It is easy to say that Trump is failing on the one thing I thought made him a better candidate than most others two years ago and that is on the issue of war and empire. Well, that and he was a great stick in the eye of those who work hard to control the narrative.
I must admit, in many ways he is turning out even better than I had hoped…well, if we all (literally) survive his time in office.
Internationally, can you think of a time in your lifetime when the United States government so consistently and widely – and openly – made itself a pariah? For the Europeans, it is the Iran nuclear deal; for East Asians, it is North Korea; for Arabs not associated with the Kingdom…well, that’s pretty much the same as always, but Nikki Haley has a way of putting an exclamation point on it, doesn’t she.
On trade it’s the TPP, NAFTA, China dumping, etc. Every action drives allies away and drives all players to find ways to circumvent or avoid US markets, the US Dollar, US technology, etc.
Nationally…the election itself made clear the divide in America – the red counties vs. the blue counties; the deplorables vs. the “civilized.” We have the NFL and the flag – America, love it or leave it has come back in vogue. All thanks to the Donald.
Trump is doing more to accelerate the decentralization of the empire and the decentralization of the country than any other president in my lifetime. As libertarianism in theory is decentralization in practice – and as I suggested a year ago – I think Trump is the most libertarian president of my lifetime.
Does this end with the end of his presidency? I don’t think so. These trends are all inevitable; we can only thank God that the right man showed up at the right time to accelerate the process. Whoever comes next won’t matter (although if the deplorables don’t get what they want this time, the civilized might look longingly back on the days of Trump), because the direction is inevitable and won’t be reversed.
Speaking of the end of his presidency, it seems to me that Trump is setting up for a smashing victory in the upcoming mid-terms. I have suspected for quite some time that he (along with a subset of republicans in congress and some in the administration) are lining up their investigative actions and news leaks to come exploding full-tilt on the scene about four weeks before the November elections.
We know the news already and that it will be bad for the democrats. Trump is merely orchestrating the timing. Talk about tearing the country apart, I think we ain’t seen nothin’ yet.
Like I said, the most libertarian president of my lifetime.
Your well reasoned article provokes the inevitable question: Did Trump abandon his campaign pledge to return America to its pro peace, pro freedom, pro market origins ? Or, once he comprehended the reality of operating in the swamp - did he re-work his strategy to deliberately alienate the EU with the end goal of breaking up NATO ? With NATO dismantled Europe and Russia can re-integrate, and the US neocons are denied their war with Russia. Should we actually credit Trump with not only achieving the goals presented in his campaign - but the adroitness to devise a strategy able to realize them given the malice and constraints of the swamp ?ReplyDelete
"...but the adroitness to devise a strategy able to realize them given the malice and constraints of the swamp..."Delete
Yes, I keep coming back to the idea that this is the only way he could achieve what he promised: belligerent sells in Washington and obnoxiousness drives allies away.
Add to it things like his missile attacks against Syria that were great for show but apparently useless for any military purpose (and apparently causing few casualties).
So, I don't know if this is just "hope" or if it is reality. For now, I give it a 5% chance that this is, in fact, Trump's strategy to achieve MAGA.
Trump a libertarian? An adroit strategist? Succeeding in decentralizing the US government?Delete
It amazes me how some Trump supporters can twist themselves (and the facts) into the most distorted pretzels imaginable in an effort to excuse Trump's ignorance, lunacy and patently obvious psychoses. The only adroitness he has ever demonstrated is using bankruptcy laws to his advantage and where he puts his hands with pretty women (I'm trying to be polite, bionic). But in terms of his intelligence and strategic thinking, he's in a league with Bozo the Clown.
With my apologies to Bozo for the insult.
Carlos I would draw your attention to what JUST occurred at SPIEF 2018. The Russians and Europeans are in the opening gambit up a titanic geopolitical upheaval. The Russians are selling the Europeans on the idea of withdrawing wholesale from the NATO treaty and entering into a brand new treaty where Russia now plays the role of Europe's defender -Delete
AND from the all too real threat posed by the US (as opposed to the imaginary threat posed by Russia). Get it now ? Trump, by pretending to go full on neocon - and for instance demanding the Europeans pony up big bucks for NATO - has convinced the Europeans they are way better off with Russia defending them from the belligerent US neocons than vice versa.
Carlos, I didn't say he was a libertarian, just that he was the most libertarian president of my lifetime. The bar is low - also low for you, as I expect you to read my words and understand them.Delete
"It amazes me how some Trump supporters..."
Please provide evidence that I am a Trump supporter. I will save you time: besides preferring Trump to Hillary in the last election - for reasons I have written extensively about - you will find none.
