However, the very reason, I believe, that Trump's speech is a historically significant one is beyond the above positive comments. Trump's speech is important and significant owing to the very statement in his speech: "My job is not to represent the world. My job is to represent the U.S. of America." These two sentences by itself may not be so significant, but coupled with other declarations and his reiteration of many of his campaign promises, these words become the most significant statement in his speech. It takes courage and honesty for an American President to make such a statement in view of the past century of American history and her legacy foreign policies. The U.S. has been conducting a self-appointed world leader’s role practicing an almost completely unilaterally defined 'world police' responsibilities. The American Exceptionalism and neo-right political philosophy have dominated the US foreign policy and national security strategy since the WW II, which led the U.S. to behave like a world police. Both the Republican and Democratic Parties have adhered to such a philosophy with increasing intensity up to the Obama Administration.
In my previous articles about Trump's presidential election, I had pointed out that Trump had recognized a quiet movement or phenomenon in the nation and through the fierce competitive campaign, the 'quiet rebellion' became a 'loud chorus' and grown to become an 'earthquake' as President Trump uttered the above words in his Congressional speech. Trump's new chapter of American greatness is based on "new international pride, optimism and renewal of American spirit", "not let mistakes of the recent past to define thefuture".
Trump's focus is obviously domestic first, "to restart the engine of American economy". He blamed spending on global projects for neglecting America inner cities and defending other nation's borders for opening American borders for illegal immigrants and drug traffic. He did say that the U.S. will continue to support NATO but expecting EU to pay more for expenses, same applicable to the US allies in the M.E. and Asia Pacific. His proposed tax cuts to corporations to stimulate the economy and to create jobs and reduce unemployment and $1T investment into US domestic infrastructure guided by "buy American and hire American" received standing ovation. Trump's message of "learn from the past, return home and rebuild" and "to find new friends and new partners (even with former enemies) to "want harmony and stability not war and conflict" make his statement, "My job is not to represent the world. My job is to represent the U.S.A." more meaningful and more significant reflecting a major commitment and shift of US foreign and domestic policies. This shift is carefully analyzed and gingerly welcomed in view of the fact that China, Russia, India, etc. are becoming more assertive in participating in world affairs, especially in terms of economic development.
Of course, history tells us, not every political leader always conducts himself or herself strictly following his or her political speeches, even a major speech to the Congress or to the nation. Trump is only in office less than two months and the February 28 speech was his very first big speech, it is still early to make firm judgment on Trump's policies especially on foreign policies. America is still divided with nearly equal Trump supporters and opponents. Philosophically, people like former presidential candidate, Bernie Sanders, responded to Trump's speech by itemizing on what Trump did not talk about, emphasizing mostly Sanders’ liberal views such as reducing wealth gap, more benefits for the socially deprived and free college tuition for everyone. There are also politicians like Chuck Schumer who simply denounced Trump's speech with a bipartisan opposition. Trump's Administrative team is still being formed. Although the team consists of more conservative even right-leaning people on foreign issues such as China policy and trade issues such as renegotiation of trade deals, it is fair to project at this point that Trump is a fairly firm leader who has spoken mostly from his heart in his first major speech. The media even reported that Trump will likely to add a critic on foreign affairs to his Administration. This is great news if it indeed happens.
Trump concluded in his speech that the U.S. shall soon celebrate her 250 years anniversary of independence, civil rights movement, and democracy. He has faith for a better world and he is hopeful that the U.S. will be a "more peaceful, more just and more free" nation. The critics of his speech did point out that Trump has proposed to increase the defense budget by $54B and a reduction of the budget of the State department. These proposals may or may not be inconsistent from Trump's basic theme of making America great again and they may or may not be contradictory to the spirit of his speech. If the increase of the military spending is causing more arms race or instability in the world, then it is a bad use of the funds. An article written before Trump’s speech (Boston Globe 2-5-2017) by Jeffrey D. Sachs (a professor at Columbia University), Donald Trump's Dangerous China Illusion, is a cautionary essay on this very subject questioning Trump’s Foreign policy. China's growing role on the world stage should not be considered as a threat to the U.S. if the U.S. did not want to be the lone sheriff of the world. A collaborative relationship with China would be more consistent with the new chapter of American greatness.
What we American citizens must do is to watch President Trump's actions closely to judge on his sincerity in keeping his promises in speeches and his ability to lead his Administration in a transparent manner to serve the entire American people. What is not productive is that Americans protest against Trump for the sake of protesting without following his words or deeds. The Trump Administration has a low opinion of the media and vice versa for various reasons. After Trump’s Congressional speech, there seems to be a possibility that the Trump-media relation may turn normal since the majority of people seem to be demanding that and more people are rallying behind Trump now than before his inauguration. Let us citizens demand more meaningful White House and government press conferences and unbiased media reporting on them.