The Big Meeting: President Trump meets President Putin

Yesterday, Friday July 7, 2017 was the big day. It may not matter to you or me individually, it does not change the course of our daily life and it may not even be that big of a deal, but according to the media, the political pundits, and the policy wonks yesterday was a big deal. What happened that’s such a big deal you ask? President of the United States Donald J. Trump met with President of the Russian Federation Vladimir V. Putin for the first time at the G20 Summit in Hamburg, Germany. I don’t see this being as significant as suggested due to the fact that President Trump has already met with several world leaders such as Theresa May (Prime Minister of the U.K.), Narendra Modi (Prime Minister of India), Xi Jinping (President of China), Shinzo Abe (Prime Minister of Japan), Moon Jae-In (President of South Korea), Malcolm Turnbull (Prime Minister of Australia), Justin Trudeau (Prime Minister of Canada), Angela Merkel (Chancellor of Germany), Emmanuel Macron (President of France), and many others. The big deal seems to be that America and Russia are two of the worlds leading nuclear powers and the leaders should officially meet and develop a relationship and have communication channels so we don’t end up in a potentially dangerous situation. The actual numbers aren’t known to the public but it is assumed that Russia and the United States have approximately the same number of nuclear weapons with one country occasionally having an edge on the other. I believe Russia currently has a larger nuclear arsenal compared to the United States. Another point of significance is that President Trump is being accused of colluding with the Russian President and his intelligence/spy community in order to win the U.S. Presidency. The idea is generally that Vladimir Putin wants to remotely control America and therefore he chose Donald Trump as his puppet to run the country in ways that are only beneficial to Russia, it is also suggested that he either bribed Mr. Trump or blackmailed him into this. Personally, I do not believe this line of thinking because Russia does not yet have that kind of sway in the international community due to it being a much smaller economy and global power compared to the United States. Even during the height of the cold war, the United States was generally more powerful than the Soviet Union. According to U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, the Presidents spoke on a wide variety of issues such as alleged Russian interference in the American election process, Russia’s activities in Ukraine, the Syrian Civil War, North Korean denuclearization, and other possible areas of cooperation. The U.S. and Russia agreed to a ceasefire in Southwest Syria to calm down the fighting and ensure there is no military confrontation between U.S. and Russian troops. I think this is largely symbolic to ensure worried people all over the globe that the two powers can work together and keep the peace. The prospect of a U.S. and Russia military confrontation or conventional war frightens people in America, Russia, and all over the world. It could possibly turn into World War III and Nukes could be used, causing death and destruction on a scale never seen before. People just don’t have the stomach for that kind of war anymore unless it is absolutely necessary in order to protect the country and its citizens. I believe America would win the war decisively of course, but our countries sons and daughters would die in massive numbers and our debt and economy would likely explode. It simply is not worth it unless they strike our homeland or allies. We must work together, at least on a few initiatives in order to keep the peace. The Reagan doctrine of peace through strength is an important thing to remember here. The stronger America is economically, diplomatically, and militarily the worse off any potential enemy will be. If our economy starts growing at ~3% again, our international relationships are grown and strengthened, and our military readiness is back up to the level it should be, then we will be absolutely fine and will have much more leverage to negotiate and maneuver.

 

Back to the ceasefire, I think this will not hold for too long because the U.S. backed forces are not only interested in defeating ISIS, they are also interested in ridding themselves of the Assad regime which is backed by Russia and Iran. The U.S. is also uninterested in having Assad continue to lead Syria after the war is over but I doubt this administration will plunge into a war in Syria over that determination. Also, it seems that President Trump who supposedly colluded with the Russians went in swinging into the meeting and pointedly asked President Putin whether he or his subordinates interfered into the U.S. election process. President Trump asked for him to fess up if he did it and of course President Putin denied he nor his associates had done anything of the kind. Folks on the left may believe Trump was soft on Putin, folks on the right may believe it was just right or nothing special, but I believe Trump is looking to hone in on Russia’s sphere of influence. And that is energy and mineral exports, Trump wants America to become energy independent and start heavily exporting oil, natural gas, and coal to Europe and overtake Russia as the main energy supplier. Maybe this is all the Art of the Deal in practice or maybe its nothing. We’ll just have to see.

