Trump risks our freedoms by rewarding dictators. At a recent rally in New Hampshire, he again praised the vilest dictators in the world, like Xi Jinping and Kim Jong Un. He also explained why. They have nuclear weapons. They could destroy us. So, ingratiate yourself with them, don’t upset them. Don’t stand up to them, sidle up to them. Is this sound strategy?
This is an old strategy for Trump, one he used in NY City to create his real estate empire by getting along with organized crime. It worked. At what cost, we don’t know. So now he applies this strategy to international relations.
Unfortunately, this is a very common human strategy for dealing with bullies, especially in small towns or other small settings where avoidance isn’t possible. We frequently saw it in Westerns. It makes us feel less vulnerable. In recent years, however, our society has campaigned, as the Westerns did, to promote standing up to bullies, not sidling up to them, as the better choice, albeit the more stressful one. Accommodating bullies only works short term and expands the problem by encouraging more people to become bullies, as it clearly has with Trump. His philosophy for how to be successful is one he has readily shared: make others fear you.