France’s Macron Fears Trump’s Nationalist Politics [OPINION]
"Vive la Franc-- I mean...Everyone."
From Webster's Online Dictionary:
Nationalist: having a sense of national consciousness. Exalting one's nation above all others and placing primary emphasis on promotion of its culture and interests as opposed to those of other nations or supranational groups.
French President Emmanuel Macron wasted no time, nor the opportunity to take a swipe at United States President Donald Trump. On Sunday, under the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, the host leader led the 100th remembrance of World War I and pointed to nationalism as the cause. The point had duel meaning, and that was not lost on the audience that looked more toward Trump than Macron during the speech. CNN reported:
"Patriotism is the exact opposite of nationalism," he said through a translator. "Nationalism is a betrayal of patriotism. By saying our interests first, who cares about the others, we erase what a nation holds dearest, what gives it life, what makes it great and what is essential: its moral values."
According to Webster's Dictionary, Macron is 180 degrees from being right about the definition and its antonym.
Macron was born in December of 1977, some 32 years after the defeat of Nazi Germany and the liberation of his own nation by American and British forces.
Aside from his awful understanding of the definition of nationalist, Macron seems impossibly lost on Trump's idea of being one. With regards to Macron's ugly description of his concerns for Trump's nationalism, let me just provide an excerpt from President Trump's speech at the United Nation's Assembly given just eight weeks ago on September 19, 2018:
We have it in our power, should we so choose, to lift millions from poverty, to help our citizens realize their dreams, and to ensure that new generations of children are raised free from violence, hatred, and fear.
This institution was founded in the aftermath of two world wars to help shape this better future. It was based on the vision that diverse nations could cooperate to protect their sovereignty, preserve their security, and promote their prosperity.
It was in the same period, exactly 70 years ago, that the United States developed the Marshall Plan to help restore Europe. Those three beautiful pillars -- they’re pillars of peace, sovereignty, security, and prosperity.
The Marshall Plan was built on the noble idea that the whole world is safer when nations are strong, independent, and free. As President Truman said in his message to Congress at that time, “Our support of European recovery is in full accord with our support of the United Nations. The success of the United Nations depends upon the independent strength of its members.”
To overcome the perils of the present and to achieve the promise of the future, we must begin with the wisdom of the past. Our success depends on a coalition of strong and independent nations that embrace their sovereignty to promote security, prosperity, and peace for themselves and for the world.
We do not expect diverse countries to share the same cultures, traditions, or even systems of government. But we do expect all nations to uphold these two core sovereign duties: to respect the interests of their own people and the rights of every other sovereign nation. This is the beautiful vision of this institution, and this is foundation for cooperation and success.
Strong, sovereign nations let diverse countries with different values, different cultures, and different dreams not just coexist, but work side by side on the basis of mutual respect.
Strong, sovereign nations let their people take ownership of the future and control their own destiny. And strong, sovereign nations allow individuals to flourish in the fullness of the life intended by God.
In America, we do not seek to impose our way of life on anyone, but rather to let it shine as an example for everyone to watch. This week gives our country a special reason to take pride in that example. We are celebrating the 230th anniversary of our beloved Constitution -- the oldest constitution still in use in the world today.
This timeless document has been the foundation of peace, prosperity, and freedom for the Americans and for countless millions around the globe whose own countries have found inspiration in its respect for human nature, human dignity, and the rule of law.
The greatest in the United States Constitution is its first three beautiful words. They are: “We the people.”
Generations of Americans have sacrificed to maintain the promise of those words, the promise of our country, and of our great history. In America, the people govern, the people rule, and the people are sovereign. I was elected not to take power, but to give power to the American people, where it belongs.
In foreign affairs, we are renewing this founding principle of sovereignty. Our government's first duty is to its people, to our citizens -- to serve their needs, to ensure their safety, to preserve their rights, and to defend their values.
As President of the United States, I will always put America first, just like you, as the leaders of your countries will always, and should always, put your countries first. (Applause.)
All responsible leaders have an obligation to serve their own citizens, and the nation-state remains the best vehicle for elevating the human condition.
But making a better life for our people also requires us to work together in close harmony and unity to create a more safe and peaceful future for all people.
The United States will forever be a great friend to the world, and especially to its allies. But we can no longer be taken advantage of, or enter into a one-sided deal where the United States gets nothing in return. As long as I hold this office, I will defend America’s interests above all else.
But in fulfilling our obligations to our own nations, we also realize that it’s in everyone’s interest to seek a future where all nations can be sovereign, prosperous, and secure.
Now, I am fully prepared to apologize for believing that this ideal is a virtuous and just one to embrace. I'll be happy to, as soon as the first one of you shows me that you give more or even as much money, nurturing, care and your time to your neighbors than you do to your own family under your own roof.
What maniac could lead a nation into a trade deal that cares no more or even less for his own country's interests than for the trade partner? Would I be an "unpatriotic nationalist" if I cared more that the United States defeated Japan and Germany in World War II than I did if Greece defeated Turkey?
