Trump gets it

Talking to a Colorado TV reporter Trump was asked about the 47% of the Far West owned by the federal government.  He said, “… a lot of people are wanting to really have a policy on that.”  And he went on, “… (he)  really won’t talk about it right now.”  Translation:  he figured out the appeal of this issue, is aware of its power, and will be rolling out his endorsement of the Transfer of Public Lands (TPL) at an event in Utah or Nevada or Colorado.  This would all make perfect sense to me.

The good people at the American Lands Council supposedly had a bill ready to roll out for introduction during the peak of the Western fire season.  I suspect they’re waiting, ghoulishly, for a real federal screw up, where a fire goes wild, and federal mismanagement can clearly be blamed.  Or they may be waiting to time their announcement of this legislation in conjunction with Trump’s endorsement of it.  I pray the latter, and if it’s true I’ll swallow my pride and support him.  I’ll never be a fan, but I was no fan of Nixon in’72, and volunteered on his campaign.  This isn’t personal, it’s business.  For Alaska, this is huge.

The ALC folks stress the aspects of transferring federal ownership that appeals to suburban swing voters, especially women.  Appeals for economic development, which would occur under TPL, fall flat with these people.  The fact is, under state or local management, the land itself benefits.  Fires are better controlled, and fish and wildlife are better protected.  On the other hand there are trillions of dollars of wealth on these lands, mainly hydrocarbons, and they can be responsibly developed under the watchful eye of the States and their citizens where they’re located.  Harold Hamm can explain this all to Trump.

Gary Johnson is not running much of a campaign, and he’s not acting like a constitutional conservative.  He allowed William Weld, in a joint interview, to praise the selection of a new Supreme Court Justice in the mold of Stephen Breyer.  Johnson stood mute, and I now must question if he has any idea of what he’s doing.  He seems to be content to be the non-Clinton, anti-Trump candidate, and wants to somehow straddle between the two.  He looks incoherent at the moment, and may lack real fire in his belly.  He was always a Hail Mary, and looks weak right now.  Advantage, Trump.  If people like me don’t have a candidate in Johnson, we’re left with Trump or Clinton, and most of us will go with Trump.  Sen. Sessions is the man I’m counting on to guide Trump’s judicial selections, and if he does we’ll see someone in the mold of Clarence Thomas.

Trump says, categorically, that Putin is not going to move on the Ukraine, to any greater extent than he already has.  Bank on it, he says.  How does he know?  Because if Putin did such a thing, it would hurt Trump, so he won’t do it.  He won’t do anything to hurt Trump.  Not only did Hillary, as Secretary of State, stick her big nose into Russian politics four or five years ago, trying to undermine Putin, her husband was the one responsible for expanding NATO right up to Russia’s borders.  Back in 1962,when the Soviets wanted to “expand the Warsaw Pact” to include Cuba, we nearly went to war with them over it.  So you need to look at things from the Russian viewpoint.  They’re a great power, armed to the teeth with nuclear weapons, and it’s just not prudent to beard the lion.

In a normal election having Putin and the KGB against you might not be that big a deal.  But the Clintons are criminals, Putin can prove it, and he will.  It’s not just what’s in the emails.  There are other sources of evidence available to the Russians, which they can get through a variety of methods, not all of them nice.  Putin doesn’t believe in nice.

The Obama administration meddled in Russian politics, and let the pro-Western protesters in Tehran twist in the wind.  The judgement of fools.  What ye sow, ye shall reap.



Why can’t we be friends?

George F. Kennan was the author of the “containment” strategy adopted vis a vis the Soviets right after WW II.  But he didn’t think it was a long term solution, only an interim one.  So he came up with what he called Program A, an alternative strategy of compromise.  He wanted all military forces removed from all of Germany, which would be unified and demilitarized, while the states of Eastern Europe regained their independence of  Moscow.  But the French wanted none of it.  Part of Germany had been demilitarized after WW I, and that hadn’t worked, and the French were afraid of a unified and independent Germany.  So we never made the offer to the Soviets, and we got a forty year long Cold War.  Looking back, Henry Kissinger said, “We lost our opportunity.”

