There is no winning for President Trump. His detractors in the liberal media and the Democratic Party will never give him the slightest credit for anything, even if he does exactly what his opposition favors. As the joke goes, if President Trump were to personally cure cancer, the NY Times’ headline the next day would be, “Trump Callously Ignores Diabetes Sufferers.”
When Iran recently shot down an American drone, many people thought the President would order a retaliatory military strike against Iran. The U.S. claimed the drone was in international airspace; Iran claimed it had intruded into Iranian airspace and said they were justified in shooting it down.
The strike was ready to go on our end, but reports have it that President Trump called it off when he learned that Iranian casualties would be around 150. The President felt that this was disproportionate to the loss of a single unmanned American drone and therefore he cancelled the strike.
Given that so many on the left had been criticizing President Trump for what they felt was his overly-aggressive posture towards Iran, one might think that his calling off the military action would be met with their approval.
Not so. Consistent with the left’s lockstep adherence to its “anti-Trump, all the time” policy, there was immediate criticism of his cancelling the action. Calls of “weakness,” “mixed messages,” “evidence of indecision,” etc. immediately sprang forth, predictably, from both leftist politicians and the liberal media. He’s a warmonger if he strikes Iran, bereft of the nuance and sophistication required to manage our affairs on the world stage, but he’s weak and indecisive, encouraging more pernicious behavior on the part of our adversaries if he doesn’t strike.
President Trump’s dealings with North Korean leader Kim Jung-un is another perfect example. When he was not engaging with him, the left criticized him for stoking tension between the two countries, claiming that Trump’s bluster and belligerent statements would lead to war between the two countries. Once he actually met with him in Singapore in June 2018, the left said that Trump accomplished nothing of value, it was a for-show meeting only. You could almost feel the left’s satisfaction when the next summit, in Vietnam in February 2019, broke down without any significant progress being made. For the anti-Trump forces, it’s better to have what they perceive is a Trump loss than an American win.
Now, after the recent G-20 meeting in Japan, President Trump briefly met Kim Jung-un in Korea’s DMZ and became the first American President to step into North Korean territory. The two leaders agreed that further talks would take place. From the left’s reaction, you’d have thought that President Trump committed the crime of the century. They excoriated him for “rewarding a brutal dictator with attention on the world stage,” and other overwrought, hyperbolic statements in that vein. The decades-long liberal theme of “It’s better to talk to your enemies than fight with them” apparently only applies to a Democratic president. It certainly doesn’t apply to President Trump.
To liberals, Trump is too shallow and simplistic to recognize and understand the subtleties that are required for successful international relations. So he’s wrong either way: if he meets with Kim, he’s an appeaser who’s legitimizing the brutal mistreatment of a country’s population by its evil leader. If he doesn’t meet with him, he’s a simplistic egotist who can’t comprehend the fine gradations of action required by high-level inter-cultural relations.
Many years ago, I was Head of Marketing at a consumer goods manufacturing company that used many outside venders to supply subassemblies and parts. Some of these vendors were quite excellent and their quality was uniformly consistent — great cosmetics, electrical performance always up to standard, physical dimensions always within tolerance. Other vendors weren’t as good, and we’d always complain. Eventually, we got what we needed from them, but it was always an effort.
With a few vendors, it got to the point where they didn’t want to do business with us anymore because they felt that nothing they did was good enough to satisfy our criticisms. They supplied critical parts, however, and we couldn’t afford to lose them. My boss was a wise old business veteran, a cagey guy. He said something all those years ago that still rings true today: “You have to catch them doing something right once in a while. Make them feel good, that their corrective efforts aren’t going unnoticed or unappreciated.”
He was right, of course. When they knew that we recognized the good, they paid more attention when we pointed out the bad. It’s basic human nature, a rule that applies across all the boundaries of culture, age, ethnicity, everything. People will try harder to please you if they feel their efforts are being recognized.
It’s not President Trump’s responsibility to “please” the Democrats. It’s his job to do what he feels is best for the country. Nonetheless, there are numerous gray areas where compromise is possible, where the two sides could meet in the middle. However, if the Democrats simply say he’s wrong all the time — even when he adopts a position they supposedly favor — then human nature dictates that President Trump will be that much less willing to listen to anything they say or suggest.
“Heads I win, tails you lose” is not an approach that will lead to any long-term betterment for the country. The Democrats may think this strategy will bring them success in the short-term by sullying his image and denying him of any media-worthy “victories,”, but such thinking is myopic. Any so-called Democratic win gained by nonstop Trump bashing would be impermanent as it becomes glaringly apparent to the persuadable voting bloc that the Dems are far more concerned about political wins than they are in actually improving peoples’ lives.