But first 😄😂 …
By Steven R. Maher
President Donald J. Trump was humiliated when the 9th Circuit of Appeals upheld the injunction blocking his executive order temporarily banning immigration from seven Muslim majority countries. Trump should be happy that he learned such a valuable lesson on the difficulties of governing this early in his Presidency.
Trump is not a man used to losing. This was a painful experience for him. Trump strikes one as a man who loathes the agony of defeat. The lesson Trump derived from this episode will likely restrain him from launching such ill-thought and ill-conceived blunders in the future.
Bay of Pigs
Fifty-six years ago, President John F. Kennedy made a similarly disastrous decision. In April 1961, Kennedy authorized the CIA to implement an invasion of Cuba, to overthrow Fidel Castro, by 1,400 Cuban exiles armed and trained by the CIA.
Kennedy had been in office 90 days when the invasion took place. Just as Donald Trump campaigned on protecting America from Islamic extremists, Kennedy campaigned as a staunch anti-Communist who would do what was necessary to overthrow Castro. The plan called for Cuba pilots to pretend to defect, twice bomb the Cuban Air Force airfields, and then land in Florida and ask for asylum. Kennedy choked as the invasion became imminent and cancelled the second air strike.
Several of Castro’s jet fighters survived the first air strike and wrought havoc on the invasion fleet. Castro, who had an army of 200,000 soldiers, quickly crushed the invasion. The CIA put incredible pressure on Kennedy to invade Cuba and rescue the exiles but Kennedy refused.
Conservatives came down on Kennedy like a hammer, accusing the President of fecklessness, lack of maturity, and a host of other defalcations. “No event since the Communization of China in 1949 has had such a profound effect on the United States and its allies as the defeat of the US-trained Cuban invasion brigade at the Bay of Pigs in April 1961,” wrote Howard Hunt, the ex-CIA agent arrested in 1972 as a Watergate burglar. “Out of that humiliation grew the Berlin Wall, the missile crisis, guerilla warfare throughout Latin America and Africa and our Dominican Republic intervention. Castro’s beachhead triumph opened a Pandora’s Box of difficulties.”
The same CIA bigwigs who created the Bay of Pigs concept had in 1954 overthrown the government of Guatemala using a similar plan. Earlier, they had overthrown the government of Iran. They were the experts. The Joint Chiefs of Staff unanimously supported the invasion. Kennedy was a young President, and he thought the experts and military, by din of their experiences, were right.
Kennedy took away from the Bay of Pigs ignominy and several harsh and painful lessons. Kennedy became a more thoughtful President, less willing to trust the advice of the military and “experts.” General Douglas MacArthur told Kennedy he was lucky to have learned so much from an operation like the Bay of Pigs, where the strategic cost was small.
Trump, like Kennedy, had made campaign promises to his followers. Where Kennedy had vowed to rid the hemisphere of Castro, Trump had vowed to rid America of Muslim terrorists. Both ended up early on embarrassing themselves.
Trump’s executive order banning was written poorly and rolled out catastrophically. “The details of the president’s executive order ― as well as the timing and the confusion that accompanied the rollout ― are disconcerting,” Bush Presidential adviser Karl Rove wrote in the Wall Street Journal. “The administration issued its policy Friday afternoon, a time normally used in Washington to bury bad stories. Moreover, it came unaccompanied by briefing papers and talking points, and no officials immediately explained it. It took two hours before reporters received copies of the final order ― and another two before White House officials answered their questions.”
Rove wrote Trump should have realized what would happen: “Chaos and controversy predictably followed. Thousands of protesters turned up at airports around the country. Lawyers rushed to courthouses and were rewarded with judicial orders hobbling the policy’s execution. The administration reversed itself a day later, allowing green-card holders to be exempted on a case-by-case basis. Now imagine if the president had waited and implemented the policy carefully and deliberately.”
Defeat is so rare for Donald Trump that he will probably learn some painfully necessary lessons from the botched ban. Like Kennedy, he will likely to be less trusting of the “experts” who advised him on the Muslim ban. Trump now understands that his policies will be attacked in court and, at times, defeated by his enemies.