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Trump's pursuit of better results: Change the status quo
Look beyond the first thing you see, and you might understand what's going on.
In Syria, his predecessor said the use of chemical weapons represented a “red line,” only to do nothing when Bashar Assad crossed the line. Donald Trump pounded a Syrian target with 59 Tomahawk missiles.
In North Korea, his predecessor threatened to do something if Kim Jong Un engaged in provocative behavior like nuclear missile testing, only to do nothing when Kim did it anyway. Donald Trump sent a Navy strike force to the Korean peninsula.
In Afghanistan, his predecessor claimed to believe in winning, but seemed more concerned with pulling out than with implementing a real strategy for victory – making it possible for the Taliban and Al Qaeda to regroup, and for ISIS to establish operations. Donald Trump dropped the biggest non-nuclear bomb in the U.S. arsenal on those ISIS operations.
If all you get out of this is that Donald Trump is not afraid to be aggressive with the use of force, you miss the real story. Trump understands that rhetoric may be enough if all you’re after is political victories. Bur if you want actual results – and better than the ones we’ve been getting – then you need to actually do something different than what’s been done to date.
Actions change the status quo, not only in the situations they impact directly, but in the way people think.
The very same night Trump ordered the missile attack on Syria, he was dining with Chinese Premier Xi Jinping, and discussing what should be done with North Korea. Everyone would prefer to see China contain Kim Jong Un and his nuclear ambitions, but we’ve been wanting China to do that for a very long time without seeing it happen. Perhaps, Trump suggested, if China would prefer not to take action, the United States could just go ahead and do it.
Now a suggestion like that coming from Trump’s predecessor wouldn’t have prompted much action, since he was known for talking but not acting. But from the president who just rained missiles down on Syria and has a Navy strike force ready to dispatch to the Korean Peninsula? Suddenly, China had to seriously contemplate taking action against Kim, because Trump had already proven he was willing to take bold action to change the status quo.
Trump’s actions have moved Russia too. They aren’t happy about the change, and they’re openly saying so. But even as they offer absurd claims that Assad chemical attacks never happened, there are reports that behind the scenes they’re furious with Assad and they’re questioning how much sense it makes to continue propping him up. Why? Because the old reality is no longer holding, and positions Russia used to take with impunity may now come at a cost.
President Trump has recognized something about the way things work both in Washington and throughout the world. The established players are comfortable with “stability,” which means the continuance of what they know and are accustomed to dealing with. They will give lip service to “change,” but for the most part they really don’t want change because they’ve mastered the art of prospering in the status quo. So Trump takes bold actions with a purpose – it’s not just to change circumstances, but also to change the thinking of people who will keep things the way they’ve always been unless they’re forced to do otherwise.
Trump is forcing them. Trump is the disruptor. That’s exactly what you thought you were voting for in November, and this is how he’s paying off your faith in him. As he takes further actions, don’t just look at what he does. Look at how it affects the way other people think, because most often that’s the real goal.
It usually is for a disruptor.
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