Professor Emeritus Steve Corbin in his guest column Aug. 5 uses the word respect in its dictionary definition of liking and admiration. Perhaps he has forgotten that two of the most respected world leaders in history, Winston Churchill and Ronald Reagan, were most definitely not respected until their policies made huge differences in the world.
Churchill was a political outcast from the end of WWI until the beginning of WWII and regarded as radical and reckless. Even King George VI was reluctant to appoint him prime minister in 1940.
Though liked, Reagan was disrespected as “just an actor” until his policies led to the downfall of the Soviet Union.
It would be nice for the left to give President Trump the courtesy of waiting to see if his policies work. We on the right gave Barack Obama time to see if his policies worked. They didn’t. They led to Obamacare and eight years of anemic economic growth. Happily for the economy and workers most of his policies have since been undone by the Trump administration, leading to over 4 percent growth and the multitude of “We’re hiring” notices one sees all over Iowa.
It is really remarkable the words used by Corbin and the left to condemn Trump are exactly what we on the right came to feel about Barack Obama after it became evident his policies were disastrous for America.
The international survey quoted by Corbin says Trump is regarded as “arrogant, intolerant, dangerous, not well-qualified and he doesn’t care about ordinary people.” Most of us on the right would apply those very words to community organizer Barack Obama. He was certainly an extrovert and likeable, but his policies did not lead to the world respecting America in the sense the word is used in international affairs.
Corbin’s final paragraph asks Americans to demand that Congress “rectify this domestic and internationally embarrassing debacle of presidential non-leadership.” Congress indeed did that in Obama’s second term.
In the 19th century when the British ran the world, they were not liked but they were respected in the sense that everyone knew the Royal Navy would make sure everyone obeyed the rules. It was the Royal Navy that ended the slave trade after the Napoleonic wars. Under Barack Obama everyone knew he would take no action to stop any outrages other than make one of his trademark eloquent speeches and perhaps setting a red line that was later ignored. By contrast the world is afraid Donald Trump will do exactly what he threatens to do. That’s why NATO is now $40 billion richer, with more to come, and why the EU capitulated on tariffs. That is also known as leadership.
Corbin is happy the survey places Trump in fourth place behind Angela Merkel and really nice guys Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping. Merkel is on her way out of German politics because she let in 1 million immigrants most Germans didn’t want. I doubt she would now be the “most respected” in a German survey. Putin and Xi Jinping are very respected in their countries because they are strong leaders and put the interests of their country first. Putin’s political slogan could well be “Make Russia Great Again.”