The Beltway’s sober and judicious foreign-policy establishment laments Donald
Trump’s purported dismantling of the postwar order. They apparently take the
president’s words as deeds and their own innate dislike of him as disinterested
But is the world really imploding
after 70 years of supposed “calm”?
Disregarding: the Korean and Vietnam wars;
Chinese, Cambodian, Rwandan, and Balkan genocides; at least six Middle East
conflicts; 9/11; a dozen U.S. interventions; a nuclear Pakistan and North
Korea; the Cuban and Berlin nuclear standoffs; 20 years of Palestinian terrorism
followed by 20 years of radical Islamic successors; a European Union financial
and border meltdown; the Russian absorption of eastern Ukraine and Crimea, to
name just a few “hot spots.”
In other words, Trump did not
inherit an especially stable world. So has any elite expert over the past two
years attempted to make sense of how some positive and much-needed change
abroad was guided by Trump, someone without political and military experience
and with a flawed character—and how and why that sometimes happens in history?
In truth, after 2016, the United
States is increasing its financial commitments to NATO. Several European
members of the alliances may finally be addressing their prior unmet
obligations and increasing defense spending.
The United Nations at least
understands from Ambassador Nikki Haley that the United States will call out,
rather than aid and abet, its occasional anti-Semitic lunacy.
The president did
not arbitrarily cancel the North American Free Trade Agreement. Instead, the
agreement is up for renegotiation on terms other than the expectation that the
United States will always accept asymmetrical deals as part of its required
role as the continent’s superpower.
The world itself is not in chaos as
alleged. It seems a far safer place than it was between 2009 and 2016. ISIS is
no longer a viable threat, promising to establish a new caliphate, in between
beheading, burning alive, and drowning the innocent on video.
Israel is once again a strong U.S.
ally. Saudi Arabia for the first time in its history is considering real
reform. The Palestinians are beginning to understand that they can still damn,
even threaten the United States, but not necessarily with U.S. aid money.
Iran is no longer harassing or
hijacking U.S. ships. It is not so frequently boasting about what it will do to
the Great Satan and Israel, much less sending missiles near U.S. carriers.
world did not fall apart when the U.S. moved its embassy to Jerusalem or
withdrew from the Paris Climate Accord. That fact instead exposed so-called
elite predictions of Armageddon as the hysteria.
Syria expects to be bombed each time
it uses chemical weapons that were declared “nonexistent” by an outgoing Obama
North Korea is not boasting any longer of incinerating American
West Coast cities, but at least feigning consultation with China about
denuclearizing the peninsula.
China understands that for two
decades a naïve West has let it cheat at will on trade agreements, on the
spurious idea it would become more pro-Western and democratic, the more that
the West subsidized its breakneck modernization. Now it is at least talking
about discussing its asymmetrical relationships with all its trading partners.
America Remains the Best and Only
Europe offers no alternative
paradigm to a supposedly renegade United States. The German model of open
borders and economic mercantilism no longer works all that well for Germany.
The EU is more fearful of dissolution than preening of expansion.
Mexico understands that the era of
exporting its human capital to avoid social justice reform at home is coming to
a close. So, too, is the ruse of championing its poor only when they are
long gone. America is tiring of the strange gymnastics of illegal
Millions are subsidized by the U.S. social services safety net to
send back to Mexico $30 billion in annual remittances, as their home government
gratuitously tars their benefactor as racist and imperialist.
The U.S. economy did not implode in
early 2017 and take down the world with it. The stock market did not crash. Our
labor non-participation rate did not spiral.
Instead, the country may be on
its way to achieving its first 12-month period of 3 percent growth in 12 years.
The stock market is at record highs, despite a few bumps, and unemployment at
near-record peacetime lows.
There is also not so much talk of
always increasing electricity rates, destroying the coal industry, banning more
fracking, and subsidizing more Solyndra-like crony “green” companies.
the United States is now the world’s largest energy producer. Soon we may
be our own largest petroleum producer.
U.S. natural gas production will
likely reduce world carbon emissions more than will European windmills and
American solar panels.
American companies are more likely to come home than
to keep pulling up and moving abroad.
Silicon Valley tech companies have never
done so well under a president they hate so much.
Leading from the Front—Again
The U.S. military for the first time
in eight years is recovering its former strength.
One way or another, there
will likely be no more Bowe Bergdahl deals, decreased security at U.S.
embassies and consulates in the Middle East, Iran Deals, or “strategic
patience” and “lead from behind” doctrines.
When outnumbered Americans are
trapped in a shootout abroad, it is more likely help will be on the way than
the requests of the beleaguered would be put on hold.
The Obama “reset” doctrine has long
been humiliated and buried.
