Tuesday, December 06, 2016

"Crazy like a fox?"

There are many posts being written about Trump taking a call from the leader of Taiwan. Matt Lewis writes at Roll Call,
This was, I daresay, Reaganesque.

James Strock, author of “Reagan on Leadership,” had this to say: “Like Reagan, Trump was elected in large part to change the way Washington works. Reagan constantly challenged the status quo through his communications, formal and informal. In their introductory meeting, the new president asked the legendary chair of the Federal Reserve, Paul Volcker, why a Fed was needed at all. This sent shockwaves across official Washington — even as it appeared eminently reasonable to many ordinary Americans who are accustomed to justifying their value in the workplace.”

“It indicated several things about the new president,” Strock said. “He was not going to be a captive of the political establishment, including the permanent bureaucracy and mainstream media. And he had confidence in his own judgment and instincts.”

Regarding Trump’s phone call with Taiwan’s president, Strock said: “By the one phone call with the president of Taiwan, President-elect Trump is asserting a similar independence of action and thought. It will likely be greeted as bracingly refreshing to many ordinary Americans — while shaking up a lot of the Washington establishment.”

...Thirty-five years ago, dissident Alexander Solzhenitsyn was snubbed by Gerald Ford (per Henry Kissinger’s advice) for fear of upsetting the Soviets, before Reagan came along and embraced him.

...But this is America. We shouldn’t be walking around, afraid of our own shadow.

The prudent scholar in the latter half of the 20th century might have suggested detente and containment. Instead, Reagan called the Soviet Union an “Evil Empire,” vowed to “leave Marxism-Leninism on the ash heap of history,” joked on a hot mic about “bombing [Russia] in five minutes,” and told Mr. Gorbachev to “tear down this wall.”

And guess what? It was the right thing to do, even if few of the so-called experts at the time would have advised it. But Reagan’s moral clarity about the Soviets was a risky, if calculated, gambit that upset the establishment.

...From breaking protocol to eschewing the conventional wisdom of governmental bureaucrats, Donald Trump (like Reagan) is seen as a cowboy. And he may likewise benefit from being underestimated and feared. Could it be that there is a method to his madness? Could Trump be crazy like a fox?
Read more here.

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