Donald Trump was elected in part because he made promises that were popular, and he pointed to his successes in business to convince voters of his ability to make great deals in our nation’s interest. While the state of the economy is, without doubt, his greatest win, Trump’s three years of miscalculations have serious implications for promises kept on national security and domestic well-being. The top three on my list of his miscalculations with the greatest impact: a promise to end forever wars in the middle east that instead is resulting in renewed involvement and nuclear re-armament, his managing a”perfect” Ukraine policy deal that resulted in his impeachment, and a failure to make  a domestic health insurance policy deal affecting over 140 million that resulted in GOP’s loss of the House majority.

He gravely miscalculated how easy it would be to leave our military involvement in the Middle East. He had to reinsert troops after withdrawal from Syria.  His initial miscalculation leading to the current Iran crisis was to make good on a campaign promise to end forever wars by his pulling out of the Iran nuclear deal. That deal was working as intended and it at least kept the lid on their nuclear weapons and an arms race and gave us more leverage in communications and threatening sanctions for lack of compliance. Trump calculated he could force Iran to negotiate a better deal by inflicting the pain of renewed economic sanctions on the country. Instead, the resulting economic damage motivated even more hostile acts with a sudden increase in Iran’s proxy force numbers beginning in 2017.  Trump’s order to assassinate Iran’s General Soleimani in Iraq, the architect of Iran’s aggressive actions by the use of proxy groups, the next most powerful man to the Ayatollah in Iran and a public official, may or not have been justified in stopping an immediate threat. Nonetheless, we are in danger of being less safe in the long term. Iran was getting restless under crippling sanctions, but the assassination has united a nation of 80 million in seeking revenge as well as uniting fellow religionist Shiites throughout the region in common cause to get rid of US military presence. Iran has a deep leadership bench still able to carry out hostile acts through its proxies. We harmed our relationship with Iraq whose parliament immediately voted for a resolution to expel all US troops. We need their support to fight Isis. At best, we now are assured of indefinite years of stepped-up violent actions by proxy groups, with revenge and counter revenge in the entire region  Iran itself immediately withdrew from any nuclear deal that had been honored by the other countries involved, freer to pursue their nuclear ambitions, and triggering a regional nuclear arms race. 

Trump’s deal-making acumen backfired in Ukraine. Trump thought he could pressure a newly elected president of Ukraine to do some political dirty work for him in return for a visit to the White House and restoration of the funding of critical military aid Trump himself had ordered frozen. This aid approved by Congress was deemed to be in our national interest in stopping Russian encroachment into eastern Europe  He never calculated a damning phone call with Ukraine’s president would see the light of day or that one little word “though” would make the deal he was negotiating look like extortion to execute a deal to benefit himself instead of national security and US policy. When caught in the act, he never calculated anyone would defy his order to ignore subpoenas issued in the House inquiry, and testify anyway. Both first-hand direct witnesses and others  provided corroborating evidence that his intent was not to end corruption in Ukraine in general but to focus on only one case involving his chief 2020 political opponent.

His promise to provide health care insurance that was to be better for Americans than Obamacare went down in the flames of miscalculation. He relied on a GOP dominated Congress to come up with one. He had no plan himself and still does not have one. The plan Congress proposed, yet defeated by one vote, was the repeal with no replacement of Obamacare,  leaving millions without relief from bankrupting medical bills and threatening everyone in the US who had health insurance with loss of required affordable coverage of pre-existing conditions. That one issue resulted in an epic loss of GOP seats in the House of Representatives in 2018. It will prove to be the single greatest domestic public policy millstone around Trump’s neck for in November 2020.  For more, visit