President Trump continues to intrigue policy analysts and foreign-affairs experts. He conducts foreign policy by tweeting decisions and publicizing comments and opinions in similar ways. He downplays all traditional means of conducting diplomacy and collides head-on with most known allies of the US. He does not mince his words and frequently speaks his mind in front of embarrassed observers and foreign dignitaries. He pursues policies pertaining to the economy and immigration that very often violate traditional norms of political correctness.
Trump's behavior upsets the political elites of the West. Following their lead, the traditional State Department officials feel appalled by his conduct. They usually express their disdain by means of public statements or in published articles. They generate a pervading atmosphere of inefficiency about the way America conducts its foreign affairs today.
A relevant question remains, however. Do the policies of President Trump produce the disastrous effects that pundits describe or do they yield the intended results?
For starters, let’s consider whether the world media treat him in a fair way. In my assessment, they do not. During his last visit to Britain, for example, he met with the queen after an hour's delay. The American media had a field day. They blamed the US president for being late for his appointment with Queen Elisabeth. The truth however was that Elisabeth had delayed the scheduled meeting. And Trump courteously brushed off the incident…
In regard to the battle being waged over the "family separations" of illegal immigrants, the reporting is entirely out of bounds. President Trump decided to apply the existing legal framework that had been established years earlier by the US government, probably during the presidency of Bill Clinton. These legal provisions have been repeatedly violated by previous administrations. Under that legal framework, those who violate America’s borders are arrested and thrown into prison. If there are children among them, the state cares for them and, instead of sending them to prison, keeps them safe in designated compounds. Would it be better if children were thrown into prison or, as they used to do in the past, the law was forgotten and all of them were set free on American soil?
It media appears to place the blame on the president’s reaction while ignoring the guilt of the parents who are attempting to cross US borders illegally while dragging their innocent children along with them…
President Trump also decided to ban the entry of pregnant women from abroad (particularly from Mexico and Central America) who then give birth in the States, taking advantage of free, relevant services, while the newborn children are given American citizenship. Are these measures really wrong?
Donald Trump found a way out of the debacle with North Korea by establishing lines of direct communication with Pyongyang and very effectively employing China as an intermediary. The American media however, along with the political establishment, downplayed his efforts, while retired diplomats continue to applaud the detrimental way that issue was handled by the Obama White House! Trump also managed to "persuade" the French and the Germans, among others, to dig into their coffers and finance their obligations to NATO. As Milton Friedman used to say: "there’s no such thing as a free lunch." Defense and security obviously come with costs. And states have to pay for them. You can never rely on someone else to carry the burden for you.
Likewise, on the issue of exports to the US, Trump’s decision to impose higher tariffs, reluctantly applied hitherto, appear to being having some results. Europe (especially Germany) and China are discussing the situation with the US — while previously no talks were happening — and there may be a positive, mutually beneficial outcome.
On relations with Russia, the president appears to face his fiercest criticism. He has even been accused of high treason. This was just because he decided to speak “privately” with Vladimir Putin and express some respect for the other side's opinions — thus bringing some common sense to American–Russian relations. He decided to move away from the phobias and deeply embedded anti-Kremlin preconceptions, and this may lead to better relations between the two nations. We must never forget that on this front Donald Trump is simply keeping his electoral promises. The American people voted to approve the possibility of a more sincere and closer relationship with Russia. The Washington elites however did not approve of this. Trump should not be allowed to deliver on his election promises …
The American president also cut taxes dramatically. His decision could be seen almost immediately in the performance of the US economy. Unemployment fell dramatically, output increased, and productivity started experiencing better days.
It will also be very interesting to observe President Trump's reaction when he realizes that his ambassador to Athens has claimed that Greece is a "bastion of stability" in the region, coincidentally on the same day that the government in Athens decided to move condemned terrorist killers (among their victims — American, British, and Turkish officials) from a high-security prison to the lenient environment of an agricultural penitentiary!
Generally speaking, President Trump's policies challenge ideas of political correctness and give a voice to the middle America that doesn’t see issues eye-to-eye with the political elites. Most important of all, Trumpism appears to be a response to the expectations held by the American electorate when they decided on the new incumbent of the White House. Are these features of the American president's stance and behavior to be condemned?