The mainstream media are not particularly fond of Donald Trump. His tweets, his sex life and his business background are catnip to the liberal left. But his record annoys them still more. Trump has taken some major decisions and, contrary to their expectations, he seems to have got most of them right. He has reduced the regulatory and tax burden on US business. He has taken a tough line on N Korea, to good effect. He reacted quickly and decisively in Syria. His tough approach on international trade has shocked the IMF and “progressive” economists, but still more shocking was his appearance at Davos. His message, conveyed both in a nicely rehearsed speech and by the astute trade diplomats in his delegation, was that the US would no longer turn a blind eye to restrictive practices on the part of its trade partners. Few people who know what goes on in China or India would deny that the US is right. By starting out so aggressively Trump may end up with some worthwhile concessions – the art of the deal, you could say. If only Cameron had approached his EU “renegotiation” with comparable skill and determination!
Trump has now decided to pull the US out of the nuclear treaty with Iran which Obama signed. The liberal left have been quick to criticize this decision, racked with grief and sorrow to see that the life and works of Saint Obama have been trashed so peremptorily. They see Trump as childish and superficial, lacking the diplomatic savoir-faire of the wonderful Hillary Clinton. Once again, they are wrong.
Trump’s line on Iran, unlike Hillary’s, is based on the big picture not position papers written by the policy wonks. He has concluded that the Iranians are untrustworthy, have every intention to develop and use nuclear weapons, and that the peace dividend naively offered them by Saint Obama is being spent on terrorism elsewhere in the Middle East. More generally, he has concluded that Israel is the one functioning democracy in the region and deserves support. Who can seriously deny that he is right? Only those who support the Palestinian cause so blindly that they can overlook its involvement with Iranian-backed terrorist groups – you know, the ones that are such good friends of Jeremy Corbyn.
Trump’s position on Iran is actually principled and moral, which must be galling for the sanctimonious left. The other signatories of the Iran deal favour appeasement, apparently with commercial self interest uppermost in mind. The EU (who share with Saint Obama the dubious distinction of a Nobel Peace Prize) talk peace and love but these are conveniently forgotten when a lucrative arms deal with Iran (or, for that matter, a cheap price per therm from Gazprom) is put into the balance. Our Foreign Secretary has disappointed us once again by parroting the European line, probably to appease Brussels and his pro-Arab civil servants. It’s reached a stage when the journalists are actually breaking ranks and starting to agree with Trump – Allister Heath of the Daily Telegraph is one of the first to risk professional ostracism by doing so.
Trump has faults and weaknesses, but he has one enormous strength that his critics have so far failed to grasp – leadership quality. He looks at the big picture, decides what is right for the US, and acts decisively. In his funny way, he communicates the reasoning behind his decisions rather well – Little Rocket Man and Animal Assad will certainly get a footnote in the history books. It is sad to see the UK lacking in similar drive and decisiveness. We know what Trump thinks – or at least what he thought when he saw Fox News this morning – but have no idea what Mrs May stands for or wants to achieve. Like another great leader, Lord Nelson, Trump senses that the bold course of action is often safest in the long run.