Allow me to make this disclaimer an opening. I am no fan of Mr. Trump. There, it’s out, and now we can begin.
A decision to sit down with Mr. Putin at the end of a week-long campaign intended to burn bridges with NATO and Great Britain is an absolute ploy of political mastery. Imagine the head shaking among “wizened” Washington DC masterminds hiding in think tanks while biding time for another chance at the government teat.
“Never meet alone with Putin.” Their widespread and often aired advice.
Because they have done so much better at managing the master of Moscow over these last 25 years?
Perhaps we have all been living in oblivion. The wise men and women who trample Washington’s back halls as congressional staffers, members of the National Security Council and senior leadership for a plethora of think tanks have managed to give away Crimea, allowed the Taliban to survive through 17 years of war in Afghanistan and quietly watched the Rohingya die in Bangladesh.
To say nothing of their inability to push back on European Union tariffs on US exports—the kids in Brussels charge an extra 10 percent on an American vehicle imported to their “free trade zone,” we used to only add 2.5 percent. And then promptly hauled in $20 billion of Germany’s four-wheeled exports in 2017. All because the back-office eunuchs in Washington convinced the lobbyists and legislators this was a politically expedient means of proceeding.
If you are not angry yet. You should be.
Unfortunately, this slice of back-office negotiation among self-anointed experts is not new. China was governed by a sea of eunuchs. Emasculated men—this at least halted a burgeoning #MeToo movement in pre-Mao China—who felt entitled to dictate domestic, foreign, and all other policy for the imperial palace. Worked like a charm…or at least the eunuchs believed. A student of Chinese history might have other thoughts.
We don’t castrate the crew who would be the wisemen of Washington. Instead, the federal government allows them to wander about our capitol as contractors, consultants, and waiters. They move in and never leave. Apparently unable to find work within the capitalist enterprises they claim to protect, but all too willing to provide insight on how the government should protect, foster, and, occasionally, fiscally support the same industries.
Which brings me to the commentary surrounding Mr. Trump’s meeting with his Russian counterpart. Here’s Senator Mark Warner, Democrat of Virginia, a eunuch waiting to happen…retired senators seemingly linger in DC forever, “”We need to have other Americans in the room. Vladimir Putin is a trained KGB agent. He may come in with maps of Syria, maps of Ukraine, and, frankly, I think he’ll take advantage of this President, who we know doesn’t do much prep work before these meetings.”
A sentiment echoed by Chuck Hagel, Barrack Obama’s former Secretary of Defense, only hours later on National Public Radio.
So, who are these “other Americans?” Why, the wise men and women who must have been bestowed with a god’s sight view of reality in their undergraduate studies or time meandering the halls of power. In other words, the modern version of Chinese eunuchs.
Here’s the problem. The modern eunuchs have proven just as ineffective as their ancient counterparts. Step back and look at the Affordable Care Act, tax reform, our relations with Canada, Mexico, France or Germany. To say nothing of Social Security reform or a balanced federal budget. Yes, that would be the work of those “other Americans” Senator Warner or Mr. Hagel would so willingly toss into the room with misters Putin and Trump.
Here, I feel required to quote the U.S. President. “Nothing would be politically easier than to refuse to meet, to refuse to engage, but that would accomplish nothing.”
Exactly what the eunuchs in Washington have been advocating. There is nothing more obviously beneficial to job security than absolute status quo.
Time we rid ourselves of a few more eunuchs and live on the edge. That would be a model for development one finds at Apple, Facebook, Google and Microsoft. Might work for American foreign policy. We’ve only been in Afghanistan nine years longer than the Revolutionary War…but, then, well, the Founding Fathers had a far smaller field of eunuchs.
About the Author: Eric C. Anderson is a retired member of the U.S. Intelligence Community whose work focused on Northeast Asia — specifically China and North Korea. He is also an author. His latest text is “Anubis,” the second book in a trilogy examining the rise of ISIS.