Things got better around the world in November 2016 when Donald J. Trump won the American Presidential Election and launched America to the top of the mountain. Reason is in the drivers seat. His first year is closing and it’s been a series of great victories and a few notable defeats but the world is a better, safer place since he became president. He told NATO the U.S. is shouldering an unfair burden of NATO’s defense costs. His speech in Krasinski Square in Warsaw, Poland, July 6, 2017 was absolutely brilliant… a momentous speech.
He took a tough line towards Putin.
“We urge Russia,” he said, “to cease its destabilizing activities in Ukraine and elsewhere, and its support for hostile regimes — including Syria and Iran — and to instead join the community of responsible nations in our fight against common enemies and in defense of civilization itself.”
“Among Trump’s biggest applause lines in Warsaw was, “While we will always welcome new citizens who share our values and love our people, our borders will always be closed to terrorism and extremism of any kind.”
Those tough words were welcome.
Trump’s speech was positive for another reason: repeated references to Poland’s struggle against Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia. Compressed between the despotism of two far more powerful nations, the Polish people never lost their faith. And Trump referenced how Poland’s transition from communist authoritarianism to capitalist democracy has benefited its people.
“This danger is invisible to some but familiar to the Poles: the steady creep of government bureaucracy that drains the vitality and wealth of the people. The West became great not because of paperwork and regulations but because people were allowed to chase their dreams and pursue their destinies.”
In this line, Trump plays to the truth of why Poland’s people are so pro-American. It’s because their lives are exponentially better by every meaningful measure than under Soviet domination.
He celebrated western values.
“We [the West] reward brilliance,” Trump said. “We strive for excellence, and cherish inspiring works of art that honor God. We treasure the rule of law and protect the right to free speech and free expression. We empower women as pillars of our society and of our success. We put faith and family, not government and bureaucracy, at the center of our lives. And we debate everything. We challenge everything. We seek to know everything so that we can better know ourselves.”
Let’s be clear, Trump’s message here is not just righteous, it is absolutely so.
The value of America’s civilization is real, and rendered purely in terms like “democracy” and “D-Day.” Ultimately, Trump’s speech was neither narrow-minded nor malicious against others. Rather, it was an overdue affirmation that Western civilization has made our lives better, happier, and safer.
Correspondingly, those who would lament these words do not deserve our scorn, but our sadness. They lack the knowledge of history that defines the Polish people, and the truth that flows from their knowledge. The truth that courage, capitalism, democracy, and American guardianship remain the world’s best servants of human fulfillment.
Amazingly enough, Trump’s critics find the West itself an offensive and exclusionary concept.
Trump hater extraordinaire, Eugene Robinson of the Washington Post worries that Trump’s speech invites civilizational conflict. Really? Trump just had a successful trip to Saudi Arabia, where presumably it isn’t news that the West is vested in Western values. Peter Beinart of the Atlantic objects that “the West” is allegedly “a racial and religious term.” This is bizarre, given that countries everywhere can “Westernize,” or adopt the norms and practices that were first adopted in the West and are uniquely suited to human flourishing.
Trump warned in his speech of fighting for centuries to maintain our freedom, only to lose it to “a lack of pride and confidence in our values.” The unhinged reaction to his address — which once would have been considered clearly within the mainstream of American thought and rhetoric — shows how this, alas, is not an idle worry.
However, car and retail sales have been falling, while wage growth remains sluggish.