 

This is Saint Reagan signing off

 

 

My Original Political Evolution

I didn’t really have any concrete political views prior to the 2016 election, much like many of my fellow millennials. I did of course admire certain Presidents from the past such as George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Abraham Lincoln. I didn’t really lean in any way because I didn’t know what each party’s views on the issues were, in fact I didn’t even know that there were any issues. America is such a fantastic place that a regular American kid doesn’t even have many problems to worry about. I always thought Republicans were cooler because their mascot is a strong and powerful elephant versus a braying ass (donkey) for the Democratic party. GOP (Grand ol’ party) also sounds pretty cool. I did always believe in Capitalism though, I believed that my money comes from my hard work and that taxation is mostly theft. I also believed having a strong national defense was imperative to keeping America safe and free. I was pretty socially conservative but I felt that pushing my social views on others was probably wrong. These were my simplistic views.¬†Around August 2016, I started contemplating who I should vote for. I decided to take a couple of weeks and become an informed voter. From an objective point of view, I figured out what issues mattered to me without biased media sources telling me what to believe.

 

These were issues I cared about prior to having strong political views:

  • Eliminating the half trillion dollar budget deficits by drastically cutting government spending in all areas other than paying interest on the national debt and defense.
  • The fact that we had a $20T national debt scared the hell out of me, President Bush doubled it and President Obama doubled it again.
  • Anemic sub-3% GDP growth.
  • Lack of military readiness and defense sequesters.
  • Government control over the student loan industry.
  • 2nd amendment rights were under attack.
  • Freedom of speech was being stifled by the left, having right-wing political views almost became a sin. Whatever the view may be, we must maintain freedom of speech.
  • Government control was legislating and regulating whole industries and businesses out of existence.
  • China was getting richer and America was getting poorer due to more capital and alliance relationships going to China.
  • Wasting blood and treasure in middle-eastern wars.
  • Massive welfare and entitlement expansions.
  • The ability of Government agencies to ruin your life.
  • Financial Services were ruined by government control.
  • Obamacare made health insurance super expensive.
  • More than 11 million illegal immigrants in America.
  • We had a ~$600B trade deficit.

 

Democrat Research:

I never liked Hillary Clinton because she seemed to be speaking in a very orchestrated and somewhat “fake manner”. It seemed to me that she parroted whatever President Obama or some European establishment figure said and didn’t really have a message or any original ideas. After doing some research I found that I greatly disliked her husband former President Bill Clinton because of his personality and ridiculous foreign policy and military decisions. I also felt that Hillary Clinton felt that she was owed the Presidency simply because she built a political career for so many years and worked with her husband to build a Clinton empire so to speak, that definitely turned me off to ever voting Democrat. After doing some more research by surfing the Democratic party website, watching speeches of prominent Democrats, and reading some books and articles, I found that I greatly disliked Democratic party ideals and views, it seemed to me that they believed in pushing down the strong to pull up the weak. Some of their policy positions such as mass amnesty and implementing politically correct measures in the military didn’t make any sense to me. I finished up by researching policy decisions by Democratic Presidents, members of Congress, etc. and I found that it all seemed to be pushing towards government control of almost everything. I decided that was not what I was for and went another way.

