President’s Trump’s magnificent speech at the UN yesterday will have had special resonance for anyone supporting the cause of Brexit. Brexit is not primarily about the UK leaving the European Union. It is rather about the reassertion of British sovereignty. It is only because of the EU’s childishness that British sovereignty must entail a severing of ties with the EU. British patriots want their country back. They are open to all manner of dealings with the EU — trade, friendship, travel — but as a free and unencumbered partner, not as a vassal.
Similarly, Donald Trump yesterday asserted American sovereignty, and he did so frankly, like a man talking to men.
The problem was, he was talking to diplomats at the UN and their enablers in the media and the commentariat. Result: tears and tantrums. Let the reaction of Nicholas Burns — a Kennedy-School, Council-on-Foreign-Relations, Chatham-House squish — speak for the nursery. ‘The tone of this speech won’t be effective outside Trump’s base at home — boastful, bitter and resentful of countries that “take advantage of us.” He is not leading the world, but campaigning against it.’
Want to bet, Nick?
The President’s tort was telling the truth about American wealth and American power and then compounding that sin by dispensing with the fiction that the United States is really no different from an impoverished Third World backwater. The President lavished praise upon the UN as an institution with ‘unlimited potential.’ But he also was refreshingly frank about his very non-UN vision of national sovereignty. ‘America,’ he said, ‘will always choose independence and cooperation over global governance, control, and domination.’
Three cheers for that.
But the fact is that the United Nations is dedicated to the defeat, the circumscription of national sovereignty in everything but name. Emmanuel Macron perfectly epitomised the globalist approach in his remarks, which were an anorectically veiled rebuke of President Trump. ‘No trade deals for those outside the Paris climate agreement,’ he whined, but we’ll see about that Manny.
Macron, like many European world leaders, favours the idea of globalism, i.e., the Imagine version of international relations: ‘Imagine there’s no countries,’ sang John Lennon, ‘It isn’t hard to do/ Nothing to kill or die for/ And no religion too.’ I’ve always detested that song, but I have to admit that it does capture the attitude of the globalists who would like nothing better than to turn their fates over to international organisations like the EU or the UN — just so long, of course, that they retain their key positions in the nomenklatura.
Many news reports of the President’s speech dilated on the brief wave of laughter from nursery that greeted his observation that ‘In less than two years, my administration has accomplished more than almost any administration in the history of our country.’ More telling, I think, was the silence that greeted his patient recitation of the details of that accomplishment, beginning with the $10 trillion added to the US economy and pointedly ending with the $716 billion defense budget that is coming on line next year. ‘Our military will soon be more powerful than it has ever been before.’
The globalist vision represented by the United Nations and spokesmen like Emmanuel Macron owes much to the ‘perpetual peace’ vision of that other Immanuel, Immanuel Kant. Kant’s essay of that title is a founding document of the globalist mentality, with its principle of ‘universal hospitality,’ curbs on wealth, standing armies, and attenuation of national sovereignty. Globalists from Woodrow Wilson on down are secret (or not-so-secret) Kantians.
Donald Trump is not. ‘We believe,’ he said, ‘that when nations respect the rights of their neighbours, and defend the interests of their people, they can better work together to secure the blessings of safety, prosperity, and peace.’ Bingo. These are wise words, adult words. The simpering masses milling about the corridors of the United Nations are pained by such talk, but thoughtful souls in attendance know deep down that the President is right. And they know, too, that he was in earnest when he said that ‘America will always choose independence and cooperation over global governance, control, and domination.’ Barack Obama thought otherwise, which is why they praised him. They held him in contempt, of course, the way strong men hold weaklings in contempt, but they liked him as President of the United States because they could manipulate him. Those days are over. Welcome to the real world.