“Officials Say Trump Has Ordered Full Withdrawal of U.S. Troops From Syria” (nytimes) is welcome news for me. One of my hopes in voting for Obama was that he would be able to say “These foreign wars haven’t worked out as planned so I’m ordering everyone home from Iraq and Afghanistan.”
Maybe Trump will get a Nobel Peace Prize too? Even more shocking than that would be some of my Facebook friends giving King Donald some credit for this peace action!
Along the same lines: “Donald Trump Is a Good President” (Harpers) says Michel Houellebecq, the French guy who remains a sourpuss despite having spent years in tax-free (for authors) Ireland. Some excerpts:
The United States of America is no longer the world’s leading power. It was for a long time, for almost the entire course of the twentieth century. It isn’t anymore. It remains a major power, one among several. This isn’t necessarily bad news for Americans. It’s very good news for the rest of the world.
The United States is still the world’s leading military power and unfortunately has yet to break its habit of mounting interventions beyond its borders. I’m not a historian, and I don’t know much about ancient history—for example, I couldn’t say whether Kennedy or Johnson was more to blame for the dismal Vietnam affair—but I have the impression that it’s been a good long time since the United States last won a war, and that for at least fifty years its foreign military interventions, whether acknowledged or clandestine, have been nothing but a succession of disgraces culminating in failures.
Trump is pursuing and amplifying the policy of disengagement initiated by Obama; this is very good news for the rest of the world. The Americans are getting off our backs. The Americans are letting us exist.
The Americans have stopped trying to spread democracy to the four corners of the globe. Besides, what democracy? Voting every four years to elect a head of state—is that democracy? In my view, there’s one country in the world (one country, not two) that enjoys partially democratic institutions, and that country isn’t the United States of America; it’s Switzerland. A country otherwise notable for its laudable policy of neutrality.
The Americans are no longer prepared to die for the freedom of the press. Besides, what freedom of the press? Ever since I was twelve years old, I’ve watched the range of opinions permissible in the press steadily shrinking (I write this shortly after a new hunting expedition has been launched in France against the notoriously anti-liberal writer Éric Zemmour).
The Americans are relying more and more on drones, which—if they knew how to use these weapons—could have allowed them to reduce the number of civilian casualties (but the fact is that Americans have always been incapable, practically since aviation began, of carrying out a proper bombing).
President Trump was elected to safeguard the interests of American workers; he’s safeguarding the interests of American workers. During the past fifty years in France, one would have wished to come upon this sort of attitude more often.
In short, Europe is just a dumb idea that has gradually turned into a bad dream, from which we shall eventually wake up.
Related regarding Houellebecq: