Wow! Talk about inclusion … Donald Trump has now personally interviewed or gotten counsel and advice from numerous individuals who must have concluded their campaign bashes had earned them a long stretch in the wilderness. But not so.
Some of the president-elect’s harshest critics appear to be on short lists for senior spots, including Mitt Romney, Tim Pawlenty, and Bobby Jindal. Meantime, former critic Nikki Haley, outspoken governor of South Carolina, has secured the post of Ambassador to the United Nations. Perhaps just as surprising, a number of registered Democrats are in the conversation, including Michelle Rhee, former D.C. Schools Chancellor, who met with the president-elect just over a week ago.
Topping it off, President-elect Trump seems less inclined to pursue legal action against his vanquished, erstwhile foe, Hillary Clinton. Her sprawling trail of legal missteps, misstatements and misdeeds lie about the silent field of battle, scattered testaments to blind ambition, and where it leads. Whether feint or for real, that softening is notable. So, inclusion, forgiveness and good cheer abound!
Meantime, contrary to media expectations, Mr. Trump has apparently conducted some 26 calls with world leaders, all positive and encouraging, if no doubt firm. Allies and adversaries, save a few, seem to understand a new game is afoot. Mr. Trump will no more be the follower; the United States will lead and do the calling. Those who answer get fair, clear, peaceable conversation. No more games and false starts; no more posturing and lectures.
If some worry, most understand – plain talk is better than fake talk; decisions grounded in reality, understood roles, reasonable expectations keeps peace closer, and war further. If somewhat trite, Robert Frost was right, “good walls do make good neighbors.” Less uncertainty means more clarity, more room to agree once everyone understands what is not negotiable.
And in this vein, while the Trans Pacific Partnership may be dead, why not anticipate 12 bilateral agreements, negotiated in America’s favor, and maybe one with China too – identifying advantages midway with foreign interests? America’s bargaining power is always greater in a bilateral context.
What other surprises await? Among the most likely, a first 100 legislative days to make Franklin Roosevelt’s “first hundred” a footnote on the Trump/Pence run, new concord with of Congress (after some sharp elbows), restoration of Federal financial accountability (which Americans thought was forever gone), targeted tax cuts, fiscal reform, private sector-focused infrastructure, and an end to money-buying favors in Congress, rule by decree, and run-away laws like the Merit Systems Protection Board, which now effectively blocks removal of errant employees.
What else? Well, we appear to be on track for more peaceful and cooperative judicial appointments, greater consensus a judges and justices who apply laws passed by Congress, rather than legislating from the bench. Greater predictability also promotes greater peace.
Three other areas spell peace ahead. First, economic growth is reinforcing, and brings peace. Before Trump and Pence were elected, many financial players and wrong-headed media thought Clinton represented stability and Trump bumps – in other words, under Trump they advised the stock market will tank. Guess what? Quite the reverse.
The stock market is flying. The reason is clear. Trump is promising a combination of pro-growth policies, fiscal rethink, stable monetary policy, and tax reform. The markets believe. Will rates rise? Yes, probably but in a graduated way. Will trade accords be renegotiated? Yes, without a massive trade war, despite the apocalyptic press. In sum, the Trump/Pence tenure is almost sure to spur real growth, which means peace of heart, rising incomes, more peace.
Then, after a long stretch of indifference to rule of law, having a de-politicized Department of Justice should re-elevate civil order, prioritize terrorism, transnational and drug-related crime, and offer more restored balance. Born again is a chance for societal peace, trust in our institutions, and specifically, respect for the brave, selfless law enforcement community. More peace.
Perhaps with a refocus on the positive, peaceful upward mobility, and support for local, state and federal law enforcement officers – peace officers – we will experience renewed civic cohesion and reduced civil tension. Gone will be vilification of good men and women in uniform.
Finally, comes the promise of restored international order – the missing presence of American leadership. Too often, poor leadership has translated into weak foreign policy, a hemorrhaging of American influence, respect and ballast. This has produced tippy national security, low predictability, unsteady expectations and a lack of peaceful outcomes – in places like Ukraine and Iraq, Syria and wider Middle East.
Bad deals, bobbled opportunities, and lines in the sand that meant nothing have taken us out of history’s flow, and failed to keep faith with America’s traditions of leadership and sacrifice. Gone are those days of under-delivery. Back is the propensity for common sense, deal-making to American advantage, and keeping faith with our past. That shaft from between dark clouds that may widen to cover the country, and that promises a different peace.
In a few scant weeks, Trump/Pence have stressed being inclusive, restoring peace within and without, seeding hope, regaining what is possible. They continue to consciously draw on advice from those of good heart, and telegraph (or twitter) inclusion, good will and grounded hope.
Now, I say, given recent precedent – and the value of putting wind in sails early, getting this Trump Ship of State under way … I wonder if the Trump/Pence team should be awarded, for their early efforts at peace and inclusion, for nobly ending a patch of political and economic malaise and division, the much-vaunted “pre-presidential Nobel Peace Prize.” I think they have as good an argument as any – for making good on America’s promise, surely as strong as the last Oval Office recipient. So, Nobel Committee, what do you say?