By John J. Metzler
In a powerful and optimistic address to the nation, President Donald Trump made his case for the road forward in his new presidency. Labeled a “Reset” by some and “reaching for higher ground” by others, the speech before a joint session of the U.S. Congress made a renewed pitch for national unity amid populist tones echoing the “renewal of the American spirit.”
Naturally the highly anticipated address to Congress contained a broad brush view of America’s domestic agenda: economic revival, jobs, health care, trade, terrorism, immigration and education. Significantly, he underscored the positive economic upturn which has been characterized by soaring consumer confidence and business commitment to keep jobs from leaving the USA.
Concerning trade, President Trump shied away from much of the campaign’s high-octane rhetoric and clearly stated, “I believe strongly in free trade but it also has to be fair trade. It’s been a long time since we had fair trade.” He added, “We must create a level playing field for American companies and workers.” This remains vital.
Donald Trump then cut through the fog of foreign policy, admittedly clearing many of his campaign’s often misquoted rhetoric. He began his foreign policy reset: “What we are witnessing today is the Renewal of the American Spirit; Our allies will find that America is once again ready to lead. All the nations of the world, friend or foe, will find America is soaring, America is proud, and America is free.” First, he cited his signature war on Islamic State terrorism to “demolish and destroy ISIS, a network of lawless savages that have slaughtered Muslims and Christians, and men women and children of all faiths and beliefs. We will work with our allies, including our friends and allies in the Muslim world, to extinguish this vile enemy from our planet.” American regional Arab allies include Egypt, Jordan, and the Gulf States.
He also stressed, “I have imposed new sanctions on entities and individuals who support Iran’s ballistic missile program, and reaffirmed our unbreakable alliance with the State of Israel.”
Responding to growing global threats, President Trump is calling for “one of the largest increases in national defense spending in American history.” Indeed this needed buildup will mirror Ronald Reagan’s winning global defense strategy which rebuilt American power and prestige. For example, the U.S. navy, with its dramatically expanded global mission, now deploys half the ships as during the Reagan era.