Changing the Context

As President Trump knows well, he has not been very successful in getting the measures he wants through Congress.  One way to improve his chances of doing so is to change the context.

Relations with Russia provide an example.  The president knows our hostility towards Russia makes no sense.  Communism has fallen, we have no interests that should lead us to oppose Russia and Russia is resuming her 19th century role as the most conservative of the great powers.  Russia should be our ally, not our enemy. 

The Washington establishment wants a hostile relationship with Russia because it is still thinking in the context of a world of states in conflict.  Any other powerful state (including China) that does not bow to American hegemony must be seen as an enemy.  The purpose of all the clucking and squawking about the Trump campaign’s possible ties to Russia is to scare the administration away from improving relations with Moscow.  Unfortunately, that trick seems to be working. 

But what if the administration responded by changing the context?  President Trump could easily explain to the American people that the real threat we face is not any other state (except perhaps North Korea) but “terrorism” (really 4GW) from non-state entities, of which ISIS is only one.  To beat the terrorists, we need an alliance with Russia and China, because they are the other two great powers.  In fact, that alliance would only be the beginning.  We should work with Moscow and Beijing to create an alliance of all states against violent non-state entities.  If we want a relatively peaceful, ordered, and safe 21st century, that is what we have to do.    

The public can understand that logic.  And with it, they can see why we need good relations with Russia.  President Putin has suggested several times that Russia and America work together against terrorism.  Once the people see past the obsolete conflict among states and accept the new context created by 4GW, the establishment is left high and dry.  Its desire for a hostile relationship with Russia will be perceived as senseless, as it is.  In the new context, the president’s preferred policy can move forward.

      Another area where the President could change the context to his advantage is the fight against Political Correctness.  Most of the public has come to hate Political Correctness and its attempts to play censor, telling us what words we may or may not use and what thoughts we may and may not think.  Part of the reason Mr. Trump was elected was because he rejected and attacked Political Correctness, as he has continued to do.

But his efforts to combat it would be far more powerful if he explained to the American people that Political Correctness is really Cultural Marxism, Marxism translated from economic into cultural terms.  Once the Left and its endless cries of “racism, sexism, and homophobia” are exposed as a form of Marxism, their legitimacy will crumble.  People know that other varieties of Marxism killed tens of millions in the 20th century.  They see that “PC,” cultural Marxism, is equally tyrannical on college campuses where it has taken control.  If President Trump changed the context of the cultural debate from “social justice” to “cultural Marxism,” he would sweep the Left from the board.

Every time Trump changes the context of the political debate on an issue, he will open the door to creating the new, enduring coalition of the anti-establishment Right and elements from the antiestablishment Left (i.e., Sanders voters) that should be the conservatives’ goal.  It is difficult or impossible to get voters to change sides in the current political trench warfare.  But if you move the debate out of the trench lines by putting it in a new context, the battlefield becomes much more fluid.  New alignments become possible.  And the agenda President Trump campaigned on can win.