March 12, 2017

"Before the calls, we were advised to keep conversations short because, we were told, Trump will not be interested in the details of the call and does not have a long attention span..."

"... so it would be pointless to have a long call. However, we were pleasantly surprised at how much time President Trump spent asking very informed questions. The first time the presidents spoke, the questions Trump asked impressed us. 'How can you win in this fight [against terrorism]?' he asked. 'What do you need to become financially independent?' and 'How can American business invest in Afghanistan? How can we develop businesses and mining in your country?' Trump would listen intently after each question, often asking follow-ups. Trump's second call with our president was even longer than the first. Asking these types of questions for our country is something the Obama administration never did. The Obama administration was the most academic administration we have ever had to deal with but the Trump administration has been the most thoughtful and intelligent."

From "I Had Dinner With the Afghan Ambassador. What He Said About the Differences Between Trump, Obama Is Stunning" in Independent Business Review.

ADDED: Interesting to think about the contrast between "academic" and "thoughtful and intelligent." The ambassador seems to set them up almost as opposites.

55 comments:

Big Mike said...

Not much of a surprise. Trump is a problem-silver. I'll avoid the temptation to call Obama a problem-causer. Though he was and still is.

David Begley said...

Translation. Obama was an idiot and totally screwed things up.

TerriW said...

"We were advised"

I'm curious who advised.

Caroline Walker said...

Make Afghanistan great again!

rcocean said...

Well, I'm sorta glad about this. And I sorta believe it.

Guess what, every boss I've had wanted me to get to the point, avoid the details, and "didn't have a long attention span". And I'm the same way, now that I"m a boss.

Why? Because, we want people to get to the point and tell us what we *really* need to know to make a decision. Eisenhower demanded people to send him memos with a brief - no more than one page -description of the situation, and a 2nd page with no more than then three options for Ike to decide on. Kissinger, supposedly, kept returning a memo to a subordinate till he reduced it from 16 pages to 2.

So, I'm glad that trump is "really interested" in this situation, but if it turned out he wasn't I wouldn't be surprised.

YoungHegelian said...

Is this really a surprise to anyone except those on the Left who live by the "Trump's a freakin' moron!" meme?

The Obama administration had, as HRC was reported to have said to friends, no hand on the tiller. No one knew what direction to go because there was no direction from the top. So, what did the appointees & bureaucrats do? They set up the agenda that they thought best & tried to implement it. But at some level, things can only come from the top, and if they don't, progress just doesn't happen.

I know that the liberal press & media in general thought they were doing both Obama & HRC a favor by not coming down heavy on their failures. In fact, they did the both the Obama administration & the Clinton campaign irreparable harm by not calling them out & demanding improvement. They just had too much invested in the "Clinton mystique" & "The Magic Negro" concepts to subject the objects of their affections to a soul-searching critique.

I question I ask is: if Trump's so incredibly stupid, what does it say about your side that they lost in spite of the fact that they had the support of the press, the electoral backstop of New York & California, eight years to plan, & a billion dollar war chest to such an imbecile?

Big Mike said...

"Academic" opposed to "intelligent and thoughtful "? In the 21st century the academic community seems neither particularly intelligent nor very thoughtful.

YoungHegelian said...

@TerriW,

"We were advised"

I'm curious who advised.


I'd bet dollars to donuts the "advisors" in question were State Dept. weenies.

Michael K said...

Low expectations again.

Lewis Wetzel said...

I question I ask is: if Trump's so incredibly stupid, what does it say about your side that they lost in spite of the fact that they had the support of the press, the electoral backstop of New York & California, eight years to plan, & a billion dollar war chest to such an imbecile?
In September of 2015 I told my Mom she was crazy for rooting for Trump. My Mom and I see eye-to-eye on politics most of the time. I preferred Cruz to Trump, and I voted for Darrel Castle (Constitution Party), not Trump.
When Trump kept picking up delegates despite almost uniform opposition from the MSM and GOP regulars I thought Trump was a force to be reckoned with, even though Trump's 2012 campaign had been a joke. When Trump won the nomination, again, despite opposition from the MSM and mainstream Republicans, I stopped attacking him. The man has got something.
Then, of course, against odds, he won the election and appointed a cabinet probably more conservative than hypothetical Cruz picks.
I learned my lesson about underestimating Trump. Some people haven't.

buwaya said...

