Trump's No Safe Bet; He's a Leader
Perhaps this explains why Donald Trump is unsettling to so many people: He doesn’t ever go down the familiar well-trodden path of safe choices, polling data, focus groups, or incremental change.
No, he is a real leader — a trailblazer — someone who sees a thick forest where the wilderness begins and tells his people, “I can get through that, and if I do, we will be so much better off than we are now on our little perch at the edge of the sea.” Follow me, he says, and I will show you wonders like you have never seen before.
This is so unlike our usual politicians that many people cower in fear whenever President Trump speaks. It also produces a cottage industry of “thought leaders” who specialize in urging the nation back to “safety” — back to the familiar, back to the easy, back to the beach.
You can see the typical politician on full display in the current lineup of Democrat presidential candidates, of course, but also in all of those establishment Republican congressmen, senators and wannabe presidents who have soured an entire generation of Americans on conservatism. If you only knew conservatism from the examples of Mitt Romney, Paul Ryan and John Boehner, the logical and apt conclusion would be that Republican conservatism specializes in capitulation and moral apoplexy. You would never guess that Republicans might be capable of acting upon principle to serve the country they love.
I was pondering how remarkably different Trump is from that brand of Republican, and why the media establishment hates him so, when the answer was handed to me by Herman Cain, the entrepreneur who was himself an iconoclastic presidential candidate in 2012 before he was brought low by dirty tricks and character aspersions.
Cain was a guest on “Varney & Co.” Thursday on Fox Business when he dished up the following dictum about the president: “A safe bet is not a leader. This is why they hate Donald Trump so much. He is not a safe bet; he is a leader.”
As a leader, he doesn’t take no for an answer. When Congress told the president, no, he could not build a wall to protect our southern border, Trump replied, “Just watch me.” He signed an executive order that allowed him to use existing provisions in federal law to fund hundreds of millions of dollars of construction, which is now underway. More than 400 miles of the wall is expected to be built by the end of 2020.
When Mexico told him it would not help stem the flow of illegal aliens across that nation, the president announced that he would be imposing a 5% tariff on Mexican imports that would eventually rise to 25%. Mirabile dictu, the president of Mexico announced a few days later that he was sending 6,000 soldiers to the border with Guatemala to stop the influx of migrants from Central America. A few weeks later, when Guatemala’s president tried to renege on a deal to provide asylum as a “safe third country” for migrants from other Central American nations, Trump threatened sanctions, and suddenly Guatemala was a safe third country.
Call it leadership or call it the ability to get things done.
Of course, when the president is in mid-negotiation, there is a chance he may be subject to doubt even by those who trust him. But he is surrounded by those who don’t trust him, who don’t believe he is capable of delivering on his extravagant promises, and they shriek loudly (if anonymously) about the president’s "dangerous” change agenda. These establishmentarians have been trained by decades of torpor to seek only the lowest common denominator and never to raise their sights above the swamp they inhabit.
Those are the same people who refuse to recognize Trump’s many successes, and who consider him a con man or worse. Often, they disagree with his policies, so they consider his successful implementation of things like moving the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem or exiting the Paris climate accords and Iran deal to be international fiascos.
The ongoing negotiations with China over that nation’s predatory trade practices are a case in point. Everyone in D.C. has known for decades that the Chinese are masters of stealing technology and industrial secrets and that our dependency on them for a steady diet of cheap goods has depleted our own manufacturing resources to the point of anorexia. Yet nothing has gotten done.
Along came Trump, with his punitive tariffs and his demands for fair play, and the talking heads exploded. How dare he expect us to pay more for our iPhone or other made-in-China technology! But the president brushed off his critics and insisted that China was bearing the brunt of the tariffs, not U.S. consumers. He also happily pointed out that many manufacturers are fleeing China for safer territories such as Vietnam or South Korea, which will damage the Chinese economy and strengthen the U.S. bargaining position. As a true leader, he set a goal for us as a nation, and is working tirelessly to get us to the promised land of free trade.
Oddly enough, China’s global ambitions also played a role in Trump’s most recent foray into the wilderness — his announcement that the United States would be interested in purchasing Greenland from Denmark. When the president first floated the idea, it was widely dismissed as a madcap jest by a madman billionaire. Trump himself tweeted a meme that showed a Trump Tower on Greenland, and joked, “I promise not to do this to Greenland.” But then the facts started to catch up with the media’s breathless attempts to paint Trump as a crazy old man. Turns out that — as so often with this president — if he is crazy, it is crazy as a fox.
We found out in short order that the idea of the United States buying Greenland had been on the table since at least 1867, that there are important security concerns that could be addressed by acquiring Greenland, that the giant island is an untapped resource for rare earths and other minerals, and that Greenland is a massive drain on the Danish economy — to the tune of $750 million a year.
In addition, President Trump was well aware that the Chinese had already expressed their own interest in Greenland, offering to fund millions of dollars of infrastructure improvements on the island as part of the plan for global economic domination known as the “Belt and Road Initiative.” The United States put a stop to that proposal by warning Denmark that we would not tolerate Chinese infiltration of North America, but that didn’t mean we weren’t interested in obtaining the island ourselves.
Of course, the Danish prime minister called the president’s idea “absurd,” leading Trump to cancel a long-planned state visit to Denmark. To the mainstream media, this was more evidence of a presidency that’s out of control, but for those of us who have looked at the president’s track record, it is just one stopping point on the way to owning Greenland.
Remember, they mocked Secretary of State William Seward for negotiating the 1867 purchase of Alaska from Russia, calling it “Seward’s Folly.” Some folly. Too bad that Seward didn’t go through with his proposal to buy Greenland the same year. If he had, maybe there really would be a Trump Tower there already. In any case, it’s an idea that would be good for Greenlanders (who would become U.S. citizens), for Denmark’s taxpayers (who foot the bill for what is essentially a colossal nature preserve) and of course for the United States, which is always looking for a new frontier to conquer.