With many criticising Republican hopeful Donald Trump, is it time to look at his positive attributes?
By Shane Flanagan
I like Donald Trump, a simple unequivocal statement that tends to cause quite a consternation in the (supposedly) liberal bastion of Dublin. You see Irish people, especially Dubliners like to think of themselves as being Democrats in the American sense. More often than not, this seems to be quite a delusive idea as our own political landscape testifies to our innate conservatism. Yet Trump is the worst thing an American politician can be in our liberal eyes. A proper Republican.
Trump is essentially a throwback to the Reagan era of republicanism, quite liberal on social issues but vastly conservative in terms of defense and economics. I think this would be a positive change for both America and the world. Donald Trump intends to take the war to ISIS rather than relying on the ineffective but politically safer method of aerial strikes. I don’t believe Donald Trump to be a war monger as some have wrongly claimed, in fact he was against America’s ill fated excursion into Iraq and foresaw the repercussions of such a venture. Rather, he is a realist, he sees that the United States is indeed already in a war, and wars need to be fought. It is morally reprehensible to cower from a threat that you have helped create. And be in no doubt, a state controlled by ISIS would be a hotbed of terrorism and a threat to not just the civilised world but indeed the notion of a civilised world.
I commend Donald Trump for having the honesty to admit that defeating these radicals will need having American troops in ground combat. Quite simply, I think this a needful reality, any sane person is rightfully against war, but this is only in the sense that war is an evil as an idea in of itself. The nature of the world is that wars have to be fought when they are morally legitimate. The cause against the fanaticism of ISIS is a morally just one. People may disagree with Trump’s methods of fighting this war and see it as almost imperialistic in its planning in terms of taking the oil from Islamic State control and I wouldn’t disagree with them either, but I would also add that to the many ills of imperialism there are also benefits. The architectural and literary treasures from Iraq that were preserved and recovered were largely done so through British imperialism. These same treasures are now being destroyed and lost to the world by ISIS forces.
I think Trump was right to contend that the Iraqi government is rife with corruption, such puppet governments established by the West often are. The Iraqi state is not fit to defend itself from the coming force of fanaticism, for the future of Iraq and its innocent citizens action, intelligent and courageous, is needed. I have no reason to believe as President, Mr Trump will not do what is needed on this front. However, criticism of Trump comes from other areas rather than an informed understanding of his proposed foreign policy. Rather it is in the comments he has made about illegal immigrants and to a lesser extent women that have raised people’s ire.
Firstly I don’t believe that Donald Trump is sexist and see the Megyn Kelly squabble as merely a sideshow that so often accompanies American politics. Trump also spoke intelligently on the issue of defunding planned parenthood and his comments certainly had women’s health in mind. Secondly, I don’t believe Donald Trump to be a racist, his comments were sensationalist sure, but most of his comments are. In his personal and business life he has not shown himself to be discriminatory, and I suspect that there may be some truth to what he said about the Mexican government. Governments are rarely saintly, ours certainly isn’t, neither is the American, nor I suspect the Mexican government. However, he should not have said what he did.
Yet, in being a weakness Trump’s scattergun approach is also a virtue. Quite simply Donald Trump is honest, of course we must always distinguish that honest intention and factual truth are two different things. But Trump is not restrained by political correctness and I for one am glad that he is not, we have had enough of politicised language that is tailor made to not offend anyone but in reality is essentially doublespeak.
The idea that was trotted out in the Dublin media recently too that that political correctness is simply good manners is entirely laughable.
I don’t know if Trump can win the nomination and win the presidency, although I do suspect that a Republican will win because the Democrats are seemingly doing their best to lose. But I think he would win against Hilary Clinton or the socialist but weak seeming Bernie Sanders. The President is put on the highest pedestal and everyone is judgmental on every detail of the prospective candidates lifestyle as well as their political and social views. Yet I don’t believe the president should be a saint, the commander in chief can’t be all things to all people in reality, the best he or she can hope to be is to be someone valid and good for the majority of citizens. I believe Donald Trump can be that something. Yes there are things to dislike about this man, his gaffes, his views on climate change, although no Republican openly admits to believing global warming either.
But Trump could be a strong leader, and perhaps make the world a better place through strength and honest intentioned conservatism. Ironically the President that Trump reminds me of is not Reagan, but Jimmy Carter. He too was a fore-right outsider who rode a wave of anti-establishment populism. If Trump is to succeed in the White House then he should note this similarity and try to establish a working relationship with a fractured Congress instead of failing where Carter did. But for now, quite simply, I like Donald Trump.