Immigration and Border Security Discussions in Congress

It looks as if Congress and the Trump Administration plan to kick off the year with discussions that will be focused on immigration, DACA (deferred action for childhood arrivals), a possible border wall, and other relevant discussions.

This is considered to be a very tough area of debate for Republicans and Democrats alike because it covers so many issues, special interest groups, political considerations, and could have large effects on the U.S. economy and the world’s perception of us. The United States is estimated to have more than 11 million illegal immigrants in the country. These are people who have either crossed the border from South or Central America without legal authorization or people who are still here unlawfully after their visas have expired. The country has been in a flux for decades over how to solve this issue and the can has been kicked down the road for a very long time. The problem may finally have come to the point where a decision absolutely has to be made. Some folks, especially on the political left advocate giving a path to citizenship to all of these people. Other folks, generally on the political right support deporting most of these people back to their home nations and banning them from ever returning. Personally, I would be inclined to agree with the latter because it infuriates me that these people think they have the right to illegally enter our country and enjoy its bounties and then demand that they not be deported even if they have committed crimes. But from the perspective of a pragmatist, a total deportation policy is not practical or possible. Physically locating and deporting more than 11 million people living somewhere in this massive country would be unimaginably expensive and would be a logistical nightmare. It may also turn the country into a police state which isn’t good for anyone. Creating legislative measures that include permanent fixes is the name of the game.

I take almost everything Democrats say with a grain of salt. So when they claim that all of the DACA kids are good people, fluent English speakers, educated, and employed Americans; I don’t trust them one bit. I am sure many of these individuals are fine people but there have been reported cases of some of these people not being children, having troubles with the law, and misusing taxpayer funds. Giving blanket amnesty or an immediate path to legalization would be a bad idea because it sets a bad precedent for future illegal immigrants and may inadvertently give bad actors a mandate to live and work in America. I propose a piece of legislation that sets a hard quota limit on illegal immigrants who can apply for a path to legalization. 

Absolute must-haves for prospective applicants:

  • Be gainfully employed, a full-time student in a high demand educational program (STEM, finance, accounting, etc.), U.S. military personnel, or a business owner
  • Never have had any troubles with the law other than minor traffic offenses
  • Can speak English proficiently
  • Are not dependent on any taxpayer subsidies and/or programs such as Medicaid, Food Stamps, Financial Aid programs, etc.
  • Agree to abide by the laws of the United States and agree to a provision that they will be deported if they violate the terms of the legalization program

Congress can perhaps set a limit on the number of people that will be accepted such as 800,000 or 2 million. I would support up to 2.5 million legalizations but I would vehemently oppose legalizing all of the illegal immigrants. I doubt all of them would be eligible for the requirements levied in order to be accepted. I also don’t think they should immediately be given permanent residency or citizenship. They should be given something similar to an H1B visa which would essentially be temporary residency to legally live and work here and they could apply for permanent residency after 5 years of abiding by the rules. This would serve as a sort of trial period during which time they must follow the rules like other legal immigrants.

Originally, I was vehemently opposed to any form of amnesty but now I have recognized the reality on a couple of major problems. Congress is unlikely to reform entitlement programs such as Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and Obamacare that are the real long term factors in the decline of our nations fiscal health. For the economy to sustain a growth rate above the recent terrible averages of around ~1.5-2% we will need either an above average increase in labor force size, worker productivity, or preferably both. In order to be objective we have to realize many Americans prefer utilizing entitlement and social safety net programs rather than gainful employment in the private economy. So, the conclusion is that labor force expansion will need to come from immigrants if it won’t happen within our population. You can either choose increased immigration or slash and reform entitlement programs to incentivize work and entrepreneurship. You can’t oppose both and expect economic growth to accelerate. Regulation and taxation have really hurt the productivity equation but education is also a key area that is essential to increasing worker productivity and therefore total economic output. But education is a discussion for a different post.

