This article is part of a new series called “Editors Notes” that will be published weekly.
Have you ever read The Prince by Machiavelli? I suggest that you do. It’s a terrific book that can be read over and over again as a playbook to consolidating and understanding power. It teaches you many things about how government, and beyond that, power in the world works. The book teaches you how to attain it, how to maintain it, and how to consolidate it. One thing Machiavelli and this writer can surely agree on: That when you need you approval ratings to go up, when you need to, as I’ve said, consolidate power, you go to war. That is what power and government is built on: War. That is, if you think about our history, that is what everything is built on. To quote Mussolini, blood alone turns the wheels of history. (I don’t make a habit of quoting dictators)
So lets flash forward to today. You’re the president of the United States, and you are in quite a bad situation. You have low approval ratings (53% disapproval according to CNN/ORC); your first major legislative action failed completely, and Democrats are taking spots in Congress. The solution is simple; well the idea of it is. When Donald Trump launched 59 Tomahawk missiles on a Syrian airbase as a result of Assad’s gassing his own people, many people blue and red rallied behind him. I’m not questioning the logistics of the decision, but politically it was probably one of his best moments during his short presidency. I myself found it hard to be against the action, because the circumstances were so dire. That is what military action can do for a president. It can take someone on the completely opposite side of the spectrum, and get them on your side.
It’s no secret that Donald Trump is imaged obsessed. He has created a career off of selling the concept of immaculate wealth to America. Whether it be by gold plating an entire hotel (Trump hotel Las Vegas), or by going on TV to make sure everyone knows just how great at business you are (The Apprentice). That is why it is so hard for him to be president, as a person. He likes to be liked, as we all do, and he chose the position that makes you the most disliked person in the world and the one that everyone blames for their problems. I am no analyst or pollster, but I would not be surprised if President Trump’s poll numbers spiked a little bit after he bombed Syria.
What keeps me up at night is how our president handles foreign policy. What keeps me up at night is the knowledge that North Korea can strike Seattle and LA if President Trump makes one misstep. What scares me as a citizen and as a reader of the news is the reality that we have placed our faith in a man who didn’t know what NATO was until someone explained it to him. That we have allowed a man who is so imaged obsessed, insecure, and unknowledgeable about very important issues America is facing around that globe and at home. This is not the campaign anymore, this is the presidency. When people said that they didn’t want to trust Trump with their nuclear codes, they were talking about far more than missiles. They were talking about the very health of this country.