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Trump not that bad

By Peter Coates - posted Wednesday, 18 January 2017


Not everyone is part of the anti-Trump herd. Trump's rise recognises the superiority of power over international law and the advantages of being proactive rather than reactive.

The Western intelligentsia are critical of the US for being too brash and strong. The US is held to unattainable standards of furthering human rights while being meek. Obama has epitomised a US hyper-sensitive, apologetic response, rather than a readiness to wield America's hard earned power. Meanwhile Putin's frequently aggressive actions are widely accepted in Russia and by many outside.

I would say the media is likely to pillory Trump's every statement and imagined failingfor about 2 weeks from his Inauguration on Friday, January 20, 2017, until February 4, 2017. Then the media, realising the sky hasn't fallen, will adopt a more balanced view of Trump's strengths and limitations.

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The following are some beliefs and predictions.

Power over international law

International law completely relies on the most powerful countries creating it and supporting it. The peak international legal regulator, the United Nations system, was createdin the US in 1944-45 with the help of the 4 most powerful countries. These countries were the 4 major victor nations (Russia, UK, France and China) and the US itself. For the last 71 years by exercising their Power of Veto they can block international legal resolutions and consequently actions.

The powerful can also create international law to vastly increase their own military power. The five powerful countries made ownership of nuclear weapons a legal right held by themselves alone.

Obama, with his liberal minded lawyer background, never chose to recognise that power is the foundation of law rather than the other way round. Obama diverged from his usual apologetic approach in what may have been his most successful proactive national security initiative – that was having bin Laden executed in 2011, which rapidly boosted Obama's popularity.

Trump's traits were inevitably exaggerated during the long Primary-Electoral process. In that process major candidates made patriotic and ideological statements that seem extreme to we non-Americans.

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Advantages of Being ProactiveRather Than Reactive

I think Trump is proactive, searching for opportunities, rather than reactive. Making the opposition react to a proactor's statements and timing is a key part of international power politics.

In contrast a President with a legalistic approach requires a crime (breaking international law) to be committed before he gets the US to react. Obama was repeatedly hesitant, fearing his liberal legacy would be tarnished. By the time Obama acted many situations, like IS's advance into Iraq, were out of hand. Obama also simply gave up on Crimea-eastern Ukraine.

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About the Author

Peter Coates has been writing articles on military, security and international relations issues since 2006. In 2014 he completed a Masterís Degree in International Relations, with a high distinction average. His website is Submarine Matters.

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