Possibly, and with an Encore?
BY: Jeffrey M. Koopersmith, Editor Emeritus
WASHINGTON DC 28 APRIL 2018 – As I wound my way through two UC campuses, Southwestern Law School, and USC graduate school in the 1970s and 80s most of my attention was on law, but especially international law and world public policy. I had no interest in joining the state department nor some other position in diplomacy, yet I was fascinated and appalled at the manner in which diplomats conducted their very sensitive and over-complex careers without accomplishing much more than a continuation of “small wars” around the globe dueling with a variety of cold war enemies from within innocent and other nations’ or broken lands ripe for communist realities.
Of course, Vietnam, the USSR, and China were the most alluring aspects to my overactive mind, more than thirty years ago which came and went hourly as some other interest moved my attention away from affairs of state to getting, somehow, a Mustang convertible.
A friendship in the mid-1990s with Linda and Leonard that began in Russia redirected my attention to diplomacy and how it is impacted by national security concerns. Linda and I met on a tumultuous inspection and enlightenment tour of St. Petersburg hosted by the Russian Government rarely matched and led by Washington DC Esther, a hostess with the mostest, who had been a diplomat to the United Nations under Carter and a lost cousin of mine.
A group of us had anted up 10 thousand dollars respectively during those first years of perestroika led by the traditional power mongers in Russia at that period. For this donation a group of joined flights from Washington and New York on Aeroflot directly to St. Petersburg. My interest was almost wholly academic although I had business interests prior in ethanol as a blend spun into gasoline to increase power and decrease pollution – at least that’s how it was, and still is, sold to Congress and Americans. I saw some well-known Adams whiskey brewers aboard and decided they too must be interest in buying ethyl alcohol and then denaturing it for use as gasoline in trade for potable alcohol made by distillers around the world. Our reason for the monetary gifts to diplomats was to help pay the cost of a small castle-like building which would be rehabilitated and used to preserve fabulous Russian antiquities that was much ignored during the Soviet dominance of that nation
To make a long story a bit shorter, we all had a wonderful time which included a delightfully placed hotel, almost every evening at the ballet, symphony or opera sitting in the former Tsars boxes, and musically reminded to think back to Russian and ensuing Soviet history with, at least, the backs of our minds. Russia, if you have not traveled there is a grimy jewel box of a hundred years prior when Tsarist Russia ruled much of this earth’s acreage.
Leonard, Linda’s husband, who was the irreplaceable national security advisor to the White House and an unusually active vice president.
Leonard knew what was up, but we hardly ever discussed foreign policy becuase too much secret clearance and “eyes only” knowledge could not be shared with us – although I did have, at one time, a top secret clearance from the CIA to manage and publish the pert charts for the famous ‘Glomar Explorer’ which in the end was not an oil detective ship of great epense, but built entirely to drop over an ocean trench and lift some Soviet aircraft and parts off the ocean floor where that plane met a fearful disaster for its pilot and sunk quite low into the depths. I only learned this decade later when the truth about Glomar became known by those interested in this long-held undiscussed secret.
At any rate, dinner, lunch, home made potato pancakes and chinese food brought Linda and Leonard to top of my top list of smart and harmiing freinds in Washington and they and Esther offered me small and splended feasts at their homes with for ambassdors and other leaders in the policy “heavens” including dining at the Indian Ambassdors home in Washington and escorting Esther to events like Syria’s Assad Sr,’s birthday party in Washington amd aldo another treat to a two hour dance and opera perfmoramance, and a following dinner next to a wonderful and sadly missed blonde Supremette, with entertinament by one of India’s top divas while her mother watched over her and us like a gracious but all-seeing hawk.
I have never asked anyone about my sense about the manner in which diplomacy is conducted in “our” time. I did, however, talk just a little with the British Ambassador about English security and diplomacy in the early 2000s while his graceful wife and I shared our different forms of early “vaping” to cure our nasty cigarette smoking. I don’t know if Madame ever did stop the now and then cigarette – but I am yet a stubborn pack a day smoker of British cigarettes made by Dunhill in Switzerland. I have convinced myself that the British America Tobacco Company tells the truth that there are no chemicals added to its dearly-priced “butts”!
