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Trump’s ‘negotiating tactics’ could make the G7 a G6

Trump is doing a tremendous job of isolating America, and if that’s his goal, you do it, Trump!

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Trump’s intentions relative to the agenda of the G7 meeting in Quebec were openly not much different from the tone that he has been playing on trade and multilateralism for the past few months. Prior to the meeting, Trump continued with his hardball rhetoric, particularly regarding Canada, in terms of the North America Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), with Trump threatening to withdraw from the agreement if he doesn’t reach a better deal at the G7 summit.

Trump has also set himself at odds with every other member of the G7 through his tariffs regime, such as those tariffs on aluminum and steel that went into effect for Canada, Mexico, and the EU at the beginning of June, the threat of sanctions for European G7 members who choose to continue doing business with Iran, and the threat of coming under sanctions aimed at Russia for buying Russian oil and gas, also aimed at some of the G7’s European members.

So, for Trump, the board was already set, and his strategy was going to continue after this fashion even after the summit was over. For America, the summit had one goal: better deals for America, or no deals at all. For everyone else, this means that trade tensions are only set to continue this course of escalation. Oh, and that America is not going to participate in any measures to address climate change.

It seems to be a common perception among conservatives that the nuclear fallout from Trump’s economic and diplomatic policies are merely a ‘negotiating tactic’ with the aim of really forcing the other party to capitulate to Trump’s demands, as in some kind of 4-D chess strategy, where he will ensure that he will ‘win’. Of course, for Trump, to ‘win’ means that everyone else must ‘lose’.

But this is not diplomacy, it’s like trying to negotiate with the mafia, where Trump offers a deal that other countries ‘can’t refuse’. But what Trump doesn’t realize is that America’s position in all of this is a monetary one, wherein America’s purchase of other nation’s goods is part of how America ensures its ability to stay on top of the world order, by using the dollar and American financial systems to keep everyone else in line. But by isolating America from everyone else, he reduces the amount of the dollars that he is exporting, thereby reducing America’s control over the world market. He’s not checkmating everyone else, he’s backing himself into a corner.

Trade

Trump walked into the meeting late as the discussion centered around gender equality, an issue that seems to become ever more discombobulated, which has become a major talking point in popular cultural circles and the major media the world over. As the topic turned to trade, arguably the most important topic to be covered by the summit, Trump talked about free and mutually beneficial trade, that is, of course, as long as America benefits the most.

That’s why Trump defended his tariffs regime, and threatened those nations to whom they were directed relative to any retaliations, slamming them as ‘a big mistake’, hence, in Trump’s mind, America gets to issue tariffs out to the rest of the world to even out a ‘trade deficit’ and that everyone else must keep calm and take it, or else Trump will escalate the matter, perceiving that the deficit can’t be shored up unless America can achieve a better equilibrium through tariffs and wherein the tariffed nations forgo any response. For Trump, it’s a way of leveling the playing field, as reported by the Guardian:

In a tense session on trade on Friday, European and Canadian leaders had sought to defuse the gathering conflict, rolling out statistics on how many US jobs depended on their countries’ trade and investment and arguing that the US had more barriers to trade than its partners.

The discussion had no effect on Trump, who stuck to the claims he made throughout his election campaign: that the US was being ripped off.

“The European Union is brutal to the United States,” he railed. “And they understand that. They know it. When I’m telling them, they’re smiling at me. You know, it’s like the gig is up.”

Canada too, the president said, “can’t believe it got away” with its trade deal with the US.

“We’re like the piggy bank that everybody’s robbing. And that ends,” Trump said.

The president even threatened to stop doing business with US partners if they did not change their policies.

“And it’s going to stop,” Trump said. “Or we’ll stop trading with them. And that’s a very profitable answer, if we have to do it.”

But one thing that we have noticed about Trump’s rhetoric and actions as of late, that he tends to make good on his threats. While often times likes to leave the door open to another possible outcome, there nearly always is a pretext to following through on his threats. We saw this with the threat to withdraw from the Iran deal, which he made good on, with his threats to launch a military offensive in Syria, which he went forward to conduct, however controlled, and his threats relative to the tariffs that he went forward to impose, and with his initial threat to withdraw from the North Korea peace talks, which are still under threat, as he continues to warn that he will walk away from that summit, too, if he doesn’t think he’s gonna ‘win’.

