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Trump’s Doctrine – Robert Charles on The Alan Nathan Show

Kathleen Antrim

Welcome back, everybody. Welcome back to the Alan Nathan Show. I’m Kathleen Antrim sitting in for Alan who will be back tomorrow. In the meantime, we’ve got a lot going on and a lot to cover. This has been just a jam-packed hour; I have to say. And to take a look at what’s going on with President Trump these days, I have to say that the attack that killed Soleimani, at least for me, kind of solidified what the Trump doctrine is really shaping up to be. And to helped us discuss this, we’ve got Robert Bobby Charles, spokesperson for AMAC and a frequent commentator on Fox TV, radio, and imprint. He served in the Reagan and Bush 41 White House’s, was Assistant Secretary of State under Colin Powell, and is the author of the widely read book on WWII veterans, Eagles and Evergreens. Welcome, Bobby, it’s great to have you.

Robert Charles

Thank you, Kathleen, it’s always a privilege.

Antrim

Boy, you know, I kind of want to look at the Trump doctrine, as it’s shaping up, and it seems to me that it is very Reagan-esque. The whole concept of peace through strength. And that, to me, was solidified when, in fact, Trump did act and take out Soleimani. You know, in looking at this, do you see a lot of similarities as well?

Charles

I do, and I have to tell you this president never ceases to surprise me. I think that he is showing more and more that he’s taking pages from Reagan’s historic approach to the Soviet Union, in particular, but also to individual terrorists and individual acts that need world response. He’s very measured. He’s not sending tens of thousands of troops, anywhere. He is responding directly, and I think one of the most remarkable things is you have Democrats who strike me as unable to respond to the effectiveness that he is demonstrating. I mean, Soleimani, the response you’re getting back is that, well, now we’re going to question whether the attack on four embassies was actually imminent or just planned and occurring in the fairly near term. But look back just in recent history and remember that not only is this guy the guy that was responsible for everything from the bombing of the Marine compound in Lebanon, all the way forward, he seeded Hezbollah all over the Middle East and, in fact, in this hemisphere.

But, you know, the reality here is Bin Laden had nothing imminent going on either and everybody cheered when we got him. So, this was an excellent act on the part of the president. It was foresightful. It made excellent use of US intelligence, and I think it kind of illustrates that this president is growing in the job, into become a really thoughtful foreign policy leader. I mean, I will tell you, in due time here, I think we’re going to see change in Iran, and that is a direct function of this President sagely looking at the set of facts and making good things happen.

Antrim

You know, and that is, as you were pointing out earlier, a page right out of the Reagan doctrine, which was support for freedom fighters around the globe and I thought it’s very interesting that recently Donald Trump has been tweeting in Farsi to speak directly to their Iranian people and to tell them that we in the United States are behind them. And I do think that I…

Charles

I was just going to say – let me expand on that – because you have pointed out something there that most people don’t realize, and that is that the real reason that the Soviet Union fell – and I worked in the Reagan White House – was that in addition to the crippled nature of the system itself – and that communism is going to fail eventually – Ronald Reagan really accelerated that process by speaking directly to the people of the former Soviet Union and underscoring that their government had no legitimacy. And that is exactly what President Trump is doing here. He has issued two tweets, so far, to the people of Iran, and the first one got, I think, a hundred and thirteen thousand “likes” and the second one hundred fifty-seven thousand, so two hundred seventy-one thousand “likes.”

That is more likes then at any time in the history of Twitter related to Iran or coming from Iran. And, so, the reality here is that Donald Trump is doing – he’s pushing the right pressure points at the right time, and this government is illegitimate. They mowed down 1,500 – on top of everything else they’ve done – six weeks ago. they mowed down 1,500 innocent protesters. That outraged the Iranian people. I have sources who indicate that the government then took those bodies back and insisted that people pay for their loved ones. It was disgusting.

Antrim

That’s right.

Charles

And then they shot down, you know, they shot down this airliner. The bottom line is the Iranian people – the people themselves – as distinguished from the government, would prefer to have iPhones, not Ayatollahs. They are sick of this government, and they want it out, and Trump is helping.

Antrim

You know, in looking at what’s going to happen going forward, how do you see this playing out?

Charles

Well, I think it could take one of several forms. Obviously, the most – the optimal form – would be some kind of a climbing down off the tiger, that doesn’t kill a lot of people, and that allows, essentially, a Regency Council of some kind to take over, and maybe the Ayatollah flees the way the Shah ended up fleeing 41 years ago. At that time there was an anti-modernization push, ironically, and it sort of brought in this radical Islamic so-called revolution, but they’re pretty much out of moral capital, if they ever had any. And so, I think, one way is a flipping of the government, and that would be good for all because it would also allow us to end their nuclear ambitions.

