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November 11, 2019 3:47 am

Reexamining ‘America First’

avatar by Ken Abramowitz


US President Donald Trump addresses the 74th session of the United Nations General Assembly at UN headquarters in New York City, Sept. 24, 2019. Photo: Reuters / Lucas Jackson.

While running for president, Donald Trump highlighted the policies he would pursue to increase manufacturing jobs and reduce illegal immigration, among other things — which he branded as putting “America First.” One of his central speeches regarding the issue can be found here.

Since being elected president, the metrics of his policy have been extremely positive, although there are no shortage of detractors.

Isolationists were particularly happy to hear these thoughts. However, President Trump should not be considered an isolationist. His “America First” notion is more nuanced. He doesn’t think the US should be the world’s policeman. Instead, he calls on allies to protect themselves, while offering US aid to achieve that goal.

President Trump’s “America First” concept was based on his claims that previous presidents sometimes acted in a globalist way, pursuing policies that sent Americans’ jobs overseas, crafting trade deals that disproportionately benefited other nations and their citizens, and fighting “endless wars” in Iraq, Syria, and Africa. Here is his most recent speech at the United Nations, regarding what he means by “America First.”

Because the definition of “America First” is subject to a variety of interpretations, a clearer definition is warranted:

  1. Economically, “America First” should imply policies to maximize GDP growth, such as lower taxes, fewer regulations, revisiting archaic protectionists laws, and crafting more equitable trade deals.
  2. Culturally, “America First” should foster a respect for English as the primary language of commerce, government, and human interaction in the US; respect for the Constitution; rejection of Sharia law, which rejects the US Constitution and customs; and advancing school choice.
  3. Physically, “America First” should lead to a strong military, which encourages diplomatic, economic, legal, and other negotiated means for conflict resolution — everything short of the need for violent conflict. However, President Trump has stated that the military should be used when absolutely necessary, but only if there is a plan to win.

Then, there is the complicated task of balancing short-term vs. long-term issues.

A glaring historical example was the “America First Committee” of 1940, popularized by famous aviator Charles Lindbergh, which sought to keep the US out of a land war in Europe, which actually encouraged (a) Hitler’s aggression, and (b) the Japanese to attack the US and other nations in the Far East. Three days after the Pearl Harbor attack on December 7, 1941, the America First Committee, with its 800,000 members, was dissolved in disrepute.

We certainly do not want to repeat that isolationist mistake.

Our current key challenge is to clearly balance both short- and long-term issues. A logical physical protection strategy should borrow from the Cold War. As noted in another article I wrote, we need two separate enemy/adversary containment strategies: one for the Reds (the communists and socialists in China and Russia), and one for the Greens (the Muslim supremacists of Iran, ISIS, the Muslim Brotherhood, and its financial sponsors: Turkey and Qatar, and Saudi Arabia, which supports Wahabi Islamist terrorists and cultural subversives worldwide).

A modernized “America First” policy demands that the US contain these two threats, preferably with non-physical strategies, for as long as it takes until our adversaries, “frenemies,” and enemies begin to honor basic human rights, and stop posing threats to peaceful people and nations.

Kenneth S. Abramowitz is the founder of SaveTheWest.

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