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June 13, 2018

Geopolitics: Trump Plays Chess, MSM Plays Checkers

Trump is closer to disarming the NoKo regional and global threat than any president in 60 years.

“There is a rank due to the United States, among nations, which will be withheld, if not absolutely lost, by the reputation of weakness.” —George Washington (1793)

I have noted an interesting trend in recent months. Some of my politically astute friends, who have always been economic conservatives but political moderates, have gone through something of a metamorphosis.

Recently, one of these well-connected political moderates told me, much to my surprise, “I thank God every day that Donald Trump is president.” I never anticipated hearing those words out of this individual and thought perhaps he was referring to Trump’s considerable economic and deregulatory achievements in his first year.

But my friend explained his newfound enthusiasm for Trump in this context: “He dropped a bomb on Washington. He dropped a bomb on the status quo in Congress and its special interests. He dropped a bomb on the regulatory behemoths and their bureaucratic bottlenecks. He dropped a bomb on the trade and national security institutions and alliances that have failed miserably over the last eight years.”

In short, what he and others have said about their newly reformed impression of Trump is this: In the face of the most hateful Democrat Party leaders, constituents and formidable MSM propaganda machine, this “political neophyte” has done more to move the political ball in the right direction than any Republican president since President Ronald Reagan, and before that, Calvin Coolidge.

Now, like most military families who have more at risk than armchair politics, voting for Trump to be the next commander-in-chief was, among other reasons, an easy choice. Few Americans are more pleased than military families that Barack Obama did not receive a third term of dangerous foreign policy malfeasance behind the facade of a Hillary Clinton presidency, especially given their epic failures in the Middle East.

But observing the transformation of some moderate urban and suburban white-collar professionals — those who are generally detached from associations with grassroots American Patriots — into Trump supporters has been fascinating.

There is a primary reason for this transformation among moderates and the galvanization of Trump’s support from across the conservative spectrum. It’s the gradual realization percolating to the surface that, despite the grossly biased caricature of Trump projected by the MSM, and too often corroborated by Trump’s social media handlers, this president might be lot smarter than the buffoon the Leftmedia insists he is.

Beyond the success of his domestic economic policies, there are several recent cases in point that affirm Trump’s prowess when it comes to negotiating deals that put American interests on an equal footing with other nations.

Notable trade examples would be his negotiations with China and Europe, as well as his posturing last week at the G7 Summit. In each of these complex negotiations, Trump has taken steps that will lead to concessions serving American interests — serving the American people. Sometimes he uses a fine-tooth comb to level the field, including a myriad of negotiations behind the scenes, but other times he more visibly uses a sledgehammer where necessary.

In more complex geopolitical national security negotiations, Trump has also moved the ball, despite his detractors’ claims to the contrary.

His unwinding of Obama’s so-called “Iran Deal” is turning out to be even more sensible given recent revelations — European negotiators signed on contingent to bribes, Iran’s deceptions were much more dangerous than estimated and, worse, Obama’s unmitigated lies to secure his faux foreign policy legacy were much more egregious than estimated.

And on June 12th, Trump entered historic face-to-face negotiations with China’s nuclear puppet, North Korea’s Kim Jong-un, challenging him to tear down his nuclear weapons program. (Recall that it was on that same date in 1987 that President Reagan issued a challenge to another communist dictator at the Brandenburg Gate of what was then West Berlin: “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!”)

Trump is closer than any president has been in 60 years to removing the regional and global threat posed by North Korea — and he didn’t have to pay Kim the $150 billion Obama paid Iran for the illusion of a denuclearization agreement. As Newt Gingrich details, “Trump has already accomplished more with North Korea than Presidents Clinton, Bush, and Obama combined. And this is just the beginning.”

As our analyst Thomas Gallatin noted yesterday in “Trump’s Real NoKo Strategy,” his objective was to cautiously lay the groundwork for North Korean denuclearization with the full understanding that Kim has a history of not keeping his commitments. In effect, the summit was a deal to make a deal to disarm the most unstable and dangerous Pacific threat.

The agreement signed by Trump and Kim established four goals:

  1. The United States and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) commit to establish new US-DPRK relations in accordance with the desire of the peoples of the two countries for peace and prosperity.
  2. The United States and the DPRK will join their efforts to build a lasting and stable peace regime on the Korean Peninsula.
  3. Reaffirming the April 27, 2018 Panmunjom Declaration, the DPRK commits to work toward complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.
  4. The United States and the DPRK commit to recovering POW/MIA remains, including the immediate repatriation of those already identified.

