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 conflict, I like watching it, I like seeing it, and I think it’s the best way to go.”
Chaos is physically exhausting to me. I operate just fine under chaos, but once the day is over, I’m physically exhausted by being in a chaotic environment all day. For those unaware, one of the important differences between an extrovert and an introvert (me) is the relationship that they have with personal energy. Extroverts typically gain energy from social interaction, and introverts lose it. Psychology Today writer Sophia Dembling talks about this relationship as a continuum that exists on a spectrum. She and many others talk about how the type of people you interact with, the situations you are in, all influence your levels of energy. This perspective brings me to Donald Trump. One word has been indelibly imprinted on him by the media from day one: Chaos. Go ahead and google the phrase “Donald Trump Chaos,” and you will pull over one million results. It has been used as a branding tool by his opposition from day one to demonize him and instill a sense of instability in his administration, as I talked about in The Real Collusion Scandal. No single word has been used more to describe not only Trump himself but his entire administration. Let’s be honest; chaos is a fantastic word. It’s concise, persuasive, and sounds vaguely dark, maybe even evil. The media is so totally addicted to using it, that they don’t even bother with synonyms or any other type of framing. With all that in mind, let me present an argument:
Donald Trump feeds on chaos and gains energy as a result.
First of all, it’s blatantly obvious that Donald Trump is an extrovert of the highest order. Once we understand that, we can already make the connection that he will gain energy from social interaction. If we think of extroversion as a spectrum, he would be on the far end, over the edge.
Your average party planner or a social butterfly who loves being around people would be around the midpoint. Trump gains energy to such a degree from social interaction that he doesn’t even really need sleep. By all accounts, he is capable of operating non-stop for 20 hours a day, in perpetuity. We saw this during the campaign when he would do numerous rallies, sometimes late into the night, and he looked exactly the same as he did at the beginning of the day. This is another fascinating phenomenon of Trump: Incredible consistency. When one thinks of chaos, we don’t think of it being consistent. Yet, Trump displays machine-like consistency across numerous areas. Watch, every time you see Trump, try to notice a few things. I have never seen him even slightly ill. I’ve never seen his tie even misaligned somewhat, his suit any less than perfect. Even his famous hair looks exactly the same. His vocal patterns, gestures, and phrases are identical from day to day. He never looks or sounds like he’s having a bad day. His doctor stated the reason for this:
“I’ve never seen him stressed out. He has this uncanny ability to reset every day…..he might live to be 200 years old.”
-Dr. Ronny Jackson
Herein lies the answer to the enigma of Trump. Not only does he feed on chaos and gain energy, but he’s completely capable of forgetting the previous day, and resetting to zero. This is the part most of us can’t do, and it borders on being a superpower. Even powerhouse extroverts will sometimes allow history to get to them, and carry it into the next day, week, or month. Trump’s opposition is frustrated by this because while they are still hammering him over something that happened the day previous, or even the week prior, he’s already forgotten about it, or at the very least put it behind him. History has less power over Trump than possibly any man alive, which is why he’s willing to do things others won’t, such as moving an embassy to Jerusalem or negotiating with North Korea. The idea of learning from history is something that holds back many administrations, whereas Trump exists almost entirely in the future. Listen to his rhetoric; he is always talking about how great things are going to be, not how they were. He fundamentally understands that no two situations are exactly alike, so drawing comparisons are rarely helpful.
I’ve also noticed another phenomenon: The exhaustion in dealing with him. His opposition, on the left and in the media, I’ve noticed look and sound visibly exasperated reasonably regularly. I’ve seen numerous prominent left-wing Twitter personalities quit or significantly reduce their political output, and you can read the exhaustion in their tweets. Some have even gained weight and started drinking more. The fact of the matter is, Trump is outlasting them all. While they are still frustrated over something that happened last week, he is already moving three steps forward. The intended effect of the Resistance backfires, instead of depressing him and his output, it fires him up and makes him go forward even harder than before. It also has the side effect of keeping negative things in a very short news cycle, as almost nothing lasts more than a couple of days at the top of the news.
While they still remember, he has already forgotten, relentlessly pressing forward.
The colossal irony of this is that he would likely be much less productive without all of the opposition. I’d argue it’s highly likely he would have less done right now without the hostility and the media being as overt in their hatred. This leads me to my next point: not only does he feed on chaos and interaction; but also on conflict. Trump needs a fight. This is why he is always picking fights with Rosie O’Donnell or Adam Schiff, or even his own party, like Corker and Flake. The combination of chaos and conflict somehow has the effect of turning Trump into something of a perpetual energy engine, that is continually fed by the opposition, but also by his own energy gained from combat. Further, not only does he like a fight, but he wants to see it in others. He has no interest in anyone passive, who won’t take action. He wants people like himself, who are driven and have limitless energy; this is why very few people have lasted in his administration, and so many have failed in the crucible of combat. He does not want apathy or indifference, only raw energy to execute at the highest level. Also, he wants everyone to fight as hard as he does. He can’t stand the fact that a lot of Republicans refuse to fight on issues, which is why he is always calling out his own party. The constant berating of Jeff Sessions is a prime example: He never wanted Sessions to quit, he wanted him to fight harder. As a result, Sessions has moved on a number of fronts, and the President isn’t bashing him as much.
I have a difficult time finding other people like Trump. Some of the closest examples are in the arena of sports. Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, and Larry Bird all had the same sort of relationship with conflict. The more trash you talked, the harder they worked to destroy you. In addition, they also had the same short memory, missing a shot meant nothing, they were always willing to take the next one, and eradicate the memories of the previous misses. Kobe Bryant, in particular, looked for reasons to get angry and motivated, which is one big reason he ended up with 5 NBA titles to his name. These men would not only crush you, but they would be more than happy to tell you about the myriad of ways it was going to happen and work as hard as necessary to make it reality.
Donald Trump’s relationship with chaos and conflict is not something most of us can understand, which is why it’s one of the central attack lines for the media. Unfortunately for them, they just can’t help themselves from feeding the machine. The media and the left relentlessly attacked George W. Bush, and his administration usually let it all slide. What did that get him? When he left office, his approval numbers were awful. For years, Republicans have allowed these things to slide in the hopes that the other side would just “come around.”
Those days are over. Conflict and chaos are the order of the day, and we wouldn’t have it any other way.
Fortunately, neither would Donald Trump.
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Steve is the author of Forging the Iron Mind, and is the founder and CEO of Americana Prime.