Does this make me a supporter? I guess, under some definition of the term.
BTW, to your conclusion: I would say that the odds are in your favor. But, are you familiar with Inspector Clouseau? He did everything wrong, yet always solved the case.
Sorry, bionic--perhaps my comments would have been better placed beneath "Anonymous" below whose closing comment ("Thank you for praising him as the true libertarian I strongly believe he is!") you clearly refuted.Delete
Instead, I chose to respond to Victor 's praise of Trump's "adroit" strategic ploy. Your rejoinder comparing Trump to Inspector Clouseau is the perfect analogy.
And no, I in no way meant to imply that you are a "Trump supporter." I know better. That comment ["It amazes me how some Trump supporters can twist themselves (and the facts) into the most distorted pretzels imaginable] was also directed to Victor and to his (IMHO) mistaken assessment of Our Stable Genius-in-Chief's strategic planning abilities. Your Inspector Clouseau analogy would seem to indicate your concurrence.
Thank you, Carlos. I do find Trump a complicated character. He certainly is not what the mainstream presents him to be - I am confident of this merely because it is the mainstream presenting it.Delete
It is possible he is a little off his rocker, yet I know that people who have demonstrated success in complicated environments (as Trump has done by being in Manhattan real estate) think and act differently than we do.
He may be a mix of a 4-D chess genius and Inspector Clouseau buffoon. In my mind this will be significantly revealed by the mid-term election. If he is playing 4-D chess, the democrats will not do nearly as well as they hoped.
Well... Weren't you wrong about the midterms. I suspect you are wrong about Trump's 'genius' but your assumption that wealth must indicate genuius is a necessarily American one. Your system doesn't stand criticism if the wealthy don't somehow 'deserve' to be where they are.Delete
Although the irrelevance that America is preferring to activism will benefit my country more than yours, perhaps the post Covid-19 decentalization we are seeing in American states will do some good as the soft power is all but stripped from the preseidency and the limits to his hard power made clear. The president ought to be a servant of the nation, leading it and nurturing it not 'the boss' directing and controlling from a seriers of personal assumptions and I am fairly convinced that no one who studied business in the USA prior to 2000 would understand this.
On the division or polarization: are you familiar with r/K political evolutionary psychology?ReplyDelete
I have not found a better explanation for the divide.
About Trump two things stand out to me:
1) He's a mule (Asimov Foundation speak)
2) He way too successful. Almost every attack on him backfires on the one initiating it. How come?
Oh, and point 3 on politics in general: What is known about politics is maybe 1% of what is going on. Trying to mind read people's motivation based on that 1% is almost guaranteed to fail.
MAGA: The US was fast on its way to become yet another country. One with a lot of weapons, but still just another country. Trump has already changed that.
Is Trump alienating allies? Maybe the managerial layer, but I can guarantee you that Trump has a great many supporters on this side of the pond.
The strange thing is Trump has done more for my freedom (here in the Netherlands) in the first few days of his presidency than the government here has done in the last 10 years (longer probably). (cancelling TTIP)
" r/K political evolutionary psychology"Delete
somewhat...just looked it up.
"What is known about politics is maybe 1% of what is going on."
Agree. That's why it is safe for me to write posts such as this: the only people who can prove me wrong are not allowed to write about what they know!
As to your other comments, yes this is also my view.
We don't know everything... So what I know must be right. Haha. Your logic is cute.Delete
"most libertarian president of my lifetime."ReplyDelete
But the bar is very low. Sounds like a classic case of correlation not causation.
"Every action drives allies away and drives all players to find ways to circumvent or avoid US markets, the US Dollar, US technology, etc."
This has been happening perhaps slowly but surely long before Trump arrived. Trump has accelerated the trend. But he didn't start it. The empire has long been in decline and on its way to a multi polar world where the US is just another country.
