Thugs Gonna Thug

President Trump early Thursday welcomed three Americans who had been held captive by North Korea.CreditDoug Mills/The New York Times

Heh! Well, we all know David Brooks from way back, don’t we? He’s what passes for a conservative at the New York Times, which usually makes him a fellow traveler with the progressive left. But he has his moments. He had one recently in his column titled: Donald Trump’s Lizard Wisdom. Via PowerLine.

He starts by describing the amazingly corrupt, mob and union infested construction scene in New York and New Jersey, which makes North Korea seem benign sometimes.

And yet I can’t help but wonder if that kind of background has provided a decent education for dealing with the sort of hopped-up mobsters running parts of the world today. There is growing reason to believe that Donald Trump understands the thug mind a whole lot better than the people who attended our prestigious Foreign Service academies.

The first piece of evidence is North Korea. When Trump was trading crude, back-alley swipes with “Little Rocket Man,” Kim Jong-un, about whose nuclear button was bigger, it sounded as if we were heading for a nuclear holocaust led by a pair of overgrown prepubescents.

In fact, Trump’s bellicosity seems to have worked. It’s impossible to know how things will pan out, but the situation with North Korea today is a lot better than it was six months ago. Hostages are being released, talks are being held. There seems to be a chance for progress unfelt in years.

Maybe Trump intuited something about the sorts of people who run the North Korean regime that others missed.

The second piece of evidence is our trade talks with China. Over the past few decades, the Western diplomatic community made a big bet: If we all behaved decently toward Chinese leaders, then they’d naturally come to embrace liberal economic and cultural values and we could all eventually share a pinot at the University Club.

The bet went wrong. . .  The president has pushed back harder on the Chinese and has netted some results. After some Trump swagger, Xi Jinping promised to “significantly lower” Chinese tariffs on imported vehicles.

And then there is Iran.

Maybe Trump is right to intuit that the only right response to a monster is to enclose it. Maybe he’s right that when you sense economic weakness in a potential threat, you hit it again.

Please don’t take this as an endorsement of the Trump foreign policy. I’d feel a lot better if Trump showed some awareness of the complexity of the systems he’s disrupting, and the possibly cataclysmic unintended consequences. But there is some lizard wisdom here. The world is a lot more like the Atlantic City real estate market than the G.R.E.s.

I think that disclaimer at the end reduces the power of his logic quite a lot. But in the main, he’s right. Those of us that grew up in the real world, rather than the posh precincts, know perfectly well that the way you fix bullying (and that’s what a lot of the NorKs, the Chinese, the Iranians do) is to punch them in the nose, hard and repeatedly until they learn the lesson, at least as it applies to you, and those you care about. That this is done with armies, navies, and air forces, instead of bare knuckles only changes the scale. Teddy Roosevelt (who did quite well in foreign policy) referred to it as “Walk softly and carry a big stick”. You may have noticed that TR never had to use that stick.

Brooks is not a leftist, he lives in what could well be called the squishy middle, never quite joining one side or the other, rather like walking straddling a jagged ridgeline with slippery slopes on either side. Better him than me, but it pays better than writing this blog, so you pays your money and takes your choice.

On the other hand, Willie Brown, a very intelligent politician and a legendary former Speaker of the California Assembly, is a decided leftist. He recently wrote this:

It’s time for the Democrats to stop bashing President Trump.

It’s not going to be easy, given his policies and personality. It might even mean checking into a 12-step program. But setting a winning agenda is like maneuvering an aircraft carrier. It takes time to change course. And if they want to be on target for the November midterm elections, the Democrats need to start changing course now.

Like it or not, a significant number of Americans are actually happy these days. They are making money. They feel safe, and they agree with with the president’s protectionist trade policies, his call for more American jobs, even his immigration stance.

The jobs growth reports, the North Korea summit and the steady economy are beating out the Stormy Daniels scandal and the Robert Mueller investigation in Middle America, hands down.

So you are not going to win back the House by making it all about him.

Quoting from Steven in the above-linked PowerLine article.

He’s pretty much right, from where I sit. Things are hardly perfect, but there is a sense of optimism in the air, and Stormy and Mueller, whose principles rather resemble each other, are seen as merely an attempt to distract from what is increasingly good news.

Funny how that works, isn’t it?

 

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12 Responses to Thugs Gonna Thug

  1. the unit says:

    Yes, funny. Might even figure in to this latest Kim’s so called threat to cancel meeting with Trump. I may have contorted thought, but maybe Kim’s was expecting the left to keep Trump in check, maybe even getting rid of him. Then people like Willie start to come around in their way of looking at Trump’s methods. Maybe Kim thought better than to be agreeable and better to follow what’s worked for decades with other leaders.
    Of course, I have no idea, but “thugs gonna thug”. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • NEO says:

      Possible. My first thought was that his Nomenklatura explained to him what happens to defeated dictators. Not everybody is as smart as the Sov’s were at the end of the Cold War. 🙂

      Guess we’ll have to wait and see what happens.

      Liked by 1 person

      • the unit says:

        Ok, maybe kidnap Kim, like i.e. Gorbachev, then he could move into the Presidio in San Fran and run Green Cross International. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

        • NEO says:

          A plan, Stan. 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

        • the unit says:

          Hope his voice good. 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

        • NEO says:

          To make him sing, or perhaps compose? 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

        • the unit says:

          Either one. Them Russkies talented bunch of thugs. 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

        • the unit says:

          Oops, Kim not Russkie exackly, but culturological ideology what matters. 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

        • NEO says:

          🙂

          Liked by 1 person

        • the unit says:

          Culturological ideology…Thuggary. 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

        • NEO says:

          Yep 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

  2. Reblogged this on Boudica2015.

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