Based on this track record, while he tends to follow through on these threats, they’re not always of an all encompassing outcome, they are carried out in order to save his tough guy face, but do not always sink in the teeth necessary to do much damage in every case. But with the Iran deal, he’s still trying to nuke that by threatening sanctions on the other signatories for preserving the conditions necessary to preserve the agreement. Based on his present actions and rhetoric, he’s not measuring his tariffs regime all that much, as he continues to dole out ever more of them, and follow through on implementing them.

Diplomacy

But the manner in which Trump treated the summit and its agenda is what is most revealing. As we gather from repeated statements from Trump’s own mouth, he isn’t much into multilateralism, and prefers bilateral agreements. Before the summit, he was clear that he thinks it’s better that an agreement is not made, that is, a multilateral agreement with an indefinite lifespan.

This is apparently because he wants to preserve the ability to make, break, and revise agreements whenever it suits him, hence, the desire to leave such doors open for America, rather than locking it into some agreement with multiple other nations, meaning international obligations without an expiration date, or least one that can readily be met.

In this way, Trump is running America into the iceberg of isolationism, believing that the USS America is truly unsinkable. His trade policies and approach to multilateral agreements have been wrecking relations with his allies at ramming speed.

That’s why we see the Canadian Prime Minister closing out the meeting with a press conference announcing that he was regretfully moving forward with his retaliatory trade tariffs against the US, adding that Trump’s pretext of issuing his trade tariffs against Canada and other trade partners on the basis of ‘national security’ were ‘insulting’.

Due to Trudeau’s remarks, Trump instructed his representatives who remained behind at the summit for the purpose of ascribing Trump’s endorsement of the comminuque that would be issued by the summit not to do so, meaning that America was not going to sign onto the agreement because Trudeau said something mean and because of some tariffs that Canada charges the US.

Apparently, coming to terms with the important items that the summit was to cover is not quite as important as everyone being nice to Trump by not saying any mean words, or that one trade scenario that has existed for some time is considerably more important than the internationally significant matters that were on the table for resolution by the summit’s statement. Deutsche Welle reports:

Leaders of the G7 appeared to have agreed on a final communique at the end of a contentious two-day summit in Canada on Saturday, before US President Donald Trump lashed out at Canada and created further uncertainty over trade.

The summit between the United States, Germany, France, Japan, Canada, Britain and Italy was one of the most fractious ever, and the agreement on a final communique could not paper over differences on trade, the environment and Iran nuclear deal.

Despite Trump’s recent decision to slap aluminum and steel tariffs on America’s allies, the statement at the conclusion of the summit called for the “free, fair, and mutually beneficial trade,” fighting protectionism and “the crucial role of a rules-based international trading system.”

Yet a deep rift was highlighted as host Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau ended the summit by saying he would move forward with retaliatory tariffs against the United States starting on July 1. He called US tariffs on its ally under the pretext of national security “kind of insulting” and said Canada would not be “pushed around.”

“What we did this weekend was come together, roll up our sleeves and figure out a consensus language that we could all agree to,” Trudeau said at a press conference, recognizing that there were major differences with Trump. “If the expectation was that a weekend in beautiful Charlevoix surrounded by lovely people was going to transform the president’s outlook on trade and the world, then we didn’t quite perhaps meet that bar.”

Only hours later Trump took to Twitter to assault the Canadian prime minister’s “false statements” and instructed US representatives to renege on the US endorsement of the joint communique. He also said he would be looking to impose tariffs on car imports into the United States.

By these tweets, Trump expressed his pretext for refusing to endorse the internationally agreed upon statement, by his allies and trade partners, and which Trump had initially approved before his departure. He also tells us that Trudeau’s mean comments were uttered behind his back, after he departed the summit in order to make his way to Singapore, where he is set to meet with the North Korean leader, Kim Jong Un, on the long awaited peace talks that he is to help facilitate.

But apparently, Trudeau’s comments were nothing new, nor were the sentiments that they conveyed something that Trump was ignorant of, thus, the concept that these ‘dishonest’ and ‘false’ statements were of such a nature could be perceived as absurd, and that’s apparently the reason why Trudeau’s office responded “We are focused on everything we accomplished here at the G7 summit. The Prime Minister said nothing he hasn’t said before — both in public, and in private conversations with the President.” Trudeau’s comments, we can therefore gather, were the reason why he refused to endorse the communique, as France24 tells us


…When Trump left Quebec it was thought that a compromise had been reached, despite the tension and determination of European leaders President Emmanuel Macron of France and Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany to push back on Trump’s assault on the world trade system.