There will be additional negotiations to determine the length of the agreement and how to enforce the United Nations resolution and U.S. position calling for the “complete, verifiable, irreversible, dismantlement” of North Korea’s nukes. To be determined will be how to lift sanctions and restore human rights, how many U.S. troops will remain on the peninsula, and, in all of this, China’s role.

There will also be contingencies based on backroom negotiations with China’s dictator Xi Jinping, who is reluctant to give up his NoKo nuke card, but Kim’s tyrannical regime is “seeing the light,” given the gross disparity between the economic standing of his country and that of South Korea.

Clearly, geopolitical negotiations are multifarious, with a plethora of moving parts.

Despite all the Beltway MSM bluster and handwringing over Trump’s historic nuke summit conclusions, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo delivered a bottom-line summary: “Let me assure you that the ‘complete’ [denuclearization] encompasses ‘verifiable’ in the minds of everyone concerned. I am confident that [Kim] understands what we’re prepared to do, a handful of things we’re likely not prepared to do. I am equally confident they understand that there will be in-depth verification. We’re hopeful that we can achieve that in the next 2½ years, something like that. We’re hopeful we get it done. There’s a lot of work left to do.”

However, most media outlets, left and right, seem incapable of mustering the analytical intellect to assess, much less report, that Trump is a chess master when it comes to positioning our pieces against those of our opponents – whether it is a matter of trade or national security. He is playing a strategic match, while the media reports on each move as if it is a checkers game. I suppose that if Leftmedia journalists reported on strategy instead of tactics, it would significantly curtail their endless churn of every move in order to enhance their advertising revenues.

Of course, geopolitical negotiations are more complex than chess, and not as clean as a chess board because one player can make multiple moves before his opponent, with 10 other players advising those moves.

Furthermore, the contrast between the MSM’s reporting about Trump’s negotiations with Iran and NoKo versus Obama’s failed negotiations on both counts is stark, betraying the Leftmedia’s grotesque bias. Obama, who was bestowed with a Nobel Peace Prize just eight months into his first term for his “extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples,” was uniformly hailed by the MSM as a great negotiator.

Conversely, Trump’s Iran and NoKo strategies have been defamed as a failure – because the Left wants all of his policies to fail – for them, the political ends justify the means.

But to be clear, since Trump put Kim on notice months ago, there have been no nuclear tests, no missiles fired over Japan, no more threats against Guam and Hawaii, and Kim has shuttered his primary nuclear test site (verification pending) and released U.S. hostages.

Unfortunately, Obama’s policies were based, by his own account, on this principle: “Don’t do stupid s—t,” which, ironically, is all he did. His policy of “Strategic Patience” led to North Korea’s rise as a nuclear power.

These negotiations are tenuous, but one thing is indisputable — unless your anti-Trump blinders are super-glued to your opinion filter: Trump is a very good negotiator, whereas over the last three decades most of the negotiating has been left primarily to inept career State Department bureaucrats.

To that end, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) protested what she claimed was the president’s “marginalization of the vast expertise of the State Department.” She concluded that Trump is “hindering a lasting, stable pathway to peace.”

But Trump’s policies with China, Iran and NoKo are based on the same principle held by most American presidents prior to Obama: America First. But unlike every previous president, Trump is roundly maligned for that position.

Leading the chorus of the most malignant maligning to undermine the probability of Trump administration foreign policy success was Obama’s incompetent former CIA director John Brennan, who conspired with James Comey to launch the bogus Trump/Russia collusion investigation. Just before Trump departed for the Singapore negotiations, Brennan issued this outrageous statement: “[Trump’s] wrong-headed protectionist policies & antics are damaging our global standing as well as our national interests. [Trump’s] worldview does not represent American ideals. To allies & friends: Be patient, Mr. Trump is a temporary aberration. The America you once knew will return.”

Brennan, Comey, Clinton and Obama are all desperately endeavoring to salvage whatever legacy they can before being tossed onto the trash heap of history. They all assumed their legacy was secure with the certain election of Clinton.

Good luck with that.

And a footnote: Tomorrow, June 14th, is the anniversary of the 1777 resolution by the Second Continental Congress adopting the American flag, celebrated as “Flag Day.” On Flag Day, 1946, Donald Trump was born. That should make a few snowflakes’ heads explode!

Semper Vigilans Fortis Paratus et Fidelis Pro Deo et Libertate — 1776

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