Ronald Reagan talked of America being a “shining city on a hill” for other nations to emulate.
John Quincy Adams declared:
“Wherever the standard of freedom and independence has been or shall be unfurled there will America’s hearts, her benedictions, and her prayers be. But she goes not abroad in search of monsters to destroy. She is the well-wisher of the freedom and independence of all. She is the champion and vindicator only of her own.”
When the Hungarian patriot Louis Kossuth came to America seeking aid for the revolution of 1848, Henry Clay told him:
“Far better is it for ourselves, for Hungary, and for the cause of liberty, that … avoiding the distant wars of Europe, we should keep our lamp burning brightly on the western shore, as a light to all nations, than to hazard its utter extinction among the ruins of fallen or falling republics in Europe.”
The charge of “isolationist” was thrown in the face of Clay. But he prevailed, and America stayed out of Europe’s wars until 1917 when Woodrow Wilson, fatefully, plunged us in.
In 1936, FDR said, “We shun political commitments which might entangle us in foreign wars. … We are not isolationists except insofar as we seek to isolate ourselves completely from war. … I hate war.”
What Trump was saying in his inaugural is that we will offer our free and independent republic as an example to other nations, but it is not our providential mission to reshape the world in our own image.
“We will reinforce old alliances” that are in our interests, Trump declared. But we are approaching the end of an era where we fought other nations’ wars and paid other nations’ bills.
We will no longer bleed and bankrupt our country for the benefit of others. Henceforth, America will be of, by, and for Americans.
Is that not what the nation voted for?
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