I have to be the you know what in the punchbowl.
The Afghans may be sincere, but ...
They run a client state. The US finances them and its through US power that THEY retain power. If the US left these people would be gone in days.
So they have to make nice with the US powers that be.

YoungHegelian said...

@BP,

They run a client state. The US finances them and its through US power that THEY retain power. If the US left these people would be gone in days.
So they have to make nice with the US powers that be.


True dat. Let's see if, as time goes on, we see more stories from the foreign press along the lines of "You know, Trump isn't really as much of an asshole as we thought he was". That'll be the tell.

AReasonableMan said...

buwaya said...
The Afghans may be sincere, but ...


Should listen to this guy, he knows how third world countries work.

BDNYC said...

"Academic" is code for "arrogant know-it-all." If you already know it all, you don't need to ask questions or be thoughtful or work hard.

Big Mike said...

Trump is a problem-solver. I hate autocorrect!

Achilles said...

So the fuckwits at the state department told the Afghan's something about Trump that was unflattering and turned out to be wrong. Shocked. Glad Tillerson is cleaning out that nest of crap weasels.

And if the Afghans said the same things but you reversed Trump and Obama you know the media would have this up 24/7. Funny how Trump is infinitely more competent than Obama at pretty much everything.

n.n said...

Trump is practical and rational, and productive, with a religious/moral orientation that progresses with self-awareness, time, experience, and growth.

Gahrie said...

Interesting to think about the contrast between "academic" and "thoughtful and intelligent." The ambassador seems to set them up almost as opposites.

That's because today they are. Today academia is obsessed with feelz not thoughts, and is largely dominated by ignorant people pushing ignorant ideas.

Comanche Voter said...

Well Trump ran a business; Obama couldn't even get elected chair of a faculty committee.

Whatever else Trump is, he has a long track record of eliciting the information he needs to make a decision. Some of those decisions were good; some of those decisions were bad. But I bet Trump never voted "present" a single day in his life.

As Achilles noted, there are a lot of fuckwits in the State Department who would like to think that they, and they alone, determine US foreign policy. They probably told the Indian government and press that Obama was a trained orator. The Indian press found out different.

traditionalguy said...

Trump is a realist. That is the exact opposite of an Academic who has mastered a system of theory and Religion ( E.g., Marxist Revolutionary Theory) which was all B. Hussain Obama had inside his murderous Muslim submitted pea brain.

Sebastian said...

"they have to make nice with the US powers that be." Looks like the Afghans have a crafty ambassador here, good at sucking up. Making it known that "Trump wants to win" frames the the ask: now show us the money and the bullets.

Bay Area Guy said...

It's the simple difference between "theory" and "practice". I have an older brother - the smartest guy on the planet - a very well-published tenured College Professor. But he can barely make cup of coffee.

My younger brother barely finished high school, no college, but worked on cars all his childhood, and can build or fix anything. Now he owns a big construction company, and makes a ton of dough.

At the political level, the Dems are theoreticians. Obama was purely a theoretician. Had a nice smile, good enunciation, but never did a damn thing in his life.

Trump builds things. Big things. He ruffled feathers in the process, but there is a big, final, tangible product. That's how he rolls.


Ron said...


Hah. Trump probably knows Afghanistan is a lost cause, so might as well just jolly them up for a while longer while we figure out what to do.

Michael Guarino said...

My guess is the difference between being intelligent and being academic is the difference between making effective decisions with real skin in the game and being a disinterested halfwit spinning off tautologies.

Baronger said...

I've heard and seen that Trump likes to engage in conversation to find things out.

That's why people are advised to keep conversations short.

His schedulers want him to get on to the next thing on the schedule, and not spend 3 hours in careful discourse.

Temujin said...

This is not a new concept. Just recently put into words: https://medium.com/@nntaleb/the-intellectual-yet-idiot-13211e2d0577#.jcmp9s5p4.

Hammond X. Gritzkofe said...

That's nice to hear, but ain't everybody gonna go away happy in Afghanistan - and a lot of folks that belong there ain't gonna go away easily.

Much like the Balkans, there is a mix of different cultures. Each culture at one or more times in the past controlled the area. All would like to see the glory days of their old Empire restored.

