OPINION

You have to laugh at the mainstream media sometimes. They’re so obviously desperate. Especially when they think everyone else is as dumb as the lefty peanut gallery they’re playing to. No matter how hard they try to spin a story, the spin is just too obvious.

Case in point, the latest eructation of Orange Man Bad-ism from the Cucktorian People’s Daily, the Age.

Chris Miller says he took the job as Donald Trump’s last defence secretary “scared to death because I listened to all the press that he was batshit, like unhinged”, Miller tells me.

Well, he was the guy who watched a dedicated video feed of gorillas fighting beamed into the Oval Office. At least that’s what the media tried to have us believe. As Miller found, the rest of the media narrative about Trump was just as horseshit.

What he actually found was a president who mightn’t have been “presidential”, but was, Miller says, an “excellent executive”.

There were no briefing papers, no written policy proposals, no coordination across the various departments of the US government, no staff experts present and no time: “You gotta come to the meeting with what’s in your head and in your heart.”

And while Trump didn’t do “national security language”, he did “New York business language”, says Miller. He asked the key questions; he gave everyone present a chance to speak; and he deferred to the weight of argument and the majority view. “You couldn’t ask for a better boss,” he concludes.

In particular, Miller cites a crisis meeting on Iran’s nuclear program. Trump was rightly furious – “Are the Iranians giving the finger to the United States of America?”

“Why don’t we bomb the hell out of them?” the president demanded. Miller wants me to understand that “that’s not national security language”. No kidding. But it was the right question, he says.

In other words, the accepted, establishment way of conducting affairs in Washington obstructs more than it constructs. Trump cut through the Washington bullshit and got to the heart of the matter.

And, sure, Miller said, “We can absolutely bomb the shit out of Iran. We absolutely can. We can put several hundred missiles in and destroy their deeply buried [nuclear facilities]. It’s going to be about a two-week campaign, air campaign”.

Then he laid out the negatives. The biggest of which was Trump’s core promise to end the Forever Wars.

‘You’re in the final weeks of your administration. You’re the first president since, like, William McKinley [president from 1897 to 1901], who hasn’t started a war, expanded a war’.

‘You met all your promises to get us out of these endless wars [US commitments to Iraq and Afghanistan]. I think it would be really, really difficult to win re-election. You start a war in the final couple of weeks of your administration, I think that would be really incongruent with what you stand for.’

As history shows, Trump listened.

So, what would Miller expect from a second Trump presidency? The sort of stuff that would give the establishment fits of the vapours, but play right to a Middle America sick of seeing hundreds of billions of their taxes going to prop up a feckless Europe, which only ever sneers at the US in return.

He had no reassuring words for the NATO alliance. “If you’re Germany, and you’re dithering around” with inadequate defence spending, “you probably should be worried”.

This was the bomb Trump threw under European politics in his first term, and rightly so. Having spent a fortune of American blood and treasure saving Europe from itself since the 1940s, what has America got in return? Certainly their European “allies” haven’t held up their end of the bargain: most EU countries have consistently failed to keep up their required defence contribution, choosing instead to bank on American might always being there.

Trump warned them that it might not be – and EU leaders, France and Germany especially, frankly shat themselves.

Second, he predicted that a president Trump would defend the Philippines and Taiwan against China. He said Trump “freakin’ hates bullies”, and China was the biggest of them all.

Besides, he said, if Xi Jinping tried to blockade Taiwan “there’d be absolute outrage, and the American public would force the politicians into taking action”, even if Trump personally was reluctant.

As for the media hysterics about “what a Trump presidency would mean” for Australia and New Zealand.

Trump, he said, is “a big fan of Australia”. He likes “small alliances, bilateral alliances as opposed to these huge conglomerates like NATO”. He said that Trump likes allies spending at least two per cent of GDP on defence, which Australia is now doing.

The Age

Oops. Might be trouble ahead for NZ, then.

Punk rock philosopher. Liberalist contrarian. Grumpy old bastard. I grew up in a generational-Labor-voting family. I kept the faith long after the political left had abandoned it. In the last decade...