Open Letter is an occasional series dedicated to offering unvarnished and unsolicited advice to public figures.
I recognize that you may regard this missive with some skepticism. I am, after all, a writer for New York Magazine — a publication you have referred to as “a piece of garbage” that employs “no-talent illiterate hack(s).” And I have also written critically about some of your policies and statements in the past. At times, I have even stooped to mocking you personally by, among other things, promoting fake news reports that libelously claim that your aides insert your name (Donald Trump) and various stimulating images into memos “as many times as possible” because you are so narcissistic and childish, you struggle to read any document that features unbroken blocks of text that do not remind you of yourself.
But like so many of your former detractors, Mr. Donald John Trump, I have come to see the error of my ways. Like other secular Jews in the United States, I had been brainwashed into remaining on the Democratic shtetl. In recent days, however, as you’ve taken your big-league leadership to new heights (and John Bolton has taken the U.S. to the brink of a calamitous war in the Middle East), I’ve finally found my way to the Republican Zion. Now, when you criticize George Soros for orchestrating a migrant invasion of the United States, I hear a patriot taking a bold stance against money in politics (and when a Muslim congresswoman coughs, I hear a call for a pogrom).
But I do not write you solely to express my penitence or to shower you with praise, Mr. Trump (although it is difficult to avoid remarking upon the bravery of your China strategy, the genius of your economic management, or the raw sexual magnetism that oozes from every pore of your 72-year-old body and infects my heretofore heterosexual imagination with fantasies that would give Mike Pence a stroke). I know your tremendous humility limits your tolerance for compliments. So I will forgo all flatteries, and cut right to the point: I believe that disloyal, deep state agents are leading you into another Middle Eastern quagmire.
I believe you know of whom I speak. You can judge a man by his mustache, I’ve always said. And if John Bolton believes that smudge of vanilla frosting belongs above his upper lip, can we really trust him to know where U.S. military deployments belong in the Middle East?
Recent reports suggest you have been asking yourself that same question. “Trump has said in recent days that Bolton wants to get him ‘into a war,’” the (Amazon) Washington Post reported last week, “a comment that he has made in jest in the past but that now betrays his more serious concerns.”
Over the past few days, Bolton has done much to confirm your suspicions. Your national security adviser has ordered an “updated military plan” for combating Iran that involves the deployment of 120,000 U.S. troops — roughly the size of the force that invaded Iraq in 2003. He and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo have proceeded to hype intelligence reports (by the same people that said Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction) suggesting Iran is on the brink of attacking U.S. forces in the region. But the rest of the world sees right through them:
Intelligence and military officials in Europe as well as in the United States said that over the past year, most aggressive moves have originated not in Tehran, but in Washington — where John R. Bolton, the national security adviser, has prodded President Trump into backing Iran into a corner.
One American official, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss confidential internal planning, said the new intelligence of an increased Iranian threat was “small stuff” and did not merit the military planning being driven by Mr. Bolton. The official also said the ultimate goal of the yearlong economic sanctions campaign by the Trump administration was to draw Iran into an armed conflict with the United States.
… Privately, several European officials described Mr. Bolton and Mr. Pompeo as pushing an unsuspecting Mr. Trump through a series of steps that could put the United States on a course to war before the president realizes it.
Now, I know what you’re thinking: Who should I believe, the fake news media or my good friends in Riyadh? But deep down, we both know that the Saudis did 9/11, and your relationship with them is purely transactional.
So ask yourself this question: Do I, Donald Trump, care more about protecting the House of Saud’s hegemony in the Middle East than I do about winning reelection — or making the deal of a lifetime?
Your base doesn’t care whether the ayatollah retains power in Iran, or Houthi rebels control Yemen, or Hezbollah gives the IDF a couple more headaches. That’s globalist shit. “America first” means never having to learn where Iran is on a map.
Some of your supporters do, however, care about staying out of fights between shithole countries. Polls show Americans are sick of wars in general, and crusades to “spread democracy” in particular. Right now, you can campaign on beating ISIS, drawing down troops from Syria, and — if creepy Joe Biden wins the Democratic primary — on your prophetic opposition to the Iraq War. On the other hand, if the Islamic Revolutionary Guard starts sending hundreds of Americans home in body bags each week, attacks on Sleepy Joe’s support for Shock and Awe are sure to only bore and irritate.
Fortunately, there are plenty of alternatives to letting that mustachioed weirdo and his allies ruin your presidency like they did W’s. Obama’s deal with Iran was a disaster, of course. But blaming Tehran for out-negotiating Obummer would be like scolding Steve Ross for hosting a better yacht orgy than William Levitt, am I right?
Right now, you’ve got all the leverage. And as a wise man named Donald Trump once wrote in the only book that’s better than the Bible, when you have leverage, you gotta use it. The Iranians are desperate to sell their oil (which would drive down U.S. gas prices, by the way). Their people are running out of medicine. President Rouhani has already made clear he’s willing to deal. Imagine being the president whose world-historic negotiating skills de-nuked North Korea and Iran. That wouldn’t earn you a Nobel Peace Prize, it would win you a Trump Peace Prize — because your triumph will be so profound, they will have no choice but to rename the award in your honor.
But that’s not all. If you make a deal now, you stand to gain more than just a trophy. U.S. sanctions have already cost Iran $10 billion. Which means that if a savvy businessman, who just so happens to be the president of the United States, offered the Iranians sanctions relief for, say, $1 billion, and all the certifications necessary to break ground on Trump Tower Tehran, said businessman would really be doing them a favor.
Of course, I don’t think for a moment that I’ve told you anything here that you did not already know, Mr. Donald Trump, sir. My aim has merely been to affirm what your infallible instincts and very good brain have already told you.
“We’ve spent $4 trillion trying to topple various people that, frankly, if they were there and if we could have spent that $4 trillion in the United States … we would have been a lot better off, I can tell you that right now,” a great hero of mine once said. “We have done a tremendous disservice not only to the Middle East — we’ve done a tremendous disservice to humanity. The people that have been killed, the people that have been wiped away — and for what?”
I’ll tell you for what: for some mustachioed peasant whose net worth is lower than Don Jr.’s IQ (no disrespect) to feel like he’s somebody. So go ahead, Mr. Trump, treat Bolton to your signature catchphrase. Then make a killing, not war. All we are saying is give graft a chance.
With the kindest, warmest regards like you wouldn’t believe,
An illiterate hack trying to make right