I’m not with President Trump in Europe this week, but I don’t need to be – he’s doing just fine and representing my interests well. It seems that Donald Trump reserves a seat on Air Force One for the Forgotten American when he travels overseas.
That Forgotten American must have been whispering in Trump’s ear at a breakfast meeting when Trump urged NATO countries, as he has done previously, to meet their defense spending commitments to the alliance. He reflected on NATO’s purpose – to prevent Russian aggression – and wondered aloud why U.S. taxpayers should pay billions to protect Germany and other NATO countries – when Germany is enriching Russia with an energy deal.
A fair point, I thought. The Trump haters on MSNBC disagreed. Former Ambassador Nicholas Burns said it was “infuriating” to watch the President defend his country’s interests and labeled his remarks “diplomatic malpractice.” Joe Scarborough preferred the President stay silent. “This,” Scarborough explained, “was supposed to be just a photo-op.”
Well, Trump did it again. He defended American taxpayers when he wasn’t supposed to. He conveyed a concern of the Deplorables rather than quietly sipping his latte. Shame on you, Mr. President.
On this trip to Europe, and during his first 18 months in office, Trump has been making it clear that we will no longer be tethered to rules and institutions that disadvantage the U.S.
He’s demanded that NATO partners pay their share for collective security, and they are finally beginning to respond. Last year, 27 of 28 NATO partners increased their defense spending, but there’s still a long way to go. In addition, Trump has questioned the expense and utility of keeping nearly 35,000 U.S. troops in Germany. He’s done the same with South Korea and asked if our 24,000 service members might be safer and more comfortable back at home.
President Trump told Muslim countries to police their own backyards and promised to challenge Vladimir Putin for interfering in America’s domestic affairs when they meet in Helsinki. He’s notified both friend and foe that henceforth America will be treated fairly. He wants the generosity of our citizens and the sacrifice of our troops to be appreciated. Is that too much to ask of our friends?
The transition from global doormat to Uncle Sam’s advocate is welcome and necessary. Not only has NATO taken advantage of us, but for decades, the U.S. has signed deals and joined global institutions that stripped American citizens of their right to be represented.
Prior to Trump, globalism was ascendant. During the 1990’s, Congress ceded its trade authority by creating the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and the World Trade Organization (WTO). NAFTA caused U.S. factories to migrate to Mexico and the WTO began ruling against the United States on everything from tax policy to environmental standards.
In 1997, the United Nations created an Arms Trade Treaty to help the domestic and global left try to undermine Second Amendment rights in the United States. Meanwhile, the International Criminal Court (ICC) was being formed to strip Americans of their constitutional rights and try them for war crimes.
Nearly twenty years ago, The New Republic celebrated such measures declaring in a January 2000, cover story, “America is surrendering its sovereignty to a world government. Hooray.” But times have changed. Today, The New Republic is on life support, and America finally has a president who champions national sovereignty.
Trump has pulled out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, promises to renegotiate NAFTA, and mused about leaving the WTO. Last month, UN Ambassador Nikki Haley withdrew from the UN Human Rights Council and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo warned globalists that “when they seek to infringe on our national sovereignty, we will not be silent.”
As The New Republic once said, “Hooray.”
Shortly after he took office, President Trump spoke to the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) and said things would be different. “The core conviction of our movement,” Trump said, “is that we are a nation that puts and will put its own citizens first. For too long we’ve traded away our jobs to other countries — so terrible. We’ve defended other nations’ borders while leaving ours wide open.”
A Manhattan billionaire was telling the Republican Party – which has long been enamored with foreign entanglements – not to forget about their constituents in flyover-country.
“I was elected to represent the citizens of Pittsburgh, not Paris,” Trump said as he opted out of the Paris Climate Accord. In his first speech to the UN General Assembly, he gave an impassioned defense of self-rule, telling world leaders that “strong, sovereign nations let their people take ownership of the future and control their own destiny.”
Through over-priced UN membership dues, lost jobs, illegal immigration or flag-draped caskets, it is average Americans that have carried other countries’ responsibilities for too long. This week in Europe, President Trump is representing the interests of the Forgotten American on the world stage. Good for him.
Tom Kilgannon is the President of Freedom Alliance.