Trump’s “Popular Hawk” Dilemma
It’s tough being Donald Trump. The Deep State hates you, the Neocons hate you, Conservatism Inc. hates you, GOP hacks hate you, and even the Alt-Right is sometimes less than complimentary. And that’s just from people who are supposed to be on your side.
Despite all the “friendly fire” — and the relentless barrage from the Left — Trump has managed to keep things together and even nudged the country in the right direction.
But more than that, he has become a symbol of hope to the masses long shut out of America’s so-called democratic processes, and the relationship is mutual. When Trump is in a corner it is the American people to whom he looks for support. This means that for Trump, popularity, expressed in poll numbers and approval ratings, is not just important around election time. It is of vital importance all the time, bigly.
With the sound of sharpening impeachment knives forever ringing in his ears, popularity is his best defence against his enemies. If his numbers plummet, few would question unorthodox moves to oust him, no matter how underhanded. But with the people at his back, his enemies — at least some of them — would think twice.
But how can he boost his popularity?
There is the stuff that really resonates with his base — border security, the clamp down on illegal immigrants, draining the swamp, job-related anti-globalism, etc. But a lot of that, as we have seen, runs into all sorts of complex opposition from the cucks in Congress and an over-politicized judiciary. This means that path can often be a difficult, uphill struggle.
In the realm of foreign policy, however, the President is more unfettered by the other branches of government. He is freer to do what he wants. For this reason foreign policy has become a kind of safety valve for the Trump administration. Whenever the domestic pressure is too intense and approval ratings are sliding, the administration can always find an escape in some popular piece of overseas posturing.
Unfortunately the actions that seem to have the best payoff are hawkish chest-thumping acts. Whenever there is some tense stand-off, with accompanying footage of bombers, aircraft carriers, or marines being readied on TV, then — weirdest thing! — Trump’s numbers seem to either stop falling or rise.
There are two reasons for this. One is that it galvanizes the patriotard element that has always been a massive part of the GOP base. The other is that the Leftist media is now a lot more Neocon than anyone (outside the Alt-Right) would have suspected possible. Whenever there is the smell of war in the air, suddenly Trump’s not such a bad guy after all. The President knows that if he wants to boost his numbers he merely has to pick a fight, rhetorical or otherwise, with some “dastardly” foreign power.
A combined graph and timeline showing Trump’s approval and disapproval ratings during his first 100 days, published by the boomer cuck newspaper the Daily Telegraph, highlights some interesting points. Back in March when his approval rating was sagging towards the low 30s, the Trump administration managed to turn things around by releasing a number of statements criticising North Korea’s missile testing and pressuring China to do more to “rein in” Kim Jong-un.
Then in April, he went along with the “Assad is gassing his people” narrative and bombed a largely deserted Syrian airbase. This stopped another slide in his numbers. Interestingly, it didn’t start his approval rating going the other way — it kind of levelled off — but this might have had something to do with the fact that the bombing was just a one-off firework show. However, later that month, Trump’s numbers did improve when Vice-President Pence made a speech declaring an end to the “era of strategic patience” with North Korea.
But, like all preceding Presidents, Trump can’t just play the popular hawk anywhere. The options are severely limited to a small range of countries that are (a) not big enough to be really dangerous and (b) established in the American popular consciousness as “nasty, evil states” — thanks to the tireless efforts of the biased media.
So, which countries are we talking about?
Russia and China are still widely seen by the American public as being a bit on the “nasty” side, but because of their vast military forces and nuclear arsenals they are not usually on the hawk menu. This leaves Syria, North Korea, and Iran, as three places where Trump can reliably improve his ratings by beating the war drum.
Syria is a low cost option. The administration can always dig up some fake gas attack and bomb away to its heart’s content. But because of the chaos in the country and the fact that ISIS or ISIS-lite would be the main beneficiaries from this, the US public is not too impressed. Also, Syria is too close to Iraq, reminding even patriotards of past failures. Only out-and-out real Neocons and Hezbollah haters see this as positive. So, low cost but also low returns.
Iran is higher cost but also higher returns. A showdown with Iran of some sort would in theory boost Trump’s approval ratings, especially if they were sagging. Most Americans still have a highly negative image of Iran in their heads. This is related to America’s past humiliations and former Iranian President Ahmadinejad’s supposed comments about wiping “America’s greatest ally” off the face of the Earth. But actually Iran is quite different from its image. It is far from the Islamist caricature that patriotards like to paint. More importantly, any stand-off with Iran that went beyond sanctions or rhetoric would be extremely high cost, as (a) Iran would be backed up by Russia to some degree and (b) occupies perhaps the most strategically vital position in the world, overlooking the Straits of Hormuz.
North Korea, by contrast, occupies a rather remote corner of North East Asia. A bit of brinkmanship here is less of a problem, at least for America. But the costs on US allies would be enormous. Countries like South Korea and Japan are effectively hostages to an outbreak of hostilities on the Korean peninsula. The North Koreans have nukes but even without them they could reduce Seoul, the capital of South Korea, to rubble with their artillery, as it is located extremely close to the North Korean border. They also have the ability to wipe out at least a few hundred and probably a few thousand of the US servicemen based in South Korea.
None of these three options are therefore good once you go beyond the stage of rhetoric. An exchange of insults or gunfire could easily escalate into a messy military situation that could prove too much for America’s military capabilities, which are a lot more limited than people think. A confrontation in Korea or the Gulf could result in a slap down for Trump that would be bad not only for his approval ratings but also his overall “tough guy” image. Also, any emergency might even be used as cover to expedite his removal.
What Trump needs instead are the kind of low-cost, high-return military adventures that boosted earlier administrations in the past. I am thinking here of actions like Grenada (1983) and Panama (1989), or even that despicable little war against Serbia (1999), from which the Clintons were at least able to reap some benefits.
If you must have a little “pocket war” to look good and improve ratings, find a convenient “bad guy” whom you can easily demonize and provoke, but whose removal won’t be too militarily difficult or have too much blowback — not another Libya please!
Castro’s Cuba or Maduro’s Venezuela would be interesting choices, or Trump could call out Mugabe’s regime in Zimbabwe (at 93, get him before he is gone). I particularly like this idea, as making an example of an anti-White racist like Mugabe would concentrate the minds of whoever is in power in neighbouring South Africa in the years ahead.