TITLE: Ken’s Thought of the Week: Updating “America First” for the long term
By Ken Abramowitz, President & Founder, SaveTheWest
See the sources for this article and more research in the Additional Reading section.
While running for president, Donald Trump highlighted the policies he would pursue to increase manufacturing jobs, reduce illegal immigration, which he branded as putting “America First.” Here is one of his central speeches regarding the issue (transcript here):
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 U.S. should be the world’s policeman. Instead, he calls on allies to protect themselves, while offering U.S. 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, crafted 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 U.S.; Respect for the Constitution; Rejection of Sharia law, which rejects the U.S. 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.
Short-term vs. long-term
Then, there is the complicated task of balancing off 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 U.S. out of a land war in Europe, which actually encouraged (a) Hitler’s aggression, and (b) the Japanese to attack U.S. 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 last week’s Thought Of The Week, “Endless war” is inevitable, manageable, and winnable, 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 U.S. 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.