Am I selfish and unjust if I spend my limited resources to keep my own family fed, sheltered and safe before I extend my resources to a stranger in a far away place, or even next door?
At no time has President Trump's motto been MAOGA (Make America Only Great Again) Indeed, without domestic prosperity, America could not have hoped to stave off any of the dozens of wars, genocides and famine it has in just the last 50 years. It's the same theory that police presence is crime's best deterrent.
"A potential enemy is more likely to attack neighbors if the regime believes it can accomplish its objectives before US forces respond." - Army War College
What would the geopolitical map of the world look like today had Ronald Reagan not reversed the military path on which President Carter chose? In 1978, the Soviet Union was expanding through force and had built an air force, army and navy much stronger than the United States. This truth culminated when Carter ordered a daring rescue misson of the American hostages in Iran. Operation: Eagle Claw ended in tragedy when the rescue helicopters failed to operate. One crashed during take off, hitting a fuel tank, killing eight servicemen.
Of the eight helicopters used, only four were considered operation-capable. The aging military equipment of the presumed mighty United States military was too worn even to extract 52 embassy staff members from third world terrorists. Another helicopter crashed landed after getting caught in a haboob (dust storm). The world's most elite soldiers, the Delta Force team, couldn't even be brought to the operation's theater in Tehran, the American Embassy. It was the worst moment in American military history since the ignoble evacuation in South Vietnam.
President Reagan rallied America, not with internationalist appeasing fluff talk. No, he was the country's uplifting nationalist who turned around the horrid morale left behind by a rudderless President James Earl Carter. Reagan inspired pride in America again. The stock market soared, cities began massive construction again. Americans were enlisting in near record numbers. He invested billions more into the military budget.
As governor of California in the mid-70s (not that anyone would admit it), Reagan's tax breaks to Silicon Valley allowed the research and development that would carry the nation's and the world's economy in 1995 just 20 years later. Microsoft was able to develop the Altair 8800, which snowballed to Windows, and the rest is history, folks.
How many nations did the United States roll over and destroy with this American nationalism? Zero. Nada. None. How many people's lives were spared by forcing the Soviet Union into receding from their global influence and designs, followed by inviting a suddenly willing Soviet Premier, Mikhail Gorbachev, to begin nuclear downsizing, and then the freeing of East Germany and then the eventual collapse of the Soviet Union itself several years later?
Macron and the Democratic Party really do know the definition of nationalism and how Trump is defining it. Macron just doesn't want America to wake up from her naive, slumbering inability to see how we are being taken advantage of, and he knows Trump is the alarm clock that the globalist elite apparently agreed would never go off!
I cannot explain the Democratic Party, nor the establishment Republican factions who all demonize "Make America Great Again." The only conclusion I can surmise is that their investments, if not loyalties, lie overseas. Either way, there is nothing patriotic about spreading fear knowing that the goal of their target is to provide a better future for America in order to then extend a hand to our neighbors, as we always have and always will.
Internationalism is a political principle which transcends nationalism, and advocates a greater political or economic cooperation among nations and people.
It's not just Trump who is the nationalist. John Kerry wrote "A New Agenda for A New Decade" in 1994 while Donald Trump was in the Plaza Hotel pointing to the lobby for Kevin McCallister in Home Alone 2: Lost In New York. Here, Kerry points to the differences in the political parties then:
"The internationalist outlook that served America and the world so well during the second half of the 20th century is under attack from both ends of the political spectrum. As the left has gravitated toward protectionism, many on the right have reverted to 'America First' isolationism."
Trump isn't alone. He is just the first Republican president with the cocktail onions to state his nationalist ideas (aka patriotism) since Reagan. As you can read in his words above, he is not calling for isolationism. He is calling for prosperity and security here, if we have any hope at all to export these things anywhere else.
Sorry, but I'm not sorry. I'm saving my own family first during a catastrophe. In normal times too. I'm putting money aside for my own son's and daughter's education and future before I will for another child being raised by his or her own parents. I want my countrymen and neighbors to be safe before I abandon concern for them to help strangers in other nations. I'm not selfish, I'm sane.
I would also remind my fellow Americans that our Constitution's Preamble informs us that the intention of having our Constitution is designed to ensure domestic, not global, tranquility.
If nationalism is so frowned upon in France, why did they beg us so hard to liberate them from Germany and then protect them from the Soviets? Ask Macron why that example of nationalism is patriotic. Why do they applaud for French Olympian athletes over Sweden's or India's? Why do people need passports there, and why are they escorted to the airports if they overstay their visas? What unpatriotic monster first uttered "Vive la France?"
Also why is Macron wearing the French colors instead of the United Nation's? How unpatriotic is that, using his definition?
Donald Trump is right, and if you're French, Mexican, Russian, Chinese or American, YOU the reader knows he is. It just hurts too much to agree with him.
Sacré bleu, Monsieur Macron.
Ken Pittman is the host of The Ken Pittman Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard Saturdays from 9 a.m. to noon. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @RadioKenPittman. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.