As Russia tries to steamroll Ukraine, let's look back to 2019 when Trump was helping maintain world peace by hitting dictators with no-nonsense ultimatums like this
ยท Feb 26, 2022 ยท

As you watch the 46th and current President of the United kind of toddle around at the White House, alternately whispering into a microphone and blanking out for long, agonizing seconds at a time, it is easy to forget that not very long ago we had a president who projected an air of strength and authority on the world stage.

Case in point:

Here's the full text of the letter:

Dear Mr. President:

Let's work out a good deal! You don't want to be responsible for slaughtering thousands of people, and I don't want to be responsible for destroying the Turkish economy โ€” and I will. I've already given you a little sample with respect to Pastor Brunson.

I have worked hard to solve some of your problems. Don't let the world down. You can make a great deal. General Mazloum is willing to negotiate with you, and he is willing to make concessions that they would never have made in the past. I am confidentially enclosing a copy of his letter to me, just received.

History will look upon you favorably if you get this done the right and humane way. It will look upon you forever as the devil if good things don't happen. Don't be a tough guy. Don't be a fool!

I will call you later.


Donald Trump

Okay: Get out your pencils, friends, and let's do a little New Criticism analysis of this letter to nail down why it works.

  • It's unvarnished. Trump has always spoken mostly off-the-cuff. He's not scrubbed, workshopped or focus group-tested. He speaks simply and without much polish. This letter is not a work of art, but it is plainly Trump's words, not someone else's. A strongman reading this letter knows that he's obviously reading a letter from Trump, not from six different aides and nine different editors on a rewrite squad. That makes a major difference.
  • It wastes no words. There are no flourishes here, no grand pronouncements about higher principles. It is laconic, precise, economical. This was not written with an eye toward presidential libraries or block-quotes in history books. It was written to scare a dictator into backing down.
  • It is unmistakable. "Don't be a tough guy. Don't be a fool." This is the sort of rhetoric that speaks directly to would-be authoritarians. They are less moved by bloviating oration and more moved by appeals to their ego and their sense of strategy. They understand simple, direct statements, which is to say just about everything Trump ever said while in office.

I wouldn't wait around for Biden to write anything like this to Putin or anyone else.

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