Results and Substance Trump Form and Appearance

Preoccupation with form over substance combined with denial and avoidance behavior are the chief causal factors for human failure -- from the individual and family right up to the national level.   

World War II became inevitable because of denial by the British, French, and Americans that Hitler meant what he said in Mein Kampf and was rearming to carry it out.  Subsequent denial in the form of appeasement policies enabled Hitler’s early swift success in conquering and subjugating almost all of continental Europe, until Churchill rallied the British people with his famous declaration that “we shall never surrender.”

An Islamified Western Europe is arguably one of the biggest stories of our time.  Yet elites on both sides of the Atlantic are in denial about the coming Islamic takeover of much of Europe.  There are already large Muslim minorities throughout many European countries and waves of Muslim refugees have joined them in the last five years. Given Muslims’ average birthrates of 3.5 children per couple compared to post-Christian European birthrates of only 1.35 per couple, the demographic die is cast for minarets and sharia law to supplant church bell-towers and constitutional democracy across Europe within two or three generations. 

Donald Trump has had no illusions about the challenges that the West faces.  His first action after inauguration in January 2017 was his executive order banning travel to the U.S. by people from countries well-known for harboring Islamist terrorists. He did so on the basis of zero-tolerance for terrorist entry to the U.S., and the fact that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement could not vet people adequately due to gaps and irregularities in birth and identification records characteristic of these designated highly unstable countries.    

Despite the disrespect shown President Trump from many of the elites in the U.S., he has commanded surprising respect overseas, from friends and enemies alike. In his July 6, 2017 speech in Warsaw, Poland, Trump was welcomed as hero after he proclaimed the need to defend Christianity and Western Civilization, with all of its culture and traditions. He boldly stated the need to put “faith and family, not government and bureaucracy, at the center of our lives.”  No other U.S. President has ever made such unapologetic and direct statements that challenge the status quo of “post-modern” decline in Europe.

Five months after taking office, President Trump removed the U.S. from the Paris Climate Accord, and has continued to remove restrictions on coal mining and to open up more sea and land acreage for petroleum exploration and drilling.  The result?

The U.S. is exporting natural gas and oil production is up -- setting new records, now exceeding 10 million barrels a day, while oil imports are down.  The U.S. is just now on the cusp of achieving the long-sought goal of becoming energy and OPEC independent.    

Twice, since becoming President, Trump swiftly ordered military strikes in Syria after President Bashar al-Assad used chemical weapons against people in Syria. On the Korean peninsula, in response to Kim Jung-un’s ongoing ICBM missile testing and nuclear sabre rattling, President Trump shunned avoidance and denial, taking an entirely different approach than the preceding four presidents over 28 years.  And despite condemnation by the foreign policy establishment -- that his direct approach would lead to confrontation and war -- Trump never wavered in imposing harsh sanctions, repeatedly overflying B-1 bombers near the DMZ, and making forceful statements warning “rocket man” about U.S. military capability to destroy the North Korean regime and its nuclear capability.  The result?

Kim Jong-un agreed to the U.S. demand to cease missile and nuclear testing.  Then he responded to overtures from South Korea, becoming the first North Korean leader to ever cross the DMZ to discuss peace terms since the Korean War armistice in 1953.  And days ago,  the North Korean regime released three Americans imprisoned and held hostage.

In the Middle East, President Trump initiated two major actions that were opposed by much of a foreign policy establishment preoccupied more with appeasing Sunni and Shia extremist regimes in Palestine and Iran than in helping our one key democratic ally, Israel.  On December 6, 2017,  Trump reversed nearly 70 years of American foreign policy, announcing that the United States would recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. On June 8, 2018 only weeks before opening that new Jerusalem embassy, and against the stated wishes of our NATO allies, Trump pulled the U.S. out of the nuclear accord deal with Iran, stating, “the Iran deal was horrible,” “one-sided,” “disastrous” and “defective at its core.”  For Trump it’s not just about preoccupation with substance over appearance.   Avoidance, denial and pretence simply have no place in the calculus of a commander-in-chief sworn to protect our country and its allies in the age of terrorism and nuclear missiles.

On the U.S. economy, many of the elites were in denial or passive about the harm from high corporate tax rates, excessive regulation and unbalanced trade policies that drove jobs and entire companies out of the U.S. and that also expanded the wealth gap between the rich and the poor.  Trump, the realist, said from the beginning that reducing regulations, lowering tax rates, simplifying the tax code, improving trade agreements and making American companies more competitive would fuel new economic growth. The result?

The last three quarters of Trump’s first year averaged a 3+% GDP increase, a growth rate not seen in the prior 12+ years. And 2018 came on like a lion after the passage of his Tax Cuts and Jobs Act at the end of 2017. More than three million American workers at more than 100 companies received pay raises and/or bonuses as a result of the reduction of corporate tax rates from 35% to 21% and the reduction of repatriation tax rates from 35% to 8-15%.  Apple Inc.’s announcement that it would bring home $350 billion to invest in America is a likely harbinger of other corporations’ repatriation of $1.75-2 trillion to the U.S. private economy.  For the first time in 18 years, the U.S. unemployment rate has fallen below 4%.    

Leadership requires getting out of denial and making tough decisions. It also requires delivering results and substance over form and appearance.  People may disagree with President Trump’s persona and manner of communicating, but he’s had one of the most successful starts of any new President in history -- all the more remarkable given the nonstop assaults against him from day one by the media, Hollywood, and the political elite.      

