Measuring Donald Trump’s “first 100 days” is an exercise designed to create stories for reporters and to invigorate the #Resist loonies of the Left and the Establishment. The real evaluation should not be about the 100 days or even Donald Trump. The bigger point is that here has been a sea change toward those who believe in America’s greatness and “Norman Rockwell” values, and away from the last several decades of drift toward a domestic politics of grievance and international apologies for American leadership. There is cause for optimism. Some dimensions:
– The first requirement for being a great country is to be a country, and that requires borders. Border control agents and immigration courts are being increased; the Obama administration “catch and release” policies have been reversed; immigration from Haiti, Cuba, and the Middle East is being reduced; h1b visas for cheap foreign workers are being significantly reduced. Liberal federal judges have temporarily denied the president’s ability to restrict entry from countries where background vetting is not possible, and prohibited withholding of funds from cities which refuse to follow federal immigration law, but few doubt that superior courts will uphold the president’s ability to exercise reasonable judgement to protect the nation and uphold the law. Illegal immigration at the Mexican border is down 40 %, even without the wall.
– The big domestic challenge is to reinvigorate the American economy which has been growing too slowly to support a major portion of the middle class, while putting a dent in government debt in terms of the $20 trillion federal deficit, the soon to be insolvent Social Security and Medicare systems, and government pension plans. Many Republicans in Congress (and state governments) were elected to fix the debt problem, and Nancy Pelosi’s Democrats are united in not helping, requiring the Republicans to balance the two forces by themselves. They have failed on healthcare for now, and face a similar battle on tax reform. Trump has thrown down the proper marker on the size of government, is taking aggressive steps to improve trade agreements, and has a good general contour on taxes, but it will take several years of Republican control to strike the right balance on the scale required.
– Global stability requires a working relationship between the United States, Russia, and China; the containment of Islamic terrorism; and enforcement of international agreements preventing the proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction – nuclear; chemical; and biological.
— Trump has made it clear that the Europeans must start paying their share of their own defense, but their proclivity to budget for butter over guns is deeply ingrained and Putin continues to push the envelope in the Ukraine, in Syria, and perhaps now in Afghanistan. Unfortunately, the American Left has responded to Hillary Clinton’s loss of the 2016 presidential election by making any cooperation with Russia poisonous, so a working alliance with Putin put off for a year or two.
— At high human cost, and with only a modest step-up from Obama policies, the war against ISIS is being won in the grinding battle for Mosul in Iraq and the emerging de facto partition of Syria between Assad’s Allawites in the west, the Kurds in the north, and the Sunni Arabs in the center and east. Anti-West terrorism will remain via ISIS and al Queda, but America’s role in resolving centuries-old grievances will be limited. Unlike Obama, Trump will contain radical Islamic terrorism as he focuses elsewhere.
— The big deal is the return of the United States as the world’s enforcer of non-proliferation agreements. With Russian and Chines vetoes, the United Nations has proven itself incapable. Trump’s response to Assad’s use of chemical weapons demonstrated that he is no Barrack Obama. One has to believe his threat that if China will not stop North Korea, we will. In the sweep of history, this will be the most important development of Trump’s first term.
– Perhaps the most surprising aspect of America in April 2017 is the speed at which excessive political correctness on campus and in the media has morphed into violent intolerance of conservative ideas – at the birthplace of the Free Speech movement in Berkeley, at Middlebury College in Vermont, in Portland, Oregon, and elsewhere. This is due to the rejection of Trump the person, the takeover of a moribund Democratic Party by the socialist Left, and Democratic Party policies of grievance and division. Whatever. The Republic is stronger than a small band of anarchists leading a coddled academia, with an indifferent press. Middle America understands – to the ultimate political benefit of conservatives.
www.RightinSanFrancisco.com – 4/28/2017