Professionals who have been steeped in behavior therapy and behavior change, live and die with the simple formula, A > B > C, wherein “A” designates antecedent(s), “B” signifies behavior, and “C” stands for consequences. Let’s apply that as an exercise in analyzing what is going on now..
During his campaign for the presidency, Trump was big on antecedents, making all sorts of promises like building a wall that Mexico will pay for, issuing a complete ban on Muslim immigrants, and “bombing the shit out of ISIS”. Now less than two weeks into his presidency, Putin’s poodle has engaged in a series of behaviors that flow directly out of these commitments. This plunge ahead was meant to show that the poodle is both a man of his word, and a man of action.
Given the A > B set forth in the preceding paragraph, it is hardly surprising that the poodle’s supporters are over the moon; the talking point favored by all of them is “Why are you folks upset; he’s doing exactly what he promised”. Notice how they never take the next logical, obligatory step and examine the consequences of B. So, let us do that for them.
First, Mexico has flatly refused to pay forward, a single centavo for the wall even as the construction of what should be named “Trump’s last erection” moves ahead. House Speaker Paul Ryan has stated publicly that the money to pay for the wall will be found until such time as Mexico sends forth their reimbursement. Meanwhile, we US taxpayers get to foot the bill, without being told what part of the federal budget will be affected by our payment of construction costs. Were this not bad enough, the poodle has tried to bully and embarrass Mexico for “stiffing” him. In so doing, the president has worsened the relationship between us and our country’s second most important trade partner. What a way to win friends and influence people.
As for the ban on Muslim immigrants, it has generated so many negative consequences that it is hard to keep track of them all. But, let’s at least try: First, the ban, in the form it was made public, is so blatantly discriminatory, that it has triggered multiple lawsuits, every one of which will have to be contested by the poodle’s lawyers, but at our expense. Second, by singling out immigrants from seven predominantly Muslim countries, the poodle has handed ISIS and Al Qaeda a major propaganda victory and recruiting tool; i.e. “See my brothers and sisters in Islam, the Americans care nothing from you. Join us in jihad “. Third, the ban discourages Middle Eastern nations from helping us in our fight with the extremists, and at a time when we need their help the most, not only for fights in the field, but in preventing attacks here at home.
Finally, there is the promise to take the fight to ISIS and more generally to terrorist organizations. The first of such efforts was an attack on an Al Qaeda camp in Yemen. As the backstory for this raid became public, we learned that the intelligence that dictated that an attack could be effective, was collected and analyzed during a late phase in the Obama administration though the last president did not give the go-ahead. That was left to the poodle who proceeded with what is now becoming increasingly clear was insufficient planning. The result was an attack that has been described as having gone wrong right from the start and that includes the loss of the life of one of our Seal Team-6 members.
By way of concluding, it can be said that all presidents make a diligent effort to make good on campaign promises. But, any subsequent commentary that focuses on only those promises and the behaviors that they trigger, without regard to ensuing consequences, is a waste of air and auditors’ time. This blog has barely scratched the surface in applying the aforementioned A > B > C paradigm to what is going on nationally and internationally. Be assured that more blogs will follow.