By Carlos Alberto Montaner
American foreign policy is upside down. It has a zoological identity problem. No one knows if the president is a sheep or a wolf, a dove or a hawk. Apart from his scuffles with the DOJ and his collision with judges, Donald Trump has already had three advisers to the National Security Council, and with the latter, John Bolton, the situation ended very badly.
He has an ongoing quarrel with the communist Chinese, but for the wrong reasons. Not because of human rights violations or mistreatment of Hong Kong or Taiwanese people, but because they sell very cheap products and services and buy American debt notes. Since Trump has not read Milton Friedman, he doesn’t understand the infinite advantages of having an industrial and commercial giant like China at the economic service of his country.
Sometimes he seems to listen to the advice of Marco Rubio, especially on Venezuelan and Cuban issues, in which the Florida senator is a true expert, and other times he is under the isolationist influence of Senator Rand Paul, a convinced pacifist persuaded that the United States has no special moral responsibilities. (Something held by the neocons overcome with Reagan idealism, or the Democrats still under the example of Roosevelt, Truman and Kennedy.)
Dick Morris, a political strategist very close to Trump and now very far from the Clintons, sustains an electoral hypothesis to explain that ambiguous position and John Bolton’s exit from the White House environment. Trump, Morris supposes, tries to overcome the American society’s consistent level of rejection.
Month after month Trump is usually closer to an approval rate of 40% rather than 50%, according to the more credible surveys. Trump is looking for an easy success by posing with Taliban and Ayatollahs in photos that convey the image of a serene person trying to get out of the Middle Eastern mess.
It could be. Trump emerged as a media phenomenon and should be prone to those arguments. Whoever uses Twitter incessantly must also believe in the virtues of Instagram. Trump was never accused of having a principled position or of following values to the death, as Kant proposed. Trump bragged about grabbing the ladies by the crotch, and next he broke with Mr. Jeffrey Epstein when it was no longer a convenient relationship. (Epstein was the libertine financier who recently committed suicide in a not-so-maximum security prison).
However, if Donald Trump wishes to win the November 2020 elections with a great foreign policy victory, Mr. John Bolton paved the way for him. On Wednesday, September 11, while Bolton was politically beheaded, the activation of the Inter-American Reciprocal Assistance Treaty (TIAR) against Nicolás Maduro’s Venezuela was approved within the OAS. The motion was supported by a majority led by Colombia, Brazil and the United States.
We must get rid of those narcoterrorists to protect the United States from drug trafficking and the Islamist networks run by the abominable fanatic Tareck El Aissami, vice president of Venezuela appointed by Nicolás Maduro. And it can be solved without the need to land troops in that wasps’ net. Those troops, along with the Venezuelan Democrats, would be from Brazil, Colombia and other Latin American countries that have signed the TIAR. All the Americans would have to do is to sweep the Venezuelan military apparatus with a devastating air strike.
Electoral mathematics is very clear and works like a syllogism. Without the Florida vote it is very difficult to win the 2020 general elections. Without the Hispanic vote it is very difficult to win Florida. And without a liberated Venezuela it is very difficult to win the Hispanic vote. Ergo, Donald Trump already knows what he must do to win the general election. Carlos Alberto Montaner is a journalist and writer. Born in 1943 in Cuba and exiled, Montaner is known for his more than 25 books and thousands of articles. PODER magazine estimates that more than six million readers have access to his weekly columns throughout Latin America. He is also a political analyst for CNN en Espanol. In 2012, Foreign Policy magazine named Montaner as one of the fifty most influential intellectuals in the Ibero-American world. His latest novel is A Time for Scoundrels. His latest essay is "The President: A Handbook for Voters and the Elected." His latest book is a review of Las raíces torcidas de América Latina (The Twisted Roots of Latin America), published by Planeta and available in Amazon, in printed or digital version.