You and I violently agree on all points.Delete
I wonder why you rejoice so much...nothing to rejoice about. What most analyst appear to ignore, is the fact that Trump is throwing men out the window of his cabinet to replace them by women or male feminists, as if it was a sporting event. One sentence Trump uttered during his campaign almost prevented me from voting for him, and I should have followed this warning...He said:"...you will see, Women will Love me"..Effectively, and the midterm victory will be a victory of feminism with probably 50% or more women in Congress, a nightmare scenario. Trump is showing women who to kill males and have fun at the same time. He rarely shakes hands with women, because when Trump shakes hands with you, it means he has already killed you. Trump is decentralizing the U.S. to Better centralize the Planet under a feminist-matriarchal structure of government own by the Chosen's. This rejoices you?...It frightens me to death....But effectively, Libertarianism and Feminism are joined at the hip as Siamese twins, and despite the appearances of political philosophy contradictions (both movement criticize each other very much)...in fact they were born in the same school of social science..you know the one: The Frankfurt School of social science...How could they be different? Just revisit Rothbard, his last 2 contributions to Lew's website, and ponder this...Trump is a Feminist as his predecessors...just with a slightly more violent tone, faithful to the progressive intolerance and violence of feminism over the past 30 years of political evolution. The war of feminism on low status males with the help of a militarized Super-cop culture of Law enforcement. Feminism has an open avowed goal of a society of 85% women, 15% men (because despite their claim at being better at everything than men, in fact, they are lousy leaders!). This coincides with the proportion of Dominant profiles of dominance in males. 30% of males demonstrate some kind of dominant trait over the average to a degree of making them "natural" leaders. Not necessarily intelligent leaders, dominant personality traits have no correlation with IQ, despite what "natural" leaders may believe...We will become like the Spartiates, who killed the boys unfit for combat at the tender age of 7 in mass execution ceremonies, drank their blood...women instead, will thanks to genetics, be able to abort substandard males, and sell the foetus to science or the closest meat market...ReplyDelete
Anyway, thank you for the contribution, you understood by now I read on Lew's website.
"Feminism has an open avowed goal of a society of 85% women, 15% men..."Delete
You will understand if I zeroed in on this specific point out of your entire comment.
Why oh why could I not have been a freshman in a coed college dorm at the time of this ratio. I never have any luck.
Mosquito, I've followed you ever since the Daily Bell days...through the Ron Paul excitement, and throughout the dissolution (my words) of the libertarian movement.Your writing has been a great lodestar for me, and no one has made the case clearer for me that 'culture and values' are of ultimate importance.ReplyDelete
Seems rather basic, after all.
That said, my chest swelled with pride when you declared Trump the "most libertarian President of my lifetime" because I look to you as a "careful thinker", and I know my life has been longer than yours!
Here's the deal, as I see it: Trump has, for nearly half his life, been saying and promoting policies that he said and promoted on the campaign trail. He is still saying, and promoting, the exact same policies now. He is ferociously 'America First' in trade deals and is molding circumstances to make the USA a literal "fair trade" nation. Not a Superior one. 'Empire' is over.
He has seen for years that the USA is the cash cow for what we call our "allies", and telling them the Gravy Train has reached the end of the line is worrisome to them.
We will create new alliances, based on more honorable standards, and further literal Free Trade globally under Trump. Isn't that a basic premise of libertarian thinking?
As for world Peace...There actually are some Bad Actors out there, and the USA is militarily very strong. If we have to destroy a weapons cache in Syria, at no loss of human life,in order to set limits and make a Statement, let's do it.
Trump's intentions seem to get misunderstood at all levels by strict 'libertarians' who are taking him too literally. War! war! War! No....hie entire goal is Peace. And worldwide prosperity.
And, to address your own concern about him 'devising a strategy' to combat The Swamp, I would liken what he is doing to playing a game...of chess. He may not have known the enemy's moves ahead of time, but he knows his intended result, and he'll stay vigilant through the required moves, wherever logic takes him.
He hasn't wavered from his campaign promises one Iota.
Thank you for praising him as the true libertarian I strongly believe he is!
Thank you for your kind words about my longevity.Delete
I will only clarify to your last statement: "Thank you for praising him as the true libertarian I strongly believe he is!"
That I say he is the most libertarian president of my lifetime does not imply that I believe him to be libertarian. I judge him partially by his statements, more by the results.
As I mentioned in another comment, I could make a more convincing argument by comparing Trump to Inspector Clouseau - doing everything wrong yet solving the case.
Trump will accelerate the decentralization of world government; for this reason, I describe him as the most libertarian president of my lifetime. Whether this is by design or not is almost irrelevant to me.
Yes. I could also write a post labeling him the most entertaining president of my lifetime.ReplyDelete
Trump has and continues to support the Saudi destruction of Yemen. There are other examples, but this one alone makes Trump evil in my mind. I don't care anything about his good intentions, how well he plays chess, or how lucky he is. There are no libertarian murders, and ordering such people by their libertarian-ness if a fools game.ReplyDelete
Jeff, please take my words in context. Tell me: how high is the bar for one to suggest that Trump is the *most* libertarian president of my lifetime.Delete
Like...compared to who? Did Ron Paul win once and I just slept through it?
Anyway, like I have written a couple of times already: Trump is accelerating the decentralization of world government and also accelerating the split in the United states.