Without even realizing, I had stored quite a lot of information and opinion about foreign affairs during my then age 45-65 years watching and noting the goings-on in the nation’s capital. I had dined and then cruised on someone’s private yacht in Maryland with Bill and Hillary Clinton along with cousin Esther before he was the assured candidate for president. He was my obvious choice while we settled into a short one-on-one discussion about his campaign which I never involved myself with except to make a moderate contribution now and then. I do recall that I told the soon to be two-term president that I thought he should “rid himself” of certain unnamed individuals who seemed to make more insider (and adverse) news that he was. He thanked me and the only time I was close to him again was at the inaugural – and not that close!
So with all this said I want to offer a serious question of whether Donald Trump could be the next example of power diplomacy which may have stopped many large and small warring over the centuries – not least by Winston Churchill who famously fought the Nazis in – well everywhere and ended up winning a terrible and protracted war with Franklin Roosevelt’s far more powerful aid and our general’s “beat them Nazis” offensive not defensive directions. When I look back to the 1940s, I can’t help but think what would have happened to the United States if we had not entered the war against Hitler and won it with great effort and expense of millions of lives and boundless treasure.
So today I find Donald Trump, not brought up or practiced in being a president – but certainly earning A Pluses in harsh dealing including the use of mild deceit, trickery, and soft thuggishness.
We must look around the globe today and see what Donald Trump has wrought in only 16 months on the job after his long months of learning to pose and then be the most powerful single entity on Earth.
Who were our enemies before the Donald flew in his stretch super-jet aircraft complete with a lavish Hermes-like interior?
At his entrance, we Americans were muddling with China. We were yet angry with Iran – but more as a not-so-former foe put on hold by John Kerry for a supposed 15 years before Iran flew its missiles into the Chicago River or somesuch.
Vladamir Putin had virtually taken Russia by the throat and heart as well as sidelining many old timers and sotted Communist leadership, sometimes more than virtually. Putin had allowed the unthinkable production of multi-billionaires in the former Soviet Union. He was already a stern but occasionally equitable dictator on his way to what seems a never-ending almost absolute position as “Chief” of Russia – and for all aspects of Russian and others lives. The U.S. was and still is, friendly with India under Obama and Trump and both with certainly with the “proper” Arab families and nations including Egypt and especially Saudi Arabia.
Trump made his first week’s remarkable while, at all times, insulting almost all nations in one way or another – playfully or viciously – friendly or not so friendly. Trump installed a lovely governor as U.N. Ambassador – a sign that he would dictate even that relationship with the U.N. posingly hated by the dumbest Republicans because they could not understand how to use the United Nations to their benefit. Trump saw and still seems to know what an amusing and moderately powerful world-voice the U.N. offers, and has spoken there amongst several dozen countries who pretend to hate him and the United States for a variety of petty and severe reasons both economic, traditional, and psychotic as acted out by Islam extremists who so stupidly made their people think religions would continue to make war against each other until they are on somewhat equal monetary mountains or entirely victorious. (A pleasant thought; such equality – but never happening due to the biological and chemical makeup of humanity, oops and womankind.)
Trump has been a witting or accidental student of Machiavelli, Churchill, FDR, and Kennedy with a bow to Ronald Reagan for the “take down that wall speech in Berlin so long ago). He does not start making nice (most of the time).
The President sees former state department leadership simply as “pussyness.” He believes that only the CIA is the core-strength of the nation, and the FBI although potentially a great arm is far too aligned with the moderate and not-so-moderate left to be trusted. (Which is not true)
All this makes sense if you are Donald Trump. But does it make sense to the old guard and to history which is a harsh taskmistress?
I think it may be the short-term answer if it does not stretch into some crazy New Empire Build, as it did with all the large European Nations over centuries, with a capital B on Britain in later eras. Spain, Portugal, and France made their way around the world dividing it up like a giant banquet. Even Italy had some luck in Africa. However – now look at those empire-building countries – They are awash in less than high status while the United States, because – I offer – did not join in the open imperialism of the Europeans instead used France, for instance, to win the Revolution – which we were reminded of so romantically when President Macron and President Trump had a broffair this past week in Washington.
