Charles Krauthammer notes, “There are two audiences, obviously for inaugural addresses, the domestic and the foreign. And I guarantee you that they are quaking in their boots in foreign capitals, particularly of our allies and trading partners.”
“The way that Trump spoke about the outside world,” says Krauthammer, “was the most aggressive, the most sort of hyper-nationalist and in some ways most hostile of any inaugural address, I think, since the second World War.”
Krauthammer says, “I mean, what Trump pointed out, what he drew was a picture of a zero-sum world, where what we have done for the world they have been stealing from us. He says for decades we’ve enriched foreign industry at the expense of American industry, subsidized other armies at the expense of the weakening of our army. We made other countries rich while we have become poor.”
“And then this sort of staggering sentence,” say Krauthammer, “Wealth of our middle class has been ripped from their homes and then redistributed around the world. In other words, the other guy, the other, including friends. I mean Kennedy spoke harshly about the communist world, this is about our allies. They have been stealing from us, our corrupt ruling class has taken the money of the middle class and sent it around the world.”
Krauthammer, who is not a member of the middle class, goes on to characterize that line of the Trump speech as “the exaggerated anti-globalist view,” He says, “I can understand a lot of the sentiments, but imagine how this has been heard, in East Asia, in Europe and in other places. And then he ends up with a phrase that may not be so resonant here. He says we’re going to have one principle, AMERICA FIRST. It’s capitalized in the version that you get printed out. And capitalized it’s the name of the isolationist party in the 1930s that fought to keep us out of any entanglements i.e. out of the second World War, led by Lindbergh and others and dismantled a week after Pearl Harbor.”
“For many people around the world,” he says, “the British in particular, that is quite a resonant phrase and it says to them, to the free world since Harry Truman and Eisenhower, we constructed a world where we carried a lot of you, economically, militarily, etc. That game is over, you’re on your own.”
Krauthammer adds, “That is an amazing message for an inaugural address. We heard it on the campaign but this is policy now and it’s going to have a huge effect around the world.”
Krauthammer never did dispute Mr. Trump’s assertions of our economic disadvantaging because of our misplaced generosity to other nations, nor did he make any false statements. He’s correct that it is what we heard on the campaign, which is apparently how President Trump operates. He makes promises and then he keeps them. That may take some time for Krauthammer and the rest of the media, the DC establishment and even those in foreign governments to learn to deal with but eventually they will. As for Theresa May and Britain, they’ll be fine. Trump moved the Churchill bust back into the oval office. They’re good.
There’s also something that Trump knows quite a bit about, making deals and those foreign governments are interested in “trade deals.” He just improved his bargaining position with every trading partner around the globe with a few lines in one speech. Again, Krauthammer seems to be so entrenched in the old thinking that he can’t get out of his own way. This is no time for weak knees, it’s an eight year ride and we’re still at “here we go.”
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