Trains. I’ve been thinking about trains this last week. As I get older I increasingly yearn for the simpler life of my youth when TV shows were basic moral lessons dressed as exotic adventures. These were easier to present in the early 1960’s as the age of the jet set was just dawning and travel for holidays tended to be domestic and local. Oftentimes the series were based on Cowboys and Indians (I refuse to say Cowboy and Native Americans…)really just travelogues into the great American West. My two favourites were Rin Tin Tin , probably as it’s co-star was a dog and Circus Boy . Circus Boy featured an orphaned child Corky ( played by Micky Dolenz who later found fame as a drummer in The Monkees ). I loved Circus Boy for the romance of a train pulling into a new town each week, I begged my Father to get me the replica toy train and I can still visualise the yellow that it was decorated in.
The Trump Circus rolled into Washington a year ago to less celebration than Corky received and the reverberations have been felt far and wide. The Liberal press , a term which is almost ironic, see Trump as a cross between Joey the Clown and a particularly cruel ringmaster – a sort of evil clown as portrayed in the new horror movie called “It”. Is this fair though and do the people in the “fly over States” care what the press think? Probably not. With unemployment at 4.1% and the lowest figure since 1972 , 6.8%, for African Americans. Still distressingly high but better. The two coastal regions of America consistently view Trump as distasteful and appear baffled that a man with such crude oratory skills is the President . Looking back a year though he has delivered .
From , let us be honest , a very shaky start he has put his stamp on the presidency and certainly speaks his mind. OK so The Wall has not been built , much to the dismay of Mexican construction companies , but it does appear that the swamp has been drained a little and he now has the semblance of a stable government surrounding him. The ( Main Stream ?) media has it in for Trump in the same manner that they had it in for Reagan , I for one , am old enough to remember the insults at the ”doddery old actor “ and yet look at his achievements, the falling of the Berlin Wall for example, and how he is now revered? Let’s be blunt Trump is not the most erudite President to hold office and does not have Obama’s slick way with words but we knew that , right ? From his campaign trail we saw what we were going to get so no surprise there and maybe the main stream media are put out as his frequent tweets restrict their output.
The great swathe of America that has been forgotten the rust belt , the flyover states or whatever you wish to call them do not talk with silver tongues and certainly will have had enough of being patronised by the likes of Obama and The Clintons. Who can blame them? As an old friend and trading partner of mine, Tony LaPorta from Chicago said “ I aint no redneck but he talks my language “Anyone who has worked on a trading floor will be fully aware of the use of salty language and will not be shocked by it. Indeed Obama admitted that swearing in the Oval office was not necessarily a bad thing. The latest furores surrounding Trump, are in a way, perfect examples of him saying the truth and not dressing it up . Many countries that receive foreign aid are indeed shitholes and it’s not racist to say so and nor is it the people who live in these countries fault . It’s the fault of the corrupt politicians who syphon of the aid straight to Switzerland or into crypto currencies and the fault of the lenders who hold no one responsible . The amount of aid that gets stolen or misappropriated is staggering . Trump’s stance on Pakistan is tough and with no let-up in the jihadi culture there who can blame him, why as a government would you step down hard on extremism if you knew you got billions to stop it. Looking at it simply No jihadi – no aid. It also serves his purpose as Pakistan is indebted to China for their part of the new Silk Road so a little rap on the knuckles of Xi and perhaps a little reminder that there are sanctions on North Korea and China should not be helping them get broken.
Trump has broken with the Left’s disastrous policy of appeasement to rogue states that threaten the world and talked hard but restrained from taking the ultimate action. As I write this “ rocket man” is opening dialogue with South Korea and he is no doubt mindful of the limits that he has . Trump is also playing hard ball in the Middle East and not kowtowing to the “help any Muslim state” policy that Obama had. He appears to happily help Pro Western countries such as Israel whilst cocking a snook at those that hate the West. It remains to be seen whether he can bring a semblance of peace to the Middle East but it certainly does appear that ISIS are now on the back foot .
Domestically he has reformed the taxation system and hopefully some of the Dollars that are coming home will help the economy grow more and in turn help his blue collar supporters. As I write this Trump has just cancelled his visit to the UK or the pretence of not wishing to open the new US embassy here. There is a lot of talk about this and whether it was a good deal or not and as usual the truth is a bit cloudy but one fact is certain Trump knows property. The story I like best is that the US wished to buy the land outright in 2009 but the Duke of Westminster refused to sanction such a deal till the US returned land that had confiscated during the American War of Independence. The land comprised most of New York and Maine! Whatever the truth, I believe it was Bush not Obama who did the deal , the lease was sold at the bottom of the market and the new embassy was commissioned in the wastelands of Battersea. Now I like Battersea but it is not the location for an embassy. And to be honest who can blame him for not coming ? Mayor Khan has consistently criticised him (and turned much of London into a shithole) as has the Labour party who called for mass protests and really does he need the hassle?*
I started this column talking about Micky Dolenz. Micky Dolenz went on to become a star in the hit TV series “The Monkees” about a pop group for whom he was the drummer. After an interesting year in charge where there has been a US foreign policy as well as incredible economic strides at home will Donald Trump continue as successfully and end up becoming as popular and as fondly remembered as Dolenz? Trump is pretty consistently under attack with daily murmurs of impeachment and the Russian scandal seems reluctant to go away but if he can avoid this scandal , is it conceivable that Gerard Kushner will be the fall guy, and the economy continues to grow we could well see a second term and history treating as kindly as it treats Reagan ( and Johnson? ). Whether he is a great drummer is another story.
Richard Matthews, who began his career in 1973, is a former trader-broker in the London money, futures and foreign exchange markets. Twitter @dickiematthews5
This column is the opinion of the author and does not necessarily reflect the opinion of LiveSquawk.
*As a Londoner I am embarrassed that our greatest ally and friend have been made so unwelcome. Regardless of your politically dislike of Trump he is the leader of the free world and even if you dislike him you should respect the office.