Trump on right track in dousing Cold War
DONALD Trump looks set to defy his critics yet again and leave them grovelling for excuses after agreeing to meet North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and discuss nuclear disarmament.
Since he moved to the White House just over a year ago, Trump has consistently wrong-footed those who protested against his election.
Among those with egg dripping from their smug faces are all members of Australia’s alternative party of government — the ALP — which directly tried to influence the outcome of the 2016 US presidential election by paying party members to work on the campaign of Bernie Sanders, the leftwing Democratic candidate.
Australian taxpayers were also tapped for funds by Labor to pay for this extraordinary involvement in the domestic politics of our closest ally.
Not that the Turnbull government’s Foreign Minister Julie Bishop showed a great deal more intelligence. Her department was so enthusiastically supporting the principal Democrat candidate Hillary Clinton that it didn’t even have a contact number for any senior figures in Trump’s campaign office.
It was only thanks to Australian golfer Greg Norman’s friendship with Trump that Bishop’s department, via our US ambassador Joe Hockey, was able to provide Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull with a phone number on which he could contact and congratulate Trump on his victory.
Trump’s victory was one for the forgotten people of America — those whom Clinton sneeringly referred to as a “basket of deplorables”. Speaking at a fundraiser, she said they were “racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamophobic — you name it”.
Clinton had been US foreign secretary under president Barak Obama, and among the worst to ever hold that office. Under the Obama administration the Middle East exploded and only now are the flames being brought under some semblance of control, thanks largely to Trump’s determination. More importantly in our region, Trump wasn’t afraid to tackle the threat posed by Kim head-on even before he was elected President though his unorthodox Twitter strategy was relentlessly mocked.
In September, 2015, Trump fired a salvo at Kim saying: “And nobody ever mentions North Korea where you have this maniac sitting there and he actually has nuclear weapons and somebody better start thinking about North Korea and perhaps a couple of other places. But certainly, North Korea.”
In February, 2016, he hinted at his strategy saying: “I would get China to make that guy disappear in one form or another very quickly. I mean this guy’s a bad dude — and don’t underestimate him. Any young guy that can take over from his father with all those generals and everybody else that probably wants the position, this is not somebody to be underestimated.”
Last July he tweeted: “North Korea has just launched another missile. Does this guy have anything better to do with his life?” And he warned in August: “North Korea best not make any more threats to the United States. They will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen.”
That threat was spelled out by Trump in his first address to the UN General Assembly last September where he said: “The United States has great strength and patience, but if it is forced to defend itself or its allies, we will have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea. Rocket Man is on a suicide mission for himself and for his regimen.”
Trump didn’t ease up, saying Kim was “obviously a madman who doesn’t mind starving or killing his people, will be tested like never before!” Two months ago he reminded the North Korean leader the US also had a nuclear arsenal — “Will someone from his depleted and food starved regimen please inform him that I too have a Nuclear Button, but it is a much bigger and more powerful one than his, and my Button works!”
What did apparently work were the sanctions the US persuaded the UN to impose on North Korea, backed by Trump’s strong stand that last week delivered the statement from North Korea indicating its willingness to denuclearise and agreement to halt missile testing during the period around the proposed talks.
Trump’s achievements in office should offer comfort to conservatives everywhere. He promised on election to nominate conservative judges and he did so with the appointment of Justice Neil Gorsuch to the high court. Since then, Trump and his team have spent his first year filling a recordbreaking number of federal appeals court vacancies, and there are many spots still left.
He promised to “make America great again” and the US economy is certainly healthier than it was under Obama, with unemployment dropping and strong GDP numbers. He has delivered on his promise to “bomb the hell” out of ISIS and recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, reversing decades of inaction.
Maybe he hasn’t built the wall he promised on the Mexican border but illegal immigration to the US last year fell to a 17-year low.
He’s also keeping his promise to protect US industry from cheap foreign imports — while protecting relationships with strong allies. On this record, he would probably be elected to a second term.
The Australian newspaper’s esteemed commentator Paul Kelly told Australian conservatives this weekend they “suffer from serious tactical ineptitude and misread public opinion”.
John Howard, the greatest prime minister Australia has had since Robert Menzies, offered seriously conservative policies including a GST during his 11 years in office and is still regarded as the most popular living prime minister.
A strong conservative with genuine conviction could deliver the government Australia now sorely needs.