Libertarianism in theory is decentralization in practice. You can't get much more libertarian than Trump...not in my lifetime.
Jeff, you and I see Trump in the same light, i.e., as an evil, clueless fool. Bionic gave a pretty good analogy for Trump's maladroitness in comparing him to Inspector Clouseau.Delete
Perhaps a better comparison would be to invoke the old aphorism that "even a blind pig finds an acorn once in a while."
With apologies to the pig.
“Jeff, please take my words in context. Tell me: how high is the bar for one to suggest that Trump is the *most* libertarian president of my lifetime.”Delete
I’m saying there is absolutely nothing libertarian about Trump, nor is there about any president of your time. On a libertarian scale they all rank zero.
Trump or someone like him being elected has been increasing in probability for at least several decades. I believe Rothbard expected it to happen in the 80’s and was quite disappointed when the establishment successfully rolled out Regan. Many popular libertarian writers believed Regan was moving the world toward liberty then as well. Many still do.
“Anyway, like I have written a couple of times already: Trump is accelerating the decentralization of world government and also accelerating the split in the United states.”
I agree with you, at least so far. A lot can happen in a very short time to change that, and Trump is extremely unpredictable.
“Libertarianism in theory is decentralization in practice. You can't get much more libertarian than Trump...not in my lifetime.”
Libertarianism in theory and in practice places the highest value on individual rights, property rights. Murder takes both of these away, so is about as un-libertarian as one can get. Trump is a murderer. Do you disagree?
That he may be presiding over an unusually rapid move toward decentralization doesn’t make Trump a libertarian. And while he may be a central figure in that, much of what is happening has been coming for a long time. The establishment could not have prevented it for much longer with or without Trump.
Jeff, which is more important to you: to live in a more decentralized world, one where political power is more and more local, or to elect Ron Paul as president within the same political power structures that we currently live under?Delete
BM, Ron Paul isn't my idea of a good president. No one is.Delete
My entire point here is that progress made by a tyrant doesn't make him any more libertarian than any other tyrant, nor does it make him an ally. Do you think he would be happy if he realized the extent his presidency has permanently harmed the cohesive nature of this country?
I personally believe the decentralization you talk about is inevitable, and you once said you agreed with me. It doesn't require a crazed, lucky genius to make it happen.
"Do you think he would be happy if he realized the extent his presidency has permanently harmed the cohesive nature of this country?"Delete
I don't care what he thinks and I don't care his intent. I care about the results.
I am pleased someone has said what Trump has said and it increased his support; I am pleased that he is perfectly capable of not only riding the wave of decentralization, but giving it a good push.
I accept the modifiers "more" and "less." I can accept that you do not.
Jeff, "Do you think he would be happy if he realized the extent his presidency has permanently harmed the cohesive nature of this country?"Delete
Do you think the dems and MSM are happy about the damage they do to the cohesiveness?
When Obama was first elected I listened to a podcast of a right-winger. He told his public that "ok, I don't like that, but now that he is my president, I will support him. Because that is what we do as Americans, we unite behind our president"
At the time I thought, wow, that is an example of how a democracy could actually work.
When Trump was elected... welll... we all now how the left united behind Trump... so who is attacking the cohesiveness?
@Carlos, I agree with your pig analogy, though I sometimes wonder if he's not being handled in much the same way as Regan was handled.Delete
I am glad to see this article, as it reflects my own views quite well, and I was beginning to think I was crazy for thinking so. On foreign policy, my beef is that the allies of the US are still continuing to murder the same people they always have, seemingly without repercussions, although the extent to which US financing and/or intelligence or military support is involved varies widely and is difficult to pin down, as well as what the end game of such support is, and whether it's Trump or his Deep State opponents keeping the support going. All I do know is, I was dead wrong on the direction that the North Korean situation is heading, and I'm very glad for it. Maybe a good midterm election will give him some breathing room. Trump has had to outwit most of Congress and most of his own bureaucracy to get anything done.ReplyDelete
Thank you, Ike.Delete
This article points hints that a true strategy of "America First" (Much less a libertarian one) is completely impossible given the political climate in the USA and has been that way since WW2. And any attempt at an "America First" implementation will immediately run into the buzz saw of never ending investigations and well financed (Most with US Federal Government money) lobbies against such a policy.ReplyDelete
What bothers me is the newer members of Trump's Administration who are committed to an extremely aggressive policy of war all the time all over the world. If these clowns get their way then we will have more misery machines like Libya, Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, etc.
Bogart, I also am concerned about the direction taken in the new cabinet members. Yet, I notice one thing...unless I am missing something, Trump has yet to start any new wars of any substance. This is worth something, it seems to me.Delete