Wednesday, July 27, 2016

How Trump’s Speech Won Over This Skeptical Voter - Yuri Justo

by Yuri Justo

Trump’s three major proposals are all very possible and could be completed within a few years.

I have not been a Trump supporter from the first. I much preferred Rubio, many of whose positions I still support. As a military aviator, John McCain’s story of heroism made him something of a secular saint, and I strongly supported him during his election run. As a believing Christian I was and am skeptical of Trump’s relationship with faith. But I was won over by Trump’s acceptance speech this last Thursday. What I heard was a plan: A plan with attainable, measurable objectives with outcomes directly tied to their accomplishment. This simplicity, modesty in scope, and realistic attainability completely changed my opinion about Trump.

First, Trump said that he will improve America’s security by building a wall. Building a serious border wall is a practical action that can be completed. Once complete it will improve security if supported properly. Examples from countries around the world prove this: For example, many years ago, I lived in the Palestinian West Bank territories. There was no real border, and weekly, suicide bombers would go from the Palestinian areas and blow themselves up wherever Jews would gather. Eventually Israel built its wall. This was very controversial. But no longer do suicide bombers attack. The wall worked. The same had to be done on Israel’s southern border as thousands of African refugees walked across the Sinai and into Israel. That wall also stopped the in-flow. Illegal immigration has been a subject of conversation ever since I could read the newspapers. A wall might finally end this conversation at least regarding the southern border.

Secondly, Trump said that he would re-negotiate our trade deals. This, he said, would improve the economy. When people ask: “When was America ever great?”, I think back to the mid-80s to the mid-90s. At that time, I remember Walmart being full of products that were “Made in America”. I remember visiting friends in small country towns that worked at factories making clothes. After NAFTA was enacted our factories made their way south of the border. Then came China’s entrance into the WTO: the shelves filled with Chinese products. Yes, things were cheaper -- but at what cost to our economy and our society? For 20 years wages have not risen for most workers. The American dream -- that our children will do better than us -- is in danger. Bernie Sanders’ popular candidacy showed that right and left, Americans want a re-negotiation of our trade deals. So, who better to work on a better deal for the country than the author of the Art of the Deal? 

Thirdly, Trump said that he would win the fight against ISIS. This is also eminently achievable. Under Obama we have fought ISIS with both hands behind our back. We have not tried to win, but rather have tried to use the minimum force necessary to prevent a total collapse. This gave ISIS years of safe haven. Years to perfect its recruiting strategies and plan attacks upon the weaknesses of the West. If ISIS had been swiftly defeated sometime around 2013 most likely the horrifying recent terrorist attacks around the world would also not have happened. As a veteran of the successful struggle against ISIS -- at that time called the Islamic State in Iraq -- I was maddened by Obama’s choice to throw our success away in 2011 and 2013 by first withdrawing and then choosing to only minimally assist the Iraqi Forces when ISIS invaded Iraq. Obama’s strategy has proven unrealistic and dangerous to the world’s safety. If we want to win, can we? Yes. Will Americans die in the fighting? Most likely. Can it happen quickly? Upon the president’s orders, the planning and preparations can begin; against such a militarily weak enemy, victory on the battlefield (defined as defeating militarily significant formations, not complete pacification) is merely a matter of time.

Trump’s three major proposals are all very possible and could be completed within a few years. There are 1,989 miles along our southern border. 700 miles of fencing have already been completed after 4 years of work. That leaves 1289 miles to go, almost all in Texas. As for trade deal re-negotiations, these can be accomplished relatively quickly: NAFTA negotiations began in 1991, and the agreement was signed by the end of 1992. Regarding winning against ISIS, the French faced a similar Islamist foe in Mali in 2013.  They began serious combat (eventually involving 4,000 soldiers) on 11 January, and were mopping up fleeing remnants by March 31, 2013.

Trump is not a messiah. He is not claiming to heal the planet and slow the oceans’ rise as Obama proclaimed in his acceptance speech. Instead, Trump is an executive, one who has listed his relatively modest objectives and milestones along the way. That is what I heard in his acceptance speech and I was won over.

Yuri Justo


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