The 73rd year of the American Peace

The American Peace began with Japan’s surrender on August 14th, 1945.  Since then, none of the great powers of the world have made war on one another.  It is the goal of American foreign policy that none of them do so in the future.  Wars kill people and are bad for business, and the American people will attempt to prevent the outbreak of war whenever possible.

America has done all of that for the last 73 years, and will continue to do so, for as long as it can.  We’re able to do it because of our unique position in the world.  We are the strongest country, and will be for the foreseeable future.  And because we live on a island of hemispheric proportions, we are far more secure than any power on earth.  We have half the globe, from 150 degrees East to 30 degrees West of Greenwich, all to ourselves and our friends and dependents in North and South America.

We have no territorial ambitions, and no worries.  Our hemisphere is an autarky – economically self sufficient, if need be.  The other great powers of the world, Russia, China, Japan and Europe (and, perhaps, India) have inherent conflicts with one another.  We have no skin in any of these disputes, and are able to act as a disinterested and fair minded referee.  We brokered the peace between Japan and Russia in 1906, and our natural role is one of honest broker.

Before World War One there was a general peace of a hundred years, from the Congress of Vienna in 1815 to 1914.  It was a balance of power peace, with Great Britain as the balancing power.   It is the the years of the World Wars, from 1914 to 1945, which will be looked back on as an aberration.

The American Peace, which began in 1945, could last for God knows how long.  I was born in 1945, five weeks in to the American Peace, and it’s the only thing I’ve known.  It’s our gift to the world.

 

 

 

 

A Pence for your thoughts

James K. Polk had four goals in mind when he was elected in 1844.  He wanted to bring Texas into the Union, resolve the Oregon dispute with Great Britain, take California from Mexico, and bring order to the government’s finances.  He got them all done, and did not run for a second term.  There was no point.

At the end of his first term, Trump will have:

  1.  Appointed at least two solid conservatives to the Supreme Court, giving a majority to constitutional conservatives for the first time in 80 years.
  2. Through tax and regulatory policy, ignited an economic boom to equal, if not surpass, the Roaring 20’s.
  3. Restored sanity to our immigration policy for the first time in 50 years, secured the border, and built the wall.
  4. Virtually singlehandedly, he will have reestablished “America First” as the touchstone of all trade agreements, now and in the future.
  5. Reasserted American leadership across the globe, and reversed the drift toward world government.  American national self interest is once again the basis of all foreign policy.

The next three years may see additions to this list, such as revitalizing the military, an infrastructure program, separate strategic accommodations made with China and Russia, dunuclearization of North Korea, overthrow of the mullahs in Iran, passage of a Balanced Budget Amendment through Article V, and countless others.

So what’s Trump planning for his second term?  Whatever he’s got in  mind, it can’t top the successes listed above.  It can’t come close.

Second terms are never as good as the first.  If Trump runs again he’ll be 79 when he leaves office.  I say he goes out in a cloud of glory, having remade the Republican Party in his image, and having done more positive good for the country than any President since James K. Polk.

There’s glory for you.  And a long life ahead to enjoy it.

 

 

A crowning achievement for Donald Trump

Great Presidents change history.  As President, Washington created the national government.  Lincoln saved the Union and passed the 13th Amendment, abolishing slavery.  Wilson and the Progressives gave us the Federal Reserve, the income tax and the 17th Amendment.  Franklin Roosevelt created the welfare state and social security.   Reagan won the Cold War.

If Trump is to be a great President, he must do more than cut taxes and regulations,  and revive the economy.  Those are temporary, and reversible, accomplishments.  To set his stamp on our history, President Trump needs an enduring, permanent legacy.

A Balanced Budget Amendment could set the nation’s financial house in order for a hundred years.  It could establish a Congressional budget process which would constitute the greatest institutional reform of Congress in history.  It could be the foundation of generations of prosperity.  And if it were adopted using Article V of the Constitution it would be the greatest devolution of power, from Congress to the States, in all our history.

Trump opposed Article V in the 2016 Republican primaries in order to gain the support of Phylis Schlafly and her Eagle Forum.  Schlafly is dead and Trump has no need of the Eagle Forum.  He’s been flexible in his transition from candidate to President on a number of issues.  Changing his mind on Article V will surprise no one.

He should act now, because 2018 may be the last of an extraordinary political period.  From 2014 to 2018 Republicans have controlled enough state legislatures to pass the needed 34 state resolutions for a BBA Amendment Convention without any Democratic help.  When the West Virginia Senate unexpectedly flipped Republican in the 2014 election, there were just enough states to do it.  The 2016 elections gave the Democrats Nevada and New Mexico, but were offset by Republican gains in Kentucky and Minnesota.  Thanks to a coin flip in Virginia, in 2018 we still have just enough states to do it (Idaho, Montana, Minnesota, Kentucky, Virginia and South Carolina).

Trump can guarantee that any Amendment Convention will not run away.  He’ll prevent it, or ignore it.  Without his support, no Amendment can realistically be ratified.  He has a political veto, and with that veto will have the power to control the formulation of the Amendment.  In political reality, Trump and his supporters will control the Amendment Convention.  It’s no great exaggeration to say that Trump can write the Amendment himself.

The 2017 Phoenix Convention of States gave us a preview of the Amendment Convention.  President Trump has more support within the state legislatures of this country than in any other political institution.  The Trump Caucus of the Amendment Convention will dominate it.

This represents a  political opportunity for the President to run against, and around, Congress and its leadership.  They are the problem.  Under the President’s leadership, the states can constitutionally usurp the power of Congress.  In any fight between Congress and the President, the states can take the President’s side, and prevail.

Setting that precedent might be the most important of all.

 

Making America Great Again

Almost everything that President Reagan wanted to do, but couldn’t, President Trump is doing.  In the Gipper’s defense, his first priority was winning the Cold War, and he had to deal with Tip O’Neill, not Paul Ryan.  But what Trump is doing is nothing more, or less, than what conservatives like Reagan, Goldwater and Buckley (and me) have wanted to do for the last 50 years.

In one sense Trump is unequalled.  The greatest impediment to the conservative movement has always been the media, since the 1930’s.  Only Trump had the courage to confront them.  How that war turns out remains to be seen.  The media and the deep state may take him down.  But Trump has shown the way.  His example will be followed.  And large and growing swathes of America have tuned the media out.

As a constitutionalist, to me the most important duty of Trump in 2018 will be appointing Justice Kennedy’s replacement.  I expect another Gorsuch, and with this fifth conservative Justice the abominable Roe v. Wade will eventually be reversed.  And condemned as the most damnable piece of judicial legislation in our history.  We’re returning to the rule of law, not of men.  A dream about to be fulfilled.

I read today that the federal government shed some 17,000 employees in 2017.  It boggles the mind.  The government shrinking?

I never saw it coming.  I didn’t think Trump had it in him.  I was wrong.  I wish him every success.