The Republicans are certainly celebrating the astounding victory of Donald Trump Tuesday night. Even though Secretary Clinton won the reported popular vote, President-elect Trump captured the Electoral College (with maybe 306 electoral votes) and most of the geography of the United States as illustrated in the map above. I say "illustrated" because while the example basically shows the voting by county, I'm not 100% sure of its accuracy. Nevertheless, there is no doubt that Trump triumphed in a "sea of red" across the United States.
[For the record, we may never know the final popular vote count because once a state is determined with mathematical certainty, election officials do not tabulate remaining absentee ballots prior to certification. Secretary Clinton racked up huge margins in California (winning by nearly 2.8 million votes), but historically a larger percentage of absentee ballots vote Republican (maybe 2:1 by some estimates), accounting for military, business people overseas, etc. There could be up to four million or more absentee ballots uncounted in California. Because the Clinton margin is so substantial and because the Electoral College determines the winner, many of these will remain largely uncounted. In addition, you have the smaller number of uncounted votes from the other 49 states, not large enough to shift the Electoral College outcome but cumulatively sufficient to change the popular vote total one direction or the other. None of this is meaningful except that it is unreasonable to state that Clinton truly won the popular vote unless all the votes are counted. Those on the left will argue Clinton won the popular vote in a landslide. Those on the right will claim that if all votes were counted, Trump may have won by a small margin. We may never know. Because we have the Electoral College, it makes no difference.]
One thing is for certain. We prayed for the election and believe we now have His answer. On the basis of global cyber-economic war, we made the case that Donald Trump was the better candidate. We stand by that statement. Now that the election is over, however, the hard work begins.
In some ways, Donald Trump has been compared to Winston Churchill. Both called out the appeasing establishment regarding potentially existential threats. For Churchill, the threat was Hitler. To Trump, open borders, bad trade policies, a declining military, and indirect political support for ISIS, Iran, and the Muslim Brotherhood. Churchill was crude in some of his commentary but stalwart in his positions. Trump has been crude in his commentary. He was stalwart in the campaign. Now we will see if he remains so in his personnel selections and policies.
While we agree with the President-elect regarding border threats, bad trade deals, the military and Islamic fascism, we would like to see him also address threats to our electric grid, currency, and financial markets. We are hopeful that his "Make America Great Again" plan will cover those crucial areas. I will travel to DC this week to meet with national leaders regarding the transition and also to brief them on national security threats. For the first time in eight years, I am hopeful that our Federal Government will take cyber-economic warfare seriously.
My interest in this area developed in 2008 when stock market manipulations became obvious and clearly impacted the election. After being tapped in the waning days of Bush 43 to study what was happening for the Pentagon, my research was abruptly stopped and mostly ignored by the Obama team. I was told that while what I had uncovered was credible and even alarming, it did not fit the Administration's "narrative." In the course of things, I did find some ears willing to listen and they included the then head of the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), Lt. General Michael Flynn (USA, ret). My friend David Hemenway accompanied me as I briefed his team and "debated" the head of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace (that took a very pro-China view). Our group is shown in the photo. General Flynn is now one of Trump's top national security advisors. I also made headway with heroes like Lt. General Jerry Boykin, Frank Gaffney, Jim Woolsey, and Admiral "Ace" Lyons.
We also made progress with the Office of Net Assessment (ONA) at the Pentagon, the FBI, the House Armed Services Committee (HASC), several key members of Congress (on the Intelligence and Financial Services Committees), the Naval War College, the Naval Postgraduate School, DARPA, IARPA, Georgetown, the Institute for World Politics, the Center for Security Policy, Heritage Foundation, and many other essential institutions filled with some of the best and brightest and most patriotic people in America. The book, Secret Weapon, became a New York Times bestseller at its debut, even outselling Mr. Trump's Time to Get Tough when they were released (within a month of one another) by the same publisher. [To be fair, Mr. Trump's book has since then outsold Secret Weapon by a "YUGE" margin.]
I have written, co-authored, or contributed chapters to eight books, six of which deal with economic warfare and three of which became best sellers. One of those I contributed to, titled Warning Order: China Prepares for Conflict and Why We Must Do the Same, also featured a chapter from Dr. Peter Navarro. This is significant because Dr. Navarro is one of Trump's top economic advisors. I consider Dr. Navarro a strong ally in understanding the China threat. I also was honored to participate in a couple of "war game" simulations regarding economic attacks and contribute to three formal studies for the Secretary of Defense.
Over the past eight years, I have made what seems like 100 trips to Washington, the vast majority on my own nickel. The net result? I've spent a great deal of money educating a good number of people. I'd get a call from one of the agencies or a Congressman asking me to fly at the last-minute to DC for a briefing. Some understood immediately the risks I'd outlined. Others refused to see. Those who "got it" were stifled by the Administration in attempting to do anything about it. Now, perhaps, the tables have turned. We may be given the opportunity to address the very real cyber-economic threats facing America.
