You’ve got to love how deeply deranging hatred of President Donald Trump really is. It can cause you to distort reality. It can cause you to deny what’s in front of your face. It can get you to see good news as bad and vice versa. And, as we see in Tom McTague’s new piece in The Atlantic, it can cause you to jump through hoops and over hurdles to conclude that, even when Trump gets something right, it’s purely by accident.
Forced to admit that the actions Trump has taken towards China, North Korea, and Iran can only be termed foreign policy success, McTague finds himself in an ethical bind. How to square these undeniable improvements over American policy failures in the past with a deep-seated conviction that President Trump is a reckless buffoon. So he devotes his piece to untangling this contradiction, and this is what he comes up with:
A year and a half into Donald Trump’s presidency, Henry Kissinger set out a theory. “I think Trump may be one of those figures in history who appears from time to time to mark the end of an era and to force it to give up its old pretenses,” he told the Financial Times. “It doesn’t necessarily mean that he knows this, or that he is considering any great alternative. It could just be an accident.”
A term has been coined to describe this notion: Ryan Evans of War on the Rocks calls them “Trumportunities.” It is the idea that, whether by accident or design, Trump creates chances to solve long-running international problems that a conventional leader would not. His bellicose isolationist agenda, for instance, might already be forcing Europe to confront its geopolitical weakness; China, its need for a lasting economic settlement with the U.S.; and countries throughout the Middle East, the limits of their power.
McTague (reluctantly) admits that the strike against Qasem Soleimani was so devastatingly unexpected that it put Tehran on its heels. The Islamists literally have no idea what their next play should be, because they never thought in a million years that the U.S. would attack with that kind of ruthless indifference to whatever threat they think they represent. Ayatollah Khamenei was not merely posturing when he said that Trump “could not do anything about” the attack on the Baghdad embassy. He no doubt believed that to be the case. Now he knows better.
This is not accidental. This is not some blundering victory. This is WHY Donald J. Trump was elected in the first place; it was clear from the moment he announced his candidacy that he would destroy Obama’s “let’s subjugate ourselves to the world” ideology and restore American greatness at home and abroad. He has done just that, and now that it’s working, his detractors are doing everything they can to take these obvious victories away from him. Whether it’s the economy, domestic success, or foreign policy achievements, they will NEVER admit that they were wrong.
It is this arrogance and this derangement that is likely to lead to some extremely surprised reactions this November.