Trump’s Nixon-goes-to-China mo­ment

The Repub­li­can nom­i­nee has al­ready be­gun rap­proche­ment with Mex­ico

The Washington Times Weekly - - Commentary - By Mon­ica Crow­ley

Prior to be­ing elected pres­i­dent, Richard Nixon built his po­lit­i­cal ca­reer on be­ing a staunch op­po­nent of com­mu­nism. He had run for Congress in 1946 on an an­ti­com­mu­nist plat­form, ex­posed se­nior State De­part­ment of­fi­cial Al­ger Hiss as a top-level spy for the Soviet Union, and as vice pres­i­dent, de­bated Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev on the mer­its of cap­i­tal­ism ver­sus Marx­ism in the fa­mous “Kitchen Debate” of 1959.

That prin­ci­pled po­si­tion gave him the unim­peach­able cred­i­bil­ity to visit com­mu­nist China as pres­i­dent in 1972, which led to the fa­mous rap­proche­ment with the United States that changed the world.

Sim­i­larly, Don­ald Trump cat­a­pulted to the front of the Repub­li­can pri­mary pack af­ter mak­ing com­mon sense and long-over­due com­ments about il­le­gal im­mi­gra­tion and the dam­age it does to the Amer­i­can worker and broader econ­omy, our cul­tural fab­ric and the rule of law.

“When Mex­ico sends its peo­ple, they’re not send­ing their best,” he said in his June 2015 pres­i­den­tial an­nounce­ment speech. “They’re not send­ing you. They’re send­ing peo­ple that have lots of prob­lems, and they’re bring­ing those prob­lems with us. They’re bring­ing drugs. They’re bring­ing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I as­sume, are good peo­ple.”

Holy hell then broke loose be­cause he spoke the truth in bru­tally hon­est — if in­del­i­cate — terms. You aren’t sup­posed to do that in mod­ern-day Amer­ica where ev­ery place is a Candy­land safe space of rain­bows and pup­pies.

Mr. Trump’s raw anal­y­sis of the cat­a­strophic con­se­quences of unchecked il­le­gal im­mi­gra­tion helped to win him the Repub­li­can nom­i­na­tion and ul­ti­mately, earned him an in­vi­ta­tion to speak with Mex­i­can Pres­i­dent En­rique Pena Ni­eto — in Mex­ico.

Mr. Trump’s un­will­ing­ness to back down in the face of the jack­booted word and pol­icy po­lice made his visit and his ma­jor ad­dress on the sub­ject so crit­i­cally im­por­tant. Just as Mr. Nixon was the only leader who had the anti-com­mu­nist cre­den­tials to open relations with Bei­jing, Mr. Trump is the only one who could go to Mex­ico, speak hard truths to the Mex­i­can pres­i­dent to his face, then re­turn to Ari­zona to de­tail a spe­cific plan to end the chaos.

If elected, Mr. Trump vowed to halt il­le­gal im­mi­gra­tion, build a wall on the south­ern bor­der, de­port vi­o­lent crim­i­nal aliens “on Day One,” end sanc­tu­ary cities and the jobs-ben­e­fits mag­net, rene­go­ti­ate bad trade deals, deny amnesty, im­pose ex­treme vet­ting of those com­ing from re­gions com­pro­mised by Is­lamic ter­ror and other dan­ger­ous ide­olo­gies, and em­brace a skills-based le­gal im­mi­gra­tion pol­icy.

Am­bi­tious, given the forces on the right and the left op­posed to such a com­pre­hen­sive, Amer­ica-first ap­proach? Sure. But no­body has ever ac­cused Mr. Trump of be­ing un­am­bi­tious.

Per­haps the most im­por­tant thing Mr. Trump ac­com­plished both in Mex­ico and in his speech is that he shat­tered two pre­vi­ously ac­cepted premises: one, that nonci­t­i­zens have a right to en­ter and stay in the coun­try, and two, that once here, we owe them proac­tive res­o­lu­tion.

To the non-citizens who would like to en­ter the coun­try, Mr. Trump stated a com­mon-sense, le­gal truth: They have no right to be here, and we are un­der no obli­ga­tion to let any­one in. Amer­ica’s im­mi­gra­tion laws do not ex­ist for com­pas­sion or em­pa­thy, as lovely as those sen­ti­ments are. They ex­ist to serve Amer­ica’s na­tional in­ter­ests. And that’s what he in­tends to en­force.

To the mil­lions of il­le­gal im­mi­grants al­ready here, Mr. Trump turned the ac­cepted premise that we owe them res­o­lu­tion for vi­o­lat­ing the law on its head: We will no longer al­low the coun­try to be held hostage to the desired fu­ture votes of these peo­ple. That kind of po­lit­i­cal ex­tor­tion will end with his elec­tion: Those here il­le­gally will get nei­ther the vote nor amnesty nor cit­i­zen­ship. If they want a pos­i­tive change to their sta­tus, they must leave the coun­try and re­turn legally. That’s con­sti­tu­tional res­o­lu­tion.

By of­fer­ing a ra­tio­nal de­fense of a ra­tio­nal pol­icy that com­mands ma­jor­ity sup­port, Mr. Trump changed the na­ture of the race.

He not only mas­tered the cov­eted “op­tics” of “look­ing pres­i­den­tial” on the in­ter­na­tional stage, he gave a bold, de­tailed, un­apolo­getic speech grounded in Amer­i­can in­ter­ests and in pro­tect­ing the Amer­i­can peo­ple.

In the most dra­matic mo­ment of his ad­dress, he put a face on the dark­est side of il­le­gal im­mi­gra­tion by invit­ing sev­eral An­gel Moms — par­ents who have lost chil­dren to vi­o­lent il­le­gal aliens — to join him on­stage. It was a pow­er­ful, emo­tional scene, which il­lu­mi­nated his case bet­ter than the pointed sta­tis­tics. Those moms are the sta­tis­tics.

Mr. Nixon’s visit to China shook the world. Mr. Trump’s visit to Mex­ico may end up hav­ing a sim­i­lar ef­fect. Fol­low­ing their bi­lat­eral meet­ing, Mr. Ni­eto ac­knowl­edged that trade deals like NAFTA could be rene­go­ti­ated and the bor­der ad­dressed dif­fer­ently.

If Mr. Trump the nom­i­nee is al­ready chang­ing for­eign gov­ern­ments’ tunes, imag­ine what Mr. Trump the pres­i­dent will be able to ac­com­plish. Mon­ica Crow­ley is ed­i­tor of on­line opin­ion at The Wash­ing­ton Times.

Richard Nixon’s visit to China shook the world. Don­ald Trump’s visit to Mex­ico may end up hav­ing a sim­i­lar ef­fect. Fol­low­ing their bi­lat­eral meet­ing, En­rique Pena Ni­eto ac­knowl­edged that trade deals like NAFTA could be rene­go­ti­ated and the bor­der ad­dressed dif­fer­ently.

IL­LUS­TRA­TION BY ALEXAN­DER HUNTER/THE WASH­ING­TON TIMES

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