 

Republican Research:

Now it was time to learn about the Republican party, the party that I always thought was stronger. I knew Abraham Lincoln was the first Republican, so that automatically gave the GOP points in my book. So I looked at the GOP website, watched and read speeches of the greatest Republicans, and read many books and articles including (An American Life by Ronald Reagan). I started liking these views and ideas more and more. Limited government, a strong national defense, enforcing the rule of law, fiscal responsibility, protecting constitutionally guaranteed 2nd amendment rights, free and fair trade, merit based immigration, deregulation, lower taxes, and making America freer, stronger, and richer. After reading Ronald Reagan’s autobiography, I was sold on the GOP platform. I felt like this party was allowing people to become successful on their own merit and limiting government interference in our lives. So lastly, I did some research on recent Republicans such as members of Congress, both President Bushes and I was disappointed to find that many of these politicians had not voted in accordance with GOP ideals and were weak leaders, they were simply “big Government Republicans”. This was disappointing but I decided the GOP was the better choice overall. Now, it was time to learn about Donald Trump and his campaign promises, which I realized that most politicians are unable to keep. I liked most of his campaign promises. I didn’t like the idea of trade protectionism, I didn’t think having Mexico pay for the wall was realistic, he didn’t want to cut entitlement programs, and he wanted to spend a lot of money on a variety of programs and I wanted massively decreased government spending. I thought the guy was kind of a badass for sure. He was very patriotic, he was super rich, had a gorgeous wife, and pretty much did whatever he wanted. I didn’t really like his personality much, he was a bit too bombastic for me but I realized its either him or Hillary and I chose him. He’s a vulgar guy and said some things that may be construed as highly offensive, but overall I don’t think he’s an “evil scumbag” like some on the left like to claim.

 

The fundamental difference I found between the two candidates was that one wanted to protect the status quo and continue the myth that America was a bad country and needs to be fixed by government fiat versus someone who wanted to shake up the status quo and remind everyone that America was, is, and always will be the greatest country in the world.

 

Since the election, I have been disappointed with some of President Trump’s actions and my political views have further evolved which I will discuss in a later post.

 

This is Saint Reagan signing off

Patriotism

What is Patriotism? Patriotism is generally defined as love or vigorous support for one’s country. Patriotism is not special behavior to any single country though some countries tend to have more patriotic citizens than others. America is considered to be one of the most or the most patriotic country in the world. In my view, our country is something we should take pride in and work to improve if we can. The country itself, the values it stands for, the people who protect it, and the citizens who move it forward. America is facing a period of difficulty due to differences between citizens on political and economic views between the left-wing and right-wing and unfortunately some left-wing people are equating disagreeing with right-wing politics as hating America itself. They step on the flag, they spit on the constitution, and they lead others to believe that they hate and despise their own country. Maybe they actually hate their own country, maybe they are doing it for attention, maybe they’re doing it to fit in with peers, we may never know the actual reason why some leftists behave this way. It hurts when I see someone burn the flag or step on it, but it is their right to free speech and restricting them from it is not my or anyone else’s decision to make.

What is my view on my country?

I love America from the bottom of my heart. I believe this is the greatest country in the world even though it has flaws and isn’t immune to criticism. The country itself, the values it was built on, the warriors who protect it, and the citizens who move the country forward are part of my pride and love for my country. I love America because by God’s grace I was born here, it is the bastion of liberty and freedom, it is the richest nation in the world, it is the only world superpower, it has the strongest military in the world, it has the largest economy in the world, and great Americans continue to do what was considered impossible every single day. Only in this Republic can a beggar become a Billionaire by virtue of his or her skills, talents, ideas, and savvy. Yes, America is filled with large numbers of people who I consider to be punks, freeloaders, and losers but that doesn’t mean I hate my country. I love that my country is so free that people can be losers by choice and can speak their mind even if what they are saying doesn’t make sense or is wrong. I disagree with left-wing politics and just because America is filled with leftists, does that I mean I hate my country? Of course not, I love my country from the bottom of my heart and I will do anything to protect it if it comes under attack or pressure just like many other patriots would. Man is by nature instinctively attached to his land and his family and will do what is necessary to protect them and I believe patriotism ties into that idea.

For love of God, Family, Country, and Capitalism I will do what is necessary. Will you? What is your view of patriotism?

