PIERS MORGAN: Democrats have forgotten golden rule of warfare: never start a battle you can’t win6 min read

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There have been many great generals in the annals of history, often with very different ideas of exactly how to wage war.

But there is one common principle that links them all.

‘If a battle can’t be won, don’t fight it,’ cautioned Sun Tzu, the revered Chinese warrior from 544-496 BC whose tactical treatise ‘The Art of War’ is now considered a masterpiece.

‘Don’t fight a battle if you don’t gain anything by winning,’ agreed Erwin Rommel, the Nazis’ most successful general in World War 2.

The same principle applies to political conflict.

‘Choose your battles wisely,’ said Frank Underwood in House of Cards, ‘do not start a war you know you’re gonna lose.’

Let’s be under no illusion about the enormity of what is about to be unleashed here: for more than a month, the process to potentially remove President Trump (pictured November 12) from office has been conducted under the veil of secrecy. But today, it will all explode into the public consciousness in front of the world’s TV cameras

Let’s be under no illusion about the enormity of what is about to be unleashed here: for more than a month, the process to potentially remove President Trump (pictured November 12) from office has been conducted under the veil of secrecy. But today, it will all explode into the public consciousness in front of the world’s TV cameras

The Democrats (Nancy Pelosi pictured November 12) marched into the Congress casino to throw down all their chips on taking Trump down via impeachment. But in doing so, they’ve raised the bar to potentially ruinous stakes – not for Trump, but for them

The Democrats (Nancy Pelosi pictured November 12) marched into the Congress casino to throw down all their chips on taking Trump down via impeachment. But in doing so, they’ve raised the bar to potentially ruinous stakes – not for Trump, but for them

Television news crews are pictured being set up ahead of the televised impeachment hearings

Television news crews are pictured being set up ahead of the televised impeachment hearings

It should be a fairly obvious mantra, yet it’s one that is ignored time and again by those who should know better as ego and hubris displace common sense.

This brings me neatly to the commencement of today’s public impeachment hearings in the House of Representatives.

Let’s be under no illusion about the enormity of what is about to be unleashed here: for more than a month, the process to potentially remove President Trump from office has been conducted under the veil of secrecy.

There have been leaks, counter-leaks, anonymous media reports and myriad deposition transcripts, all of which has led to an increasingly febrile atmosphere.

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But today, it will all explode into the public consciousness in front of the world’s TV cameras, with every twist and turn faithfully, and doubtless hysterically, recounted in real time by salivating mainstream and social media.

This, as the New York Post front page, featuring Democrat impeachment-drivers Adam Schiff and Nancy Pelosi in circus ringmaster roles, intimated this morning, will be the Greatest Political Show On Earth – a trial of staggering sensationalism in the court of public opinion.

But as the Post also suggested, this is a uniquely perverse case where the defendant is presumed to be guilty before any of the public testimony is even heard.

And therein lies the biggest problem for the Democrats.

They’re marched into the Congress casino to throw down all their chips on taking Trump down via impeachment.

But in doing so, they’ve raised the bar to potentially ruinous stakes – not for Trump, but for them.

‘Choose your battles wisely,’ said Frank Underwood in House of Cards, ‘do not start a war you know you’re gonna lose'

‘If a battle can’t be won, don’t fight it,’ cautioned Sun Tzu (statue pictured), the revered Chinese warrior from 544-496 BC whose tactical treatise 'The Art of War' is now considered a masterpiece

‘If a battle can’t be won, don’t fight it,’ cautioned Sun Tzu (statue right), the revered Chinese warrior from 544-496 BC whose tactical treatise ‘The Art of War’ is now considered a masterpiece. ‘Choose your battles wisely,’ said Frank Underwood in House of Cards (left), ‘do not start a war you know you’re gonna lose.’

I’ve said from the moment it became public knowledge that Trump’s now infamous phone call to Ukraine President Zelensky was a stupendously dumb thing to do, coming so soon after he was cleared by Special Counsel Mueller of colluding with Russia to fix the 2016 Election.

For the President of the United States to ask a foreign leader to investigate his main domestic political opponent, Joe Biden, goes against everything America stands for.