Trump or his tutors before him are spectacular users of the media, in all genres – although the President, at least outwardly likes Twitter to express his outrage or secret lack thereof sending mixed signals not only to Americans but the world. I think at least 50 million people read his “tweets” – some seemingly inane, but most made for a very specific and purpose in the President’s mind. If you accept that he writes them all – which I do not. Then he has been an outstanding arms-length negotiator with all the fuss and fancy food and drink others seem to need.
Keep in mind that I do not support either the right or left in this Trump-led battle for our votes and hearts.
I am a moderate and have supported – mistakenly or not – both Republicans and Democrats at all levels. I have openly opposed radically left politicians and certainly fundamentally right pols. I was a leader for Students for Reagan while in high school in California for his first gubernatorial win. I went to the white house to see him. I also, at 11 years old went to Jack Kennedy’s office to receive some award for being bright in 1961. I visited the Clinton white often to see my favorite staff members and to meet with Congresspeople and staff who made up the start of Girl Power.
My conclusions on Trump thus far are these:Donald Trump knows far better than any news man from CNN to FOX to the NY Times, or the NY Post how to handle power-mad leaders around the world.
Russia, China, France, Japan, South and North Korea, and even Mexico are already on his most excellent hits list – not to mention Central America which he wisely ignores and most countries that lie under the equator either because they are uncomfortably boiling in many ways, or are meaningless in terms of world peace or destruction – for now my friends, for now.Donald Trump is more than fair to his most prominent supporters and honors even some that did not support him. The tax gift to the richest was beyond the pale – but the upper middle class, of which I am a part – has also benefited in some substantial ways.
Donald Trump has been careful to adopt a family-first persona even when it was not in his best interests which he did not see until the week before last when something happened internally that I cannot discuss but which put some family on notice to be careful.Donald Trump’s worst grades go to his past and some present choices for high positions in the White House including Cabinet Level losers – almost in total. That is something I cannot understand except to say he has not chosen someone brilliant as choices for aides, or at least “for” him – or because he has had to use these nutty appointments to create a distraction with his legal troubles, sometimes morally, and monetarily (personally).
Trump’ handling of the national economy has been almost awe-inspiring to at least 40 percent of the nation and more because the true Trump lovers are less willing to tell pollsters that they adore him.
I do believe that this wild economic party has just about ended now, and will continue to creep up on insoluble problems that could lead to another severe “recession” – perhaps not as big as the last one which was, in many opinions, truly a “depression” – something that President Obama’s people and the Congress either did not understand or could not go further with although they did divert the worst with mega billions in loans to criminal enterprises – in my opinion.
If you think Trump is a racist or hates aliens – you are probably wrong. His entire life has been soaked in both people of all creeds and all religions. He is a huge supporter of Israel, and he simultaneously hugs and kisses the Saudis et al.) and the impressive circus that greeted him in Arabia’s wealthiest and most powerful nation) is evident. Trump has also not been very tough on Arabs terrorists outside of American borders. I think he believes we can erase them all in a few days if need be. I also think he is wrong there.
Trump has been far too dismissive of Black American’s needs, poverty, and other problems and his appointments of sad excuses to head those departments and chairmanships that have the most power for or against Black Americans is awful. Those in poverty, and the elderly who now face almost desperately tiny social security and other raided pensions. They too will be starving by the millions much sooner than later.
Trump, although he may appreciate that the newest generations are also the dumbest because of so-called charter schools most often built from racist ideas or worse. Trump must also realize that geniuses among the young are even better-taken care of by private and public means than ever before with corporate money propping up the best universities to the point where they need not charge tuition at all.
To me, the president’s most significant failures are against nature because so few people appreciate life beyond humanity although so many non-profits who at least POSE as the answer to animal cruelty and Global Weather, seem to accomplish nothing. Trump must also re-enter the Paris Accords on the environment one way or another – and it appears that he may be leaning that way
Whether or not Russian or Russians, or Estonians, or whoever, did interfere in the 2016 election is not yet settled, nor is Trump’s knowledge thereof. So, I won’t defend or prosecute him personally for that disaster. At least not now. However, the way Trump treats Russia makes many people believe he is paying Vladimir Putin back for his close win in the Presidential race against Hillary Clinton. She only lost because of an arcane joke labeled The Email.
Even I believe that something new and untried resulted in Trumps win – but then again, many presidents including Kennedy, Nixon, Clinton, and Obama have also won partially because of new methods to treat old NEEDS.