Likewise, the Obama finger shaking of “cut it out”
to Putin seems to be recalibrated by expelling Russian diplomats, hitting back
at Russian mercenary attackers in the Middle East, and arming Ukrainian defense
forces, as the U.S. tries to improve its missile defenses and upgrade its
No one is talking any more about bargaining with Vladimir Putin
to slash the American nuclear umbrella.
I don’t think new Secretary of State
Mike Pompeo is aiming for a Nobel Prize. James Mattis and John Bolton likely
disagree on a lot, but probably not on unchanging human nature and how to react
Japan and South Korea certainly do
not think America has abandoned them. They seem so far more eager to show the
United States that they are strategic partners. They may well believe that the
Trump Administration is more likely to come to their aid in extremis than were
its mellifluous but otherwise inert Obama predecessors.
The Establishment is Still Willfully
The above is the reality. To the
degree it has been achieved in 16 months by a president who shouts, pouts,
cajoles, threatens, exaggerates, and proves unpredictable and mercurial is a
commentary on the establishmentarians and their own grasp of human nature.
Donald Trump’s postwar order did not give us alienated allies in the Middle
East, a rubbery NATO, North Korean intercontinental missiles, Iran on an
ascendant arc in the Middle East, China’s new Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity
Sphere, Putin unbound, and bewildered enemies like Cuba and Iran wondering why
they were courted as friends.
This same strange Washington
disconnect between fantasy and reality reigns at home.
After nearly two
years of hysteria, there has never been proof adduced of Trump-Russian
collusion. Robert Mueller’s legal team—the party affiliations of its
lawyers, their past involvements with players in contemporary scandals, and
their leaking and scurrilous behaviors and communications—is a textbook
example of how to create conflicts of interest and ensure an absence of public
The more Washington journalists scream
of collusion, the more they are willfully blind to one of the most disturbing
scandals in American history brewing right under their noses.
Many in the
hierarchy of the Obama FBI, Justice Department, and national security team
likely were involved in illegally spying on U.S. citizens.
massaging and warping the FISA courts to issue their warrants, unmasking many
of the names of those surveilled, and then leaking them improperly and
illegally to the media.
Nearly a dozen top Justice Department and FBI
officials already have been fired, reassigned, or retired. None, except James
Comey, are now gone because of what Donald Trump did to them. They’re out as a
result of their misguided zeal and careerist miscalculations, for what they
tried to do to the duly elected president of the United States.
The resistance to getting to the
bottom of the Uranium One scandals, the Hillary Clinton illegal private email
server, the trafficking in classified documents, the Clinton Foundation façade,
and the politicization and weaponization of Obama-era U.S. intelligence
services is not because there was no wrongdoing.
Rather, the silent fear is more that
a disinterested investigation would lead to discoveries of such a magnitude
of wrongdoing by some of the most influential Americans of the present age,
that to seek their indictments would undermine the structures of the Washington
How, after all, could the U.S.
Department of Justice indict now-retired Hillary Clinton for these crimes: For giving false
testimony, for illegally using a private email server, for unleashing her
husband to do quid pro quo Clinton Foundation deals—or for hiring a foreign
national to compile a hit dossier of gossip and rumor, much of its gleaned
through the active and bought collusion of Russian operatives, and empowered by
the Obama FBI and Justice Department to undermine the credibility of the Trump
2016 campaign, and later his transition and presidency?
It is one thing for several in the
FBI and the Justice Department to be relieved of their jobs.
But it is quite
another to investigate why the likes of John Brennan, James Clapper, Ben
Rhodes, Susan Rice, and others were apparently trafficking in the
surveillance of American citizens.
Or reexamine whether Huma Abedin,
Cheryl Mills, James Comey, or Andrew McCabe misled investigators or perjured
themselves or made up things to Congress.
Or reexamine what exactly
ex-President Bill Clinton was doing with Russian interests to prompts such
huge gifts to the Clinton Foundation and such generous largess to himself—lucre
that mysteriously has ceased to flow since November 2016.
The media likewise for the last year
has joined the stampede.
It is apparently unaware that its shock at Donald
Trump’s rhetoric, behavior, and comportment had nothing to do with the reality
of his governance.
In all its self-righteous exclamation that the new
journalism meant reporters had to be advocates of social justice and opponents
of the likes of Donald Trump, the American media almost turned into a
propaganda ministry of 90 percent negative coverage of the president.
by any fair standard, he had not as president done things 90 percent wrong.
The longer, like Captain Ahab, they
hunt down the mythical white Trump whale, the more they are ruining the very
reputation of journalism as they once inherited it.
So, we live in two worlds. One is
the material cosmos of concrete action and deeds.
The other reality is
little more than the unfiltered fears, anxieties and fantasies of ill-informed
television talking heads, groupthink opinion journalists, and progressive
zealots who have conflated a sometimes-uncouth president with all their own
apprehensions, and called the result Nazism and fascism.
When this depressing period in
American news and commentary is over, the liberal order will not like the