The Donald edges toward a
Make some changes or go down like Othello By Larry Fedewa, Ph.D.
(Washington DC, December 15, 2022)
As President of the United States of America, Donald John Trump was arguably the most successful and transformative Chief Executive of the 21st century.
He showed us how to govern in the modern world. In spite of
continuous harassment and ferocious assaults from enemies on
all sides – which continue to this day – he was able to execute
policies and achievements which made history.
Those achievements appeared in nearly every arena of American
life. For example:
By reducing thousands of government regulations and
convincing Congress to lower taxes, he presided over the
most prosperous economy in American history.
His positive policies in domestic affairs included virtually
every sector of that economy:
1. Opening the 26% of America’s land mass held by the US government to the production of oil and natural gas, the
USA became energy independent and became a net
explorer of energy – which of course kept us on the top of
the international power structure.
2. His tariffs on imports not only provided a strategic
defense against our international rivals (especially
China) but provided a resurgence of American
3. The revised tax structure provided an immense inflow
of American companies’ holdings overseas which had
been held there to avoid American taxes. These
additional investments provided increased
employment and contributed to a surge in new start-up companies.
4. His foreign successes were even more sensational.
Most important was the fact that for the first time since
World War II, military casualties were gradually
eliminated during his term. He achieved this in several
He rebuilt America’s military inventory “peace
He used various approaches to ease tensions with
potential enemies, including maintaining strong
personal ties with some – the most spectacular
being his relationship with North Korea’s Kim
He also used the USA’s long-range weaponry,
rather than direct combat to strike at our most
implacable enemies, especially Iran.
He revoked Obama’s silly agreements with Iran
and Europe but insisted that NATO members start sharing the expense of the Alliance, which not only lightened America’s burden but eventually
strengthened the importance of the Alliance –
which worked to the benefit of NATO support for
Finally, the most difficult foreign entanglement,
Afghanistan. Here he took a gradual approach, on
the one hand building up the civilian government,
on the other negotiating a cease fire with the
Taliban. When he left office, not a single American or Allied fatality had taken place in over a year.
5. The Southern Border — President Trump approached
the torrent of immigrants invading America by a 3-prong strategy: building a wall, initiating a treaty with Mexico by which the Mexican army agreed to patrol their side of the border, and introducing a procedure
by which those immigrants who did make into the US
would be caught and returned to their country of
6. The Abraham Accords – perhaps the most astonishing
foreign success which turned the “insolvable problem
in the Middle East”, namely, the isolation of Israel
from its Arab neighbors, into a peaceful vehicle for
uniting Israel with all the Arab states as allies and trade partners – led by Saudi Arabia, and isolating the
These are just some of the highlights of the Trump
administration. President Trump also suffered from continuous
attacks on all sides. Not only were the Dems constantly accusing
him on all sorts of malfeasance – of which the Dems were
generally guilty, although Trump was innocent – but he was also
undercut by his own staff – the most egregious of whom was his
own appointment of William Barr as Attorney General – but also
by many other members of his own party. Both were results of his
being an outsider to the established order cherished by the
Washington politicians and bureaucrats for at least as far back as
the Clinton administration.
Washington governance of the nation had evolved into a scene
comfortable for all sides. Everybody had their own roles.
Basically, the rules of the game were something like this: Publicly, each party had its preordained list of causes to fight over.
Democrats advocated spending more money on the welfare state,
Republicans stood for Defense first – “peace through strength”. So they would argue about these predetermined positions, end up in
some compromise, usually increase the federal deficit every year
and leave the bureaucracy to spend the money – leading to
continuous power grabs among the departments as measured by
the increases in federal funds scored by the winners. Privately, out of the public eye, the elected and unelected players would agree to play the game.
They needed a friendly press so the game could be played, and the press had to be rewarded. Their payment was mostly in power, prestige, and money. The latter was mostly in the form of advertising by the major corporations, which in turn were recipients of contracts and preferred regulations from the friendly bureaucracy. They were also in touch with the politicians who
used their office to play the stock market. So, the whole circle was
Which is exactly what they all started doing, even before Donald J. Trump was nominated as the Republican candidate for President.
Trump won in spite of the opposition of the entire establishment.
Why? Because he was an outsider who wanted to “drain the
swamp”. And drain he did!
The establishment never stopped trying to destroy his presidency. Twice impeached and tried by the Congress, saved by one vote of
an avowed enemy from conviction the first time and by the
calendar the second time, they finally got him out of office by
what was indeed probably a stolen election. But so feared is he,
that they are still after him two years later. Why? Now that they
know what he will do, they will do everything in their power to
Unfortunately, he has been playing into the hands of his enemies.
Like many brilliant people, Mr. Trump has his faults. His public
persona presents a tough, outsize ego with an unscrupulous
tendency to attack his enemies with belittling nicknames and
broadsided attacks. This tends to amuse his fans but alienate his
rivals, many times forever. There is thus a permanent opposition
of “Never-Trumpers”, even in his own party.
But there has been no other politician since perhaps Bobby
Kennedy who can attract thousands of voters to listen for an hour
or more in all kinds of weather, on sometimes very short notice
than Donald Trump. His appeal to his ever-growing base is a sign
of his ability to bypass the establishment and gain the direct
support of the voters. It is this ability which continues to strike
terror in his enemies.
But the tide seems to be turning. If Mr. Trump does not make
some changes, he may end up like one of Shakespeare’s tragic
heroes as a great man ultimately defeated by his own mistakes. In
this case, Trump’s mistakes seem to be 1) his fixation on the 2020
election, 2) his premature announcement of his candidacy for
2024, 3) his continued attempts to stay in the spotlight through
misguided, often spontaneous remarks, which feed his hostile
press. He would do better to heed President Reagan’s eleventh
commandment, “Never criticize another Republican.”
Americans want to hear solutions to the present problems we face – mostly caused by the current administration. This is a time for reconciliation, for healing the wounds of extreme partisanship, and new agendas. 2020 is past and 2024 is not yet here. Most of us are concerned about how to get there.
If Mr. Trump does not make some changes, he may be the tragic
hero of a future Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, Othello, or MacBeth, while the voters may turn to a “Donald Trump lite” like Ron
DeSantis or Mike Pence.