Scott Powell is Senior Fellow at Discovery Institute in Seattle and Managing Partner at RemingtonRand LLC.  Reach him at scottp@discovery.org

Preoccupation with form over substance combined with denial and avoidance behavior are the chief causal factors for human failure -- from the individual and family right up to the national level.   

World War II became inevitable because of denial by the British, French, and Americans that Hitler meant what he said in Mein Kampf and was rearming to carry it out.  Subsequent denial in the form of appeasement policies enabled Hitler’s early swift success in conquering and subjugating almost all of continental Europe, until Churchill rallied the British people with his famous declaration that “we shall never surrender.”

An Islamified Western Europe is arguably one of the biggest stories of our time.  Yet elites on both sides of the Atlantic are in denial about the coming Islamic takeover of much of Europe.  There are already large Muslim minorities throughout many European countries and waves of Muslim refugees have joined them in the last five years. Given Muslims’ average birthrates of 3.5 children per couple compared to post-Christian European birthrates of only 1.35 per couple, the demographic die is cast for minarets and sharia law to supplant church bell-towers and constitutional democracy across Europe within two or three generations. 

Donald Trump has had no illusions about the challenges that the West faces.  His first action after inauguration in January 2017 was his executive order banning travel to the U.S. by people from countries well-known for harboring Islamist terrorists. He did so on the basis of zero-tolerance for terrorist entry to the U.S., and the fact that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement could not vet people adequately due to gaps and irregularities in birth and identification records characteristic of these designated highly unstable countries.    

Despite the disrespect shown President Trump from many of the elites in the U.S., he has commanded surprising respect overseas, from friends and enemies alike. In his July 6, 2017 speech in Warsaw, Poland, Trump was welcomed as hero after he proclaimed the need to defend Christianity and Western Civilization, with all of its culture and traditions. He boldly stated the need to put “faith and family, not government and bureaucracy, at the center of our lives.”  No other U.S. President has ever made such unapologetic and direct statements that challenge the status quo of “post-modern” decline in Europe.

Five months after taking office, President Trump removed the U.S. from the Paris Climate Accord, and has continued to remove restrictions on coal mining and to open up more sea and land acreage for petroleum exploration and drilling.  The result?

The U.S. is exporting natural gas and oil production is up -- setting new records, now exceeding 10 million barrels a day, while oil imports are down.  The U.S. is just now on the cusp of achieving the long-sought goal of becoming energy and OPEC independent.    

Twice, since becoming President, Trump swiftly ordered military strikes in Syria after President Bashar al-Assad used chemical weapons against people in Syria. On the Korean peninsula, in response to Kim Jung-un’s ongoing ICBM missile testing and nuclear sabre rattling, President Trump shunned avoidance and denial, taking an entirely different approach than the preceding four presidents over 28 years.  And despite condemnation by the foreign policy establishment -- that his direct approach would lead to confrontation and war -- Trump never wavered in imposing harsh sanctions, repeatedly overflying B-1 bombers near the DMZ, and making forceful statements warning “rocket man” about U.S. military capability to destroy the North Korean regime and its nuclear capability.  The result?

Kim Jong-un agreed to the U.S. demand to cease missile and nuclear testing.  Then he responded to overtures from South Korea, becoming the first North Korean leader to ever cross the DMZ to discuss peace terms since the Korean War armistice in 1953.  And days ago,  the North Korean regime released three Americans imprisoned and held hostage.

In the Middle East, President Trump initiated two major actions that were opposed by much of a foreign policy establishment preoccupied more with appeasing Sunni and Shia extremist regimes in Palestine and Iran than in helping our one key democratic ally, Israel.  On December 6, 2017,  Trump reversed nearly 70 years of American foreign policy, announcing that the United States would recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. On June 8, 2018 only weeks before opening that new Jerusalem embassy, and against the stated wishes of our NATO allies, Trump pulled the U.S. out of the nuclear accord deal with Iran, stating, “the Iran deal was horrible,” “one-sided,” “disastrous” and “defective at its core.”  For Trump it’s not just about preoccupation with substance over appearance.   Avoidance, denial and pretence simply have no place in the calculus of a commander-in-chief sworn to protect our country and its allies in the age of terrorism and nuclear missiles.

On the U.S. economy, many of the elites were in denial or passive about the harm from high corporate tax rates, excessive regulation and unbalanced trade policies that drove jobs and entire companies out of the U.S. and that also expanded the wealth gap between the rich and the poor.  Trump, the realist, said from the beginning that reducing regulations, lowering tax rates, simplifying the tax code, improving trade agreements and making American companies more competitive would fuel new economic growth. The result?

The last three quarters of Trump’s first year averaged a 3+% GDP increase, a growth rate not seen in the prior 12+ years. And 2018 came on like a lion after the passage of his Tax Cuts and Jobs Act at the end of 2017. More than three million American workers at more than 100 companies received pay raises and/or bonuses as a result of the reduction of corporate tax rates from 35% to 21% and the reduction of repatriation tax rates from 35% to 8-15%.  Apple Inc.’s announcement that it would bring home $350 billion to invest in America is a likely harbinger of other corporations’ repatriation of $1.75-2 trillion to the U.S. private economy.  For the first time in 18 years, the U.S. unemployment rate has fallen below 4%.    

Leadership requires getting out of denial and making tough decisions. It also requires delivering results and substance over form and appearance.  People may disagree with President Trump’s persona and manner of communicating, but he’s had one of the most successful starts of any new President in history -- all the more remarkable given the nonstop assaults against him from day one by the media, Hollywood, and the political elite.      

Scott Powell is Senior Fellow at Discovery Institute in Seattle and Managing Partner at RemingtonRand LLC.  Reach him at scottp@discovery.org