Swamp Critter Chosen by Trump
by JBS President Emeritus John F. McManus
Donald Trump loves catchy phrases. Most Americans have heard him insist on the need to “Make America Great Again.” How to attain such a worthy goal doesn’t require a painstaking search. A return to what made our country great in the first place is all that’s necessary. That means strict adherence to the still standing U.S. Constitution.
The document governing the nation’s affairs since 1789 created strong brakes on government power and meddling. Decades of drifting away from the Constitution has led to an array of both domestic and foreign problems. Still, the Constitution is the blueprint that made our country the envy of the world. Sad to say, however, reliance on the venerable document hasn’t been the primary focus on the current president’s agenda, or that of his numerous predecessors.
More recently, Mr. Trump has decided that “Drain the Swamp” is a better crowd pleaser. To most Americans, the “swamp” consists of those who don’t have America’s best interest at heart. The president has taken a few steps toward lessening the effect of the swamp denizens, but they’re still around and more needs to be done to lessen their influence.
One who most would consider part of the “swamp” is John Bolton. But this man has just been tapped by Mr. Trump to be our nation’s newest national security adviser. It’s troubling as Bolton is the direct opposite of Mr. Trump’s early claim to be a non-interventionist.
Described by many as an experienced diplomat who served our nation as Ambassador to the United Nations, Bolton should be known as a neoconservative war monger anxious to force the rest of the world to bend to America’s will. His bellicose urgings kept him from gaining senate approval for the UN post given him by President George W. Bush. When the Senate turned thumbs down on that appointment, Bush waited until that body was no longer in session to award Bolton what is termed a “recess” appointment, a tainted award if ever there was one. Numerous senators from both political parties were wary of the man and he couldn’t win Senate confirmation so Bush gave it to him in a legal but underhanded way.
John Bolton has long been a member of the sovereignty-despising Council on Foreign Relations. It would be difficult to find anyone more committed to unnecessary war. He partnered in wanting a second war against Iraq after the lightning quick removal of Saddam Hussein’s forces from Kuwait in 2001. As a member of the Project for the New American Century (PNAC) dreamed up by neocons Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Abrams, Perle, and Armitage, he joined with his PNAC internationalists to have Iraq invaded again. After the first President Bush lost to Bill Clinton in 1992, these bellicose internationalists tried to get President Clinton to attack Iraq. But Bill had other concerns to deal with and other ideas about how to create the New World Order.
After Clinton’s eight years in office, Bolton called on President George W. Bush to wage preemptive war against Iran. He has lately insisted that our nation should conduct cyber warfare against Russia, China, Iran, North Korea and any other nation accused of this new form of warfare.
The Constitution isn’t being relied upon by the Trump administration. If it were guiding the President and his policymakers, America’s troops would be brought home from endless wars such as those in Afghanistan and Syria. There would be widespread closing down of U.S. military presence in the 130 nations where American troop contingents are currently posted.
But expecting John Bolton as the president’s national security adviser to change Washington’s reigning militarism is unrealistic. John Bolton should be scorned, not elevated to a very sensitive post.
Understanding Donald Trump
by JBS President Emeritus John F. McManus
For about ten months in the early days of the Trump-for-President campaign, Sam Nunberg was one of the real estate Mogul’s campaign advisers. Before the November 2016 election however, the candidate and Nunberg had a falling out, not over anything in the political realm but over Trump’s charge that his adviser had violated a confidentiality pledge.
Nunberg hasn’t completely disavowed the positive attitude he had about the man who became president. But he does render an opinion about Mr. Trump when asked for one. After the recent flurry of negotiations over the new spending budget, a writer for the New York Times sought him out for perspective about his former boss’s modus operandi. Here’s what Nunberg offered:
The misconception is that the president does not know what he does not know. In my experience, the reality is that the president knows what he does not know and does not think he needs to know it. He’s a C.E.O. The tiny details are for his staff.
That says a lot about the man who now occupies the White House’s Oval Office. He’s not interested in the details. For him, the goal is to make a deal, not to fret over the minutiae. Unfortunately, one of the details within the latest budget deal is its increase in the already enormous national debt.
The deal produced some outspoken dissenters among GOP House members who form the hardline Freedom Caucus. Representative Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) said, “The swamp won and the American taxpayer lost.” He added, “This is the second largest spending increase in a decade. It is not what we said we would do and we’re going to have to fight harder to get things back on track.”
Fellow Caucus member Mark Meadows (R-S.C.) criticized his GOP leaders while terming their complicity an example “caving in.” He repeated what his Ohio colleague had stated about the GOP leadership caving, the swamp winning, and the American taxpayer losing. Freedom Caucus members were always willing to steer funds to the military. But adding to the already record-setting $20.5 trillion national debt is something they surely did not want.
Making America great again has long been Donald Trump’s slogan. A respected high-level Trump employee now in retirement did his very best to suggest the way to accomplish the goal contained in the “great again” slogan. At Trump headquarters in New York City, he passed along a suggested follow-up to explain in simple terms how America could indeed be made great again. His suggestion, short and easily understood by anyone, stated, “America became great not because of what government did, but because of what government was prevented from doing by the Constitution.”
You never heard Donald Trump say that either because it never got to him or because he didn’t want to tie himself to its wisdom. Maybe he doesn’t agree with its good sense. Maybe it’s because he never thought he needed what it said to win the election. Maybe he doesn’t know much about the Constitution that he and every member of Congress swears to uphold. Or maybe it’s one of those pesky “details” left for staff members to fret over. The many underlings know that they dare not cross the line by suggesting that the current president of the United States has adopted spending habits worthy of his political opponents.
Whatever the case, the weight of huge indebtedness has grown larger for the American people, including the nations young people who have had no opportunity to disapprove its enormity or the many unconstitutional programs responsible for its growing burden. The debt is not one of those “tiny details” mentioned by Sam Nunberg. It’s a problem that could America its very existence as an independent nation.