Trump Flipped Again – Now He Wants YOU To Pay For His Wall (VIDEO)

Trump wants us to pay for the wall after all.

Of course, he does.

There has always been a fundamental disconnect between promises made on the campaign trail and actions taken in office. For some, the concept is baffling. After all, how hard can it be? To make good on promises, to follow through on oft-repeated guarantees? They were issued in good faith, with broad smiles all round. Hands were shaken, winks reciprocated. The deal was struck

And then left to quietly evaporate into the miasma of political might-have-beens and technical can’t be- dones.

Fucking typical.

Curtain Wall

President-elect Donald Trump said he was going to build a wall and not just any wall. He was going to build a great wall because, you know,  building things is what he does best, what he is well-known for.

Well, that and doing things on the cheap.

His plan was almost sublime in its simplicity.

He would hire the architects and the planners, rent bulldozers, pour concrete and perform high viz jacket inspections for the cameras at tediously regular 6-month intervals. There would be positions to fill, people to hire and if — as is the case in so many of Trump’s projects — those people happened to be undocumented immigrants, well fuck it.

Irony died quite some time ago in the USA.

And when the dust settled, when the workers dispersed, and the wall stood baking in the summer heat like a concrete turd steaming on the prairie, Trump would appear. He would crest the rise, silver tray in hand, a bill atop it fluttering in mocking tempo with the trap door section of his hairstyle.

The Mexican President would look at the bill, smile politely and say,

‘No gracias, estoy bien.’

Wall Flower Power

That Trump’s transition team has told Republican leaders he is going to fund the border wall through the appropriations process is only a surprise to people who understand nothing about politics.

Politicians make promises they can’t keep for a very good reason and that reason even has a name. We call it Realpolitik.

Realpolitik lies at the heart of all government action; it’s an examination of what is achievable and sits light years away from dinner party discussion about how easy it would be to eradicate this problem or that problem. Scratch theories on how to fix the economy look great when scribbled upon a napkin.

They just don’t work so well when you try to scale them across a continent.

International Frustrations

Nowhere is the concept of Realpolitik more important than the field of international relations where the consequences of a misstep can be dire. The ability to influence and coerce a country is generally split into two broad power categories, hard and soft.

Hard power is fairly self-explanatory. It is the nation’s military capacity.

Soft power is harder to define. It is a combination of trade treaties, incentives, diplomatic concessions and personal relations built up over time. It is more about give than take and exists in a world where one leader’s word is given both substance and value.

Almost all action taken is taken through soft power. Even Cold War flashpoints such as the Cuban missile crisis were settled ‘softly.’

Thank God. The alternative would have been messy.

Pay Pals

All of which leaves Trump with three options.

He could amass tanks at the southern border and demand Mexico pays for the wall.

He could try to force Mexico to pay by offering to rescind certain concessions, or else impose tariffs on commodities essential to the Mexican economy.

Or, he could do what every other government that embarks on an ambitious civil engineering project does and pay for it themselves.

Which is where Realpolitik comes in.

Because he cannot use force. The cost of such an action would be so prohibitive, that you might as well just spend the money on… well on building a wall really. Add in the fact that such an act of obvious aggression would be a breach of international law and you end up with a sub-Pyrrhic victory at best.

The use of ‘big-stick’ trade policy might have a less immediate international effect but remains problematic none-the-less. It’s all very well refusing to import Cuban cigars and cutting off all trade to North Korea but the significance of Mexico to the USA’s economy can hardly be understated.

It is the USA’s third largest trading partner and in 2015 U.S. goods and services trade with Mexico totaled an estimated $583.6 billion. The prospect of a tit for tat series of reprisals is not something one can easily ignore. Such actions would not only be in violation of certain treaties and agreements — all of which would have to be repealed in part if not in totality — but the sheer cost to the economy would become increasingly apparent as time went on.

As would the fact that it would be cheaper to just — you know — pay for the wall ourselves.

Third Time’s A Charm

Which leaves Trump with the only available option.

He has to go cap in hand to Congress.

(Good look with that.)

As CNN reported, Congress already seems a bit lukewarm on the subject.

Indeed, Rep. Steve Scalise of Louisiana, the No. 3 Republican in the House leadership refused to make any real commitment at all. He said:

“We want President Trump to have all the tools he needs to build the wall. We’re in talks with him on the details of it as they’re still putting together their team. We still got a few months before there’s another funding bill that’s going to move. We’re going to work with him to make sure we can get it done. We want to build a wall. He wants to build a wall.”

Oh yes, we’d love that. We’d love to see that done. We’d be just over the moon with that outcome!

What’s that? Are we going to pay for it?

Oh, no. Oh, fuck no.

How on earth would they afford to issue massive tax cuts to the wealthy if they are forced to add billions to the spending bill that needs to pass by April 28 to keep the government open? Such an attempt is almost certain to meet stiff opposition from Senate Democrats who are no doubt more than prepared to shut the government down.

Mexico won’t pay.

Congress won’t pay.

Realpolitik eh?

Watch John Oliver explain why Trump’s Wall is absurd.

Featured image via screenshot/YouTube.

I'm a full- time, somewhat unwilling resident of the planet Earth. I studied journalism at Murdoch University in West Australia and moved back to the UK where I taught politics and studied for a PhD. I've written a number of books on political philosophy that are mostly of interest to scholars. I'm also a seasoned travel writer so I get to stay in fancy hotels for free. I have a pet Lizard called Rousseau. We have only the most cursory of respect for one another.