DACA is likely going to pass in a bipartisan fashion and I am certain that President Trump will sign the legislation because he said so himself today. So, we Libertarians, Republicans, Conservitarians (Conservative + Libertarians), Capitalists, Classical Liberals, Conservatives, Right-Wingers, etc. will have to get with the program. It seems that a large portion of the country supports at least partial legalization, so total deportation is probably not even a question. I could’ve swore that was exactly what Candidate Donald Trump promised, but politicians never tell the truth because they are personally mendacious and the voting population is immensely stupid. This may sound condescending and downright mean but it is true if you review the history of world politics.

President Trump has indicated he will sign a DACA bill in exchange for increased border security and an end to chain migration. I would also add E-Verify to the list of asks in exchange for DACA because it would really penalize businesses that choose to employ illegal immigrants and the lack of economic opportunity may incentivize many illegals to go back to their home nations. Increased border security for the Trump Administration includes funding of up to $18B for a southern border wall, more border security agents, and other measures that boost enforcement such as technology solutions and watchtowers. Democrats and even some Republicans dislike the idea of a southern border wall for reasons ranging from the cost to it being offensive to Mexico. I’m very curious to see if a border wall materializes, I doubt it will be the “big beautiful wall” that President Trump has often claimed would be built. If it does indeed materialize, I predict it will be a much more scaled down ambition with increased fencing and perhaps a tall concrete structure in high problem areas.

I personally would like a massive steel and concrete wall across the whole southern border, but I realize that it is impractical for a multitude of reasons. First of all, many swaths of land on the border area are owned by private landowners so building the wall would required stealing land from them using eminent domain or paying them below market rates for their property. I despise government theft of private property, so I am philosophically and morally opposed to this. Second of all, various sections of the border already have natural barriers so adding a wall there would be a waste of money. Third of all, the cost of $18B seems excessive and I would prefer the redeployment of existing DHS (Department of Homeland Security) funds to improve border security. DHS has often been excoriated for egregious misuse of taxpayer funds and it has morphed into another unaccountable swamp bureaucracy. I cannot understand why the existing budget of $40.7B cannot accommodate increased security and enforcement. The various departments and bureaucracies in Washington D.C. and State Capitols have become totally unaccountable to the taxpayer and have constantly evaded Congressional oversight. 


This is Saint Reagan signing off


Peace Talks on the Korean Peninsula?

Happy New Year everyone! I hope everyone has a peaceful and prosperous 2018!

On the foreign policy front, the United States of America faces another year of tough challenges from revisionist powers, rogue states, global terrorist organizations, and rifts within our core alliances. To start the year off there is ostensibly some movement on the issue of the Korean peninsula. Kim Jong-Un has made some overtures to South Korea for inter-Korean talks. Talks will take place soon between North and South Korean delegations in a “truce palace” on the inter-Korean border. The U.S. will not be present for these talks though I suspect U.S. diplomatic, intelligence, and military personnel have a deeply connected dialogue with South Korea and are aware of each others intentions in order to offer a united response.

My view regarding this situation is that Kim Jong-Un’s efforts are insincere and are likely a tactic that may be used to divide the United States and South Korea and weaken our long alliance. North Korea’s and China’s goals are to kick the American presence out of East Asia and allow for regional dominance and coercion. North Korea wants to dominate the South and reunite the country on their terms. China wants to dominate East Asia and absolutely control the political, military, and economic affairs in the region. My view is that China may have pressured Kim into seeking dialogue with South Korea to attempt to weaken the U.S.-Korea alliance. It will likely not succeed and I doubt the talks will lead to any productive action in terms of North Korean denuclearization. The talks will likely be full of platitudes and small matters of discussion.

