Challenges face us every day. With the fusillade of columns directed at us attributing an aspect of mankind’s decline to President Trump, even the most committed journalist says “Holy Moly, I cannot handle another over-the-top column from WaPo, NYT, The Atlantic, etc. etc.” Despite that, one in the WaPo captured my interest, entitled The Trump Presidency Marks the End of the American Century.
The column was written by Mitchell Lerner, an associate professor of history and director of the Institute of Korean Studies at the Ohio University. I was too intrigued not to discover how the American Century was ending and why Trump was responsible for this one.
You have to decipher what Lerner says because it is written with the twist that “I have to sound erudite because I am a college professor.” The commentary tracks the basic arguments that the Left says about Trump foreign policy. He is rejecting the established norms that our country has used over the century -- and particularly since World War II -- that has made us a superpower and at times the lone superpower in the world. Lerner states “The American commitment to liberal internationalism has been rejected at every opportunity, from the Paris climate accord to the Trans-Pacific Partnership to the multinational nuclear deal.” Lerner goes on to state Trump wants to strike “a blow at the very core of the modern world system.”
For a person who is supposed to be educated, he certainly needs to broaden his perspective of what is going on with Trump’s policies. Let’s look at a couple cases:
Israel and the Palestinians – The Palestinians have been taking money from others for 70 years with making little effort to support themselves. A prime example is when Israel pulled all its citizens out of Gaza, they left highly-sophisticated greenhouses used to grow food. What did the Palestinians do? They dismantled them. Trump is saying the charade of you wanting peace must end or we will not continue to fund you directly or through your handmaiden, the U.N. Palestinians responded by saying you can’t take our money away.
Korea – Trump has made an effort to bring peace to the peninsula. He has made some movement with North Korea, but not nearly what was promised. Lerner has some expertise on the issue of Korea and goes into some depth in his column going back to the commitment to South Korea from President Eisenhower in 1953. Then the country was a disaster. Today, it is a sophisticated, modern country and an excellent ally of ours that loves America (I have been there). What Trump wants is for them to pay for the costs of our military protection and to open up their markets from their protectionist import policies. Our policies made sense 65 years ago. Trump’s makes sense now, and the taxpayer’s and workers of America should be treated fairly by our close friend. If rejecting a policy that took us for a sucker is rejection of internationalism, then bring it on.
This is really the basis of Trump’s foreign policy. Lerner fails to mention the Paris accord had us transferring billions of dollars to other countries to support their supposed climate change policies. We can see twenty years from now being told “Don’t worry; progress is just around the corner. Just send us more money.” In the meantime, the United States had better results in the reduction of greenhouse gases in 2017 than the players who remained in the Paris accord. As usual they are all hat, no cattle.
Which is just like what has been going on with NATO. It made sense that we carried the burden when formed in 1949. I have been to 22 of the NATO countries. I assure you they are doing quite fine nearly 70 years later. They have been treating us as suckers, and prior presidents called them on it. Obama did, but went back to his normal thing of speaking loudly and carrying a small stick. Trump told these mostly first world countries to pony up or we are pulling our money out. Sacré bleu. How dare you accuse us of not meeting our own commitments?
An added kick in the teeth. Some of the same countries who cannot manage to pay their commitment to NATO have said they are willing to step into the breach and provide more free money to the Palestinians. Here’s a suggestion -- keep your commitments first before making new ones.
Lerner ends his column stating “Liberal internationalism, of course, might continue without the United States, but without the traditional leader of the helm, the system’s long-term future seems gloomy.”
He could not be further from the truth about what is happening. If I may speak for Mr. Trump and all his supporters: everything that is being done is to make sure that we remain the top dog on this planet. Who are we going to hand it over to – the immoral Chinese? No way. If you believe that the American century really began with the end of World War I in 1918, this year is the official beginning of the second century. We have the strongest economy, the strongest military, the best governmental system and the place where everyone (and I mean everyone) wants to come to live.
To the contrary, Trump is inaugurating the next century. He is doing what America needs done and his supporters want him to do – make sure the next generation of Americans enjoy the same system that has made this magnificent country the marvel of the world.
I suggest Dr. Lerner and his cohorts stop being naysayers. This is America; we are number one and we are not giving that up because some other countries are called to task to carry their weight. They will come around and the international order will remain.