The joint statement was published online moments before Trump tweeted. Copies that begin “We, the Leaders of the G7…” were distributed in the press room stamped “Approved.”

On board Air Force One an AFP reporter was first told that Trump had indeed approved the agreement, only to be told later of the tweets. A senior administration official told the reporter that Trump had been angered by Trudeau’s comments.

The outburst suggested that any deal had collapsed and his more or less explicit threat to impose sanctions on imports of cars will outrage his ostensible allies — in particular Germany and Canada who produce many for the large US market.

In retrospect, the consensus on ground had appeared shaky from the outset, and even as Trump flew out it was clear that the summit had failed to heal the rift on trade.

Trump claimed America had been obliged to levy the metals tariffs as it has been exploited as the world’s “piggy bank” under existing arrangements, but his counterparts were equally determined to protect “rules-based” international trade.

As Trump’s policies have been putting America’s relations with the rest of the Western world into a bit of a fray, the situation was not alleviated by Trump’s participation in the summit, given that he later withdrew his approval of the international statement, but is only perpetuated by it. The outcome, however, was not unanticipated, as French President Emmanuel Macron mentioned via Twitter


Macron points out the obvious, but also gives a warning, that if America insists on isolating itself, then everyone else will move forward without it. In that sense, rather than making America ‘great’ or ‘first’ Trump is putting America last on the international pecking order. By refusing to participate in the communique issued by the other members of the G7, Trump is reducing the level of influence that America wields, a generalized phenomenon which is by this action further deteriorating it among America’s own allies and trade partners. America won’t cooperate on trade, non proliferation agreements, climate accords, or any other sort of agreement between America and the rest of the West, and its relations with the rest of the world aren’t getting any better either. Trump is doing a tremendous job of isolating America, and if that’s his goal, you do it, Trump! Maybe then the rest of the world will pay attention to your activities in the Middle East, and elsewhere, and their real world consequences.

 

 

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May Forces Brexit Betrayal to its Crisis Point

We’re 29 months later and the U.K. is no closer to being out of the EU than the day of the vote. 

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Authored by Tom Luongo:


The only words that were left out of Theresa May’s announcement of achieving Cabinet approval over her Brexit deal were Mission Accomplished.

Theresa May was put in charge of the U.K. to betray Brexit from the beginning.  She always represented the interests of the European Union and those in British Parliament that backed remaining in the EU.

No one in British ‘high society’ wanted Brexit to pass.   No. One.

No one in Europe’s power elite wanted Brexit to pass.  No. One.

No one in the U.S.’s power elite wanted Brexit to pass.  No. One.

When it did pass The Davos Crowd began the process of sabotaging it.  The fear mongering has done nothing but intensify.  And May has done nothing but waffle back and forth, walking the political tight rope to remain in power while trying to sell EU slavery to the both sides in British Parliament.

We’re 29 months later and the U.K. is no closer to being out of the EU than the day of the vote.  Why?

Because Theresa May’s 585 page ‘deal’ is the worst of all possible outcomes.  If it passes it will leave the EU with near full control over British trade and tax policy while the British people and government have no say or vote in the matter.

It’s punishment for the people getting uppity about their future and wanting something different than what had been planned for them.

Mr. Juncker and his replacement will never have to suffer another one of Nigel Farage’s vicious farragoes detailing their venality ever again.  YouTube will get a whole lot less interesting.

It’s almost like this whole charade was designed this way.

Because it was.

May has tried to run out the clock and scare everyone into accepting a deal that is worse than the situation pre-Brexit because somehow a terrible deal is better than no deal.  But, that’s the opposite of the truth.

And she knows it.  She’s always known it but she’s gone into these negotiations like the fragile wisp of a thing she truly is.

There’s a reason I call her “The Gypsum Lady.” She’s simply the opposite of Margaret Thatcher who always knew what the EU was about and fought to her last political breath to avoid the trap the U.K. is now caught in.

