Saturday, March 31, 2018

The Trump Track Record, Up to Now

And now, along comes Victor Davis Hanson to shine some light into the darkness. (via Maggie’s Farm) The darkness, or the willful blindness, concerns the current narrative about the Trump administration. According to the purveyors of this narrative, Trump has upended a world order that has prevailed since the end of World War II. Trump is not only disruptive, but he is undermining American leadership in the world and costing America the respect of its allies and enemies.

Hanson admits that Trump’s apparently chaotic administration, mixed with his own somewhat out-of-control pronouncements and tweets have fed into the narrative. 

As for the world order that Trump is destroying, Hanson writes:

But is the world really imploding after 70 years of supposed “calm”? (Disregarding the Korean and Vietnam wars; Chinese, Cambodian, Rwandan, and Balkan genocides; at least six Middle East conflicts; 9/11; a dozen U.S. interventions; a nuclear Pakistan and North Korea; the Cuban and Berlin nuclear standoffs; 20 years of Palestinian terrorism followed by 20 years of radical Islamic successors; a European Union financial and border meltdown; the Russian absorption of eastern Ukraine and Crimea, to name just a few “hot spots.”)

And that’s not all:

Donald Trump’s postwar order did not give us alienated allies in the Middle East, a rubbery NATO, North Korean intercontinental missiles, Iran on an ascendant arc in the Middle East, China’s new Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere, Putin unbound, and bewildered enemies like Cuba and Iran wondering why they were courted as friends.

And, of course, the media has gone to war against Trump, turning itself from an impartial purveyor of facts into a propaganda weapon working to destroy an American president:

The media likewise for the last year has joined the stampede. It is apparently unaware that its shock at Donald Trump’s rhetoric, behavior, and comportment had nothing to do with the reality of his governance. In all its self-righteous exclamation that the new journalism meant reporters had to be advocates of social justice and opponents of the likes of Donald Trump, the American media almost turned into a propaganda ministry of 90 percent negative coverage of the president. Yet by any fair standard, he had not as president done things 90 percent wrong.

The longer, like Captain Ahab, they hunt down the mythical white Trump whale, the more they are ruining the very reputation of journalism as they once inherited it.

Place some emphasis on the last point. The mainstream media has been undermining itself, and ruining its own reputation. They are consoling themselves with their increased profits.

What we need are a few facts, especially since those who inveigh against how Donald Trump distorts facts are perfectly willing to distort facts in order to damage him.

Hanson provides an overview of what is going on in the world:

In truth, after 2016, the United States is increasing its financial commitments to NATO. Several European members of the alliances may finally be addressing their prior unmet obligations and increasing defense spending.

The United Nations at least understands from Ambassador Nikki Haley that the United States will call out, rather than aid and abet, its occasional anti-Semitic lunacy. The president did not arbitrarily cancel the North American Free Trade Agreement. Instead, the agreement is up for renegotiation on terms other than the expectation that the United States will always accept asymmetrical deals as part of its required role as the continent’s superpower.

Has the world descended into a Trumpian chaos? Not at all, says Hanson.

The world itself is not in chaos as alleged. It seems a far safer place than it was between 2009 and 2016. ISIS is no longer a viable threat, promising to establish a new caliphate, in between beheading, burning alive, and drowning the innocent on video.

Israel is once again a strong U.S. ally. Saudi Arabia for the first time in its history is considering real reform. The Palestinians are beginning to understand that they can still damn, even threaten the United States, but not necessarily with U.S. aid money.

Iran is no longer harassing or hijacking U.S. ships. It is not so frequently boasting about what it will do to the Great Satan and Israel, much less sending missiles near U.S. carriers. The world did not fall apart when the U.S. moved its embassy to Jerusalem or withdrew from the Paris Climate Accord. That fact instead exposed so-called elite predictions of Armageddon as the hysteria.

Syria expects to be bombed each time it uses chemical weapons that were declared “nonexistent” by an outgoing Obama Administration. North Korea is not boasting any longer of incinerating American West Coast cities, but at least feigning consultation with China about denuclearizing the peninsula.

China understands that for two decades a naïve West has let it cheat at will on trade agreements, on the spurious idea it would become more pro-Western and democratic, the more that the West subsidized its breakneck modernization. Now it is at least talking about discussing its asymmetrical relationships with all its trading partners.

True enough, we can introduce some caveats. Yesterday, Trump made some troubling noises about withdrawing from Syria. And yet, considering the source, most commentators did not really believe them.

As for the current protests in Gaza, most savvy observers understand that Hamas and the Palestinian Authority have lost their war against Israel. When you start sending unarmed people into the face of enemy fire, you are trying to create more drama… about a lost cause that no one cares about any more.

Hanson next examines the domestic scene, especially America’s economy:

The U.S. economy did not implode in early 2017 and take down the world with it. The stock market did not crash. Our labor non-participation rate did not spiral. Instead, the country may be on its way to achieving its first 12-month period of 3 percent growth in 12 years. The stock market is at record highs, despite a few bumps, and unemployment at near-record peacetime lows.

And, the American energy industry has been freed from its regulatory shackles:

There is also not so much talk of always increasing electricity rates, destroying the coal industry, banning more fracking, and subsidizing more Solyndra-like crony “green” companies. Instead, the United States is now the world’s largest energy producer. Soon we may be our own largest petroleum producer. U.S. natural gas production will likely reduce world carbon emissions more than will European windmills and American solar panels. American companies are more likely to come home than to keep pulling up and moving abroad. Silicon Valley tech companies have never done so well under a president they hate so much.

Things are looking better for the American military and we are confident that the American president will never again extol the heroism of an army deserter in the Rose Garden or leave an American ambassador to fend for himself when under fire:

The U.S. military for the first time in eight years is recovering its former strength. One way or another, there will likely be no more Bowe Bergdahl deals, decreased security at U.S. embassies and consulates in the Middle East, Iran Deals, or “strategic patience” and “lead from behind” doctrines. When outnumbered Americans are trapped in a shootout abroad, it is more likely help will be on the way than the requests of the beleaguered would be put on hold. 

Consider this an executive summary of Hanson’s article. He offers a clear-eyed attempt to bring facts to the fore, and to allow facts to counteract the fictions that are currently being trafficked by our media.


Sam L. said...

Trump is what Darth Vader looks like out of costume (to some/a lot of people; YMMV).

The media (aka the enemedia) have now shot their feet clean off while intending to shoot Trump down. Oh, how the think-they're-mighty media have fallen (and they can't get up).

Have we moved our embassy to Jerusalem? I haven't hear/read so; just that we are going to.

Anonymous said...

Iwasn't at first, but I am a Trump fan now. The Left always said "they wanted a national conversation" well Trump's has started a bunch of them and the Left doesn't like any of them.

whitney said...

A clear-eyed view is great for people that are willing to take the blinders off, forpeople that are not willing it's irrelevant. Compare and contrast

Anonymous said...

Read Politico piece. Reminiscent of Sarah Palin's race for VPOTUS.

She was, after all a Governor. Top executive of a State. Won election by people who knew her well.

The ONLY politician who dared challenge Big Oil. The ONLY pol who beat them.

Not a whiff of corruption. Gave rousing speeches. Many folks liked her. And her boisterous family.

To sophisticates on the other side she was ... every pernicious epithet. And v v stupid. Mr. Sullivan obsessed over her suspicious uterus.

They spat out her name, hissing hatred.

I decorously omit both Dem. candidates.

Mr. T shares Mrs. P's predicament.

I'm puzzled. Is it class? Status? Pedigree? Policy? Personal style?

... What??? -- Rich Lara