President Donald Trump’s “what if” about the idea of President Andrew Jackson preventing the Civil War is an amazingly impressive insight into American history. Imagine what would’ve happened if only there had been efforts to deal with slavery and avoid Civil War between 1776 and 1865. “ I mean had Andrew Jackson been a little later you wouldn't have had the Civil War. He was a very tough person, but he had a big heart. He was really angry that he saw what was happening with regard to the Civil War,” he said, ‘There's no reason for this,’” Trump told Salena Zito, perhaps not realizing that the slave owner Jackson was dead when the Civil War began. Still, Trump posed an intriguing question. “People don't realize, you know, the Civil War, if you think about it, why? People don't ask that question, but why was there the Civil War? Why could that one not have been worked out?”
Herewith, six other great deals that could have been worked out and dramatically changed the course of world history:
1. The American Revolution. This tragic error was so easily fixable without resorting to muskets and bayonets. The colonists’ grievances with the British crown could easily have been assuaged with...generous tax cuts. Slashing marginal rates would have meant so much growth for the American states’ economies so quickly that England would have yielded more revenue and kept the colonists happily calling themselves Englishmen. (See Trump’s tax cut “plan.”) As for other quibbles, such as citizens being forced to house soldiers and not being given trials, it could have been handled soooo much better.
2. Pearl Harbor. Did it really have to come to Kamikaze attacks be launched on the U.S. naval headquarters in Hawaii? Not really, if we’d then had President Trump in charge instead of that slacker, Franklin Roosevelt. A sweet deal lay waiting that could have given Japan access to Asian markets and resources without the U.S. being dragged into a needless spat with the emperor. “The emperor is a tough negotiator,” a 1940s President Trump might have said. “But he’s said nice things about me, so I’m going to say nice things about him.”
3. The Cold War. Have you ever noticed that Trump does not genuflect to Ronald Reagan the way virtually all Republicans do? In fact, while Reagan was still president, Trump took out a full-page ad in The New York Times in 1987 lamenting that America was being ripped off by our allies on trade deals and that we were funding everyone’s defense without getting anything for it. Obviously, the Gipper lacked Trump’s spine. And we could take it back even further: If Trump had been president in 1948, instead of being born in 1946, who’s to say he couldn’t have cut a great deal with the allies on trade and defense and probably prevented the Cold War with Stalin. “Stalin is a good man. Tough. Very smart,” President Trump might have said from Potsdam. “We can do business with him.”
4. Protestant Reformation. President Trump is a Presbyterian, but even though he was raised in this Protestant faith, does anyone doubt that if he had negotiated in place of the Pope, that pesky Martin Luther or Henry VIII, he could have prevented the split in the church? Trump for sure could have cut a deal to keep the Catholic Church from being divided.
5. Brad Pitt/Angelina Jolie. The two movie stars were involved in one of Hollywood’s legendary breakups, but there’s no reason President Trump couldn’t have used his dealmaking and marriage-saving (!) skills to keep the couple together. Seemingly without even trying the president and his current wife have set a fine example for the power couple, by living in separate cities.
6. Mideast Peace. Trump has said there’s no reason the two sides can’t reach a deal, and to show his faith in this possibility he’s put his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, on the case. As soon as he’s done reinventing government and solving the opiod crisis, Kushner will train his negotiating skills on the conflict that’s bedeviled every presidency since Israel’s establishment. Especially easy will be the sub-deal on control of Jerusalem. All he’ll need to do is get representatives from Hamas, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, the Palestinian Authority, the Israeli government, Hezbollah, ISIS, Al-Qaeda and the Gulf States into a room at Trump Tower to work it out.
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