Thursday, March 10, 2016

Cold comfort on Trump

When I was a student at King's College London a few years ago, one of our respected commentators was Edward Luttwak, author of such tomes as Strategy: The Logic of War and Peace, which I annotated in the course of my studies. I was surprised to see his name in the Wall Street Journal this morning, and even more surprised by the subject of his essay: Donald Trump.

 Now, I would be very, very reluctant to vote for Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders, so you can imagine my growing despair as Mr Trump has wiped the floor with his Republican competitors. Is a brokered convention all that stands between us and a choice between two disasters? (Mr Trump is disliked by a majority of Republicans, so if he arrives at the convention without enough delegates to win on the first ballot, he is unlikely to emerge as the nominee ... or so I tell myself.)

So it comes as comfort (cold comfort, perhaps!) to see Mr Luttwak argue that we have little to worry about. Donald Trump may be a vulgarian, he says, but the businessman-mogul-celebrity-promoter isn't the madmen we fear he is. He'll bring the troops home, he won't start a trade war (though anti-dumping actions are likely), he's not a racist, and most of his changes will be "at the margin—a matter of 5% less spending rather than 5% more" (a refreshing change, in Mr Luttwak's view).

As for those who promise to emigrate if this neo-Republican actually wins the election in November, they might want to wait a week or two after inauguration day: "They might discover that President Trump is as good an administrator of the public weal as he was in his presidential campaign—the cheapest by far, and successful too." Either way, the op-ed is worth a read. The Journal has a paywall, but you can often bypass it by Googling the exact title, which in this case is Suffering From Trumphobia? Get Over It

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