When we decided to rearm the West Germans to help out with containment, the French would only allow it if we agreed to station combat troops in Germany, so we sent them back.  They’ve been there ever since.  NATO was designed to keep the Germans down, the Russians out, and the Americans in.  It is obsolete.  A “reset” doesn’t begin to describe what we need to do with the Russians.  A wholesale review of the entire European security system is called for, one which results in the withdrawal of American combat forces from Germany.  The Germans are practically pacifists now, so we may as well recognize reality.  I’m not any more afraid of Germany than I am of Italy, or Britain.  We don’t need to be in their country any more.  Maybe they’re like the Swedes, who were some of the bad asses of Europe for a while, and then went into a shell.  Let’s hope so.

Stephen Sestanovich worked for Moynihan, Reagan and Clinton and is now at the Council on Foreign Relations.  His 2014 book, Maximalist, describes American foreign policy since WW II.  It’s either aggressive or retrenching, in turns.  When Truman decided to conquer North Korea in 1950, this aggression was followed by the retrenchment of Eisenhower.  The aggression of Kennedy-Johnson in Vietnam ( a product, in part, of neocon thinking)  was followed by the withdrawal of Nixon, and detente with the Soviets.  When Carter carried retrenchment too far, he was followed by the aggressive Reagan, who put an end to the game.  But for some reason we’re still playing.

What’s the new game?  Why are we in Europe?  To keep the Russians out.  But, as a formerly Communist, now Christian nation, Russia is no more of a threat to us than the Germans are.  They don’t seek world hegemony, and they don’t want war with Western Europe.  Vladimir Putin bears as much resemblance to Hitler as Ronald Reagan did.  Russian nationalism has been a fact of life in Europe since Vladimir the Great.  There are ways to manage relations with nations like Russia that fall short of promising our Mutual Assured Destruction if they went to war with us in Europe.  There’s got to be a better way.

The threat we face is from Islam, and the Russians are the one Christian nation in the world we can count on to stand shoulder to shoulder with us in that fight.  They’ll be a great ally.  They can do things that we can’t, because of our media.

Russian America was a brutal enslavement of the Native peoples of Alaska by a band of Russian adventurers, akin to our Mountain Men in their bravery and endurance.  The Aleuts were their main victims, and bear their names to day.  They bear them proudly, as members of the Russian Orthodox Church of America.  They have a nice church in Kodiak, that I’m sure Vladimir Putin would love to visit.   He likes to go to Russian Orthodox Churches that are of historical significance.  The Aleuts would welcome him with open arms, as a devout co-religionist.  When he spoke to them he would speak, through them, to the American people.  Alaska, my spiritual home, is the bridge between Russia and America.  It would be a nice place for a summit meeting.

Not too many comments on my AT article, which is here.  Only a few criticisms, and only one mocking of my name.  Pettyjohn is English, formerly Norman, or Petit Jean.  My ancestors were Normans, who were bad asses.  I like my name.

Mr. Trump goes to Moscow

I think the monumental statue of St. Vladimir will be formally unveiled near the Kremlin soon, and Donald Trump will be there for the occasion.  Vladimir the Great founded Russia, and converted it to Orthodox  Christianity a thousand years ago.  The statue will depict him as a religious figure, thrusting a giant cross aloft in his right hand.  Putin will be there to honor his namesake, and possible forebear, and Trump will be an honored guest.  They’ll emerge from their private consultations with a simple message.  We understand one another, and we can do business.  Russia and America will try to work together to solve the problem of Islamic terror, and, when practicable, cooperate around the globe.  There may be some sort of statement about the ridiculousness of Russia and America ever unleashing nuclear terror against one another.  An entente cordiale in the making.  Assuming Trump gets elected.

We’ve forgiven the Japanese and the Germans, and count them among our closest friends.  If the Japanese can be forgiven their racist imperialism, and the Germans their foul Nazism, can we forgive the Russians, a quarter century later, for being Communists?

When he met Mao tse Tung in 1972, Richard Nixon said, “What is important is not a nation’s internal political philosophy.  What is important is its policy toward the rest of the world, and to us.”  This is realpolitik, the flip side of Wilsonian idealism and interventionism.  It is, I believe, Trump’s philosophy of foreign affairs, as it is mine.  This is the kind of thinking that you can afford when you’re on a continental island, thousands of sea miles from any potential enemy.   We don’t need to get into anybody else’s business.  You don’t run my country, and I won’t try to run yours.  I’ll mind my business and you mind yours.

Putin wants Trump to win, and then enter into a new era of Russian-American relations, one based on comity and respect for one anther’s interests.  Can you blame him?  In his shoes, wouldn’t you do the same?

