Gut Decisions and Trial Balloons

By George Smith

To get inside the mind of Donald J. Trump, the 45th president of the United States of America and make sense of the decisions he makes would take a world-class team of psychiatrists armed with a bone saw and a commercial grade MRI machine.

The president has said he goes with his “gut” in making important decisions and it’s easy to see how that is the case: He has made decisions that have made cabinet members, leaders and staff of the intelligence agencies, aides and even some followers shaking their heads in amazement.

His penchant for making a decision based the theory of the “trial balloon”, giving aides and cabinet members direct instructions on how to proceed and then reversing it after getting feedback, is the fodder of dysfunctional families and distressed companies.

Trump, for a reason known only to himself, has decided our main allies, the countries whose soldiers have fought and died in mixed regiments made up from the best soldiers from various nations, are not worth having as friendly neighbors in his view of this greerdy, take-no-prisoners world.

Alliances formed when the world was in flames and democratic and freedom-loving nations fought for the right of every nation to be free, were, by the vote of our Electoral College, were battered by the hysterical political newcomer who proclaimed himself a “stable genius”. Trump literally insulted Great Britain, France, Germany and other members of North Atlantic Treaty Organization by berating them with tales of all the United States had done for them since the mid-1940s.

Why, he surmised, are we spending all this money on maintaining military presence in Europe when the affected nations should be spending more money to protect their own turf? This nation has been “Daddy Warbucks” long enough, seemed to be the overall global message.

Each nation is required to spend two percent of its Gross National Product figure on NATO-related expenses; Trump contended, rightly or wrongly, that was not happening and the U.S. was paying far more than its share.

The point is: Having a strong U.S. military presence in Eastern and Western Europe greatly benefits this nation; it’s not simply a matter of money, but the international deterrent and security that is important. Retired Lt. Gen. Ben Hodges recently addressed this issue, by saying he never imagined a president would kick ‘allies in the a**. When the president refers to the European Union as an enemy of the United States, that’s a gift” to Russia and China.

Trump, by his words, actions and reactions is the Demeanor in Chief. In his rally speeches, tweets and in pubic forums and interviews, he has demeaned women, people of color, countries he does not like (“s**thole countries”), U.S. territories – he said he had talked to the “president of the Virgin Islands” and accused Puerto Rico officials of unfounded charges of corruption as that island territory is still trying to recover from Hurricane Maria, which hit the island in September, 2017.

On April 1, the GOP-controlled Senate (egged on by Trump’s tweets) refused to pass additional aid for Puerto Rico without including relief for flooding and tornado damage for the Midwest. Democrats voted against a second bill providing relief for the Midwest, saying the amount of money for food relief for Puerto Rico was not sufficient.

This is government in the Age of Trump…compromises are for weaklings, each side of an issue takes no prisoners, gives no quarter and the victors get what they want and leave the spoils to the losers.

Where is the nation’s integrity, its generous heart, its moral and ethical soul, its indomitable courage when faced with adversity? We know it existed just a few short years ago; we have witnessed its power to bring nations and people together and spread the gospel of peace and prosperity around the globe; we watched as nations sought to emulate the U.S. and become a sister-beacon of light in a world of darkness.

All we need is a leader who sees the beauty that exists everywhere in this melting-pot nation and understand what made it great was inclusion, not rancor and constant bad-mouthing, bullying and constant expressions of disillusionment.

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