Kim may have sought these discussions based on a variety of factors:

  • Chinese pressure to engage South Korea in a way that excludes the U.S. and offers a small chance of peace
  • A formidable American military presence that is building up in the area with 3 Naval strike groups
  • President Trump’s apparent willingness to authorize a preemptive strike on North Korea
  • Painful economic sanctions
  • Possible internal pressure
  • A tactic to separate the U.S. and South Korea


Overall, this will likely lead to nothing, but it is positive news to know that the sanctions are hurting the Communist Dictatorship that ironically refers to itself at the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. I also think it is impossible or highly improbable to use diplomacy, sanctions, or other soft power tools to get North Korea to abandon or even freeze their Nuclear weapons program. In my view, military conflict is becoming likelier by the day. We may see a U.S. strike on North Korea that could involve a cyber attack to disable command and control structures, bombing runs, a Naval blockade, and a special operations focused ground force to destroy special targets (WMD sites, armories, airfields, etc.) and capture high value targets. A full out war and invasion akin to the Iraq War may not be necessary, but limited and targeted military action may be very likely.


This is Saint Reagan signing off

President Trump’s National Security Strategy

I was pleasantly surprised when I watched President Trump’s speech on his Administrations National Security Strategy last night. It was clear, based on reality, short on platitudes, and based on principles rather than dictating expected outcomes.



The speech and the strategy document took particular aim at China by stating that we are now once again in a time of great power rivalries similar to the Cold War period and that our primary competitor is China on all three facets of our national strength which are economy, military, and diplomacy. The United States has been the only superpower in the world since the end of the Cold War and perhaps due to complacency from American leadership, lack of a coherent strategy, and an inability to recognize China as an adversary has caused our country to become weak and decadent. China overtook us as the worlds largest economy by the measure of PPP (purchasing power parity) in 2014 and the Obama Administration deserves a lot of the blame for that.

The Chinese are directly challenging our power in Asia and they have become the primary economic and military power in Africa due to their focus on mining rare earth minerals and building infrastructure there. They are also saddling these poor African countries with large amounts of debt that they cannot possibly hope to repay and instead of money they want power domination and they are receiving it. This is because they have engaged in what the Trump Administration is calling “competitive diplomacy”, which I think means Cold War type of diplomacy when the U.S. and USSR were seeking to get all countries to decide whether they were allied with the United States or the Soviet Union. There was little worrying about values and flowery language and instead a strong focus on the strategic value of partnerships and the race to get as many allies on our side as possible. Our foreign policy for last 25 or so years has been incoherent, heavily militarized, and uncompetitive. Many Presidents and leaders in America have made the incorrect calculation that China will become a liberalized Democracy simply by joining the free trade system and that calculation was painfully incorrect and I appreciate that President Trump has recognized this truth in his speech. China is powering their economy with massive amounts of debt, intellectual property theft, monetary policy experiments, mercantilist trade practices, and command and control economic techniques. Their long term growth is not sustainable and no matter what the “experts” tell you, China taking over the U.S. is not a foregone conclusion. However, our domestic policies are reprehensible as well and our national debt, size of government, budget busting deficits, uncompetitive tax and regulatory regime, neglect of the military, and unreformed entitlements are major risks to health of the U.S. economy and our hold on global power.

President Trump has recognized all these issues and more regarding China but I have some reservations regarding what he will actually do. All politicians give great speeches but the actions they actually take is what matters. Does President Trump have the will to do what is necessary to counter China’s rise? President Trump has maintained fairly cordial relations with President Xi Jinping of China, so I’m not sure if the Chinese will treat this as bluster rather than policy implementations. The President’s unpredictability can be good and bad but our enemies and adversaries need to understand that the U.S. is serious and willing to fight and win another Cold War to defeat China or another near peer adversary.

That means:

  • Reforming our woefully uncompetitive tax code
  • Heavily deregulating business and innovation
  • Pursuing more free trade agreements and strengthening existing ones
  • Pursuing competitive diplomacy to strengthen our current alliances and quickly build new partnerships with countries like India
  • Reforming entitlement and welfare programs
  • Reducing the size and scope of the Federal government
  • Eliminating barriers to employment
  • Improving and securing American infrastructure via privatization and private sector resources
  • Reforming our immigration system so that smart and highly skilled workers can come here and improve our nation whilst keeping out bad actors and unskilled workers
  • Deporting or somehow getting rid of an estimated 11 million illegal immigrants
  • Investing in our military to build more ships and aircraft, expand training, and have clear political end states to all of our current military conflicts
  • Be prepared and willing to go to war with China to ensure American military and diplomatic dominance in Asia and around the world

In my estimation, China is not ready for war with us but they want to hurt us by developing a stronger economy, more favorable trade relationships, gaining dominance in key industries, and rapidly expanding their military capabilities. China cannot defeat us in a war in 2017, but if things keep going the way they are who knows what will happen?



