To properly understand the weekend’s wonders, first remember where we came from. Under President Obama, Americans were treated to years of feckless “diplomacy” and reckless foreign arrangements that promoted a globalist agenda, but did little to advance our own interests. The Paris climate agreement imposed burdensome carbon emission reduction targets on the U.S. energy sector and threatened to hike electricity costs for American families, while enabling China and other polluters to run riot. The Iran deal freed as much as $150 billion in Iranian assets—which, as even the left-leaning Brookings Institution conceded, benefitted the terrorist group Hezbollah—while turning a blind eye to the country’s menacing nuclear program.
And, of course, President Obama stood by as unfettered “free trade” destroyed American industry after American industry, shuttering countless factories and leaving far too many industrial communities to fend for themselves.
Enter President Trump, who has carried himself like the shot-caller in the room, setting the terms of the agenda and forcing foreign leaders to respond to him. Whether the issue at hand was milk or steel or foreign aid, our president controlled the narrative. And he vowed to put an end to the American “piggy bank that everyone is robbing.”
There is no better example than Canadian tariffs on American dairy products, which hover around 300 percent and prevent U.S. dairy processors from entering the Canadian market. As President Trump argues, foreign tariffs as steep as 300 percent are “hurting our farmers” and “killing our agriculture.”
He is the first president in years to speak the truth, recognizing that “free trade” is impossible when other countries routinely erect barriers to trade while expecting the United States to play along nicely. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is now on the defensive, reevaluating his country’s trade agreement with the United States.
As one U.S. official described the G7 summit, “If they thought they were going to lecture Trump on the glories of free trade, they got a rude awakening. He came to a gun fight armed with a stealth bomber.”
The trap that President Trump set for global elites and his liberal opponents cannot be understated. Within days, the president emphasized the need for aluminum and steel tariffs, drawing the scorn of liberal and conservative pundits who extolled the virtues of free-market economics. He then pivoted to a more traditionally Republican position, recognizing that many countries continue to rely on protectionist policies and claiming “you want a tariff-free [arrangement]” with “no barriers” and “no subsidies.” The pivot forced the foreign officials who originally opposed President Trump’s call for aluminum and steel tariffs to defend their own protectionism, or else adopt freer and fairer trade that benefits Americans. Anti-Trump liberals, meanwhile, are now forced to concede that free and fair trade boosts American manufacturing—as President Trump has argued for years now.
Our president brilliantly outplayed the lot of them, laying waste to the globalist elite’s trade protection racket and the barriers to our freedom.
Is it any wonder that the iconic photo from the weekend captured President Trump in a position of power? Despite your typical liberal outrage, German chancellor Angela Merkel is clearly seen making overtures to President Trump, whose arms remain folded as he weighs his options. The American president not only looks the part of no-nonsense negotiator, but also sits in the center of attention while the rest of the world reacts to him. It is “America First” in picture form.
Now President Trump is in Singapore, where he’s making history by meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. Whereas former presidents ignored North Korea (and its impoverished people), President Trump will seek concessions from Kim to establish a more congenial relationship between the two countries.
Ted Harvey is chairman of the Committee to Defend the President.
The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of The Daily Caller.