The U.K. has had all of the leverage in Brexit talks but May has gone out of her way to not use any of it while the feckless and evil vampires in Europe purposefully complicate issues which are the height of irrelevancy.

She has caved on every issue to the point of further eroding what’s left of British sovereignty.  This deal leaves the U.K. at the mercy of Latvia or Greece in negotiating any trade agreement with Canada.  Because for a deal between member states to be approved, all members have to approve of it.

So, yeah, great job Mrs. May.  Mission Accomplished.  They are popping champagne corks in Brussels now.

But, this is a Brexit people can be proud of.

Orwell would be proud of Theresa May for this one.

You people are leaving.  Let the EU worry about controlling their borders.  And if Ireland doesn’t like the diktats coming from Brussels than they can decide for themselves if staying in the EU is worth the trouble.

The entire Irish border issue is simply not May’s problem to solve.  Neither is the customs union or any of the other stuff.  These are the EU’s problems.   They are the ones who don’t want the Brits to leave.

Let them figure out how they are going to trade with the U.K.  It is so obvious that this entire Brexit ‘negotiation’ is about protecting the European project as a proxy for the right of German automakers to export their cars at advantageous exchange rates to the U.K. at everyone’s expense.

Same as it was in the days of The Iron Lady.

If all of this wasn’t so predictable it would be comical.

Because the only people more useless than Theresa May are the Tories who care only about keeping their current level of the perks of office.

The biggest takeaway from this Brexit fiasco is that even more people will check out of the political system. They will see it even more clearly for what it is, an irredeemable miasma of pelf and privilege that has zero interest in protecting the rights of its citizens or the value of their labor.

It doesn’t matter if it’s voter fraud in the U.S. or a drawn out betrayal of a binding referendum. There comes a point where those not at the political fringes look behind the veil and realize changing the nameplate above the door doesn’t change the policy.

And once they realize that confidence fails and systems collapse.

Brexit was the last gasp of a dying empire to assert its national relevancy.  Even if this deal is rejected by parliament the process has sown deep divisions which will lead to the next trap and the next and the next and the next.

By then Theresa May will be a distant memory, being properly rewarded by her masters for a job very well done.


Please support the production of independent and alternative political and financial commentary by joining my Patreon and subscribing to the Gold Goats ‘n Guns Investment Newsletter for just $12/month.

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The DOJ Is Preparing To Indict Julian Assange

Ecuador’s relationship with Assange has deteriorated considerably with the election of President Lenin Moreno.

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Via Zerohedge…


The US Justice Department is preparing to indict WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange which, after sensitive international negotiations, would likely trigger his extradition to the United States to stand trial, according to the Wall Street Journalciting people in Washington familiar with the matter.

Over the past year, U.S. prosecutors have discussed several types of charges they could potentially bring against Mr. Assange, the people said. Mr. Assange has lived in the Ecuadorean embassy in London since receiving political asylum from the South American country in 2012.

The people familiar with the case wouldn’t describe whether discussions were under way with the U.K. or Ecuador about Mr. Assange, but said they were encouraged by recent developments.

The exact charges Justice Department might pursue remain unclear, but they may involve the Espionage Act, which criminalizes the disclosure of national defense-related information. –WSJ

In short, the DOJ doesn’t appear to have a clear charge against Assange yet. Then there’s the optics of dragging Assange out of Ecuador’s London Embassy and into the United States, then prosecuting him, and if successful – jailing him.

Prosecuting someone for publishing truthful information would set a terrible and dangerous precedent,” said Assange lawyer Barry Pollack – who says he hasn’t heard anything about a US prosecution.

“We have heard nothing from authorities suggesting that a criminal case against Mr. Assange is imminent,” he added.

Moreover, assuming that even if the DOJ could mount a case, they would be required to prove that Russia was the source of a trove of emails damaging to Hillary Clinton that WikiLeaks released in the last few months of the 2016 election.

An indictment from special counsel Robert Mueller that portrayed WikiLeaks as a tool of Russian intelligence for releasing thousands of hacked Democratic emails during the 2016 presidential campaign has made it more difficult for Mr. Assange to mount a defense as a journalist. Public opinion of Mr. Assange in the U.S. has dropped since the campaign.