The strategy discusses Russia very frankly despite President Trump’s wishes to develop better relations with Russia and his personally cordial relationship with President Vladimir Putin. Russia is a relic of a once great power in the form of the Russian Empire and the Soviet Union. Russia is attempting to come back and once again become a great power on Earth. They’ve been sidelined by the U.S. and China for the last couple of decades and Mr. Putin wants to ensure that Russia’s economy grows stronger, he stays in power for a long time, their military and intelligence units are modernized and ready to fight, and develop a strong list of allies to possibly counter the U.S. in the future.

Whether you like him or not, Mr. Putin is an extremely effective statesman and he knows how to shape events and outcomes to his advantage. That was a skill that Ronald Reagan had and we haven’t yet seen from Donald Trump. Mr. Putin saw weakness in President Obama’s foreign policy and he tested him by interfering in Crimea, Ukraine. Obama did not respond with power but seemed rather weak and timid. So Putin took another chance in Syria and frankly embarrassed the United States. Russian military forces quickly took control of the situation to secure Bashar al-Assad’s regime while Mr. Obama was flailing and made us look like a second rate nation.

Russia wants to come back and they are using the standard toolkit of mendacious Russians which are disinformation, propaganda, unconventional warfare, aggressive spying, and aggressive counterintelligence. They have become very good with use of a variety of cyber tools to exploit threats in adversarial IT networks, spread disinformation and propaganda on social media, and enter into nations such as Ukraine and conduct war in a very unconventional fashion which makes it difficult for the U.S. to counter.

President Trump will need to take serious action to counter the Russian threat which may include:

  • Expanding the size and strength of the United States Armed Forces
  • Moving more troops to Eastern Europe
  • Conducting training exercises to intimidate and confuse the Russians
  • Conduct forceful foreign policy in post-war Syria and ensure that the Russians are limited in what actions they can take or be totally ejected from the country


Other Areas:

The strategy touches on other areas of importance such as strategic missile defense, border security, immigration reform, nuclear arsenal modernization, competitive diplomacy, intelligence services, and global terrorism and criminal organizations. These are general areas that need concrete action that has been missing so far.

President Trump’s core focus on border security and immigration reform are positive but there needs to be a renewed and laser sharp focus on strategic missile defense, nuclear arsenal moderation, and competitive diplomacy.


Overall, I thought the strategy was well thought out, clear, and based on the reality of the world. I hope President Trump seeks to actually move on these priorities and ensure our nation, allies, and interests are secured.

Even though looking at the data for where our nation is heading is quite depressing, I remain cautiously optimistic about a bright future for the American Republic. Somehow, America has always made the tough decisions and corrected itself when faced with extreme adversity. I remain confident that this time will be no different. America is better than the Romans, Greek, British, French, Spanish, and Dutch empires. This great nation will prevail.


This is Saint Reagan signing off


Further Resources:

Eminem’s “Revival” and Ice Cube’s “Cubonomics”

Eminem (Marshall Mathers) as many of you may know is one of the most popular rappers and musicians in history. Many fans of hip hop, including myself enjoyed his music due to his amazing technical rapping skills, storytelling ability, and fantastic production. I will concede that much of his music was vulgar, distasteful, and sometimes downright incorrect or disgusting. Of course I am no saint and I will say that I still listen to some of his music occasionally.

One of my issues with Eminem has always been his stupidity regarding politics and his willingness to do literally anything to stay relevant. Even though he claims to be one of the “realest” rappers, he is one of the biggest sell outs to mainstream music. I pretty much wrote him off when he started collaborating with Rihanna and came out with 2 below average albums in the form of Recovery and Marshal Mathers LP 2.

