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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Steve is the author of Forging the Iron Mind, and is the founder and CEO of Americana Prime.