The prophet Daniel entered a den of lions — it wasn’t his idea — and left them purring like kittens. President Trump is nobody’s idea of a Bible hero, but he, too, stepped into a skeptical crowd of “world leaders” and transformed their derisive laughter into warm applause, thus demonstrating once more that there’s more than one way to skin a cat, though sometimes the cat won’t stay skinned.
Mr. Trump addressed the 73rd opening session of the United Nations General Assembly this week with a contrary declaration to the very institution holding the notion that globalism is the only path to peace and prosperity. “America is governed by Americans,” he said. “We reject the ideology of globalism and accept the doctrine of patriotism.” Those are dirty words to an international body whose charter begins, “We the peoples of the United Nations .”
It takes a dramatic shift of emphasis to prod a truculent audience into seeing what’s plain to see, and to see it with new eyes. The brie and Chablis nibblers from nearly 200 nations cling to the notion that patriotism is a vestige of the previous century, and dismiss any challenge to their shibboleth. Launching a revolution of thought requires a fresh fad that can titillate a Twitter following.
Mr. Trump had no such gimmick to hawk before world leaders. Instead, he listed the recent achievements of the American people, which speak for themselves: “$10 trillion in wealth, and the stock market is at an all-time high. “African-American, Hispanic-American, and Asian-American unemployment have achieved the lowest levels ever recorded.” He went on: 4 million new jobs, the beginning of a border wall, and $700 billion in funding for the military. “In other words,” he said, “the United States is stronger, safer, and a richer country than it was when I assumed office two years ago.”
The delegates responded with laughter to words that rang like boast, perhaps sounding like the stereotypical behavior of the ugly American, or perhaps it was a giggle of embarrassment. But the Donald was not done: “We are also standing up for our citizens and for peace loving people everywhere. We believe that when nations respect the rights of their neighbors and defend the interests of their people, they can better work together to secure the blessings of safety, prosperity, and peace.” In summary, upholding their own values creates the conditions of well-being that enables nations to nourish the good will of the international community. There is nothing ugly — or funny — about that.
If patriotism brings to mind the image of unwashed flag-wavers, globalism champions gauzy expressions like “I’d like to buy the world a Coke” while trading with the prime instigator of international terrorism. The globalists grieved over Mr. Trump’s decision earlier this year to pull out of the Iran nuclear deal. The globalists insisted that the president meant to spell the end of words and start a war. Instead he has spent the months since in constant dialogue with his foreign counterparts, promoting his goal of a better deal, one that will stay the hand of the Islamic mullahs in Tehran flashing nuclear missiles like a scimitar.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s name was excluded from the list of deal-makers. “Iran’s leaders sow chaos, death and disruption,” Mr. Trump told the delegates. “They do not respect their neighbors, borders, or the sovereign rights of nations.” Instead, they plunder the nation’s resources to enrich themselves and to spread mayhem across the Middle East and far beyond. He dismissed the idea that bad actors must be coddled along the path to perfect harmony.
Its the fundamental human flaw of envy, not patriotism, that threatens world peace. There is nothing wrong with nations nurturing pride in their quest for prosperity. “Many countries are pursuing their own unique visions, building their own hopeful futures and chasing their own wonderful dreams of destiny, of legacy, and of a home,” said the president. “The whole world is richer. Humanity is better. Because of this beautiful constellation of nations, each very special, each very unique, each shining brightly in its part of the world.”
Global leaders have no legitimate complaint that Mr. Trump wears his national pride on his sleeve. When Donald Trump says, “In America, we believe in the majesty of freedom and the dignity of the individual,” the words are more than an applause line. They undergird realism as they undergird the American dream. This is not the bounty of global plunder, but the plenty born of love of country.
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