Problem is, he really believes it. Bigger problem; a lot of people apparently don’t think that’s a problem.
President Trump was, of course, referring to Turkey’s incursion into the former Syrian territory in which the Kurds, previously safeguarded by the presence of a modest American contingent, guard thousands of ISIS prisoners and their families. These prisoners are, essentially, what remains of ISIS which Trump likes to say “he” (not the United States of America), and certainly not the Kurds, totally defeated. Well, hold on— much of the heavy lifting in that battle fell to our allies, the Kurds, who took the lion’s share of the casualties in our joint effort to defeat ISIS. The Kurds lost over 11,000 men and women fighting alongside America.
This decisive battle against ISIS played out in territory adjacent to Turkey and in an area heavily populated by the Kurds who have fought for a land of their own for centuries, and who would have a country of their own but for the arbitrary way in which Great Britain and France carved up the Middle East after the first world war.
Turkey has a restive Kurdish minority adjacent to this territory and the Turks consider the Kurds, all Kurds, to be terrorist enemies. The Turkish invasion into the territory in which the United States and the Kurds finally defeated ISIS is Turkey’s way of waging a war against the Kurds. A war that Turkey has the ability to win by inflicting enormous causalities among our former and fearlessly faithful allies, the Kurdish people. It is a war that Turkey would only wage with the approval, if not the connivance, of the Trump Administration. It is an almost unimaginable duplicitous treachery. President Trump acknowledged that the Kurds fought alongside America, “but we gave them tremendous military aid,” he complained, and then went on to castigate the Kurds for not being with us at Normandy. Oh, the wisdom of it all.
President Trump’s bizarre fixation on opponent Joe Biden and his son, Hunter, is, in our judgment, a remarkable demonstration of unhinged animus in the absence of anything remotely resembling wisdom. He is waging a scorched-earth campaign of personal destruction against Biden, which is, of course, his call to make.
Trump, running a normal campaign, would have had a pretty decent chance of beating Biden in a man-to-man, traditional election dust off. Trump has legitimate complaints regarding the incessant, relentless attacks the Democrats have waged since the day he won the last election. And Biden has not particularly distinguished himself as one of America’s great political thinkers or tacticians. But a campaign of ideas and elevated thinking has never been in Trump’s campaign playbook. His is the campaign of personal destruction. He’s never studied the wisdom of Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln or, say, Truman. Certainly not the wisdom of a John Locke or Tocqueville.
No, he fawns over the wisdom of Roy M. Cohn, an American enigma if ever there was one, and campaigns exactly as one might imagine Cohn would have advised him to campaign.
“Go after Biden’s son,” Cohn would have probably advised Trump. “There’s no evidence that he did anything wrong, but you sure as hell know he wouldn’t have that job on the Ukrainian energy company’s Board of Directors, or gotten the Chinese to invest with his company if he wasn’t Vice President Biden’s son.”
“Attack Hunter Biden,” Cohn would have advised. “Innuendo works great in political campaigns,” Cohn would have exhorted.
“Hunter, you know nothing about energy, you know nothing about anything frankly. Hunter, you’re a loser. Why did you get $1.5 billion, Hunter?… Joe’s son Hunter got thrown out of the Navy and then he became a genius on Wall Street in about two days,” Trump said while targeting the Democratic presidential candidate’s son. Cohn could have written those words exactly as President Trump spoke them.
Listen to his rally rhetoric as he elevates his campaign to recapture the White House. “Biden was never considered smart,” The President of the United States said. “He was never considered a good senator. He was only a good vice president because he figured out how to kiss Barack Obama’s ass.” (The children of America get a lesson in great and unmatched wisdom).
It is going to be an awful year, these next twelve months, as America settles in for a Presidential campaign unlike anything in our history. This will not be a campaign of competing ideas or bold new initiatives. America’s real problems will not be on the agenda. Forget even a scintilla of constructive creativity. We have devolved from the campaigns of Lincoln and Douglas, and the Roosevelt’s, of Truman and Eisenhower and Kennedy and Reagan to a new political reality in America.
It will not be great, but it will be unmatched.