done and given more to this country than me, and likely most people reading this. We have equality in this country, which means no one should be better or get any special treatment, but we are only able to have equality because of those who came before. Whether it be John Kelly and other military heroes, or Martin Luther King Jr. and civil rights icons, there are those that merit special treatment, because they earned it. They built this country into what we have today, and this attempt to minimize their exceptional individuality is exactly the tactic the left loves.
Think of this: how often do you see the left lionize individuals? It’s really not often. They sort of do it with Barack Obama, but that’s about it. It’s not often that the left holds up an individual as an example. Even Martin Luther King Jr. is derided by some on the left as having been too soft. In my God of the Left article, I stated that in the absence of God, their god becomes altruism and the earth. The same applies to individual heroes. The common good is all that matters, and lionizing individuals undermines their “everyone is the same” mantra. They don’t want to acknowledge that some people are better than others, or that some gave more than others. Equality of outcome while being considered a good person is all that matters.
So to the left who have been undermining John Kelly all week I say this:
General John Kelly is better than you. The service members that died for our country are better than you. The civil rights icons are better than you.
And everyone knows it.
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Steve is the founder and CEO of Americana Prime.