American Elephants


A Fine and Moving Speech Celebrating a Strong Europe and Western Values by The Elephant's Child

There’s an odd kind of disconnect going on. President Trump spoke to the people of Poland yesterday, reaffirming the long-standing bond between our two countries, and the bond with our European allies. He reaffirmed his commitment to Article 5, the NATO mutual defense pact, and noted that the United States had demonstrated not just with words, but with our actions, our commitment  to our allies. When our commitment to our allies is unsaid, the media climbs all over it, when it is included, it gets no mention at all. One might be inclined to think there is something to President Trump’s complaints about his treatment by the media.

If you recall, President Trump criticized the members of NATO who were not paying their agreed-upon share of the costs of NATO. NATO countries have agreed to spending  2% of their GDP to support NATO, but only 5 nations are contributing that much. It’s  longstanding complaint. Defense Secretary James Mattis warned NATO members back in January that if they do not boost their commitment, the United States might “moderate” its commitment to the alliance.

“I owe it to you all to give you clarity on the political reality in the United States and to state the fair demand from my country’s people in concrete terms,” Mattis said during a meeting in Brussels with defense ministers from other NATO countries. “America will meet its responsibilities, but if your nations do not want to see America moderate its commitment to the alliance, each of your capitals needs to show its support for our common defense. No longer can the American taxpayer carry a disproportionate share of the defense of Western values.”

The U.S contributes 3.61 % of GDP. Greece 2.39%. UK 2.21, Estonia 2.16, and Poland 2.00. Canada contributes only .99%. The amount contributed is a goal — not a legal pact. America spent an estimated $650 billion on defense in 2013 which is more than double the amount contributed by the other 27 nations put together.

The problem is not just the defense spending, but underlying attitudes. Europe has been unwilling to face up to Russian aggression, and the problems of Islamic migration. The European Union has ordered EU nations to accept large numbers of migrants, and only a few are firmly resisting. Much of Europe is dependent on Russian natural gas and oil. The initial push to accept heavy migration was based on the idea of “refugees,”empathy and compassion.

In his speech to the Polish nation, and to the world, President Trump offered a “determined and affirmative defense of the Western tradition. He assured Poland that it would not be held hostage to a single supplier of energy. He exhorted Russia to stop destabilizing Ukraine and elsewhere, to stop supporting Syria and Iran and ‘instead join the community of responsible nations.”

He identified the most immediate security threat as an “oppressive ideology.” He was talking about radical Islam, but it is worth noting that he never mentioned radical Islam or Islamic State. Instead, he described the recent commitment by Saudi Arabia and other Muslim nations to combat an ideological menace that threatens the world with terrorism. He compared this idea of mutual defense to the alliance of free nations that defeated Nazism and communism.

But the speech’s most provocative argument was about our way of life. It came when he described how a million Poles stood with Pope John Paul II in Victory Square in 1979 to resist Soviet rule by chanting, “We want God!”

“With that powerful declaration of who you are,” Mr. Trump said, “you came to understand what to do and how to live.”

Donald Trump was taking a firm stand against the fuzzy multiculturalism and globalization of Barack Obama and Western intellectuals who are all too ready to surrender to the critics of the traditions of the West. He spoke of a nationalism rooted in the rule of law, freedom of expression, religious faith and freedom from oppressive government. It was an important speech.

Peter Beinart, who I was astonished to discover is an associate professor of journalism and political science, wrote for the Atlantic about “The Racial and Religious Paranoia of Trump’s Warsaw Speech.” It’s the clearest example of what sometimes passes for thought on the left that I’ve seen in some time, and even more silly than usual. It reminds me of what one might expect from a college freshman in love with his own newly discovered intellectual promise, and trying to impress a lefty professor, might produce. See, see how I can tear this speech apart—embarrassing.

Beinart found George W. Bush’s 2003 speech in Poland useful for contrast, because Bush referred to democracy 13 times, and Trump mentioned it only once. By taking each word very, very literally, and insisting that since “the West” is not correctly a geographic term nor ideological or economic, then obviously it’s a white nationalist screed. The editors at National Review summed it up nicely:

It’s a strange day when praising the Warsaw uprising, the Solidarity movement, and Pope John Paul II makes you a neo-Nazi, but that day is, apparently, today, following President Trump’s speech to an assemblage of dignitaries, alongside a cheering crowd, in Poland, on his way to the G20 summit.

 

 

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3 Comments so far
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I have never been ashamed of saying “|I am a Canadian” until lately…ever since this cultural Marxist, Trudeau, got elected.

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Comment by alkidya

I kind of liked your previous one!

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Comment by The Elephant's Child

Strange about how celebrating Western values suddenly became alt-right propaganda, and the West became poisonous nationalism. They are so enraged at Hillary’s loss that they make no sense, or is it just that Trump won? I’m not sure they like Hillary that much either.

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Comment by The Elephant's Child




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