Those needs are aimed, as carefully as possible, to assess how individuals or small blocs of voters will proceed when voting, and how the scene should be set far before that time.
This has been going on since the birth of the nation in more subtle ways. Now the science behind what once was only a welcome technical achievement is way ahead – perhaps too way forward for our good.
If the President did knowingly enter deals with Russia or Russians on the matter, he should be tried and perhaps imprisoned. If not, or if no one can, or is willing to try or impeach him [And, that’s important to consider (would you want Pence as president?)] Such moves must be taken care of with precision under the law. I understand very well how difficult it would be to make interventions in our elections as crimes, and primarily to prosecute them if they were perpetrated in a foreign country with no agreements to send their criminals to the USA for trial. We can hope that any American who participate knowingly in changing the rules to favor developed scientific methods to alter or amend election outcomes should go to prison as traitors.
If Donald Trump and his family, as well as closest friends, were keen they would never have allowed themselves to be told he could win via these methods, and in fact Trump and his people have already put down some markers on that theory because he has said prior to the results of the 2016 election and after that he was shocked to have won!- A weak alibi but there nonetheless. He must have had provable intent to throw that election as well, I believe, an assuredness that such would work. Desperate for any prosecutor – although unfair as well.
I think many gloomy and tragic things will come from our new forms of communication and invading them and our privacy so profoundly that Facebook and Microsoft know which tampons your wife prefers. The plight of Facebook and others has yet not been addressed in courts of law – but it will be as people begin to sue them and others by what are called “adhesion” contracts that supposedly gave the perps permission to spy on us. In many jurisdictions, this is not possible, but in federal courts, this and other harms could have come because of reaping private information not knowingly shared. You can imagine how many cases – and the dozens of causes of action against Facebook and the British firm who used Facebook Data to mess with voters- not to mention hundreds of other data miners who steal your life, loves, and addresses to publish it for money.
All this will be a long time settled in any case. Thus, whether Trump had no idea about Russia or whoever was messing with our minds and votes – or he did know. He is treating Russia too openly and positively for most of us. However, there are many more reasons to treat Russia without much animus. They are a vast and powerful destructive force right now as they reach their teenage years and suffer from significant poverty we have helped continue. We should be cautious about how and when we punish them once the truth(s) are found. However, all will out itself in time. I could take a decade or more – or it could be next week that we find out the most crucial truth(s) or prosecutorial maybes. Thus, I rest my case on Russia, and it’s naughty and terrible acts over the past decade or more. None, however, have been directly aimed at the United States – only at our values – which are also so questionable today – more than ever before. All values and “isms” are always doubtful – do not forget that and be armed with your points before tweeting!
Let’s see. There is one more thing I have also tweeted President Trump about:
I would suggest he think about putting a select board of health insurance companies to manage American Healthcare as a quasi-private effort with White House and Congressional oversight. While few would really want healthcare nationalized in the near future – Huge pharmaceutical companies, the AMA, Pharma, hospitals, and doctors, in general, must be reined in or an actual revolution could evolve just from the more than 100 million elderly now struggling and that will be fighting the worst failures of the left – which are sadly abundant and often hidden inside the web of healthcare.
President Trump must do one more thing to make ‘me’ happy:
Obama never did it,
He must convince Congress to gather strength and produce a cabinet department titled – “The Department of America Joy” – which will cautiously but often spend great millions on surprise gifts to the poor and elderly including small and large moves that bring grins and broad smiles. This new department is so relevant to bring back America’s true wonder which has always been, to my mind, the most alluring thing to other nationals. So many non-heroes are far too ignored. It’s sort of like the New York Times’ recent efforts to write stories about people that it should never have forgotten to tell us off.
Our country is beyond just rewarding heroes, geniuses, and creators – it is also a place where you should, through little effort on your part be shocked by a $5,000 check from Uncle Sam – representing a country that says and knows that many people are wealthy and happy because of nothing more than luck with a “BIG L”.
Americans, no matter who they are, or where they stand, are a miserable group today. The rich are unhappy because of the most unfortunate point to them in unusually cruel ways. The poor are unhappy with little room for movement out of poverty despite what you hear. The elderly are committing suicide rather than suffering pain because they cannot afford medicines and pain relievers at the end of their days.