Although I am a Bernie Sanders — nay, a Utopian —socialist Democrat, with a realpolitik view on foreign policy (after traveling the world and being exposed to war zones) I am presenting my honest evaluation of the Trump administration.
I’ve compiled a list of positives and then of negatives. See if you can read the whole thing honestly, in an open, bipartisan manner.
Trump Republican administration positives:
Trump’s brave and decisive direct meeting with North Korean leader; bringing some calm to the danger of nuclear war; ending active missile tests over Japan and toward America’s west coast, even if slowly. Five past presidents could not do this — even if it is North Korea just stalling for time.
Successfully eradicating Isis in Iraq and Syria through beefed-up military direct rules of engagement under Trump, expanding and empowering and continuing Obama’s belated war on Isis.
Opening direct talks with the Taliban to end the war in Afghanistan and yet keep terrorist groups from forming there, in a move to end America’s longest war, and yet keeping the cudgel of unlimited U.S. troop placement there as a pressure tactic on Taliban; a decisive understanding that only a political solution will end this war (military defeat and occupation of Afghanistan historically never has happened.)
Appointing Jim Mattis as defense secretary.
Increasing major sanctions on Russia, even if it was only done because of the people underneath Trump, against Trumps bragging and incompetent leaning toward Russian Czar Putin.
Getting the U.S. economy to a 3.8 percent unemployment rate and loosening up some unneeded regulation and red tape for American business.
Engaging honestly and openly supporting our ally, Israel, and keeping a promise to move the embassy and stop funding of terror linked Palestinians.
Achieving a rapprochement with the Egyptian dictator, the strongman who is the leader of the Egyptian people, and maintaining a traditional realpolitik view of the Mideast, instead of cold-shouldering Egypt and supporting the radical Muslim Brotherhood, as we did under Obama.
Although I supported the Iranian nuclear deal, putting new pressure on Iran and its economy may actually change the country, freeing its people of enslavement to Islamo-fascist religious rulers, and economically pressuring Iran to stop proxy terrorism throughout the Middle East.
Considering plans about the Venezuelan and Syrian dictatorships, and even considering the assassination of Assad, a human rights monster who uses chemical weapons. Such action possibly could save millions of lives. Removing dictators can save the lives of thousands suffering underneath them and prevent the greatest scourge to humanity — war.
Re-writing and renegotiating Nafta, which would lead to higher level environmental protections and wages for poor Mexicans, and more jobs for American workers. Some argue it would be only slight improvement but yet it is an improvement, a win for American workers in Michigan and the Rust Belt.
On the negative side of the ledger:
Trump’s racist, discriminatory actions against Latino immigrants, as I experienced directly in Newark with my legal staff and clients. It is anathema to basic American values and repulses me.
Based on my sensitivity to outlier and minority population groups, the almost fascist-like ICE crackdown on non-criminal, family centered, allegedly undocumented aliens, and the concomitant blatantly unconstitutional separation of children and families is anathema to American values and basic legal norms and human rights. I witnessed staff in my office crying for their sisters and mothers in nearby towns in New Jersey, where they were hiding, under direct threat of round up from police and ICE agents. That happened even at our local courthouses in Elizabeth, Newark, Jersey City. It almost harkens back to Nazi tactics against Jews in the 1930s. I experienced this in real time through clients and staff in my Newark law practice, and I witnessed it with clients who worked at the Elizabeth ICE detention center. It is a scar on America for all time.
The greatest danger to the world is climate change, and Trump is abandoning any semblance of hope by pulling out of the international climate agreement. That is a danger to all of our lives and the future of my children and the world, on a scale that negates anything this administration could do on the positive side. The great threat to my child, who has asthma, caused by removing pollution controls; gutting the EPA, and re-firing coal-burning plants in the Midwest. That will cause untold pulmonary deaths and cancers here in New Jersey, directly affecting my child’s health.
The attack and attempted rollback of Obamacare and the basic healthcare rights of all Americans. This would destroy the lives of many of my clients.
The destruction of the New Jersey tourist economy by allowing oil drilling off of our coast. One small spill will destroy our economy and way of life here.
The end of the property tax deferment, which has increased the tax burden in New Jersey and New York.
The hostility to women and LGQT citizens that is a direct attack on my family and friends.
The tilt in the federal courts and supreme court by packing with right wing originalist constitutional quacks, destroying rights for workers, labor, unions and women.
Trump’s amoral invective and language and simple bullying is setting a very poor example, destroying proper reasoned political debate, dividing our nation, and weakening America. Trump’s pandering, quisling-like respect for the Russian dictator and dictators around the world, opening America up to Russian election tampering on a scale tantamount to a state of war, and posing a near fatal challenge to our republic.
My mother, an FDR, Hubert Humphrey Democrat, hates Trump and all he stands for. She is the most emotionally intelligent and prescient human being I ever encountered in the world.
My father, a lifelong Kissinger Nixonian Republican, cast an intelligent vote against Trump.
President Trump must be impeached and removed, in any way possible, before he does permanent damage to America and to the world.
The Republican realpolitik foreign policy strategy by his cabinet members is in line with past Republican administrations’ mainstream foreign policy, and John McCain would view it positively.
Jay Bernstein of Glen Rock is a workers rights attorney in Newark, a pro bono constitutional appellate attorney, a former N.J. public defender office, legal clerk JAG Corps, US Army; legal clerk for the Israeli Ministry of Justice; a volunteer in the Israel-Gulf War in 1991; and a U.S. Congress intern in the 1980s.