By Martha Boneta
Even The Washington Post’s David Ignatius had to admit President Trump hit a home run with the deal he helped negotiate for Israel and the United Arab Emirates to normalize diplomatic relations.
“This was, as he tweeted, a ‘HUGE’ achievement,” Ignatius wrote. It is viewed as an “’icebreaker” that could open the door to other countries, such as Bahrain, Omar and Morocco, opening diplomatic relations with Israel.
Trump will go down as perhaps the most consequential president in terms of the Middle East in American history.
He has defeated ISIS, moved the US embassy to Jerusalem and taken out Qasem Soleimani, the Iran major general whose Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps is responsible for the deaths of hundreds of American and punished Syria – as opposed to the disappearing “red lines” of the previous administration – for using chemical weapons on its citizens.
He has withdrawn from the disastrous Iran deal and stopped sending planeloads of cash to the world’s leading state sponsor terrorism, and he has begun to withdraw US troops from Afghanistan and Syria.
And the Middle East peace plan his son-in-law and adviser Jared Kushner has developed is said to be the best hope for resolving the Israel-Palestine conflict since at least Oslo.
And that’s just the Middle East.
In this hemisphere, President Trump has withdrawn the US from the disastrous NAFTA deal and replaced it with the US-Mexico-Canada trade deal, which opened new markets for US farmers and manufacturers and encouraged the return of manufacturing jobs to the US.
He has convinced Mexico to place 27,000 soldiers on its southern border to prevent caravans of immigrants from traveling through Mexico to the US border, easing the strain on our border and saving enough money to finance wall construction. Yes, in a sense, Mexico is paying for the wall.
He has forged new and stronger relationships with not only Mexico but Brazil, whose president won because he was the most Trump-like candidate in the race, as well as Guatemala and others.
President Trump has taken on China like no one before and no one running against him for president could hope to. He investigated China for unfair trade practices related to technology transfers, intellectual property theft and stealing American innovations under the Trade Act. He charged China before the World Trade Organization with discriminatory licensing practices.
President Trump has stood up to all the forced theft China inflicts on American firms and then some. He has negotiated an interim trade deal with the Chinese, one of which obligated the Chinese to buy rice from the US. But he walked away from a phase 2 deal because he held the Chinese accountable for not living up to terms of the first deal.
He placed 25 percent tariffs on $250 billion worth of Chinese products, which has made them less competitive in the US and forced pressure on Beijing to reform. But thanks to his strong economic policies, unemployment and inflation were basically non-existent before the pandemic, so Chinese firms, not American consumers, paid the costs of these tariffs.
That streak of light you no longer see above the Sea of Japan is the end of North Korea’s previously rather regular missile threats to its neighbors and to the US. The president went where no president has gone before – to North Korea – and also held two summits with North Korea’s leader. They didn’t produce an agreement, but they did produce an understanding – and the world is a more peaceful, less anxious place because of it.
In Europe, the president has strengthened our allies and stood up for our values. He insisted all members of NATO meet their defense spending commitments, and the head of NATO, Jens Stoltenberg, has said the organization is in as good of shape thanks to this as it has been in a long time.
He is accused by the left of kowtowing to Russia’s Vladimir Putin, but the opposite is more accurate. The president scored a major military victory over a group of Russian soldiers fighting in Syria. He also achieved energy independence for the US, which means we control our fate on energy prices and world supplies have reached a surplus.
Earlier this year, world oil prices dipped below zero briefly, and they have remained historically low. Russia, which relies on energy for influence in Europe and cash reserves for Moscow, has been deeply wounded by America’s assertion of energy dominance.
Trump was elected on high-profile domestic issues – cutting taxes, closing the borders, deregulation. He has addressed all of these. But he also has been perhaps the most consequential president in our lifetimes with regard to foreign policy.
And it’s time he get the recognition he deserves.
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Martha Boneta is an American policy advisor, commentator, and farmer. Martha is President of Vote America First.