Prosecutors have considered publicly indicting Mr. Assange to try to trigger his removal from the embassy, the people said, because a detailed explanation of the evidence against Mr. Assange could give Ecuadorean authorities a reason to turn him over. –WSJ

It’s no secret that Assange and Hillary Clinton aren’t exactly exchanging Christmas cards, however would WikiLeaks’ release of damaging information that was hacked (or copied locally on a thumb drive by a well-meaning American), be illegal for Assange as a publisher?

Despite scant clues as to how the DOJ will prosecute Assange aside from rumors that it has to do with the Espionage Act, the US Government is cooking on something. John Demers – head of the DOJ’s national security division, said last week regarding an Assange case: “On that, I’ll just say, we’ll see.”

The U.S. hasn’t publicly commented on whether it has made, or plans to make, any extradition request. Any extradition request from the U.S. would likely go to British authorities, who have an outstanding arrest warrant for Mr. Assange related to a Swedish sexual assault case. Sweden has since dropped the probe, but the arrest warrant stands.

Any extradition and prosecution would involve multiple sensitive negotiations within the U.S. government and with other countries. –WSJ

Beginning in 2010, the Department of Justice beginning under the Obama administration has drawn a distinction between WikiLeaks and other news organizations – with former Attorney General Eric Holder insisting that Assange’s organization does not deserve the same first amendment protections during the Chelsea Manning case in which the former Army intelligence analyst was found guilty at a court-martial of leaking thousands of classified Afghan War Reports.

US officials have given mixed messages over Assange, with President Trump having said during the 2016 election “I love WikiLeaks,” only to have his former CIA Director, Mike Pompeo label WikiLeaks akin to a foreign “hostile intelligence service” and a US adversary. Former Attorney General Jeff Sessions has said that Assange’s arrest is a “priority.”

Ecuador’s relationship with Assange, meanwhile, has deteriorated considerably with the election of President Lenin Moreno – who called the WikiLeaks founder a “stone in our shoe,” adding that Assange’s stay at the London embassy is unsustainable.

Ecuador has been looking to improve relations with the U.S., hosting Vice President Mike Pence in 2018 amid interest in increasing trade.

Ecuador’s Foreign Relations Ministry declined to comment. This month, Foreign Relations Minister José Valencia told a radio station the government hadn’t received an extradition request for Mr. Assange.

Mr. Assange has clashed with his Ecuadorean hosts in over internet access, visitors, his cat and other issues. Last month, he sued Ecuador over the conditions of his confinement. At a hearing last month, at which a judge rejected Mr. Assange’s claims, Mr. Assange said he expected to be forced out of the embassy soon.  –WSJ

Assange and Ecuador seem to have worked things out for the time being; with his months-long communication blackout mostly lifted (with strict rules against Assange participating in political activities that would affect Ecuador’s international relations). Assange is now allowed Wi-Fi, but has to foot the bill for his own phone calls and other communication.

In October, a judge threw out a lawsuit Assange filed against Ecuador from implementing the stricter rules,.

“Ecuador hasn’t violated the rights of anyone,” Attorney General Íñigo Salvador said after the court ruling. “It has provided asylum to Mr. Assange, and he should comply with the rules to live harmoniously inside Ecuador’s public installations in London.”Assange’s attorneys say he will appeal the ruling – however it may be a moot point if he’s dragged into a US courtroom sooner than later.

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Trump Understands The Important Difference Between Nationalism And Globalism

President Trump’s nationalism heralds a return to the old U.S. doctrine of non-intervention.

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Authored by Raheem Kassam, op-ed via The Daily Caller:


President Macron’s protests against nationalism this weekend stand in stark contrast with the words of France’s WWII resistance leader and the man who would then become president: General Charles de Gaulle.

Speaking to his men in 1913, de Gaulle reminded them:

“He who does not love his mother more than other mothers, and his fatherland more than other fatherlands, loves neither his mother nor his fatherland.”

This unquestionable invocation of nationalism reveals how far France has come in its pursuit of globalist goals, which de Gaulle described later in that same speech as the “appetite of vice.”

While this weekend the media have been sharpening their knives on Macron’s words, for use against President Trump, very few have taken the time to understand what really created the conditions for the wars of the 20th century. It was globalism’s grandfather: imperialism, not nationalism.