This imbecile has accused Former President George W. Bush of invading Iraq so that he could impress his dad (President George H.W. Bush) who initiated the First Gulf/Iraq War and to steal their oil. He had said in numerous songs that President Bush sent the military over there and let them die so he could somehow personally benefit from Iraq’s oil reserves. This is not only a misguided and incorrect statement, it is dangerous because so many young people who grew up listening to that started to believe it. Eminem has the right to free speech, just like anyone else and he can say what he wants but unfortunately that has had perverse effects throughout society. While there are legitimate criticisms to be made of the Iraq War strategy, Eminem is likely not intelligent or informed enough to understand the intricacies of American foreign and defense policy and he doesn’t care. It is all about gaining popularity among the youth, so he’ll do whatever works.

Eminem has dipped out of relevance in the past couple of years so he released a new album called Revival which I understand received terrible reviews. There are songs in the album that accuse President Trump of being an Aryan, associated with the KKK, attempting to divide the nation for his political gain, accusing the President of parroting Fox News lines, and criticizing his decision to ban transgender people from enlisting in the military. He also mentions that he wants to kidnap Ivanka Trump and put her in his trunk.

Lets break all of this down and go further into it. One of his major accusations is that President Trump is a white supremacist. If we look throughout Donald Trump’s public life, has he demonstrated that he is a racist? Not really. He has made some inflammatory comments about illegal immigrants from Mexico and muslims, but he has legitimate grievances towards both of those groups that have nothing to do with bland and run of the mill racism. Some of what the President says is impulsive and misguided but I highly doubt he is a white supremacist. He has numerous minorities working in his administration and was known to have dated a black model prior to his marriage to the First Lady. Yeah, that doesn’t seem like a white supremacist to me. He is only accused of that because he isn’t a politically correct milquetoast hack politician. Donald Trump didn’t divide the nation, he is simply energizing his political base by sometimes making controversial statements. The nation has been divided for 10 or 15 years because of wide disagreements among Americans regarding the role of government, foreign policy, and socialism vs capitalism. Those divisions will likely heal or become less significant if we have healthy and robust economic growth and more incentives to undertake productive activity. All the political crap typically disappears when everyone is getting a raise, spending, and saving.

Eminem accuses the President of simply repeating what he watches on Fox News. President Trump is sympathetic to Fox News because they are somewhat sympathetic to him and his policies and they’ve treated him more fairly than other news organizations. Of course Fox is a right leaning network just as CNN and MSNBC are left leaning networks. President Trump, just like any other leader has their own ideas and opinions and this accusation by Eminem has no merit. Eminem really shows that he is a sell out and a phony with the transgender part. Eminem was chided by the media and the industry for disparaging LGBT folks during the peak of his career, he doesn’t care about transgenders specifically, it is simply the “in thing” now in popular culture. In my view, transgenders shouldn’t be allowed to join the military because gender dysphoria is a psychological condition and taxpayers shouldn’t be footing the bill for their conversion procedures and mental confusion. The last point about Ivanka made no sense and was simply him venting that President Trump doesn’t give a crap about him.

It seems to me that Eminem is still a great rapper but his phoniness has been exposed and he struggles to remain relevant. I doubt this album will achieve much success.

It annoys me when musicians, actors/actresses, “activists”, and other dolts push out their opinions on matters they have no idea about. Recently Ice Cube (O’Shea Jackson) tweeted out his criticism of the GOP tax reform plan. He accuses the plan of taking money from people and giving it to corporations, which is ridiculously incorrect. Then goes on to say  corporations will use said money to produce goods and services that these people who have had their money taken away from will not have money to buy. Hardly seems like a smart business model. He also opines that tax cuts blowing up the deficit isn’t really a tax cut and laments that corporations aren’t forced to pay workers a higher wage as a result of the tax cut. Bro, does he even economic? He also has no coherent response to a criticism that a lot of tax goodies that typically benefit wealthier people have been cut or curtailed, probably because he is perturbed that his taxes may increase. The amount of things that are wrong with this laughable assessment on fiscal policy are numerous and it will take far too long to address. Ice Cube should stick with his $100MM net worth and continue to make B-grade films and sub-par music. Ice Cube’s command of economics is worse than a child’s. After all that is the beauty of capitalism, even fools like this without basic knowledge of finance and economics can earn millions of dollars. The system works whether you understand it or not.