 

This is Saint Reagan signing off

 

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Book Review: An American Life by Ronald Reagan

My pseudonym on this blog is Saint Reagan, so you might’ve figured that I like and respect Former U.S. President Ronald Reagan. I respect him immensely and he is my biggest hero and inspiration other than my family members. No, I do not agree with every single thing he said or did as a private citizen, Governor of California, or President of the United States but I believe he was a man of character, strength, wit, charm, and intelligence that makes for a great role model and someone to learn from.

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My favorite book in the whole world is his autobiography which he aptly calls An American Life. It is a truly amazing book that details his rise from humble beginnings in Illinois to rising star in Hollywood, conversion to a conservatism, and ultimately his rise to the highest office in the land. It contains numerous pictures, journal entries, and notes that he wrote so you can really experience the world through Reagan’s eyes, even if only for a few moments. The gritty moments of dealing with Soviet leadership, strategy sessions in the White House, revitalizing the American economy, friction between his staff, and all the difficulties of the Presidency are clearly laid out in an easy to read and understandable format. The man that ended the cold war with decisive American victory, without firing a single shot shows you his world and the path he took to bring down U.S. enemy #1 with his brains, strategy, policy, personnel, and shrewdness. This books details the values, communication expertise, and political wit that Reagan had when it came to winning elections and successfully running the greatest nation on earth. There is a lot to learn from this book about the enigma that was Ronald Wilson Reagan, hero to some and villain to others.

Rest in peace Ronnie.

Saint Reagan signing off

Book Reviews

I enjoy reading books on a wide variety of topics, as I’m sure many of you do. The main areas I like to read on are:

  • History
  • Politics & Policy
  • Economics
  • Business & Entrepreneurship
  • Management & Leadership
  • Military Strategy & History
  • Biographies of Inspirational or Famous Figures
  • Psychology
  • Interpersonal & Communication Skills
  • Personal Improvement
  • Finance & Investment
  • Philosophy
  • Technology
  • Fictional Literature

I will be posting book reviews once in a while on new books I’m reading or books that I’ve read in the past and continue to enjoy re-reading. I hope to provide you with some interesting books to read and enjoy.

 

This is Saint Reagan signing off

Respectful Discussion and Discourse in Our Society

The recent 2016 American Presidential election campaign was considered to be one of the most divisive, violent, and scary election periods in American electoral history. Common courtesy, civility, and basic respect seems to have disappeared from our society and national discourse. People will have different views and ideas and sometimes those views may be very popular or unpopular and that is completely fine. According to our wonderful U.S. Constitution, the 1st amendment guarantees us the right to free speech no matter how unpopular or even wrong that may be. This election was fought between two different visions for the future of America and each faction had fanatical elements within them.

The general Hillary Clinton/leftist vision for American consisted of:

  • Increased government taxation and spending by “taxing the rich and the corporations”.
  • Decreasing military readiness and morale by cutting spending and implementing politically correct behavior into a gritty community of hardened individuals.
  • Using “climate change” as an excuse to legislate and regulate whole industries out of business and employees out of employment.
  • Utilizing partisan justices on the Supreme Court to restrict constitutionally guaranteed 2nd amendment rights to bear arms.
  • Giving mass amnesty to illegal immigrants.
  • Use the failing Obamacare entitlement as an excuse to enact single payer healthcare.
  • Further expanding entitlement and welfare programs to the point of unsustainability¬†where they already are.
  • Overall turning America into a European style statist economy.
  • The extremist elements such as Antifa, Black Lives Matter, etc. were going even far beyond this as to embrace even communism and other despotic ideologies.

