Features Australia

The case for Trump

Only Donald Trump can pull off a US post-Covid recovery

10 October 2020

9:00 AM

10 October 2020

9:00 AM

The world wants peace and prosperity from an American president. President Trump has overperformed on both fronts. He deserves re-election.

Prior to his election in 1980, Ronald Reagan was portrayed as an anti-communist nut hell-bent on war with the Soviets.  In Reagan’s first term massive anti-nuclear demonstrations erupted across the world and classrooms and popular culture were bombarded with fear-mongering over nuclear war. In Australia, the Nuclear Disarmament Party won seven per cent of the Senate vote in 1984. Yes, Reagan did wisely up the ante with the Evil Empire but today Reagan is a widely revered figure remembered for charming a Soviet leader and winning the Cold War without firing a shot.

Critics of Trump similarly prophesied catastrophe on the world stage. Any objective observer can only conclude they were as wrong about Trump as they were about Reagan.

Before his inauguration Trump reached out to South Korea, Japan and even Taiwan. The great Asian democracies were back as VIPs while things cooled overnight with China. In the highly polarised West today, the one thing we seem to agree on is that Trump was right to take the lead in hitting the brakes on engagement with China.

Every now and again in recent decades, world headlines have warned of nuclear tension on the Korean Peninsula. The orthodoxy was to not elevate an evil dictator with a presidential summit and so things just deteriorated. In August 2017 there was yet another round of brinkmanship and, at peak-crisis, Trump sent a back-channel message to Pyongyang and before long Trump and Kim Jong-un met in Singapore.

Trump offered Kim a golden future in exchange for de-nuking and some liberalisation. Neither has happened and the suffering of North Korean people is ongoing and yes, the whole thing is odd –but nuclear tests and missiles over Japan have ceased and there’s a smidgen of light at the end of that tunnel.

The destination of any new leader’s first overseas visit is instructive. Trump went to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Trump’s critics claimed the Islamic world would not deal with him, but the Saudi King invited 57 Islamic heads of state to hear him. They respectfully did. While there, Trump signed a massive $110 billion defence deal with the Saudis. America’s Middle East policy had been incoherent but Trump took a side – the Sunni side.

When writer Jamal Khashoggi was murdered by Saudi thugs, Trump took political heat for not cutting ties but he was playing the long game. The Middle East had gone to hell under the two previous administrations but along comes the guy who wrote the book on deal-making in New York with a novel approach of resolving Middle East problems by means other than war. Weirdly, it’s working.

In 2019 Iran blew up an American drone the size of a jumbo. It was unprovoked aggression. The American military scrambled to retaliate. A day or two later an offensive was ready to strike Iranian assets but with hours to go Trump asked for a casualty estimate. ‘Mr President, we estimate 150 Iranians will die.’ Trump called off the strike. The hawks were furious and it’s possible they were right on that occasion, but we were told before his election Trump was going to start World War III. He’s a peacenik.

It appeared comical when Trump appointed his zero foreign policy credentialled son-in-law to bring peace to the Middle East. But results are results and Jared Kushner has won the foreign policy gold medal – twice. Getting an Israeli peace deal with two Arab states is monumental but these two are more significant because the UAE and Bahrain are vassal states of Saudi Arabia. These deals happened because the Saudis wanted them.  If Trump gets a second term we can be hopeful Saudi Arabia will recognise Israel in exchange for a Palestinian state.

We were told Trump would rip up  Nato but Nato’s still there except the Europeans are now paying a fairer share for their defence. While the Democrats thought it fine to strain relations with the world’s second-largest nuclear-armed state, Trump had the sanity to have detente with Russia.

President Obama was elected during the depth of the sub-prime crisis. One of his first acts was an enormous ‘stimulus’ package and yes if you throw enough money around that will get you out of recession in the immediate term – but economies are better off taking the short sharp hit and recovering with strength, which they cannot do with crippling debt. Obama’s post-GFC economy was one of stagnation.

Trump cut taxes boldly. Our timid federal government agonised over an unnoticeable two per cent company tax cut but early in his administration, Trump cut company tax from a whopping 35 per cent to 21 per cent. He slashed other taxes and regulation and America boomed. Prior to Covid, employment rates for women, Latinos and African Americans were at all-time highs. Unemployment was at a 50-year low. Median wages grew a staggering $7,000 during Trump’s presidency.

In the early days of Covid, Trump invited senators to a Covid briefing but, nah, the Democrats didn’t bother showing up because… impeachment! Trump led the world in banning flights from China and then Europe. He was attacked on both occasions.

The US has the 9th-highest Covid fatality rate in the world – but in the eight nations with a worse impact there isn’t the partisan nonsense that it’s the national leader’s fault. Do people blame Scott Morrison for the Covid difficulties in Victoria? No – and neither should Trump get the blame for high Covid fatality rates overwhelmingly in Democrat states. Trump’s record of economic success pre-Covid tells us he’s best placed to manage the post-Covid recovery.

Yes, there’s been political chaos since Trump was elected – and how could there not be? The forces marshalled against Trump are: Silicon Valley, Wall Street, Hollywood, the intelligence agencies, the billionaire class, much of the military top brass, 90 per cent of the media, Democrats and the Republican old guard. If Trump can defeat that blob again he has all the ingredients of a legend in the tradition of David and Goliath.  To the 90,000 US citizens who live Down Under please vote for peace and prosperity. Vote 1 Trump.

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