Without Fear or Favor: Political and Strategic Genius of Donald J. Trump and the Art of Trump Strategy
This book explores how Donald J. Trump’s strategies won him the election and succeeded in numerous monumental achievements in just two years, and why it is envisaged that he will continue to spark moments evocative of the indomitable spirit of America’s founders. In the words of Abraham Lincoln, Donald Trump is essentially 'predicting the future by creating it'. Without fear or favor, President Trump continues to take actions to deliver on his promise to Make America Great Again. The Art of Trump Strategy includes political incorrectness, boldness and courage, branding and campaigning, political shrewdness, winning mindset, delivering on promises and decisiveness. Based on a purely factual, unbiased perspective, the book uses the political and strategic leadership of Trump to further validate key qualities that make great leaders. Academic literature on these subjects points to numerous qualities of remarkable leaders, which could differ significantly based on profession or environment. This book attempts to identify the qualities that run a common thread throughout most environments.
To better understand President Trump’s strategic leadership, it will be useful to reflect on some of the historical writings and ideas of Carl von Clausewitz and Niccolò Machiavelli, two great thinkers on political philosophy/strategy, as well as the leadership qualities of some of the greatest American presidents. In more recent times, we will also refer to the founding leader of Singapore, the late Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew, who was well known and respected for his strategic leadership. In a brief span of fifty years, he transformed Singapore from a small trading port to one of the most advanced countries in the world. As we will soon discover, good strategic leaders also have visionary strategic plans.
The study of political and strategic leadership are of great interest to most organizations in the world. Country and corporate leaders may find the narrative and analysis in this book most useful. Politicians and campaigners from both the Republican party (GOP) and Democratic party (DNC) may also find many of the assessments insightful, particularly those on why Trump won in 2016 and on how he could win again in 2020. Business schools and academics could also use the book to get students to explore what may be some of the qualities that would make great political or strategic leaders.
"The most reliable way to predict the future is to create it."
– ABRAHAM LINCOLN
“Love endures by a bond which men, being scoundrels, may break whenever it serves their advantage to do so; but fear is supported by the dread of pain, which is ever-present.”
To better understand President Trump’s strategic leadership, it will be useful to reflect on some of the historical writings and ideas of Carl von Clausewitz and Niccolò Machiavelli, two great thinkers on political philosophy/strategy, as well as the leadership qualities of some of the greatest American presidents. In more recent times, we will also refer to the founding leader of Singapore, the late Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew, who was well known and respected for his strategic leadership.
In 2003, I was teaching military history and strategic studies at the Singapore Command and Staff College, a military training institution. At that time, America was still reeling from the 9/11 attacks, fighting a global war against terrorism, and was at the brink of launching the shock and awe offensive against Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction. My personal assessment at that time was that after the Vietnam War, the 2003 invasion of Iraq would be viewed as America’s next greatest strategic blunder.
The 2016 Presidential Elections
Having witnessed the steady decline of America from 2007 to 2015, there was a sense of anticipation in America to have a strong leader to revive the economy. After the 3rd GOP debate, it became clear that many Americans were especially impressed with Donald J. Trump. As they saw it, here was a candidate not afraid to speak his mind on any controversial issue and had clear, definitive goals of how to reinstate America’s role in the global arena. It was America’s time to have a strong leader who was not afraid to be politically incorrect and who would get things done.
Art of Trumpian Strategy
One of his primary strengths of Donald Trump is his genius when it comes to campaigning and branding. The Trump Hotel brand is known for and prides itself on providing high-quality hotel services. At the root of it all, the Trump name itself is a highly coveted brand, as evident from the Trump Organization’s licensing activities. As a builder in a highly competitive New York environment, he experienced some of the most challenging moments in his life and made some tough decisions to survive. As a billionaire, and a celebrity himself, he gained experience on how to successfully navigate the mainstream media.
One of the most important decisions President Trump made was to give the job of Defense Secretary to General James “Mad Dog” Mattis. It is in the realm of international security where President Trump’s Machiavellian style finds a perfect fit. He is a realist who believes strongly that power, and especially the decisive use of military power, shall dictate the international order. Early in his presidency, he made it clear that he would not hesitate to use maximum and unfettered military force or “fire and fury” to achieve any objective
Saddled with a national debt of more than $20 trillion, reviving the U.S. economy was one of the Trump Administration’s highest priorities. There was very little time to waste as the House elections were scheduled to take place on November 2018; the Trump Administration only had two years to showcase some significant economic improvements so as to retain majorities in the House and the Senate
The Liberal Mainstream Media aka. Fake News
Initially, the mainstream media supported candidate Trump in his bid to become the GOP nominee and defeat the 16 other opponents. They freely provided him with free coverage believing that he would be a weaker candidate against their preferred Democratic nominee and therefore would result in an easy win for the Democratic party. After the primaries and seeing Trump’s resounding success, the mainstream media went on the offensive by digging up anything that could help smear the reputation of the GOP nominee and president.
Law and Order
As suggested by Machiavelli, there is a need to carefully balance between individual freedoms and the rules of law in a civil society. Not surprisingly, President Trump is a strong advocate of law and order. He campaigned for a border wall to stem the flow of illegal immigrants and drugs into the country. He has also defended the police and called for the National Football League to stop their players from kneeling in protest during the flag display and the national anthem.