Trump has been in office for 6 months, and the world has not yet fallen apart. When Trump was elected, it seemed like a little bit of a relief in that tensions with Russia would likely go down. Hillary Clinton was provoking a game of chicken with Russia in Syria.
Unfortunately, things haven’t worked out that way. It was naive to expect Trump to get into office and overturn the U.S. empire. Just going against the spy agencies is a feat in itself. There is so much hatred for Trump though, that alliances have formed against him whether they admit it or not.
The Hillary Clinton supporters and the war hawks in the Republican establishment are on the same side. Even the Bernie Sanders wing, to a certain extent, has joined the party. They care more about opposing Trump than starting another war, let alone a war with a major nuclear power.
Since Trump won the presidency, all of the Trump enemies are trying to find an excuse to delegitimize Trump. Instead of just attacking Trump personally (which they continue to do), they also will risk war with Russia by making up stories about Russian interference in the election. In doing so, it has made things worse with Russia.
Luckily, Trump finally met with Putin recently. It should have happened sooner. I don’t think Trump wanted to go out of his way to meet up with Putin because of appearances, not that Trump should be one to care about appearances. We can all wonder what was said in that meeting with Putin. The hope (for us who favor peace) is that Putin told Trump the truth. The hope is that Putin told Trump that the spy state was against him (Trump) and that there are insiders who are continually betraying him. The hope is that Putin told Trump the real story of what is happening in Syria and that it is the U.S. that has been killing innocent people and funding the terrorists.
In terms of the Russia investigation, the most interesting story in the last week is Trump’s comments on the betrayal of Jeff Sessions, his attorney general.
Trump said of Sessions: “How do you take a job and then recuse yourself? If he would have recused himself before the job, I would have said, ‘Thanks, Jeff, but I’m not going to take you.’ It’s extremely unfair – and that’s a mild word – to the president.”
These are incredibly strong words. While Sessions was a Trump supporter early on (at least in his words), Trump obviously feels betrayed at this point. I see this as a positive development.
From a libertarian standpoint, Sessions is terrible. He may have a few good attributes as compared to other politicians (not saying much), but he is horrible on the issues that he focuses on. He is a big proponent of asset forfeiture, and he is a major drug warrior. While he comes across as a “law and order” kind of guy, he certainly isn’t that when it comes to the Constitution. He wants to ramp up the war on marijuana, even in states where it has been officially legalized. Of course, if he followed the Constitution, he would know that there should be no federal war on drugs.
It is also positive that Trump feels betrayed because there might be hope of him opening his eyes. While I am no great fan of Steve Bannon, I think he is more trustworthy than almost anyone else Trump has around him. At least Bannon is not an establishment guy, and he does not promote conflict with Russia like most of the others do.
I know that Trump has been a failure on most of his promises. He pulled the U.S. out of the Paris agreement, which made both sides happy. Sure, the left is outraged, but they like it that way. They need someone to beat on. But let’s face it – that whole climate agreement was basically unenforceable anyway. I liked the symbolism of Trump withdrawing, but it probably wasn’t much more than that.
On Obamacare and taxes, Trump has been a failure. Many Trump supporters would say it is a failure of the soft Republicans in Congress, which is right to a certain degree. But Trump should have pushed for immediate repeal before getting into office. He should have had the language of a bill ready to go on day one.
On government spending and deficits, Trump has been just as bad as all of his predecessors.
Even in the areas where I strongly disagree with Trump (tariffs and building a wall), he has done virtually nothing. I am glad on these fronts, but it just shows that not much has changed.
If there was one hope for libertarians, it was that Trump would change the foreign policy, or at least attempt to do so. So far, he has mostly been a disappointment. But maybe things are looking up a little after his meeting with Putin. He has also supposedly agreed to stop funding some terrorists. Maybe that is a result of his meeting with Putin.
Trump played too much ball with the establishment that is trying to take him down. He really shouldn’t trust most of his cabinet and his advisors. Most of them will hurt Trump in a second if they see it benefits them. Some of them already have hurt him whether he knows it or not. This includes Mike Pence. Pence is staying quiet on the sidelines for a reason. He will turn on Trump when the time is right, if that time should arise.
Maybe this is naive on my part, but I still have a small hope that Trump has some honesty and decency about him. It doesn’t mean that anyone should look up to him or think that he is an image of morality.
I see similarities with Trump and John F. Kennedy. Kennedy had his moral indiscretions as well. But I think Kennedy wanted to avoid nuclear war. He had something of a conscience. I think Trump might be the same way.
If Trump can just come to the full realization that the spy state, the deep state, the establishment, and the military industrial complex (or whatever you want to call all of these overlapping things) are all in opposition to him, then we will be better off. At least then he can fight against them instead of naively giving them more power.
While Trump has virtually no authentic support in Washington DC, he has to remember that nearly 63 million people cast a vote for him last November. That is where his power lies. That is where he needs to find friends. Those are the only people he can truly trust.