This is Saint Reagan signing off

Roy Moore’s Defeat in Alabama

Republican candidate Roy Moore was defeated in last nights’ U.S. Senate special election in Alabama. In a close race, Democratic candidate Doug Moore won the race by around 20,000 votes. This is going to hurt for the GOP agenda in the Senate, but perhaps it isn’t all bad. I never cared much for Roy Moore as a candidate and I think the GOP establishment was correct in shunning him from the beginning, it was a necessary action of self preservation and honestly President Trump should’ve kept his opinions to himself instead of reluctantly supporting Moore like he did.


Roy Moore is an alleged sexual assaulter, rapist, and possible pedophile. Is this really the best the GOP could do? I don’t blame the party establishment as much as I do the Steve Bannon and Breitbart crowd. I always knew that the alt-right, alt-lite, and Steve Bannon type of movements are very similar to the left and they are socially conservative, economic socialists. They believe in protectionism, high tax rates, anti-trust, government regulation, lack of separation between church and state, and government control of personal choices other than abortion. I totally disagree with their ideas and they are the reason Republicans lost an easy Alabama Senate seat. Attorney General Jeff Sessions remains very popular in Alabama and someone like Luther Strange could’ve easily kept the seat and it is rumored that even President Trump predicted that Roy Moore would lose the general election because of his checkered past and explosive personality, which is really saying something when it comes from Donald Trump of all people.

While we don’t know for 100% sure if Roy Moore is in fact guilty of multiple counts of sexual misconduct, we do know other things about him. Even if you put the allegations aside and consider other factors, there is a lot to dislike about him and his views. He is one of the most radically anti-gay politicians in recent history. I understand that some people have religious reservations against associating with gay people but that doesn’t mean you can legislate your morality upon the whole country. There is a reason that we have  separation between church and state. People are free to practice their religion in the United States unless they somehow encroach upon the rights of others and legislating Christian morality on others is an encroachment of other individuals’ rights. In the United States we have freedom of association and if two consenting adults want to make any kind of personal decision such as marriage, they should be allowed to do it because it encompasses their right to liberty. Roy Moore doesn’t believe in the idea of American exceptionalism because we advocate things like equal rights for homosexuals all around the world. He is a disgrace to the idea of freedom. Moore has no respect for the United States constitution and claims that all of our rights come from God. While some people may believe in God and others do not, our rights don’t have anything to with God per se. The Founding Fathers recognized that the rights in the constitution are our natural and inalienable rights that no government can take away from us but it is up to us whether we choose to believe God gives us those rights or any other line of thinking we pursue. Roy Moore’s statement is just an excuse to have religious institutions and ideas interfere with government policy.

Moore believes that trade protectionism is a good idea for the United States to ostensibly “protect” our businesses. No such thing exists and it is obvious from his ideas that he has not studied basic economics. The theory of comparative advantage which has been proven many times over demonstrates that trade protectionism is ultimately a losers game. Moore is strongly anti-abortion which many people are, but I don’t agree with this line of thinking. My view is that American taxpayers shouldn’t have to pay for any abortions, birth control, or products that have to do with private sexual activity. It is someone’s independent choice whether they want to have sex or not, or have a baby or not. But they should bear all of the consequences for their actions, never the taxpayer. If some people find abortion morally reprehensible they shouldn’t be forced to pay for it through government payments to Planned Parenthood or pay for insurance benefits for their employees that cover birth control. America is a nation built on individual and economic freedom and based on our current politics, it looks as if we are slipping further and further away from what our Founding Fathers intended. Roy Moore is rumored to admire Vladimir Putin and that is just ridiculous. Vladimir Putin is a quasi-Czarist thug who wants to challenge American global power and remake the world in his vision. He is no friend to the United States and Roy Moore and President Trump should probably get the message.


