News & Politics

Do We Elect a President to 'Put America Second'?

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks to the National Guard Association of the United States, Monday, Sept. 12, 2016, in Baltimore. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

This is a very simple question that I would like to put to those who are objecting to the notion that Trump is wrong to “Put America First.”

Ask the average voter whether the president should protect American interests ahead of other countries’ interests, or whether he should subsume American interests to further the cause of globalization, or peace, or any other highfalutin “cause” that presidents are wont to embrace. You should not be surprised at the answer.

So all the angst being shown by the left over Trump’s “nationalistic” (they really mean “fascist”) talk is really all about Trump’s rhetorical refusal to allow American interests to take a back seat to the interests of Europe, or Asia, or even Africa.

Yes, an American president can be an internationalist—as long as it’s in the context of protecting our interests against those who would undermine them or harm them. If that doesn’t sit well with the Europeans and others, under Mr. Trump, they are apparently going to have to live with it.

ABC News:

The commitments align with Trump’s Friday inaugural address.

“From this day forward, it’s going to be only America first,” he said in his speech. “Every decision on trade, on taxes, on immigration, on foreign affairs will be made to benefit American workers and American families.”

“We will reinforce old alliances and form new ones and unite the civilized world against radical Islamicterrorism,” Trump added.

The White House website also said that the Trump administration aims to work with international partners to cut off funding for terrorist groups, to expand intelligence sharing and to engage in cyberwarfare to disrupt propaganda and recruiting.

“Defeating ISIS” is the administration’s “highest priority,” it reads.

In reinforcing a strong military presence, the site said Trump seeks to end the defense sequester — a mandatory, decade-long cut to defense spending imposed by the Budget Control Act of 2011 — and submit a new budget to Congress that outlines a plan to “rebuild the military” and “develop a state-of-the-art missile defense system” as a defense mechanism against missile-based attacks from countries such as Iran and North Korea.

Germany had a typical European reaction to Trump’s speech.

Germany’s Vice Chancellor has accused Donald Trump of delivering an inauguration speech with “high nationalistic tones.”

Sigmar Gabriel added that the businessman had been elected as a result of “bad radicalisation” in the US.

The politician made the comments in a TV interview.

Note the conflation of “nationalism” with “radicalism.” I suppose it is a novel idea these days for an American president to guard American interests above all others, but radical? Sheesh.

So, OK—I get it. Nationalism = Bad. Indeed, nationalism can be traced to causing many of the evils of the 20th century, including being a major reason for the outbreak of both world wars.

But that was a kind of “hyper-nationalism” that does not exist in America and never did. In fact, what the left is objecting to when calling out Trump for being nationalistic is the simple, home-spun love of country found in the great spaces between the two coasts. Middle America might not be up to speed on what causes trade deficits or what’s in NAFTA. But they have a deep, abiding love of country that the left—when it’s not making fun of it—is portraying as an apocalyptic vision of the U.S. as a fascist state. Using the term “nationalism” is now shorthand on the left for “fascism”—as dishonest and despicable a word substitution as there is in their rancid vocabulary.

The origins of the term “America First“—the Charles Lindbergh-led organization that opposed U.S. entry into World War II—can certainly be recounted and heavily criticized as having an anti-Semitic wing that actually supported the Nazis. But is anyone seriously making an argument that Trump and the vast majority of his supporters are anti-Semites? Again…Sheesh.

The left may prefer presidents to “Put America Second,” but the vast majority of voters do not. Whether putting America first will make us “great again” is a question yet to be answered, but it’s hard to imagine getting there without standing up for our interests first and foremost.