Wednesday, October 30, 2019

JFK, Sun Tzu, and Trump


The text above makes no sense to readers. That was my intention.

I am making a point that people in Washington keep missing about Donald John Trump. Just because you fail to understand something does not mean it makes no sense. The coding behind this blog makes no sense to me, but it is not nonsense.

Jeff Greenfield and Andrew Malcolm in recent columns rose above the Washington punditry class to impart wisdom and insights into the president that should be required reading in DC. Greenfield wrote, "When JFK Was Trump."

Greenfield's theory is once burnt by the Bay of Pigs, Jack Kennedy was twice shy about advice from the experts. Being a quarter-century older when he took office, Donald John Trump had already learned skepticism.

High up in the column, Greenfield issued a disclaimer, "Kennedy and Donald Trump are hardly similar men, nor are they similar presidents. JFK’s 14 years of experience in the House and Senate, his knowledge of history and his prudence in public (as opposed to private) matters make that notion absurd." Only in DC are nearly 50 years as a CEO doing business internationally discarded as irrelevant.

Greenfield wrote, "in the closest brush with nuclear war ever — the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis — Kennedy repeatedly refused to strike at Soviet missile installations on the island.

"His judgment may well have made the difference between war and peace. But the military and intelligence heavyweights saw it otherwise. 'The greatest defeat in our history,' Air Force Chief Curtis LeMay called it. Former Secretary of State Dean Acheson — the ultimate 'wise man' who had confidently assured JFK that the Soviets would not respond to a military strike in Cuba — called the peaceful resolution of the crisis a matter of  'luck' and later said, 'We have to face the fact that the United States has no leader.' And Allen Dulles, the longtime CIA chief cashiered by JFK after the Bay of Pigs, said in retirement: 'Kennedy is weak, not a leader.'

"Kennedy, in turn, was sufficiently worried about his military advisers that he encouraged director John Frankenheimer to make a movie out of Seven Days in May, a novel about an attempted military coup, and even vacated the White House for a weekend to accommodate the movie’s shooting schedule."

Perhaps President Trump can encourage someone to do a remake.

Sadly, Lee Harvey Oswald, a communist, assassinated Kennedy. His successor listened to the wise men, and 58,000 U.S. soldiers died in Vietnam.

Kennedy was not the only president to defy the deep state. Reagan did so at the Reykjavík Summit, and Washington howled that this would lead to war. Instead, the Soviet Union collapsed 5 years later.

Advisers advise. Presidents decide. That's the deal.

Greenfield wimped out in the end, writing, "Under Trump, we have seen that a president without the gifts of knowledge and judgment is ill-served by ignoring advice from the grownups in the room. By relying on his own instincts in a phone call with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the president greatly strengthened the hands of Iran, Russia and ISIS while shaking our allies’ faith in America’s judgment."

Baghdadi is dead. The Kurds are safe. The border is secure. And if that is failure, let us have more.

There is an old saying that he cannot see the forest for the trees. In Washington, they cannot see the forest because they keep their eyes shut.

Meanwhile, Andrew Malcolm filed, "Trump trusts only Trump to say the right thing, which leads to confusion and chaos."

I agree wholeheartedly. Our disagreement is on whether this is a good thing or bad.

Which leads me to, "在动荡不安的战斗中,可能看起来有些混乱,但根本没有真正的混乱。在混乱和混乱中,您的阵列可能没有头也没有尾巴,但可以证明不会失败"

That is a Google translation in Chinese of advice from Sun Tzu from 2,500 years ago. He said, "Amid the turmoil and tumult of battle, there may be seeming disorder and yet no real disorder at all; amid confusion and chaos, your array may be without head or tail, yet it will be proof against defeat."

He went on to say, "Simulated disorder postulates perfect discipline, simulated fear postulates courage; simulated weakness postulates strength.

"Hiding order beneath the cloak of disorder is simply a question of subdivision; concealing courage under a show of timidity presupposes a fund of latent energy; masking strength with weakness is to be effected by tactical dispositions.

"Thus one who is skillful at keeping the enemy on the move maintains deceitful appearances, according to which the enemy will act. He sacrifices something, that the enemy may snatch at it.

"By holding out baits, he keeps him on the march; then with a body of picked men he lies in wait for him."

Which explains Donald John Trump's Twitter feed.

As president, his job is to listen to advice, consume information, and reach into his education and experience to make a decision.

As a CEO his job was to listen to advice, consume information, and reach into his education and experience to make a decision.

My only confusion is why so many intelligent people do not see this.

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