Can you imagine, if they’ve shot down an airliner and they mow their own people down, what they would do with a nuclear weapon? That’s what the President – yeah, that’s why President Trump put the bottom-line up front in his press conference and said I will not allow Iran to get a nuclear weapon. The other possibility is that they could pull back – I don’t see it – but they could pull back and try to renegotiate an end to their nuclear ambitions and save their government. But I’m not sure that will be the case either. The third, terrible way would be a complete massacre on the Tiananmen Square sort-of model, and they would attempt to, you know – and if that happened, I think the world should completely isolate them. Europeans should cut off all trade with them and, ultimately, I think the government would then fold.

Antrim

So, I want to go back to President Trump, speaking in his press conference, right after he did take out Soleimani the next day. Do you think that that speech is going to go down in history, as it is a very historical speech, like Reagan’s, you know, Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall?

Charles

That’s a really, really interesting question. So, I think it was a brilliant statement. He called the Europeans, out he explained methodically why he did what he did. He explained both the past keeping someone accountable – a terrorist leader – and the future. He essentially kicked the legs out from under any legitimacy associated with the Iranian government but it’s a really interesting question, and the reason I say it was brilliant – it was not only brilliant, strategically, in what he said – but it was actually tactically brilliant, because, you know, originally, the day before that, speech people said, well, he’s going to give an address from The Oval Office and, of course, what would have happened if he’d done that a day or two later, is the timing would have been off, but he also would have, you know, the media – the mainstream media – would have preloaded against him and said, you know, don’t pay any attention, at cetera et cetera.

Instead, he called a press conference and he did deliver a speech at the press conference and then said thank you and have a good day and didn’t allow questions. But the reality was that that press room was jammed and, so it was brilliant tactically as well as strategically, and, I do think, that it could prove – if the Iranian government slips – this event, and his speech on it, could prove to be an inflection point in in the history of Western relations with Iran.

Antrim

I mean, I don’t see the Ayatollah stepping down, so, I wonder how the Iranian people can manage to do this peacefully, and that’s worrisome.

Charles

So, the way that this usually plays out, and I’ve spent time – I’ve probably been in 50 countries and, many of them ,that the least stable countries in the world – often, after events that changed the way that they governed, and one of the ways this tends to play out is that you have a mass protest, and these protests apparently are growing. You have a mass this is the fourth day of protests. You have mass protests, and eventually the government decides to call out the military, which, in this case, would be the IR CG, again, on the people. If the protests are big enough, and the military then refuses to fire on the people, that’s sort of a death knell for the legitimacy of the government.

And, so, one peaceful way this would happen is for the military to essentially flip, because they have family that are in, you know, that are part of the protesters. So, you know if you call on a military to fire on the people and they refuse, that is a hallmark of the beginning of the end of a country’s leadership.

Antrim

So, you know, at that point I really can see how that would play out and I can see this happening. And I think that the Trump doctrine or, some people call it the Trump revolution, I think it could work here. And I really hope so for the sake of the Iranian people. Having worked in the Reagan White House, is there any advice that you would give President Trump right now?

Charles

You know, both men – and it’s just interesting, you’re making me think of this as on air here as I said first time – both men are older. They lived through the guts of the Cold War. They, you know, Trump is younger than Reagan, but – Reagan would be but they lived through a period of time – they’ve lived enough of life to understand that you have to take things a step at a time. And I think the advice that I would give is advice that I think this President is already getting from some of his closest advisors – Pompeo and other folks in the intelligence and in the White House – which is take this a day at a time. An hour at a time. But never lose your bearing. Never lose your eye on the far horizon, which is, that this President needs to try to bring freedom to as many people of the world as possible, and Iran is a great is a great example of him doing that, I think. I hope.

Antrim

Bobby Charles, thank you so much for your insights. You’re really great. We’ve got to have you back. He’s spokesperson for AMAC and a frequent commentator on Fox TV, radio, and in print. Boy, this hour is flying by. We’ve got more coming up though, folks, so don’t touch that dial. This is the Alan Nathan Show and I’m Kathleen Antrim sitting in for Alan. Alan we’ll be back tomorrow. We are the Main Street Radio Network

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Mimi

GO TRUMP !! BEST AMERICAN PRESIDENT IN MY LIFETIME!!!!!