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America is no longer a doormat

Donald Trump has reestablished the US as a moral, pragmatic leader on the world stage
US President Donald Trump exits Air Force One at Palm Beach International Airport in Palm Beach, Florida, on December 22, 2017. (AFP Photo/Nicholas Kamm)
US President Donald Trump exits Air Force One at Palm Beach International Airport in Palm Beach, Florida, on December 22, 2017. (AFP Photo/Nicholas Kamm)

I’ll be perfectly honest: I don’t like his tweets either. But there’s a lot more to Donald Trump’s presidency than those bombastic and often embarrassing messages on Twitter. There’s also a lot more than the timely, uplifting, feel-good commutation of Sholom Rubashkin’s unfair prison sentence. A year into the presidency of one of the most unpopular presidents in modern history, we should be a little more honest when assessing what President Trump has brought to the White House.

This week, the president addressed one of the campaign promises that he initially ran on — the Middle East peace process. President Trump decried how the Palestinian Authority was taking “hundreds of millions of dollars” in assistance from the United States while showing us zero “appreciation or respect.” In a shocking, non-surprise, far-left critics of the president are saying his criticism of the PA will likely escalate tensions in the Middle East, but I found the president’s tone fair, honest and refreshing.

“With the Palestinians no longer willing to talk peace, why should we make any of these massive future payments to them?” the president asked. Why indeed? The US is not just here to hand out our tax dollars to foreign entities, especially when there is no benefit to our country. President Trump is keeping his eye on the ball, addressing his larger campaign promise, as well, showing that it is no longer business as usual in Washington. Aid to the Palestinians — more than $5 billion since the mid-1990s — should not come without a commitment to peace from the Palestinians. But instead of making strides towards peace, the Palestinians continue to teach their school children to hate Israelis; continue to reward terrorists and glorify terrorism. What have they done with our money? Co-sponsored two intifadas — violent uprisings that destroyed the lives of numerous men, women and children on both sides of the conflict.

The only people I can think of on the map who have been considered refugees for more than half a century are the Palestinians. This, despite foreign and US aid; despite the return of Gaza; despite every effort by neighboring Israel to help the Palestinians receive fresh water and vital electricity. The Palestinians remain “refugees” because it is politically expedient to play the victim card. If the Palestinians were to invest in social programs rather than terror tunnels, the refugee stigma would cease to exist.

President Trump’s foreign policies have been exceptional — even more so when contrasted with those of the Obama administration, which eroded our position of leadership on the world stage. Of course, we should be selling defensive weapons to the Ukrainians, who Obama all but ignored. Of course, we should be standing up to the United Nations’ disgusting, hypocritical, racist condemnations of Israel. Of course, we should be supporting political dissidents in Iran and helping that nation emerge from the totalitarian dictatorship of fanatic extremists.

Donald Trump’s first year in office may not have made America as great as it once was, nor as great as we know it can be, but foreign policy-wise, he has allowed America to show leadership and re-take a moral, pragmatic high ground. Having to suffer the embarrassment of a fountain of tweets better left untweeted is a small price to pay for such leadership.

To reach NYS Assemblyman Dov Hikind (Democrat—Brooklyn), contact Yehudah Meth at HikindNews@gmail.com or phone: 718-853-9616

About the Author
Dov Hikind is a New York State Assemblyman (Democrat), representing Brooklyn's Assembly district 48. He has held the position since 1983.
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