 

The general Donald Trump/new rightist vision for America consisted of:

  • Decreasing government spending across large swaths of the government and taxation for the whole country.
  • Increasing defense spending and military readiness, eliminating politically correct culture from the gritty business of war.
  • Heavily cutting down or altering regulation and legislation to allow the economy to grow.
  • Getting people off of welfare programs and back to work.
  • Creating a more efficient and competitive economy.
  • Repairing a lot of crumbling U.S. infrastructure.
  • Protecting 2nd amendment rights by placing a constitutional originalist in the mold of the late Justice Antonin Scalia onto the Supreme Court.
  • Deporting large numbers of or all illegal immigrants currently living in the United States.
  • Building a wall against the border with Mexico in order to stem illegal immigration and protect against possible terrorists entering the nation through the inadequate border security apparatus.
  • Eliminating radical Islamic terrorism.
  • Eliminating Obamacare and returning healthcare to the free market.
  • Renegotiating trade deals deemed unfair or disadvantageous to the U.S.
  • Attempting to lower the budget deficit and national debt.
  • And to generally shake up the U.S. establishment in business, politics, media, academia, popular culture, the intelligentsia, and everywhere else.
  • Some fanatical supporters of Donald Trump believed in preserving only white people or Christianity in America or some other such nonsense but these people were generally not even aligned with most of his actual policies, they thought he would support their racism.

 

As you can see after comparing and contrasting, these are two radically different visions for the future of the United States of America. It is understandable that people on both sides will have strong passions about their political views because these are such different ways forward. President Barack Obama enacted a lot of the policies mentioned in Hillary Clinton’s list and Hillary Clinton simply wanted to continue and expand down that same path. Many voters were getting sick of paying $20k/year and still not having actual health insurance coverage because of Obamacare, making $200k/year after years of experience as a Physician or Engineer and having to pay 25-35% in federal income taxes, everyone being so politically correct that you couldn’t even have fun or make a joke anymore without risking your social life and career, leftists coming the aid of terrorists every time there was an attack and urging calm while people were suffering and posting random statistics of an alleged spike in hate crimes without any context, people openly disrespecting the country and spitting on and burning the flag that many sacrificed for, riots and destruction of personal property in the name of justice, and stepping on peoples freedoms and rights. Average Joe’s and Amy’s got sick of the vitriol, the coercion, and the irritation of leftism. So, they voted for Donald Trump and he was elected. Are they racist because they did that? Or misogynistic, homophobic, white supremacists, or plain stupid? No, they are not. Because Black, Hispanic, Asian, Middle Eastern, African, and White Americans voted for Trump. Why the hell would an American with Hispanic or Indian ethnicity vote for a racist? They wouldn’t. They are just people who got sick of the constant social and economic pressure under Democratic and left-wing policies and culture. If you have left-wing political views, you can respectfully listen to the other side and try to understand why they have those views and we in the right should do the same. I think we can find some common ground on general things and use that to rebuild civility and respect for each other even if we vehemently but respectfully disagree on politics. We need more respectful national discourse and civility amongst each other so we can be a United nation as our name suggests, don’t you think so too? In case of war, recession, or any other dangerous situation we need to be United against any threat, that will determine the strength and resolve of our nation.

 

Quote:¬†“I never considered a difference of opinion in politics, in religion, in philosophy, as cause for withdrawing from a friend.” – Thomas Jefferson

 

This is Saint Reagan signing off

A Second Korean War?

