a man who has been in the public limelight for more than 30 years, it
is remarkable how little Donald Trump is properly understood, simply
because he is now the president of the United States and no longer a
real-estate magnate and media celebrity.
When I was in the White House, and even today, if ever I am asked to help explain the way President TrumpDonald John TrumpAccuser says Trump should be afraid of the truth Woman behind pro-Trump Facebook page denies being influenced by Russians Shulkin says he has White House approval to root out 'subversion' at VA MORE thinks and acts, I always start with the same advice: Read “The Art of the Deal.”
For diplomats, journalists or simply the unconvinced, this is the
quickest and most accurate way of understanding just how much America
changed when we chose the iconoclastic non-politician for the highest
office in the land.
decisions from the Oval Office, especially on steel and aluminum
tariffs, as well as the developments out of the Korean peninsula,
underscore the enormity of the shift in the American politics and our
role in the world as a nation which shapes geopolitics as opposed to
just riding along its wavetops and being buffeted by events.
One of the earliest declarative statements from “The Art of the Deal”
is the advice Donald Trump gives that you should never ever be so
invested in a yet-to-be-sealed deal that you cannot walk away from it at
any juncture. This attitude informed President Trump for
nigh on half a century in the private sector, and it still informs his
decisions today as president, from the Paris Accord to NAFTA.
negotiations themselves, or maintaining the established way of doing
business, are never the objectives. The real objective is defined by
realizing your interests, which may not be possible if the status quo is
maintained. President Trump may not be a biblical exegete, but I can
assure you that he instinctively knows that there are times when you
simply have to “turn over the tables in the temple” to get things done.
other words, outside of our borders, in relations with other nations
and organizations, there are very few sacred cows, especially if the
matter at hand clashes directly with promises candidate Trump made to
the American people. That is why, for example, despite howls from the
establishment and even members of his own team, President Trump was
never going to cave on recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of the
eternal Jewish state or renege on his promises to American coal miners
and steel workers.
This commitment to promises made
is all the more valid given that the president has minimal respect for
the so-called “elite” that has been responsible for all the many
policies that have undermined America financially and otherwise in
recent decades, from interminable wars in the Middle East to trade deals
and international regimes that facilitated the rise of a Communist
China which steals our secrets wholesale, intimidates our friends and
props up rogue regimes who preach our destruction.
put, this is the “Revenge of Common Sense,” a characteristic of the new
commander-in-chief which appeals to ordinary Americans all over the
country, including areas that were long considered Democratic
strongholds. The bucking of the establishment and its conventional
wisdoms is, in fact, something the president relishes, most particularly
when it comes to otherwise indefensible nostrums which have embedded
themselves into the collective mind of the body politic.
many times have we had to hear over the last few weeks that there are
only 600,000 Americans working in the steel industry but millions in
steel-dependent manufacturing, such as the automotive sector? Yet, did
anyone stop to think what the logical ramifications of this “critique”
of the president’s tariff policy truly are?
unsophisticated boilerplate criticism only holds water if you subscribe
to a belief that a national economy is a closed system and that we
should never increase the number of steel workers because somehow for
every additional foundryman you hire you must fire an assembler on a
manufacturing line. Such zero-sum thinking is fine for a class in
dialectic materialism in Pyongyang, but not on Wall Street, or the
Chamber of Commerce, or anywhere else within a free market. Like the
president, most Americans know instinctively that wealth is not an issue
of redistribution in a bubble, but that it has always been created,
from the historic Gold Rush, to Henry Ford, to Silicon Valley.
President Obama sent Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonWoman behind pro-Trump Facebook page denies being influenced by Russians Trump: CNN, MSNBC 'got scammed' into covering Russian-organized rally Pennsylvania Democrats set to win big with new district map MORE
to present a mislabeled “reset button” to the Kremlin. In reality,
there was no reset. The Obama administration did not effectively address
the expansionist and destabilizing behavior of former KGB colonel
Vladimir Putin, not even after he invaded Ukraine. With regard to the
Middle East, the Obama White House empowered the murderous regime in
Iran by releasing $150 billion to Tehran, paying a cash ransom and
agreeing to the Iran deal that wouldn’t, in fact, prevent a nuclear
breakout by the mullahs.
In Egypt, President Obama
embraced the Muslim Brotherhood government of Mohammed Morsi. In Iraq,
he decided to prematurely withdraw before our work was done and Al Qaeda
had been crushed, thus sowing the seeds for ISIS. With regard to Asia,
the last administration refused to take any meaningful action as Beijing
expanded its reach with military installations on illegal artificial
atolls, all the while perpetuating its acquiescence to North Korea’s
continued policy of nuclear blackmail of Washington and the West.
Ironically, all this while in ownership of a Nobel Peace Prize.
Trump may not have been awarded a prize by anyone, let alone from the
now increasingly irrelevant Nobel Committee. But he has effected a true
reset, and a global one at that, from a revitalized NATO finally
committed, after decades of sloth, to paying its fair share on defense,
to the crushing of the physical caliphate of ISIS, to the restoration of
our relations with nations we had turned our backs on, most
importantly, Israel and Egypt. It is a reset that included tough talk
with China and North Korea, talk followed up by actions that have led to
a response on behalf of Pyongyang, which may take us to the cusp of
bringing peace and stability to the region after 65 years of potential
And we are only in the fourteenth month of the Trump presidency.
Sebastian GorkaSebastian Lukacs GorkaGovernment security clearances, not Rob Porter, are the real issue Kelly at center of storm over aide's resignation Will the FISA memo turn into Obama's Watergate? MORE, Ph.D., is a national security strategist with Fox News and former deputy assistant and strategist to President Trump. He is the author of the New York Times bestseller “Defeating Jihad: The Winnable War.” You can follow him on Twitter @SebGorka.