Donald Trump is positioning himself to become a wartime president. In his ongoing mission to delegitimize American democracy and establish an authoritarian regime, the ultimate endgame Trump is achieving to secure his position is create global instability so severe that it results in multi-national armed conflict. His recent actions have made this abundantly clear and an eventuality we all should consider should things continue.
Consider his recent summit in Singapore where Trump met with Kim Jong Un. His administration is positioning this as a historic summit that signifies peace between two adversarial nations. Part of that messaging includes blaming the previous presidential administrations, both Republican and Democrat, for failing to create a peaceful relationship. Trump has had his photos taken with Kim and they are both smiling so, as the official position of the administration, this means Trump was able to “make a deal” and “win big” at something he claims that the previous presidents were to weak or inexperienced to accomplish.
Seeing images of the summit made me so angry. When I saw the North Korean flag displayed in a way to suggest it was equal to the American flag, it was such a slap to the face to everyone who desires freedom for all and condemns regimes that starves and murder millions of their own people. Trump didn’t make it a secret how much he loved Kim. Trump viewed him as an effective leader and praised him repeatedly.
This summit served as a mean to legitimize Kim on a global scale. Trump can claim all he wants about how he made a great deal with the North Korean leader, but he was played. Kim doesn’t have to get ride of his nuclear programs, Trump has ceased military exercises in South Korea, and Kim is seeking to strike a deal to build a Trump Tower in his country. If this wasn’t enough to convince even Trump’s most ardent supporters that he values his own fortune over national interests, I don’t know what would.
If only this summit was the only thing Trump was actively doing to disgrace this nation. Trump, whether by his own will or the will of others, is playing this game on multiple levels. At the same time he is manipulated by and kissing Kim’s ring, Trump does this at the same time he is destabilizing our relationships with this country’s most loyal allies.
Trump recently issues high tariffs against Canada. Under the guise of “national security,” Trump declares that his next move to keep America first is to renegotiate or eliminate deals he believes are unfair to the United States. There is no reason for such a move to take place against Canada. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is not taking this lightly. He is retaliating with his own tariff that go into effect in July.
These tariffs mean more than just higher prices for dairy or beer. A major economic shift is coming and these tariffs only exacerbate the situation. According to the latest quarterly outlook from the National Association for Business Economists, two-thirds of economists believe that a recession is coming 2020 with an economic decline that could begin as early as 2019. The increased tariffs and trade wars Trump is initiating, in addition to his corporate tax cuts, make it likely that this recession will come even sooner than that. This recession is believed to be as bad or worse than the last one in 2008.
A few weeks ago, the G7 summit was held in Canada. These summits are designed so the seven leading (formerly eight before Russia was removed) economic nations to discuss various issues covering topics such as the economy, global security, and other related matters. Prior to the summit, Trump made public statements in the media that Russia should be allowed to participate in the summit. Our allies and neighbors already had a fractured image of the United States, but these statements by Trump only continued to deteriorate our relationships with the other six nations. One image released by Angela Merkel’s staff signified the mood of the summit. In the photo, Merkel is leaning on her hands over a desk surrounded by allies as she stares down at Trump who is sitting like a petulant child with his arms crossed and a smug smile on his face. You could feel Merkel’s ire radiating from the image and served as the perfect symbol of this nation’s place in the world right now.
Thins are scary on an international level, but they are even worse at home. For several decades, the GOP has been quite successful at branding themselves as the party of the common man. As part of their anti-rational and anti-intellectual mission, anyone who doesn’t fit in their box is deemed as an elitist who is out of touch with the American people.
Since the 1980s, the Republicans and the extremists wing within it have been consistently on point with their message. I have always seen politicians or the media denounced as being tools of the liberal agenda, but things are getting scary. This messaging has now influenced public perception of federal institutions and basic tenets of democracy. Whole political institutions such as the FBI and Department of Justice have now been labeled as tools of a rigged system that only Trump and his supporters have the power to save the American people from.
Trump ran during the 2016 presidential election because wouldn’t have been able to win before. However, a rift in America has been growing since the 1980s and 2016 was the prime time to exploit it. Trump and his administration’s message isn’t random or chaotic. It is well-thought out and intricately planned. Their mission is to create a civil discourse so irreversible that we could be on the verge of another Civil War.
So, how does this all relate to my belief that Trump is seeking to become a wartime president? By creating mass instability at home and abroad, it becomes a platform by which he can rally his base and execute executive powers that are available, or even made up, during times of crisis. Recent polls show that over half of Republicans support Trump postponing the 2020 election. Now, these Republicans hold that position as a means to combat the non-existent problem of voter fraud, but we have seen examples where elections favor leaders currently sitting in office during times of war. Franklin Roosevelt was a third term in 1940 and a fourth term 1944. To be fair, presidential term limits weren’t in place yet and those elections weren’t postponed due to World War II. However, FDR won with over 400 electoral votes each time. Even if the 2020 election wasn’t postponed, who is to say that Trump wouldn’t experience similar results if a conflict were to arise that kept people from the polls or even seeking a change at a time when it becomes so important to maintain the status quo?
Yesterday, I read that Russia may have modernized a nuclear weapons storage bunker in Kaliningrad. Allegedly, these major renovations have been ongoing since 2016 and likely to resume operational status soon. Positioned between Poland and the Baltic, the site in Kaliningrad “could potentially serve Russian Air Force or Navy dual-capable forces. But it could also be a joint site, potentially servicing nuclear warheads for both Air Force, Navy, Army, air-defense, and coastal defense forces in the region, according to Hans Kristensen, the director of the nuclear information project at the Federation of American Scientists.
Such a renovation project could signify Russia preparing for an escalation in tension with Eastern Europe; a tension that has been steadily increasing since the annexation of Crimea from Ukraine in 2014.
Given Russia’s role in undermining the 2016 U.S. presidential election, its removal from the G8 (thus becoming the G7), and the decline of America’s relationship with its allies, it is likely that Russia is looking to secure itself as the world’s dominant superpower. Thus possibly leading to further land expansion, armed conflicts, and infiltration in foreign governments to disrupt national security and stability. Welcome to the Cold War repackaged and rebranded for the Millennial generation and Donald Trump is at the helm and ready to get rich off of everyone at the expense of this country’s most valued traditions and institutions.
One of my favorite anti-war songs from the Cold War era is “Two Tribes” by Frankie Goes to Hollywood. Released in 1984 on their album Welcome to the Pleasuredome, it is a nihilistic but enthusiastic statement about nuclear war. Comparing the conflict of a nuclear war to something as trivial, but emotionally significant to some, as a soccer match, Frankie Goes to Hollywood believes that there is nothing more to gain from war than just a score.
Trump wants to be a wartime president because he is scared. As each day passes in Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian influence in the 2016 presidential election, Trump can feel the noose tightening. Staff members are leaving and some people close to the campaign are facing serious jail time. I don’t know if this goes all the way to Donald Trump or what his fate will be (he has openly discussed his ability to pardon himself), but he is a man who is being cornered. And like a scared animal, he will lash out any way he can. And if he could look like a powerful leader in the process, then all the better. That is why I believe Trump wants a war and he doesn’t care how he gets it.