There seems to be an increased risk of the U.S. and South Korea taking military action to deal with Kim Jong Un’s series of recent missile tests. He has recently tested an ICBM (intercontinental ballistic missile) that appeared to have survived re-entry into the atmosphere after being launched into space. There has been speculation by policy wonks and the media that under certain conditions this missile could be used to strike a U.S. city like Anchorage, Alaska. This certainly poses a threat for us in America and I’m assuming that the Trump Administration, the Military Leaders, and Congress are taking this threat seriously. The U.S. seems apprehensive to conduct a military strike due to a few important considerations. First of all North Korea allegedly has thousands of artillery pieces pointed at Seoul, South Korea to kill as many civilians as possible in case of a South Korean or U.S. strike. If the U.S. and South Korea were to strike, North Korea would likely start firing on Seoul and the number of civilian deaths would be catastrophic, considering that the city is home to more than 10MM people. There is also the matter of 28,000 U.S. troops stationed there who could be at risk. Russia and China are firmly opposed to U.S. Military action probably for a couple of reasons. I don’t know their reasons for sure, but I can make a few guesses. If the U.S. and South Korea strike North Korea and invade the country, the coalition will likely finish the engagement with decisive victory. There will be a huge number of the North Korean population running to the Chinese and Russian borders as refugees and that could create a lot of financial and social difficulty for the Russian and Chinese Governments and populace. Also, a decisive U.S., South Korea, and possibly Japanese coalition victory will once again reignite U.S. military dominance on the world stage and China and Russia will have a lot of difficulty projecting force, especially in the Asia-Pacific region. President Trump is a completely different leader than former Presidents Bush and Obama, he will want full and decisive victory and will likely not melt under public pressure to end the war prematurely. He is not one to bend to protests, the liberal media, or the intelligentsia. These all create image problems for Russia and China, they will not be able to flex their might when the U.S. is whupping ass in an active conflict. There will likely be deconfliction zones between the U.S., South Korean, and Japanese Militaries with their Russian and Chinese counterparts so as not to risk killing each others troops, but if China and Russia intervene like the last Korean war the U.S. forces may start firing on Chinese and/or Russian troops which could lead to a larger war or even the dreaded World War III scenario which nobody wants. In my view, these are the general reasons why the U.S. doesn’t want to go to war and why Russia and China are firmly against it.

 

Why should we even go to war?

Good question. North Korea hasn’t hit the U.S. homeland yet, but I don’t think waiting for Kim Jong Un to make that kind of decision is a good idea. As we can see in the media and reports from think tanks and policy experts, he is not a stable or predictable guy. He bares a lot of animus for the U.S., South Korea, and Japan. He is testing missiles for the purpose of threatening or even striking the homeland, South Korea, or Japan. I am generally against interventionism such as in the Iraq war, but this is a guy who is likely to develop nuclear capabilities rapidly and strike the U.S. when we least expect it. It might be more prudent to hit him first and ensure that we don’t give him the opportunity to kill Americans on our soil. Kim Jong Un has developed a sophisticated group of hackers, nuclear scientists and engineers, and other technical specialists to develop his military capabilities and hurt the U.S. and our allies. We must make the decision whether to draw a red line and let him cross it or enforce the rule and take the fight to him and win.

 

Don’t get me wrong, I am no war monger. I believe that so much of our precious blood and treasure has been wasted in wars such as Iraq and Vietnam but I believe the majority of our wars were justified such as the Revolutionary War, the Civil War, World Wars I/II, the Korean War, and the Afghanistan War. Many sons and daughters of our nation have fought and died due to the mistakes of political leadership and that is a travesty but we cannot let mistakes of the past paralyze our decision making for the future. I have confidence that Secretary of Defense Ret. Marine Gen. James Mattis will work constructively with his South Korean and Japanese counterparts to develop a Military strategy coupled with a political and diplomatic strategy to ensure that this possible war doesn’t turn into another Vietnam or Iraq, a situation where we typically win the Military battles but lose the war due to political blunders and make our nation into a laughingstock while so many mothers and wives are getting folded flags delivered to their homes instead of their brave family members who went off to protect their nation and paid the ultimate price.

 

My view is, if this war has to happen, let us go forth as a nation with our allies and achieve decisive victory and build the model for a reunited Korean Republic which is a stable of democracy, human rights, economic success, and military might. I hope that this war doesn’t happen and we don’t lose more American blood and treasure, but sometimes these situations are unavoidable and we may have to preemptively strike before we are struck by the enemy.

 

God Bless the United States of America

 

Something to think about,

Saint Reagan signing off

Lets get started here

Hello everyone,

I am starting this blog because I feel like it would be worth it for me to discuss my views on a variety of things affecting our country, the world, and society in general. There are lots of interesting things to comment on a regular basis: whether it be news, politics, culture, and much more. I will work to develop the habit of posting regularly and providing some insights and analysis.

 

Thanks for reading,

Saint Reagan signing off