Donald Trump may well be on his way to joining the likes of Abraham Lincoln, George Washington, and J. F. Kennedy in being of the greatest presidents in US history. In “Reaping the Benefits of Trump’s First Year,” Bruce Abramson and Jeff Ballabon, two contributors for The Washington Times, describe President Trump as nothing short of masterful in his time as president. While many may contest such a view and cite compelling concerns surrounding a torn societal fabric, a look at the achievements in international relations and the economy firmly underscore President Trump’s near impeccable presidency in light of an unyielding commitment to American interests.
Many social and political observers have gone to great lengths to demonstrate how Trump’s presidency is deleterious for the country. One of the often cited issues pertains to the strain being witnessed along racial, ethnic, and religious lines, with notable voices indicating that America’s reputation as a melting point may be melting away.
In a February 2017 TedTalk, Omid Safi describes the situation in the US as precarious for people from minority communities. He paints a gleam picture, depicting life for minorities and immigrants as attempts to pursue the American dream in a Trump nightmare. However such gloom may be exaggerated, with Jonathan Haidt, another TedTalk speaker, providing a more balanced view. In this case, Haidt acknowledges that polarization is at one of its highest points in recent years.
However, contemplating on whether the US can heal, Haidt is adamant that Trump’s divided America has potential to heal in spite of strong prejudices causing the current strain.
Trump’s massive achievements will certainly help in fostering such healing, whereas they may have continued simmering under the radar like they have for decades. Trump’s approach to international relations is one of the highlights from his presidency, whereby a closer, sober look reveals not only remarkable efficacy, but also alignment with the realities of the twenty-first century world alongside close attention to American interest at heart. Easly (7-31) describes Trump’s approach as “strategic uncertainty,” contrasting it from Obama-era lackluster strategic patience policies. Such strategic patience is evident in Trump’s policy towards North Korea, entailing a “maximum pressure and engagement” approach while still keeping all options on the table.
Engagement and leveraging of a multiplicity of options also appears to inform Trump’s attitude towards the likes of Russia, while still acknowledging the contradictions arising from global and regional powers such as China and various European countries. This strategy has proven largely effective, creating a window of opportunity frustrate North Korea’s nuclear missile endeavors while raising expectations on China. Where previous administrations have largely failed to curb North Korea’s pursuit of nuclear weapons, Park (5-18) observes that Trump has been impressively successful, precipitating a Trump–Kim Summit in Singapore. The resulting handshake has led to an unprecedented agreement that will have North Korea commit to denuclearize entirely. Notably, while such an outcome and the approach employed may change outlooks in the international order, Trump has not upset the allies and important powers, such as China, South Korea, and Japan, further raising the evaluation of his achievements.
An even stronger rationale for considering Trump an exceptional president for the US arises from his resolute prioritization of America’s interests. A look at the realities of the twenty-first century world illuminates further why Trump’s approach to international relations is highly commendable and protective of American interests. According to Guzzini (19-20), the realism perspective of international relations, unlike idealism, values interests over reason alongside practice over theory, recognizing that nations act in ways that benefit their own interests. Trump’s outlook aligns with such a realist perspective, whereby maintaining America’s interests should be the most foremost objective in the contemporary context in which security and economic threats abound globally.
Trump’s tone and demeanor reveal that he will prioritize America’s interests whether dealing with allies or enemy states, leading him to roll back any agreements by previous administrations that had placed the US at a weak position. Such agreements pertain to aspects such as security and trade ties at the regional or global stage, which are crucial for the wellbeing of every American. Although many may contest his approach, it is hard to argue against the results and the knowledge that the US has a president that will first place the needs and interests of the nation and avoid making costly concessions at the expense of Americans. Perhaps the most powerful indicator of Trump’s impressive presidency lies in how the economy is performing under him, which observers should look at in terms of current achievements and where the country is headed.
Abramson and Ballabon note that Trump has been majestic in redirecting economic policies towards serving American interests, which is a majestic achievement considering that he has had to do this amid incessant hostility and opposition from many parties within the country. While economists had come to accept the lukewarm post-economic crisis performance as a new normal, with some even predicting that a Trump presidency would further dent the meager gains made over the Obama years, the opposite has proven true. Trump has been largely pro-business in his economic outlook, as observed in the minimization and roll back of Obama-era regulations. In turn, capital has flooded the business world, revitalizing economic activity and jumpstarting the economy. The outcome has been substantial gains in the stock market, reduction of unemployment to record lows compared to recent years, massive wage gains, benefitting most Americans. Sustained growth is seeing more Americans find relief from the economic hardship that had characterized the previous years since the global financial crisis.
Even more pertinently, trump is not resting on his laurels, with his current pursuits being geared towards ensuring the gains made are sustainable going ahead, and even delivering more economic gains. In this case, Abramson and Ballabon observe that Trump seeks to implement structural changes entailing tax cuts for nearly all Americas, which will incentivize business investment. Through legislative efforts such as the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, Trump’s presidency may see America enter an era of sustained economic prosperity that will lift many out poverty, resuscitate the American dream, and ensure that the current assumes global economic leadership once again. The implications of the aforementioned projections for where the country is headed further underscore why Trump’s performance in terms of the economy will cement his place as one of the best presidents in the country’s history. The economic prosperity set to result from the policies pursued under the Trump administration may lead to heightened societal wellbeing.
According to Ferriss (275-280), material wellbeing has been shown to correlate with non-material wellbeing in aspects such as self-reported happiness, harmony, and other quality of life measures. As a result, the economic security set to derive from the prosperity under Trump should lead to a higher quality of life for Americans, with the non-material benefits being of particularly importance in the American context. In this case, the earlier mentioned concerns about disruptions to the American social fabric and heightened polarization may dissipate with economic security and improvements in quality of life. For instance, xenophobic and anti-immigrant sentiment often associated with high levels of unemployment would decline with the maximized employment opportunities. Moreover, economic security and prosperity may also result in a more harmonious society. Overall, these observations demonstrate the importance of the lasting achievements made by Trump in terms of the economy.
In conclusion, a clear-headed look at Trump as a president reveals that he is demonstrably a great president in spite of the concerns pertaining to societal divisions currently being witnessed. His policies in the international relations arena have not only compelled belligerent states to engage in constructive talks, but also helped prioritize American economic and security interests in line with the risks that characterize the twenty-first-century world. In less than half the length of his term in office, Trump has made significant gains in resolving the North Korea nuclearization problem, achieving a resolution that has evaded most other previous American presidencies for years. At the same time, Trump has been able to revitalize economic activity and revamp the economy in ways that have substantially reduced unemployment and led to wage growth. Sustained economic growth going into the future will lead to impressive levels of economic prosperity capable of helping address foundational societal problems such as polarization and divisiveness. Altogether, these momentous achievements within record time mean that the history books will denote Trump as an outstanding American president with few historical parallels.