Trump — American Gaullist
If a U.S. president calls an adversary “Rocket Man … on a mission to suicide,” and warns his nation may be “totally destroyed,” other ideas in his speech will tend to get lost.
Which is unfortunate. For buried in Donald Trump’s address is a clarion call to reject transnationalism and to re-embrace a world of sovereign nation-states that cherish their independence and unique identities.
Western man has engaged in this great quarrel since Woodrow Wilson declared America would fight in the Great War, not for any selfish interests, but “to make the world safe for democracy.”
Our imperialist allies, Britain, France, Russia, Japan, regarded this as self-righteous claptrap and proceeded to rip apart Germany, Austria, Hungary and the Ottoman Empire and to feast on their colonies.
After World War II, Jean Monnet, father of the EU, wanted Europe’s nations to yield up their sovereignty and form a federal union like the USA.
Europe’s nations would slowly sink and dissolve in a single polity that would mark a giant leap forward toward world government — Alfred, Lord Tennyson’s “Parliament of man, the Federation of the world.”
Charles De Gaulle lead the resistance, calling for “a Europe of nation-states from the Atlantic to the Urals.”
For 50 years, the Gaullists were in constant retreat. The Germans especially, given their past, seemed desirous of losing their national identity and disappearing inside the new Europe.
Today, the Gaullist vision is ascendant.
“We do not expect diverse countries to share the same cultures, traditions, or even systems of government,” said Trump at the U.N.
“Strong sovereign nations let diverse countries with different values, different cultures, and different dreams not just coexist, but work side by side on the basis of mutual respect. …
“In America, we do not seek to impose our way of life on anyone, but rather to let it shine as an example for everyone to watch.”
Translation: We Americans have created something unique in history. But we do not assert that we should serve as a model for mankind. Among the 190 nations, others have evolved in different ways from diverse cultures, histories, traditions. We may reject their values but we have no God-given right to impose ours upon them.
It is difficult to reconcile Trump’s belief in self-determination with a National Endowment for Democracy whose reason for being is to interfere in the politics of other nations to make them more like us.
Trump’s idea of patriotism has deep roots in America’s past.
After the uprisings of 1848 against the royal houses of Europe failed, Lajos Kossuth came to seek support for the cause of Hungarian democracy. He was wildly welcomed and hailed by Secretary of State Daniel Webster.
But Henry Clay, more true to the principles of Washington’s Farewell Address, admonished Kossuth:
“Far better is it for ourselves, for Hungary, and for the cause of liberty that, adhering to our wise, pacific system, and avoiding the distant wars of Europe, we should keep our lamp burning brightly on the western shore as a light to all nations, than to hazard its utter extinction amid the ruins of fallen or falling republics in Europe.”
To find out more about Patrick Buchanan and read features by other Creators writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators website at www.creators.com.
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