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Tags: trump | strategy | foreign policy | messaging

With Trump Under Siege, China, Russia and Terrorists Having a Field Day

With Trump Under Siege, China, Russia and Terrorists Having a Field Day
U.S. President Donald Trump looks on during a joint-press conference with French President Emmanuel Macron in Biarritz, south-west France on August 26, 2019, on the third day of the annual G7 Summit attended by the leaders of the world's seven richest democracies, Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, and the United States. (Ludovic Marin/AFP/Getty Images)

Tom Basile By Monday, 26 August 2019 05:39 PM EDT Current | Bio | Archive

The mainstream press, tech companies, and the American Left either repeatedly fails to understand or simply doesn’t care that blind rage against the Trump Administration emboldens our enemies. The relentless attacks make the Administration appear weak and divert attention away from significant international threats.

For his part, the president spends too much time taking the bait and tweeting about ‘the Mooch,’ Chris Cuomo, Google, and random traps set for him by the Left.

The Omar, AOC, and Tlaib ‘Squad’ are a sideshow that other surrogates can address forcefully. The president needs to work tirelessly to continue the historic economic growth we’ve seen over the last two years. Together with Republicans in Congress, Trump should advance additional tax and spending cuts that will help job creators and the middle class. A plan to keep the American economic engine humming is a must as the White House pushes back against the Left’s efforts to convince Americans that recession is looming.

However, a close second to the economy is projecting strength against the troika of real geopolitical adversaries who are at present taking advantage of a Trump Administration perceived as under siege by domestic political forces.

Getting tough on China doesn’t just mean making a better trade deal.

It means pushing back against the Chinese regime’s human rights abuses and territorial expansion in the Pacific Rim that went unchallenged during the Obama years. It requires supporting the protestors in Hong Kong and ensuring that the U.S. can maintain military superiority over the communist superpower. Right now, the president is focused on a trade deal where he is right to be bargaining for better terms for U.S. businesses and consumers, but he is in a weakened position due to his domestic political challenges.

The Administration’s response to a complex environment with China often appears one-dimensional. Last week’s report from the University of Sydney's United States Study Center that questioned the U.S. military’s ability to effectively counter Chinese aggression in the region should sound the alarm for a new approach.

Russian aggression and asymmetrical warfare, particularly targeting eastern Europe, is continuing unabated. As the Administration focuses on Venezuela, Putin has been left largely unchallenged. The Administration will point to its sanctions against the regime, but at a time when Putin is facing a range of domestic problems of his own, Trump should demonstrate his willingness to take a stronger stance against Russian aggression in all its forms.

Over the last week, it has become increasingly apparent that Putin’s government is not only testing new missiles meant to counter U.S. hegemony but is covering up a massive radiation leak following a deadly accident. The response from the Trump Administration has been little to nothing.

The president was right to pull out of the 1987 INF Treaty after years of Russia’s repeated failure to comply with its terms, but a resurgent, authoritarian, and imperial Russia needs to be countered with more than saying, “Not good.” On the home front, the president has done little to thwart the perceptions driven by Democrats that he is too cozy with Russia. We have enough intelligence regarding Russia’s attempts to infiltrate and control foreign governments to warrant a bolder response that includes military, diplomatic, and economic moves that isolate the regime. Quite the opposite, the president last week shocked foreign policy watchers by throwing his support for Russia’s re-admittance to the G7.

In Iran, the Mullahs are expanding their stock of enriched Uranium and continue to be a destabilizing factor in the region against U.S. allies. They are attacking oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman and are threatening to thwart the Syrian oil embargo. All have been met with tough words, but little action from the U.S.

A Pentagon report recently acknowledged ISIS-style Islamic terrorists are surging in Syria and Iraq again. The Trump Administration, making a similar mistake of its predecessors, was too quick to announce victory and draw down troop levels below those that would truly interdict a terrorist resurgence in the region. Secretary of State Pompeo has acknowledged an ISIS resurgence last week.

As the Administration negotiates with the Taliban to withdraw from Afghanistan, the time for a long-term strategy — and some tough choices — in the ongoing Global War on Islamic Terrorism is now.

The president needs to focus on the economy, no doubt. However, Presidents of the United States must lead, or bad actors will benefit.

We learned this the hard way with Obama’s near total disengagement. With Europe repeatedly demonstrating its unwillingness to show leadership against China or Russia (consider the market access Europeans are giving China’s Huawei despite the massive security risks and its inability to aggressively advance energy independence from Russia), the U.S. must provide leadership.

It’s not without political risk, but nothing a president does is without risk. That’s real presidential leadership.

When it comes to foreign policy, Trump must act decisively despite the Left’s onslaught and direct that well-known bravado at some of our real geopolitical foes rather than the likes of Chris Cuomo. In the end, a smart approach will make him and the U.S. stronger and perhaps help strike the trade deals he is right to pursue.

Tom Basile has been part of the American political landscape from Presidential campaigns to local politics. He served in the Bush Administration from 2001-2004, as Executive Director of the NYS Republican Party and has held a range of senior-level communications roles in and out of government. Basile's critically-acclaimed book, "Tough Sell: Fighting the Media War in Iraq" (Foreword by Amb. John R. Bolton), chronicles his time in Baghdad fighting media bias and driving fairer coverage of the Iraq war. In 2011, he was featured in Time Magazine's Person of the Year spread about political activism around the world. Basile is an adjunct professor at Fordham University, a local elected official and runs a New York-based strategic communications firm. He is a member of the New York Bar and sits on a number of academic and philanthropic advisory boards. Learn more about him at or follow him on Twitter @Tom_Basile. To read more of his reports — Click Here Now.

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The mainstream press, tech companies, and the American Left either repeatedly fails to understand or simply doesn’t care that blind rage against the Trump Administration emboldens our enemies.
trump, strategy, foreign policy, messaging
Monday, 26 August 2019 05:39 PM
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