By: Erick Erickson
Donald Trump gave the best speech of his presidency to the United Nations. He was bold and American -- giving real clarity to what he meant by an "America First" speech. He did not mince words and called out rogue nations. But he also noted that he had no intention of imposing the American system on other nations. His speech was a speech on what he sees as realism and getting away from an idealized American foreign policy. His was a speech that will resonate beyond his base.
On top of that, yes the president did call North Korea's dictator "Rocket Man" and threatened to destroy him. A White House contact told me the President intended to wake up the United Nations to the threat North Korea poses on the world stage by using harsh language. I think it probably worked. He recognizes the United States has a leading role on the world stage to play, but is only going to focus on those issues where he sees a clear threat to our interests and those of our allies.
Foreign policy elitists will treat the president's statements about North Korea and "Rocket Man" with the same disdain they showed Reagan for his "evil empire" remarks. But I suspect both presidents will have the last laugh.
He called out radical Islamic terrorism, which a White House source wanted to highlight. I noted that both Sarah Sanders and Kellyanne Conway tweeted out a notation of his use of the phrase.
More impressively, the president confronted Venezuela directly with use of the awesome line about socialism working as designed, garnering some chuckles and laughter from the delegates. Some Obama advisors took issue with the president for saying he was not going to impose a form of government or way of life on other nations, but the president was actually pretty consistent. He made clear he would not impose our values on other nations, but if those nations were harming our national interests, he would act. Venezuela is destabilizing an entire region and causing a humanitarian crisis. The president's sentiments are perfectly consistent.
With President Trump we are not going to get the soaring rhetoric of Barack Obama or the happy smile and sentiment of George W. Bush. We are not going to get Reagan or Clinton. What we are going to get is a blunt instrument who understands he can occasionally use his bluntness to make real change. Today at the United Nations, President Trump bluntly told the UN that the U.S. is going back to a foreign policy of a bygone era -- one where we act with allies or alone for our real, not our idealized, national interest.
I appreciate that bluntness. I just don't know how long it will last. But hopefully it will last long enough for the complete scuttling of the Iranian deal and the Paris accord.