Thursday Opinion

Read Jeff Jacoby, Veronique de Rugy, Ed Feulner, Hans von Spakovsky, Joe Bastardi and more.

May 17, 2018

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Opinion in Brief

Jeff Jacoby: “Since the election of Donald Trump on an explicit ‘America First’ platform, the number of Democrats saying the United States is doing too little to better the world has more than doubled, from 22 percent to 48 percent. Of course it is risky to read too much into public-opinion soundings. Still, Americans … do seem once again to be rediscovering the hard truth that, in world affairs, the United States is irreplaceable. As long as the United States remains the world’s most powerful democracy, it cannot safely shirk the job of global policeman — deterring aggression, upholding the rule of law, defending human rights. When it tries to do so, the planet’s worst actors are emboldened. Americans have changed their mind about Bush. Ten years after he left the White House, a majority now approve of the job he did as president, and his favorability rating has climbed above 60 percent. But Bush’s views haven’t changed. In a speech last week, he reiterated the case for U.S. leadership. ‘America is indispensable for the world,’ said the former president. ‘The dangers of isolation loom.’ He quoted Churchill’s admonition that, as the foremost nation on earth, America could not avoid being ‘convulsed’ by the world’s problems: ‘The price of greatness is responsibility.’ Americans cannot right every wrong, and we have not always acted with prudence. Nevertheless, the world needs a policeman, and there is no realistic candidate for that job except the United States. Retreating into isolation may sound appealing; the results are invariably awful. Americans sometimes forget that lesson, until reality re-teaches it the hard way.”

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