With the sole exception of his unfortunate misstep during his joint news conference with Vladimir Putin in Helsinki when he seemed to take Putin’s word over American intelligence regarding the Kremlin’s interference in the American elections two years ago, President Trump’s foray abroad last week was a triumph. (Even so, his subsequent claim on his return to the States that his words were a misspeak rather than a misstep are entirely plausible. In addition to which, the scandals occurring at the FBI do not inspire confidence in the honesty, competence, and integrity of the American intelligence agencies.)
The President’s forthrightness with our “allies” in NATO was altogether necessary and commendable. Better than that, it was effective, as measured by the pledges he received from the representatives of the countries present at the meeting.
Then, in England, he gave Theresa May exactly what she deserved: a public humiliation that was almost a rebuke over her prosecution—at once incompetent and deeply duplicitous, if not actually dishonest—of Brexit, for which the British public voted two years ago by a wide margin. As charged in the British press, the Prime Minister has been working with her own secret Brexit department at Number 10 to ensure that the United Kingdom accepts an associate membership in the European Union, rather than achieving the clean break with the EU that the Referendum mandated.
Since the President’s departure, Parliament and the country as a whole have indeed been in the “turmoil” Trump referred to hours before his departure from Washington and for which his undiplomatic frankness is partly responsible, as the Government has been faced by one amendment, or other challenge, to the Chequers White Paper after another. As a result, Mrs. May’s proposal to Brussels (she had it vetted by Angela Merkel before presenting it to her own Cabinet) is certain to be rejected by Mssrs. Barnier et al. thus provoking another crisis. Provided Mrs. May is not out by then, of course.
Boris Johnson is reported to have told a party of Tory fundraisers before his resignation as Foreign Secretary that, had Brexit been handled by Donald Trump, the UK might be free of the EU by now. Exactly. Trump is undiplomatic but effective. And what is the point of diplomacy other than effectiveness? Certainly not protocol, whose chief purpose seems to be to make every honorable diplomat feel himself honored, important, and respected. Mark Twain would have heartily admired President Trump, at least for that.
Finally, there is Finland. Again, Trump showed to great advantage. There is every reason for America and Russia to be on friendly terms—which they would be, were it not for American liberals of both parties’ determination to avenge the fall of the Soviet Union and destroy Stalin’s conservative successor in the Kremlin. They were much more comfortable with the USSR than they are with the Russian Republic, and would be happy to have it back. Their mixture of concern and outrage over Trump’s alleged friendship with Putin is itself outrageous. Have they really forgot that Roosevelt was a personal friend of Stalin’s as well as his ally? And do they really think Putin a greater criminal than Uncle Joe?
Two days ago as I write was the centenary of the assassination of Czar Nicholas II and his family by the Bolsheviks. Descendents of the Romanovs survive, some of them in Britain. Old Mother Russia could have no better future than with their return to St. Petersburg to reconstitute the royal family and to form a government under a new Tsar, with Vladimir Putin as their Prime Minister. Mark Twain would disapprove, but the old populist has been dead for 108 years. And the CIA, the FBI, and all American liberals would be appalled. What counts is that tsarism is in the hearts of most Russians, and always will be.
Chilton Williamson, Jr., was the senior editor for books for Chronicles since 1989, and was appointed as editor beginning June 1, 2015. He is the author of several books, including Mexico Way, The Education of Hector Villa, The Hundredth Meridian, The Immigration Mystique, The Conservative Bookshelf, and After Tocqueville: The Promise and Failure of Democracy. His latest book, Jerusalem, Jerusalem (Chronicles Press), released in 2017.