The fear is that Putin will get a lot from us, and we get nothing from him.  What we could get is a unified front in the Middle East, with an ironclad commitment to the security of Israel as part of the deal.  We could even get a role as an arbiter in disputes between Russia and its westernizing neighbors in the Baltic and the Ukraine.  I don’t know if it’s possible for the U.S. and Russia to cooperate on oil exports, but it’s worth thinking about.  There are a lot of possibilities, and I suppose Trump could be taken for a ride.  But I doubt it.  I just hope he doesn’t get a deal for a Moscow casino out of it.

Everybody’s pissed off at Edrogan in Turkey.  He’s taking Turkey into sharia, and it’s sad to watch, but that’s what the Turkish people seem to want, and we can’t stop them.  So you learn to live with the guy.  We’re not going to be part of any effort to take him out, so we’ll just keep our noses out of there.  What’s his policy towards the rest of the world, and to us?

We had a guy a little like Edrogan in charge of Iran, the Shah.  But he violated the human rights of people like the Ayotollah Khomeini, so Jimmy Carter ditched him, and the country was given over to Moslem fanatics.  All in the name of human rights.  Saddam Hussein was a genocidal maniac, so we got rid of him, at great cost, and there’s been hell to pay ever since.  All for human rights.

The great crusade of my youth, the Vietnam War, was a case of Wilsonian idealism run amok, combined with the venality and cowardice of Lyndon Johnson.  All for a good cause, and all for naught.

I think my piece on the Entente will be up at American Thinker tomorrow.  All you can do is run it up the flag pole, and see if anybody salutes.  I remember back in college at Cal, with all the protesters yelling, “Hell no, we won’t go.”   I thought they were cowards.  Maybe I was wrong.

Who do you believe, me or your lyin’ eyes?

When you get caught in the act, that’s all you got.  The Democratic Convention is telling America that everything’s just fine, and if you see it differently you’re a racist or something.  Good luck with that.

I’d no more watch this Convention than go to the dentist, if I didn’t have to.  We’ve had 28 years of BushClintonObama and we don’t have a lot to show for it.  Foreign boondoggles, a limping economy and a white working class that’s losing hope.  From what I gather, the VP pick, Kaine, is supposed to appeal to these people.  A gesture, a crumb off the table.  The Democrats have written off the white working class, and it could cost them the election.  That’s where I came from, and I remember my roots, and I’m loyal to them, and I’m not alone.  They’ve been screwed by BushClintonObama, and they’re not going to take it any more.  Trump’s a blunt instrument, but in times like these they don’t feel choosy.  He’s their guy, and they’re sticking with him.

David French at NRO seems like a good guy, and he got shafted when neocon Bill Kristol floated his name as a candidate.  He’s got a piece out on Trump that’s worth reading.  In politics, the first thing, and sometimes the only thing, that you need is name ID.  If you’re a first time candidate, you spend most of your time and money trying to get people to at least remember your name.  If you’re a state legislative candidate, as I was, a lot of people had no interest in the office you’re running for, and just vote for a name they recognize.  The guy I moved to Alaska to take out, U.S. Senator Mike Gravel, was a very colorful and controversial guy, and he said he didn’t really care what was written about him, as long as they spelled his name right.  As a celebrity in his own right, Trump started off with an enormous advantage, and retains it to this day.

I’ve never watched The Apprentice, just as I’ve never watched pro wrestling, or any reality show.  I’m into history and politics, which puts me in a tiny minority.  I know a lot about politics, and I know virtually nothing of popular culture.  I wouldn’t recognize Kim Kardashian if she knocked on my front door.  I don’t even know who she is, or what she does.  I hear there’s some guy named Kanye West.  All I know about him is his name.  Maybe people as out of touch as I am should tone down our pronouncements about what’s happening in this country.  That’s Babbie’s position, and she’s got a point.

I expect the election to be decided in the three debates, starting on September 26th at Hofstra, ending on October 19th in Vegas.  Trump could lose it if he looks too ignorant.  He’ll need to hit the books,  or at least a book.  But he probably won’t.  He’s been his way through life for 70 years, so why should he change now?   The only person who will be capable of doing debate prep with him is Ivanka, so it’s all on her.  She’ll need to bone up on all the issues, and explain them to her father.  He’ll eat it up.

I think Trump will win the debates on the strength of his personality, but all he really needs to do is look Presidential.  The American people take these debates seriously, and he’s got to be on his best behavior.  Clinton, perhaps with the moderator’s help, will try to bait him into losing his temper.  That’s the one thing he can’t do, and he understands that, or should.

I submitted a piece to American Thinker called “A Russian-American Entente Cordiale?” which I’ll link to if they run it.  It’s a rewrite of the last few days on RP.  It puts flesh on the bone of Trump’s policy toward Russia.

When Babbie and I got married I tried to find a Russian Orthodox priest to do the ceremony.  This was 1971, and the Catholic Church had turned too hard left to suit my tastes.  I went to San Francisco to the Russian Orthodox Church, but no luck.  It couldn’t be arranged.  In Anchorage I took Babbie to a Russian Orthodox Mass, but it lasted forever and she wouldn’t go back.

The Russians are not our enemies.  They’re good people, and Christians to boot.

Who’s afraid of Donald Trump?

After 28 continuous years of BushClintonObama, we look to be in for Something Completely Different, and there could be hell to pay.  Trump could say something completely moronic, showing a fundamental ignorance of the world  —  like “Islam is a religion of peace.”   He could say something stupid that would undermine our credibility, by, say, drawing line in the sand, and, when it’s crossed, pretending nothing happened.

What I don’t think he’ll do is get us in a European land war, or a war with China.  We’ve got a thousand troops in Poland to act as a tripwire, making them American hostages in case of war with Russia.  I think he’d pull them out.  He might pull troops from South Korea, and Japan, and Germany.  Those are three pretty successful countries.  They should be able to stand on their own.  They’re our allies, and we will assist them if they are attacked.  We just won’t ask American soldiers to die defending someone else’s freedom again.  That’s off the table.

Looking back at those 28 years of BushClintonObama, I don’t find a lot to cheer about, in foreign or domestic policy.  Boondoggles abroad, and economic stagnation at home.  What great foreign policy successes have we had since winning the Cold War?  What tangible progress has been made against deficit spending and debt?   We haven’t controlled our borders during that entire 28 years.  The Leviathan of the Federal Government grows and grows, the administrative state makes a mockery of the Constitution, Roe v. Wade is in place, and the corruption in Washington reaches historic proportions.  What’s not to like?

Since Gary Johnson seems to be playing Where’s Waldo?, I’m afraid I’ve begun the five stages of grief.   I’ve been in the first stage, denial, for a year.  The second stage, anger, is just about over, so I’m entering the third phase, bargaining.

Trump has incredible political skills.  His crack about the Russians dumping Clinton’s emails was brilliant.  You combine his skills with her lack of them, and he’ll run her over in the debates.  And if the moderator tries to get in the way he’ll run them over as well.  If Romney had done that he’d be President.

Trump is an unknown on trade, and he might screw things up.   But he’s probably not dumb enough to do lasting serious damage.  Everything else he’d do on the economy will be bullish.  Deregulation, the Transfer of Public Lands, and some other common sense reforms cold unleash an economic boom.  It’s as though there’s a lot of restrained energy out in the country that’s ready to be released.  We could get that 4% growth we need, and quickly.  And then there’s judicial appointments. I fear Christie’s influence here, and I hope Jared Kushner can take him out.   We could wind up with another Anthony Kennedy if we’re not careful.

I feel like a whipped dog, that’s been beaten into submission.  But none of this should be personal.  It’s just business.  It’s like hiring a lawyer.  You don’t want a nice guy, and you may not care for the lawyer yourself, personally,  but you don’t care.  You just want somebody to kick some ass for you.  Well, Trump’s an ass kicker if he’s nothing else.

And he could be an extremely effective President.  Nobody thought Truman was up to the job, and there was no reason to think he would be.  But he stood tall, and was a fine President.  Anything can happen, because nobody knows anything.

Which gets me back to Article V.  Trump needs to be educated on it.  That bears some thinking.  Maybe there’s a way to get an Article V question into one of the debates.   Maybe they’ll do an online suggestion box, and we can stuff the ballots with an Article V question.  But the best way is through Pence.  But first, they’ve got an election to win.  Trump won’t campaign on Article V.  It’s too complicated.  But if he wins, Pence will get a chance to make the sale on Article V.  I think Pence is good enough to sell it.  Donald Trump can take ownership of the Article V movement.  If it succeeded, it would be mentioned in every history book of the 21st century.  With his name attached.

We’ll call them the Trump Amendments.