Steven Hayward at Powerline catches David Brooks making a point about the educational value of Donald Trump’s background in business:and because he understands the creative possibilities in chaos: Trump’s chaotic style is starting to make sense:
There is growing reason to believe that Donald Trump understands the thug mind a whole lot better than the people who attended our prestigious Foreign Service academies. . . .Hard times make hard men. The main problem with most alumni of elite universities is that they have never faced real adversity, or had to deal with people who are ready to use violence to get their way.
Maybe Trump intuited something about the sorts of people who run the North Korean regime that others missed.
What people don’t like about Trump — his boasting, his vulgarity, his domineering personality — are traits developed in an environment where he was dealing with tough men on a daily basis, with his success dependent on his ability to get what he wanted from such men.
Also, as much as I despise David Brooks, he is correct to qualify his praise by noting that it is “impossible to know how things will pan out” in the Korean negotiations, or in any other area of foreign policy where Trump’s tough-guy posture is currently succeeding. We live in a dangerous world, and things could go sideways quickly. On the other hand, what’s the point of being the world’s greatest superpower, if we are not willing occasionally to employ our strength to our advantage? There is no such thing as a 100% guaranteed “safe” policy, but why not at least pursue a policy intended to advance our own national interests?
What Trump understands, however, is what many great leaders have understood: that “chaos,” not consensus, is the way ideas are tried and tested. That if someone or something isn’t working, scrap it and try something else. Results are what count, not consistency: Trump’s ability to morph from saber-rattling lunatic to charming glad-hander infuriates them because they see it as phony.
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Further, a fleet of yes-men and sycophants isolates and insulates a chief executive from unforeseen consequences. JFK’s best and brightest drove the nation into the sloughs of Vietnam. Nixon’s henchmen concealed from him the political gravity of Watergate until it was too late. Obama was so cocksure of his own moral rectitude, he hardly bothered with constitutional niceties.
Finally, Trump’s very unpredictability doesn’t just frighten the Beltway bonzes and chin-pullers, it also terrifies his opponents. While North Korea’s Kim remains hard to read, he’s also no longer firing missiles over Japan. The Saudis, following the strong American horse, have made their antipathy for the Iranian regime clear and are threatening to acquire their own nukes should Tehran overtly resume its nuke development. Having survived domestic uprisings in 2009 and 2017 by the restive Iranian young people, the graybeard mullahs won’t be so lucky a third time.