Overall, it was probably good that Roy Moore lost because the GOP can assert that the establishment of the party was against him from the start. Doug Jones will likely lose the election to a Republican when his temporary term ends in two years. This episode has demonstrated that Steve Bannon and the Breitbart crowd’s ideas for the future of Republican politics are wrong and are destined to fail. While Breitbart does some strong reporting, they are basically the socially conservative version of The Huffington Post. The GOP needs to tell Steve Bannon to piss off and get back to the business of actually winning elections and governing effectively. I understand America started becoming a very weird place over the last 8 years of hell under the Obama Administration. The political correctness, the socialist economic policies, and the decline of American military and diplomatic power. I realize that it was hell for a lot of conservatives and liberty minded folks, but people like Roy Moore are definitely not the answer.


This is Saint Reagan signing off

President Trump’s Failure in Syria

I’ve always been a pessimist when it comes to President Trump and foreign policy. I did agree with some of his sentiments during the campaign and now, but his approach to foreign policy is unlikely to work.

These are some of his sentiments:

  • The United States is no longer respected as the global superpower
  • We are being taken advantage of financially by our allies, especially in Europe
  • China is overtaking us in economic growth, trade, and global pull
  • Russia could be a reliable partner to combat global terrorism
  • The Iraq War in the way it was executed was probably not a good idea
  • We have spent far too much money in the Middle East and Afghanistan and it hasn’t yielded much positive success
  • We should cut down our world police role


I agree with some of these ideas but my execution specifics are totally different from President Trump’s and that is reflected in his follies with Russia. The anti-ISIS operations by U.S. Coalition forces in Syria and Iraq are mostly accomplished and ISIS has been obliterated. Russian forces, Iran backed forces, and Syrian government forces did play a role in defeating ISIS but most of their military operations in the region have been focused on preserving the Assad regime rather than defeating ISIS. Most of the victory is due to American Airpower, U.S. special operations forces, and coalition members on the ground. By allowing Russia and Iran to interfere with such a large footprint, the Obama Administration has allowed them to expand their reach and pull. The United States has traditionally been the outside power broker in the Middle East and Russia has started taking over that role due to a lack of American leadership. We have dug ourselves into this hole, so we have no one to blame but ourselves. President Obama didn’t successfully deter Syria from using chemical weapons on its citizens and his administration didn’t attempt to neutralize Russian influence in the Middle East. Additionally, their failure with the flawed Iran deal is paving the road for Iran to develop nuclear weapons and making it very difficult to deter their influence all over the Middle East and beyond.

But this post is about Trump foreign policy rather than Obama’s. President Trump seems to have some sort of fascination with President Vladimir Putin and his operating style. While I won’t go into my opinions of Russia and Putin too much, I will say that he is essentially recreating a Quasi-Czarist Russia with him as Czar for many years. Russian diplomats and leaders are typically mendacious and one of their major policy goals is to irritate and undermine the United States at every turn. Whether it was Czarist Russia, the Soviet Union, or the current Russian Federation they have been focused on trying to build Russia into the only world power. They will likely not be able to succeed due to the rampant corruption, constrained economic environment, and lack of freedom in Russia. The Russians are succeeding on their incremental policy goals, especially in the Middle East because the Trump Administration is continuing the weakness of Obama foreign policy.

The Trump Administration is attempting to build ceasefire zones in Syria and abdicate American leadership in the country to Russia. The Syrian civil war cannot end until there  is a credible political solution to the problem that likely will not include a future for the Assad government. That is a sticking point for Russia and Iran and they will likely not take it standing down. President Trump seems to like quick victories that generate media buzz and he doesn’t like to participate much in activities that involve the long game. President Trump has indicated he will stop arming our allies in Syria to calm tensions with Turkey. This demonstrates that the United States essentially has no policy continuity, has a strategic atrophy, and is an unreliable diplomatic and military partner. This type of behavior by our government has to stop if we are to remain a reliable global partner. He has indicated he will let Syria and Russia handle the problem in Syria, he has not indicated that the U.S. will play any major role after combat operations wind down. Russia doesn’t have the resources to conduct any major improvement projects in Syria, but they do have the ability to provide leadership and security. They will milk that to the maximum to ensure that they become the Middle East powerbroker. They have disrespected the United States on multiple occasions by conducting Syrian peace talks without U.S. representation or consultation.