For starters, I believe that President Trump will have the opportunity to do some remarkable things economically that will strengthen our position dramatically. In a strategy outlined in Chapter 12 in the book Game Plan, we explained an eight-step program to return America to greatness. The Trump campaign has already made positive promises regarding all eight steps. That is sort of remarkable. It seems he already agrees in principle. He understands that at least in trade matters, this is an economic war. He believes we should do straight forward things like protect the border. He seems to realize that the Zero-Interest-Rate-Policy is a failure. With that, he understands the need to repatriate American capital from overseas. He believes in an "all of the above" American energy policy. He promises to reduce regulation. He promises to simplify the tax code. He believes in teaching American exceptionalism. And he promises to unshackle the Church. In January 2014, I wrote about those eight steps as essential to "restore our greatness." He says "make America great again." I know Mr. Trump was given Secret Weapon by a friend in 2012 because he sent back a nice note of thanks. Perhaps he also read Game Plan? Regardless, he is on the right path in this regard already.
A good element of the Trump economic plan could very easily work like this (pardon the oversimplification):
First, use the borrowing power of the Federal government to obtain very low interest, 50-year infrastructure bonds. The capital raised would comprise a pool of money or a fund that could be tapped for legitimate infrastructure projects. Allow American corporations with cash overseas to bring that money home tax-free if they use it to purchase those bonds or otherwise directly invest in infrastructure. That should easily raise up to $2 trillion almost immediately. Let municipalities and states borrow money from the fund without political strings attached but with real economic purpose. That would create jobs and tax revenues that would get the economy growing again. It would strengthen the currency and position us as clear global leaders. My friend John Mauldin came up with this basic idea (I've added a few tweaks) and I think it's a good one. John and I shared a plane flight a few weeks ago and how he explained the plan made all kinds of sense.
If you combine the infrastructure plan with an easing of the stifling regulatory regime, reduced tax burdens, and a return to real interest rates, you have an amazingly powerful combination. We have already shared how excessive regulation has severely diminished our standard of living. And Obamacare has seriously distorted health care, making the Affordable Care Act anything but affordable. There are no doubt great private-sector solutions that can keep Americans safe and healthy without destroying the middle class and the incentive to succeed. If done properly, we won't have to blow out the Federal budget. Yes, there would be more very long-term debt, but the proceeds will be placed in areas that will grow the economy rather than simply transfer wealth. Over time, the growth should result in falling deficits if Congress will hold the line on spending. And profitable projects would repay the debt over time. Net cost would be remarkably low, if done properly.
Of course, all of this represents promise and opportunity. Time will tell if any of it becomes reality. If it does, half of what we need to win the economic war will be in place, e.g., real, sustainable growth.
One cannot escape the reality that the election was influenced by Wikileaks and the disclosure of Secretary Clinton's careless handling of national secrets with her private email server. Some have argued that the Russians hacked John Podesta's emails. Others dispute that the Russians played such a role. Regardless, it does make the point that you shouldn't have sensitive information so easily accessed. At the same time, the American media appeared totally slanted (almost boastfully so) in favor of Clinton and against Trump.
What we do know, however, is that nearly two decades ago, two Chinese authors of Unrestricted Warfare made the case for a new type of warfare that included these thoughts:
- "Media and fabrication warfare" means manipulating foreign media, either by compromising or intimidating journalists or getting access to another country's airwaves and imposing your own national perspectives.
- (New concept weapons include any) rumor or scandal that…exposes the leaders of an enemy country on the Internet.
- Breaking into the computer network of banks and news organizations, stealing stored data, deleting programs, and disseminating disinformation.
- (The goal to defeat an enemy is to) cause the enemy nation to fall into social panic, street riots, and a political crisis.
The last point, regarding street riots, is important. These same Chinese authors likened the billionaire George Soros to a "financial terrorist." Now, we are hearing theories of Soros bankrolling those who are protesting Trump's victory (not to mention the BLM movement). George knows a thing or two about deploying economic warfare.
Is there any doubt that we are already witnessing all of these in America today? Add to these the idea of currency manipulation, immigration warfare/jihad, EMP weapons, and stock market manipulations and you get an idea of how our adversaries and enemies have plans that if unleashed could destroy America. The good news is that there are solutions for every problem. We can protect our media (even though China seems intent on buying up Hollywood). We can make certain our leaders use secure Internet connections and practice proper hygiene. We can beef-up Internet security and use "Active Defense" measures." This could include a "Cyber Castle Doctrine" as articulated by my friend Tom Giboney. We can shore up our currency. We can reestablish our borders. We can use the infrastructure plan to protect our power grid. We can make some simple changes in regard to short selling and high-frequency trading that will protect our markets without compromising them.
Hopefully, the incoming President will surround himself with the right people to address these threats with positive solutions. Assuming they are willing to listen, I am ready and willing to help, as are my colleagues. Hopefully, I will learn more as my week in Washington unfolds.