Trump’s repeated claim since that it was ‘a perfect call’ is, frankly, bullsh*t.

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It was a very imperfect call, and shouldn’t have been made.

BUT, and this is a crucial ‘but’, I don’t think it reaches anywhere near the bar required for impeachment, which requires one of these four criteria: ‘Treason, Bribery or other high crimes and Misdemeanors.’

The main charge against President Trump is that he deliberately denied Ukraine $400 million in military US aid unless Ukraine formally investigated Joe Biden for alleged corruption while he was Vice-President.

Yet the aid WAS given, albeit a few weeks later than originally intended, and NO such investigation into Biden was ever launched.

So if there was any kind of deal, it never materialized.

That leaves us with the question of intent, and on that point there remains no incontrovertible evidence that Trump demanded an ‘Aid-for-Biden-dirt’ quid pro quo.

Oh there’s been plenty of noise, and none of it looks or sounds great.

But people with a vested anti-Trump interest have been spouting much of it, and I still haven’t seen anything that 100% establishes the crucial quid-pro-quo as cold, hard fact.

Moreover, even if an incontrovertible smoking gun does emerge, I very much doubt it will move public opinion enough to force Republicans in the Senate to convict Trump and prematurely end his presidency.

First, because of the extreme partisan nature of current US politics.

Second, because of the undeniable apathy among many Americans towards this Ukraine scandal.

Why the disinterest?

Two words: ‘RUSSIA COLLUSION!’

They’ve just endured two years of mass hysteria, driven by the exact same people, over a similar scandal that involved Trump supposedly conspiring with a foreign power against the US national interest, only for it all to end in a gigantic nothing-burger.

The main charge against President Trump is that he deliberately denied Ukraine $400 million in military US aid unless Ukraine formally investigated Joe Biden for alleged corruption while he was Vice-President (Trump and Ukraine's president pictured September 25)

The main charge against President Trump is that he deliberately denied Ukraine $400 million in military US aid unless Ukraine formally investigated Joe Biden for alleged corruption while he was Vice-President (Trump and Ukraine’s president pictured September 25)

Despite the liberal-dominated media’s unedifying biased efforts to downplay it, there remains enough murky unresolved doubt about what Biden’s (pictured November 8) son Hunter really got up to in the Ukraine while his dad was overseeing US activity there, to make this a legitimate matter for public concern. One thing’s for sure: these impeachment hearings will get to the bottom of that too. So we could be in an extraordinary position in a few weeks time where nothing new emerges to kill off Trump, but some bombshell revelation does explode to kill off the Democrats’ own front-runner for 2020

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Despite the liberal-dominated media’s unedifying biased efforts to downplay it, there remains enough murky unresolved doubt about what Biden’s (pictured November 8) son Hunter really got up to in the Ukraine while his dad was overseeing US activity there, to make this a legitimate matter for public concern. One thing’s for sure: these impeachment hearings will get to the bottom of that too. So we could be in an extraordinary position in a few weeks time where nothing new emerges to kill off Trump, but some bombshell revelation does explode to kill off the Democrats’ own front-runner for 2020

That makes it a lot harder to get as excited all over again about ‘UKRAINE COLLUSION!’

By recklessly over-egging the Russia collusion soufflé, and now doubling-down on alleged Ukraine collusion, Democrats have run the risk of portraying themselves as the boys and girls who constantly cry wolf.

Then there’s the Biden issue.

Despite the liberal-dominated media’s unedifying biased efforts to downplay it, there remains enough murky unresolved doubt about what Biden’s son Hunter really got up to in the Ukraine while his dad was overseeing US activity there, to make this a legitimate matter for public concern.

One thing’s for sure: these impeachment hearings will get to the bottom of that too.

So we could be in an extraordinary position in a few weeks time where nothing new emerges to kill off Trump, but some bombshell revelation does explode to kill off the Democrats’ own front-runner for 2020.

These impeachment hearings are thus going to be very perilous waters, and nobody can be remotely confident as to what will happen.

So that brings me back to the most important principle of warfare: never start fights you can’t win.

The Democrats have gone all in on impeachment without knowing how it will end.

And that could end up being a catastrophic act of self-harm that gifts Donald Trump the next election.