Tuesday, February 21, 2017

The First Thirty Days

US Representative to the UN, Nikky Haley
Chaos! That is probably the best way to describe how the Trump Presidency is going so far. But there are exceptions. One of which is his choice of who will represent the US at the UN. 

What a breath of fresh air. Our new UN representative is one of the great pluses of the Trump administration. Whatever one may feel about the President himself, no one can deny that Nikky Haley is one of the most clear headed and ethical people to ever hold that job. There is no more excusing the conduct of a world body that is overtly anti Israel. There is no more passivity about resolutions that are one sided against the Jewish state. No more.

Mrs. Haley spelled it out in great detail in the video below. It is almost like listening to the Prime Minister of Israel. He has said virtually the same things. Only this time it is America saying them.

It took courage to stand up to this world body and tell it like it really is in the face of what must have surely been a hostile audience. I’m sure that Mrs. Haley did not think she did anything special. She probably feels that any normal and ethical individual in her shoes would say what she did. But the fact is that as recently as 2 months ago, our last UN representative, Samantha Power did not do so. Instead at the behest of our then President and her boss, the Secretary of State, she allowed the UN to pass resolution 2334 condemning Israel for its settlement policies. A move that was roundly condemned by all those that seek truth and justice. Including a bipartisan vote (342 members of the House of Representatives) condemning that UN resolution.  

Mrs. Haley made it clear that the Trump administration would not stand by and let something like this ever happen again. Those that believe Mrs. Power was on the right track and supported the agenda of the previous administration with respect to Israel… all I can say is that the last 8 years of that agenda produced nothing positive for either the Palestinians or Israel.

This praise for the Trump administration’s new approach to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict should not be misconstrued as a change of heart on my part about the disastrous results of the last election. Trump has not changed into a diplomat that knows how to behave as the leader of the free world. He is still the narcissistic personality he was before. And he is still an embarrassment to the United States practically every time he opens his mouth and spews the garbage coming out of it. Garbage filled with distortions, falsehood, and ignorance. Some of it bordering on abrogating the first amendment guarantee of a free press.

But at the same it is a tribute to a man who seems to be doing what he had promised to do (or at least trying to do) during the campaign as quickly as possible. During the campaign he said that he will be the most pro Israel President in history (or words to that effect). If Nikky Haley is any indication of that, Trump is off to a good start. At least as far as dealing with UN bias against Israel is concerned.

That Trump is ignorant about his job is not news. Trump is clearly a man out of his depth in virtually all areas of government, especially when it comes to issues of national security and foreign policy. Nor is it news that he is such an embarrassment on the world stage.  And yet he was elected. And his core constituency still supports him. We must remember that his core constituency is not a bunch of minority fringe groups. They are nearly half of America that voted in the least election. They are mainstream Americans. And they still cheer him at rallies as they just did last weekend, despite his despicable behavior.

In one of my early posts on Trump during the campaign, I speculated about what may happen on the ‘outside’ chance that this manic personality might become the President. I felt that his ignorance may in fact be an asset. Deep down, he knows that he’s ignorant, despite his babbling about how much he says he knows. Strange as that may sound, if one thinks about it, the fact that Trump is so ignorant and knows it means that on matters of national security he will have no choice but to listen to his advisors.

National Security Adviser, General H.R. McMaster,
Although he has made some mistakes on who he has chosen to serve him, one of the more important ones has been corrected. In the case of National Security Adviser, the enigmatic and somewhat paranoid General Michael Flynn has been replaced by Lieutenant General Herbert Raymond McMaster. He is a highly regarded military tactician and strategic thinker. And he has a PhD in American history from the University of North Carolina.  He is a combat veteran who is not afraid to speak his mind, most famously having written ‘Dereliction of Duty’ a book criticizing President Lyndon Johnson’s prosecution of the Viet Nam War.

The left will continue to criticize the President about his choice of advisers… using his behavior to bolster their argument about how bad those choices are for our American values. The thing is that the left’s values are not America’s exclusive values. The right has values too. And their values are just as American as the left’s. Some of those values conflict. Whereas the left has a more humanist centered approach, the right has a more God centered approach. Each side believes its values are superior to the other’s. And in some cases - one side sees the other’s values as anti American!

So of course the left doesn’t like the mostly conservative choices Trump has made... characterizing them as un-American... and getting away with that because of Trump’s behavior.

It seems obvious that Trump will continue to embarrass himself and this country by his rhetoric and behavior. I was hoping that would end and that he would become more Presidential. That’s not happening. But since we’re going to have at least 4 years of Trump, we will just have to hold our collective noses and tolerate it. At he same time, I believe he will listen to the advice of the experts he has chosen and base policy on them.

Trump’s more or less conservative philosophy may not sit well with the left. They will hate him as much for ideological reasons as they do for the way he embarrasses this country. But in that respect he will be no different than past conservative Presidents. For example. Although Ronald Reagan was very Presidential and had none of Trumps personal flaws, the left hated him. However, despite protestations by the left, Reagan will probably go down as one of the most effective and popular Presidents of the 20th century.