The immediate problem is the Islamasists who want to re-create a Caliphat that never was.

If everybody who belongs there could magically be made happy in place, you still have the Ruskies who want to push through and own a port on the Indian Ocean.

And don't forget - the Pashtuns are still pissed at Ranjit Singh over Peshawar, and now the Pakistanis have it and want to keep it

The Brits should have backed the Dost instead of Shuja, but it is well too late for that now.

Bill R said...

My father was a sheet metal worker and didn't know any academics. He did know what the ambassador was talking about.

He used to tell me "Don't be wise guy."

Bad Lieutenant said...


buwaya said...
I have to be the you know what in the punchbowl.
The Afghans may be sincere, but ...
They run a client state. The US finances them and its through US power that THEY retain power. If the US left these people would be gone in days.
So they have to make nice with the US powers that be.
3/12/17, 10:01 PM


At least we have returned to that normal state. Under Obama, Hamid Karzai, another pretty-boy post turtle, seemed to feel free to talk trash about us, as if there was someone other than the United States he needed to keep on side. Client states had very well better kiss our asses.

Bob Boyd said...

"I'd bet dollars to donuts the "advisors" in question were State Dept. weenies."

That's what I thought at first. On the other hand, it could be a variation on the "under-promise and over-deliver" maxim with a dual purpose of making the people Trump meets feel like he has a special interest in them as well as prodding them to get to the point.

Todd said...

Bay Area Guy said...

It's the simple difference between "theory" and "practice". I have an older brother - the smartest guy on the planet - a very well-published tenured College Professor. But he can barely make cup of coffee.

My younger brother barely finished high school, no college, but worked on cars all his childhood, and can build or fix anything. Now he owns a big construction company, and makes a ton of dough.

3/12/17, 11:25 PM


Not saying this is the case in your family BUT generally this is the reason academics hate America so, well mostly they hate capitalism and as America is the biggest example of capitalism, so be it. Academics are SO smart, they are fricken geniuses! They KNOW so much! They all should be making all of the decisions for us rubes and they should have all the power and all the money! But they don't! Life is SO unfair. Need to fix that, so they thinks and so they tries...

Todd said...

It is funny how the Donald as President continues to mismatch with the caricature of President Trump the the MSM continues to push.

For an industry that has shown its self to be so wrong on both President Obama (holding him much higher than he earned/deserved) and now President Trump (down-playing his abilities and accomplishments), one would think that if they had any self-respect or self reflection they would just shut up for a bit but nope, instead they always go with doubling down.

AprilApple said...

Obama knew it all. He didn't need to talk to anyone.

Fore!

Kate said...

So, the Afghanis are a client state. I'm relieved they're that sophisticated!

It's best to be honest. You scratch my back, I scratch yours, such as: how can I get American business succeeding in your country? It's all good.

And please drain the damn swamp at State. They insulted the President prior to a diplomatic meeting, and, worse, they have no idea how time management works.

MaxedOutMama said...

The German interviewer (before inauguration) was also impressed by Trump, and described him as really knowing his stuff.

The US media has become captive to its own stereotype of Trump as a superficial person, which never had any justification in reality.

As for the academic comment in the article, I believe that the Afghani ambassador was addressing the difference between the theory and the practice. Trump knows how to get things done. Obama did not.

DanTheMan said...

This is clearly impossible. Obama was one of the best presidents ever, with the possible exception of Lincoln and Roosevelt. Obama was a brilliant lightworker, a higher order of being. People use to faint at his speeches, as they were overcome by his wonderfulness.
Trump, like all Republican presidents, is a moron, barely able to tie his own shoes.

How many times do you people need to be told?

bagoh20 said...

" Interesting to think about the contrast between "academic" and "thoughtful and intelligent." The ambassador seems to set them up almost as opposites."

The difference is old and well entrenched: Doers vs talkers, business vs academia, goal and outcome oriented vs process oriented. The objective and motivations are different. Trump comes from a world where what you do, build, and make in concrete terms is the measure. Obama came from a world of talk, words, positions, poses, where what you say about something is enough. The media, and much of the left is so obsessed with what people say, they can ignore what they do. Many of us hillbillies are backwards like that. This is why Trump and his supporters don't care all that much what he says or how he says it. They believe he will DO what matters. They expect him to concentrate on what needs done, and do it. If you have that focus, you don't have much use for a lot of the words - only the ones that inform action.

bagoh20 said...

