What Constitutes A Real Crisis

By

Leonard Zwelling

https://www.wsj.com/articles/can-trump-handle-a-foreign-crisis-11549583825

https://www.wsj.com/articles/bezos-vs-the-enquirer-could-be-a-watershed-11549667933

The two op-eds in Saturday’s Wall Street Journal couldn’t have been more different (February 9).

In the first the stalwart Peggy Noonan makes a great case for the luck of the Trump team in not having to face a true foreign crisis in its first two years. George W. Bush had 9/11 in his first year as did JFK have to weather the Bay of Pigs. Trump has been lucky. So far. That luck is unlikely to go on much longer. Europe is unstable and getting more so with the destruction of the INF nuclear missile treaty. China is a threat as its economy slows and its population grows. Who knows what North Korea will do and there is always the unpredictable Middle East. Sooner or later, the folks in the West Wing are going to face a real challenge that will necessitate real leadership and calm decision making. Who there is left to do that? Not many. Now is the time for the president to consider his shortcomings and those of his staff and find experienced people to help should a crisis occur. Waiting until it happens as appears to be the president’s usual way of managing is a bad idea.

A possible foreign crisis is real. The Jeff Bezos crisis described by Holman W. Jenkins, Jr. is not. The National Enquirer is on Bezos’ case for divorcing his wife after cheating on her and maybe sending sext messages that the Enquirer has acquired. Too bad, Jeff. Don’t do that! You may be rich, but that won’t insulate you from stupidity and why the heck should any of us care whether the Enquirer is threatening you after you may well have done stupid stuff. They live on celebrities doing stupid stuff. You fell into the trap and did stupid stuff and now you’re irate? About what?

I think we need to distinguish between real news and fake news. Trump’s lack of preparation for a foreign crisis is real news. Noonan makes a great case for the threat, especially with the recent loss of many talented people in the White House (Mattis, Kelly, McMaster). Who is going to be the calm adult when Putin crosses another border in Europe and Article 5 of the NATO treaty is invoked placing American troops in harm’s way?

By contrast, that the world’s richest man carries on like a teenager because he can is not even mildly interesting. If Bezos was really the victim of extortion, (we won’t publish the pictures if the Washington Post leaves Trump alone), well sue them. I am sure that he will. But in the end, if he hadn’t handed them the pictures, there would be no blackmail possible.

Bezos was playing gotcha with the tabloids. That often gets you in trouble as Gary Hart famously learned. Trump on other hand is gambling with our security while he rants about the non-threat on our southern border and ignores the real ones everywhere else.

Focus people.

Leonard Zwelling