Joseph Mendola: Trump’s foreign policy is working

  • President Donald Trump speaks during a ceremony to present the Commander in Chief Trophy to the U.S. Military Academy football team in the Rose Garden of the White House on Tuesday in Washington. AP

For the Monitor
Published: 5/2/2018 12:20:04 AM

In a Monitorcolumn last month, the writer was building a case to oppose Michael Pompeo as the next secretary of state on the premise that Pompeo is not a serious, seasoned diplomat with experience in international state craft (Monitor Forum, April 6).

Pompeo has developed strong leadership skills and values the best interest of America when it comes to foreign policy. Graduating first in his class at the United States Military Academy and receiving a law degree from Harvard Law School are pretty impressive credentials for serving in the highest levels of our government.

The article cited the North Korean nuclear weapons program as a trouble spot that needs serious diplomacy to denuclearize the Korean peninsula. Well for the last 25 years we have had presidents from both parties who have brought in serious diplomats with experience to negotiate with two generations of the North Korean family of Kim Jong-un. All we have received from that diplomatic effort was giving more time to the North Korean military to perfect a device that can deliver nuclear weapons to our allies in that region and eventually to deliver these weapons to America.

President Donald Trump inherited the failed diplomatic effort of his predecessors to negotiate the denuclearization of North Korea, and he decided that enough is enough. Trump decided to talk loudly and carry a big stick.

The president’s strategy has gotten America closer to having a face-to-face negotiation with the North Korean leader, something no president has been able to achieve in the last 25 years.

The article went on to question whether Pompeo would be effective in a negotiation with Kim Jong-un. Well, the foreign policy strategy of President Trump, at least, got us to the table to answer that question.

Next, the article characterized our position in the Middle East as confusing.

President Trump was able to fulfill a promise of presidents for the last 16 years and moved the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem, reinforcing our commitment to the only democratic and free society in the region. This move honors our American values.

President Trump honored the prime minister of Israel with an invitation to the White House to reaffirm the U.S. commitment to our best ally in the region. This is in contrast to the actions of President Barack Obama, who ignored the prime minister when he came to the United States to address a joint session of Congress.

President Trump has also met with other foreign leaders in the region, clearly identifying our friends and putting our foes in the Middle East on notice. This clear and decisive action by our president, who is a true leader, is hardly a position that can be construed as confused.

The article went on to call the president’s firm position on seeking fair and reciprocal trade with all of our trading partners, even China, the largest of them all, as “deeply pointless” because of a possible trade war. Here is why the president’s firm position on fair trade is most important and far from pointless.

One, the Chinese, through their military, are hacking into our high-tech companies in an attempt to steal American intellectual property.

Two, the Chinese have set up very protectionist trade policies that force American companies to surrender their intellectual property if these companies want to do business in China.

Three, China can purchase 100 percent of an American company as long as that company is not deemed to be of strategic national security. But if American companies want to invest in a Chinese company, our American companies can purchase only 49 percent of that company while China owns 51 percent. If one understands corporate governance, one knows that that 2 percent difference in essence gives the Chinese total control to the point of forcing their American partner to surrender their intellectual property.

Four, China slaps a 25 percent tariff on American cars. If China sells a car in America, we charge them a 2½ percent tariff. President Trump is telling China and all of our trading partners that we should use the concept of reciprocity in our tariff schedules. The president has even asked our trading partners, “You pick the tariff you want. You can pick your tariff or you could pick our tariff.” That way all of our tariffs will be fair and not protectionist.

Five, America incurs a trade deficit of about $380 billion a year. That means America buys $380 billion a year more from China than China buys from us. This shaves almost 1 percent off of the economic growth in America. This imbalance hurts American workers and American companies.

When he was on the campaign trail, President Trump promised the American workers that he would work tirelessly to get fair trade with our trading partners. Fair trade provides job security and higher wages for American workers. What globalists fail to recognize is that America has been in a trade war for the last 25 years, and past presidents failed to fight for the American worker.

The article goes on to say that President Trump “cavalierly threatens nations with fire and fury.” The president, being the master negotiator that he is, was quite calculating in using a “big stick.” That language has played a role in getting the North Korean leader to the negotiating table. There was nothing “cavalier” about that comment. And folks who use the “fire and fury” language in an unsupportive way of the president just embolden our enemies to be adversarial to President Trump. In these very challenging times, America needs to rally around our president so that he can use his negotiating skills to get the best outcomes for the American people.

The article presents a globalist point of view, and such positions by past leaders have caused America to have a lesser stature in the world. This is why President Trump ran for president in the first place, because when America is first, the world is a safer place to live and the American worker can share in the American dream again.

(Joseph Mendola lives in Warner.)

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