I see a variety of very negative consequences if President Trump continues down this path of abdicating American global leadership.

  • Russia will become the number 1 power in the Middle East
  • Saudi Arabia, Egypt, UAE, Jordan, and our other Middle Eastern allies will start to shift away from us to the Russians in order to secure their interests
  • Radical Islamic terrorism will continue and amplify with a vengeance because the Russians don’t have the resources or interest in dealing with that
  • The United States will slowly be pushed out of the region
  • The Middle East will become even less stable and regional crises will increase in intensity and frequency
  • China will also likely become another Middle Eastern power


His administration can stop this process by taking a few actions.

  • Making sure the U.S. is part of the peace process to find a political solution to end the Syrian war.
  • Possibly negotiate an agreement that ejects U.S., Russian, and Iranian forces from Syria on a conditions based schedule that focuses on improvements in the political situation.
  • If Russia is unwilling to leave the Middle East, the U.S. may have to use force. A possible solution could be to send American Special Operations Forces to destroy Russian equipment and bases in Syria. Targets could be air defense systems, fighter aircraft, bombers, tanks, and other essential equipment.
  • Leave a residual U.S force near the Syrian border to ensure ISIS or any other terrorist organization does not infiltrate Iraq again.

It is my view that allowing Russia to become the Middle Eastern power is a strategic blunder for the United States and our ability to maintain leadership around the globe. If Russia is in Syria for the long term, our long term influence will quickly decline. If the U.S. destroys Russian equipment and military bases in Syria, Putin will likely blink and move troops out of the Middle East or at least reduce his footprint. Many people might get excited at what I am suggesting and may think it suicidal since Russia is a nuclear power with just as many warheads as us. There is almost no chance that Putin will nuke America because we took out his strategic position in Syria. Putin interfered in Ukraine and Syria because our government blinked and let him. If President Obama immediately reacted with troops in either situation, he would’ve drawn back. Putin is very realistic and pragmatic about what his capabilities are right now. The Russian Federation is not the Soviet Union and the United States can defeat Russia in any conventional or unconventional warfare scenario. Russia will not dare attack if the U.S. continues sustained engagement in the Middle East. The policy should have continuity and should be maintained through future Presidencies. President Obama totally reversed many of President Bush’s policies and that is why we are where we are.

I hope President Trump recognizes his follies and corrects his abdication of American leadership in the Middle East and especially Syria. President Trump needs to educate himself more on foreign policy by reading a couple of books and far more intelligence reports. Henry Kissinger, Ronald Reagan, Theodore Roosevelt, etc. should be on his reading list.


This is Saint Reagan signing off


Thanksgiving and Gratitude

Let me start this post off by saying I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving! In my opinion, Thanksgiving is the most wonderful holiday of the American tradition. My family immigrated to this great nation and this is one of the many traditions we’ve embraced and integrated into our life in our quest to become true Americans. We enjoy cooking a Thanksgiving feast, chatting with family, and buying all the electronics we’ve been saving up for during the year. It is just a great time to create memories and enjoy the company of family. It is also a time to be truly thankful for all that we have. We are thankful to be Americans, each other, have a comfortable lifestyle, to have all this delicious food among other things.

In my view, gratitude is very important if you wish to be happy and have internal peace. If you go through life expecting things and being a perpetual victim, you will never find happiness. It is very important to always be grateful for all that you do have and thank those around you for being there for you and supporting you. We as Americans have so much to be thankful for. We live in the greatest nation on Earth, we are a part of the greatest civilization in history, we have plenty to eat, we are typically safe and secure from damage to our persons and property, and we are generally free to pursue our own rational self interest. Not many people can say that. So this Thanksgiving and every thanksgiving I hope to build on this tradition of gratitude for all that I have so that I can have internal peace.


This is Saint Reagan signing off