Trump on right track in dous­ing Cold War

The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) - - OPINION - PIERS AKERMAN

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.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.