Tuesday, President Donald Trump delivered the best speech of his presidency before the United Nations in New York. Conservative Review’s Jordan Schachtel called the president’s remarks “a no-holds-barred address that shined a light on the threat posed by the enemies to the free world, such as Iran, North Korea, Syria, Venezuela, and the global ‘radical Islamic terror’ groups.”
The speech was Reaganesque in many respects. But as President Trump himself has often noted, politicians tend to be all talk and no action. Here are five ways the Trump administration can turn the strong words from the president’s speech into strong, America-first policy.
1) Defeating North Korea and “Rocket Man”
President Trump strongly condemned the “depraved regime” in North Korea and assailed its “reckless” nuclear program that “threatens the entire world with unthinkable loss of human life.”
Liberals are apoplectic that Trump dubbed North Korea dictator Kim Jong Un “Rocket Man” and warned, “The United States … if it is forced to defend itself or its allies … will have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea.” But President Trump is simply reiterating what President Obama once said about North Korea.
While both presidents expressed desire for a de-nuclearized North Korea, President Trump can go further than Obama’s mere rhetoric and achieve real results by adopting the Mark Levin plan to defeat North Korea and China.
Based on the Reagan principle of “peace through strength,” CR’s editor-in-chief advocates for implementing missile defense systems in South Korea and Japan; putting a permanent nuclear carrier fleet in the South China Sea to neutralize China’s artificial islands; rapidly restoring the U.S. military’s strength and capabilities (and being willing to endure a government shutdown to do so); and putting massive economic pressure on China, forcing it to confront its North Korean ally directly.
2) Ending the Iran Deal
One of the great moments of Trump’s speech before the General Assembly came when he blasted the Iran nuclear deal as “one of the worst and most one-sided transactions the United States has ever entered into.” Trump called it an “embarrassment” and assured, “I don’t think you’ve heard the last of it. Believe me.”
Hopefully this isn’t the last word on the Iran deal, because President Trump must cancel it immediately. If we recognize that Iran is a “murderous regime,” “corrupt dictatorship behind the false guise of a democracy,” world’s number-one state sponsor of terrorism, and continues to abuse and violate the nuclear deal … and that Iran is all the above while seeking nuclear weapons, then it is clear the deal cannot stand.
The issue is that several top members of President Trump’s Cabinet are supportive of Obama’s terrifying mistake, including Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, national security adviser H.R. McMaster, and Secretary of Defense James Mattis. If the president’s subordinates cannot support his position on Iran — indeed, if they actively push for an agenda contrary to the president’s wishes — then they should be dismissed.
3) Confronting and defeating Islamic terrorism
President Trump called on the United Nations to continue to wage the war against “radical Islamic terrorism” and its allies.
“We will stop radical Islamic terrorism because we cannot allow it to tear up our nation and, indeed, to tear up the entire world,” Trump said. “We must deny the terrorists' safe haven, transit, funding, and any form of support for their vile and sinister ideology. We must drive them out of our nation.”
“It is time to expose and hold responsible those countries who support and finance terror groups like al-Qaeda, Hezbollah, the Taliban, and others that slaughter innocent people,” Trump continued.
President Trump is absolutely right to explicitly call out radical Islamic terrorism by name. Now, to go about defeating this enemy, the Trump administration must end the decades of mistakes made by previous administrations. Here are some ideas how:
4) Being smart with Syrian refugees
Expressing gratefulness for the humanitarian assistance the U.N. has provided to areas in the Middle East liberated from ISIS control, President Trump specifically thanked “Jordan, Turkey, and Lebanon for their role in hosting refugees from the Syrian conflict.” The president went on to outline an approach to refugee resettlement that is designed to help the people in need — without compromising Americans’ safety (the principle duty of the American government).
“The United States is a compassionate nation and has spent billions and billions of dollars in helping to support this effort,” Trump said. “We seek an approach to refugee resettlement that is designed to help these horribly treated people and which enables their eventual return to their home countries to be part of the rebuilding process. For the cost of resettling one refugee in the United States, we can assist more than 10 in their home region.”
President Trump can pressure the U.N. to increase efforts to resettle refugees in areas close to their home countries by shutting down America’s broken refugee program. The president has the unilateral, statutory authority to set the cap and countries of origin of refugees. As CR’s Daniel Horowitz has called for, President Trump should set that cap as close to zero as possible. And the U.S. should recognize the state of Kurdistan (should the Kurds declare independence), which would go a long to help the persecuted and displaced Yazidis and Assyrians.
5) Blasting the evil, failed ideology of socialism
Arguably, the greatest fist-pumping moment from President Trump’s speech came when he channeled Ronald Reagan, stared the evils of socialism in the face, and attacked that broken and destructive ideology in front of the entire world.
“The problem in Venezuela is not that socialism has been poorly implemented, but that socialism has been faithfully implemented,” Trump said, pausing for applause and receiving an awkward silence from the avowed socialists populating the United Nations. The president called for the “full restoration of democracy and political freedoms in Venezuela” and then continued his attacks on socialism.
“From the Soviet Union to Cuba to Venezuela, wherever true socialism or communism has been adopted, it has delivered anguish and devastation and failure. Those who preach the tenets of these discredited ideologies only contribute to the continued suffering of the people who live under these cruel systems,” President Trump said.
“America stands with every person living under a brutal regime. Our respect for sovereignty is also a call for action. All people deserve a government that cares for their safety, their interests, and their well-being, including their prosperity.”
President Trump must continue to use the bully pulpit to attack socialism on the world stage. He must continue to champion freedom everywhere, and define the evil ideologies that are the enemies of freedom. But he must also recognize that unless the Venezuelan regime threatens the American people, an America-first foreign policy has no business intervening in that country to fix its problems.
When the president says “we are prepared to take further action if the government of Venezuela persists on its path to impose authoritarian rule on the Venezuelan people,” he should pause and consider whether such action will ultimately 1) be in the interests of the American people; and 2) help, rather than harm, the Venezuelan people. Additional sanctions on Venezuela run the risk of hurting the people already suffering under the brutal Maduro regime.
These are the policies President Trump can implement to put America first on the world stage and turn his words into action.
Chris Pandolfo is a staff writer and type-shouter for Conservative Review. He holds a B.A. in politics and economics from Hillsdale College. His interests are conservative political philosophy, the American founding, and progressive rock. Follow him on Twitter for doom-saying and great album recommendations @ChrisCPandolfo.
He is the Special Impeachment Counsel.