On the other hand the Afghani ambassador might not understand the difference either and just wants to be saying what the new boss wants to hear.

Daniel Jackson said...

A question for DanTheMan with the French Flag:

C'est une blague, oui?

I mean you've got to be joking; you can't be serious?

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Well....I was about to post something about the contrast between academic and being thoughtful and intelligent. However. Bagoh20 beat me to the punch and said exactly what I was going to say. Damned entrepreneur getting up early and having coffee before me!!!!

I will say that some of the dumbest, most close minded people that I have ever known in my life are highly educated while some of the smartest and most mentally agile people have worked at the mechanic shop or were building houses.

Educated fools.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Kate said:

please drain the damn swamp at State. They insulted the President prior to a diplomatic meeting, and, worse, they have no idea how time management works.

This can't be said enough. The entrenched traitors at the State Department and practically every other level of Government are trying to destroy Trump's efforts before they even get a chance. They are traitors and should be fired.

I would start at the top and get rid of all of the previous appointees, unless they can prove their loyalty and ability. Then fire all the rest you can and those who are lifetime civil service slugs....transfer them to Moosejaw Alaska and let them peck away on manual typewriters with no access to the internet.

whswhs said...

I wouldn't take that as "opposites." I can distinguish red from orange without saying that those two colors are "oppoiste"; all that's needed is that they be distinguishable. And the comment seems to be making the point that "academic" and "thoughtful and intelligent" are distinguishable, not that they're mutually exclusive in every case.

Static Ping said...

Academics rarely have to make important decisions. The skill sets for a competent academic and for a competent leader have very little overlap. There are persons who are both good academics and good leaders, but in these days of greater specialization are harder and harder to find. It is not unusual for an academic to be someone who is an academic mainly because it is the only thing they are qualified that pays well.

Of course, given the corruption of academia a lot of academics these days really have no useful skill set at all and are basically political officers. They are basically witch doctors without a deity, except that witch doctors often know practical useful things.

bagoh20 said...

"damned entrepreneur getting up early and having coffee before me!!!!"

Lately, I've been working from 4am till well into the night. Commenting is how I take a break. It's very relaxing to stop and just think, talk, and write. You know, "academic" stuff.

DanTheMan said...

Daniel,
Blague sur un blog? Ce n'est pas possible!
:)

Static Ping said...

I suppose I should also mention that just because Trump is being "thoughtful and intelligent" in this matter does not mean he will handle it well. Sometimes the academic will be dismissive and gruff but actually know the solution and implement it with great competence. Sometimes the thoughtful and intelligent person will give it a lot of thought and come up with the wrong answer. For that matter, con men tend to be thoughtful and intelligent, but then again con men have to be to be able to fake competence.

Still, this is a good sign.

Snark said...

How to manipulate a narcissistic President 101 was my first thought. What's Russia up to with Afghanistan these days was my second.

Alex said...

'academic' means everything is pre-decided for the lumpenproletariat and they will swallow whatever we say. This is how Obama and his friends view the entire world.

Trump is actually thoughtful & intelligent, he respects what the people have to say. He doesn't view them as lumpenproletariat.

Alex said...

Sometimes the academic will be dismissive and gruff but actually know the solution and implement it with great competence.

Given the last 8 years of 'academic presidency', I'll take street smarts for the next 8.

Alex said...

Obama came from a world of talk, words, positions, poses, where what you say about something is enough.

Obama believes in the current set of international technocracy like the UN, Oxfam, World Bank, etc... Everything must be done through the international bureaucracy of 'enlightened technocrats'. They know best and everyone else are idiots. Trump comes along and inverts the entire thing.

Anthony said...

Above all else, academics just love to listen to themselves talk.

Alex said...

Actually I think they get their rocks off exercising power over the plebes.

Walter Ray said...

Academic = know-it-all
Thoughtful and intelligent = willing to learn

Zach said...

You need a new tag: "Trump is a people person."

Zach said...

It seems funny to make a big deal of a politician being a people person. But Obama really, really wasn't.

Spending longer on a phone call than someone things they rate is really basic retail politics. A student council member could probably pull it off. But even simple tactics are effective if you put effort into implementing them.