This appears to have been understood at least until the 1980s, though forgotten now. With historical revisionism applied to nationalism and the great wars, it is much harder to understand what President Trump means when he calls himself a “nationalist.” Though the fault is with us, not him.

Patriotism is the exact opposite of nationalism: nationalism is a betrayal of patriotism … By pursuing our own interests first, with no regard to others,’ we erase the very thing that a nation holds most precious, that which gives it life and makes it great: its moral values,” President Macron declared from the pulpit of the Armistice 100 commemorations.

Had this been in reverse, there would no doubt have been shrieks of disgust aimed at Mr. Trump for “politicizing” such a somber occasion. No such shrieks for Mr. Macron, however, who languishes below 20 percent in national approval ratings in France.

With some context applied, it is remarkably easy to see how President Macron was being disingenuous.

Nationalism and patriotism are indeed distinct. But they are not opposites.

Nationalism is a philosophy of governance, or how human beings organize their affairs. Patriotism isn’t a governing philosophy. Sometimes viewed as subsidiary to the philosophy of nationalism, patriotism is better described as a form of devotion.

For all the grandstanding, Mr. Macron may as well have asserted that chicken is the opposite of hot sauce,so meaningless was the comparison.

Imperialism, we so quickly forget, was the order of the day heading into the 20th century. Humanity has known little else but empire since 2400 B.C. The advent of globalism, replete with its foreign power capitals and multi-national institutions is scarcely distinct.

Imperialism — as opposed to nationalism — seeks to impose a nation’s way of life, its currency, its traditions, its flags, its anthems, its demographics, and its rules and laws upon others wherever they may be.

Truly, President Trump’s nationalism heralds a return to the old U.S. doctrine of non-intervention, expounded by President George Washington in his farewell address of 1796:

” … It must be unwise in us to implicate ourselves, by artificial ties, in the ordinary vicissitudes of [Europe’s] politics, or the ordinary combinations and collisions of her friendships or enmities.”

It should not have to be pointed out that the great wars of the 20th century could not be considered “ordinary vicissitudes”, but rather, that imperialism had begun to run amok on the continent.

It was an imperialism rooted in nihilism, putting the totality of the state at its heart. Often using nationalism as nothing more than a method of appeal, socialism as a doctrine of governance, and Jews as a subject of derision and scapegoating.

Today’s imperialism is known as globalism.

It is what drives nations to project outward their will, usually with force; causes armies to cross borders in the hope of subjugating other human beings or the invaded nation’s natural resources; and defines a world, or region, or continent by its use of central authority and foreign capital control.

Instead of armies of soldiers, imperialists seek to dominate using armies of economists and bureaucrats. Instead of forced payments to a foreign capital, globalism figured out how to create economic reliance: first on sterling, then on the dollar, now for many on the Euro. This will soon be leapfrogged by China’s designs.

And while imperialism has served some good purposes throughout human history, it is only when grounded in something larger than man; whether that be natural law, God, or otherwise. But such things are scarcely long-lived.

While benevolent imperialism can create better conditions over a period of time, humanity’s instincts will always lean towards freedom and self-governance.

It is this fundamental distinction between the United States’ founding and that of the modern Republic of France that defines the two nations.

The people of France are “granted” their freedoms by the government, and the government creates the conditions and dictates the terms upon which those freedoms are exercised.

As Charles Kesler wrote for the Claremont Review of Books in May, “As a result, there are fewer and fewer levers by which the governed can make its consent count”.

France is the archetypal administrative state, while the United States was founded on natural law, a topic that scarcely gets enough attention anymore.

Nationalism – or nationism, if you will – therefore represents a break from the war-hungry norm of human history. Its presence in the 20th century has been rewritten and bastardized.

A nationalist has no intention of invading your country or changing your society. A nationalist cares just as much as anyone else about the plights of others around the world but believes putting one’s own country first is the way to progress. A nationalist would never seek to divide by race, gender, ethnicity, or sexual preference, or otherwise. This runs contrary to the idea of a united, contiguous nation at ease with itself.

Certainly nationalism’s could-be bastard child of chauvinism can give root to imperialistic tendencies. But if the nation can and indeed does look after its own, and says to the world around it, “these are our affairs, you may learn from them, you may seek advice, we may even assist if you so desperately need it and our affairs are in order,” then nationalism can be a great gift to the 21st century and beyond.

This is what President Trump understands.

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