Not too long ago, former French President Hollande quipped to the Polish Prime Minister: “You might have the ideals, but we have the money.” President Trump has just quipped back: “No François, I have the money.”
We could be excused for thinking our ancestors of two generations ago were philosopher-kings. From FDR through Ronald Reagan, the media narrative usually consisted of words, sometimes mixed with sound and pictures, but mostly words. Words about things related to war and economy. Nowadays, it is difficult to distinguish the political “journalism” that reported on President Trump’s visit to Brussels from the fashion journalists reporting on women’s dresses at the Cannes film festival.
Thus Americans are treated to videos and images of the President pushing Prime Ministers while everyone else (except of course the President of Poland—the press doesn’t like him either) is shown to be dignified and oh, so European. The press, of course, believes “European” is a synonym for French. The cosmopolitan Mr. and Mrs. Trump know better.
There is of course a strain of European culture that places form over content and aesthetics over philosophy. This strain of European thought is sometimes referred to as France. Yet even in this category, President Trump has Western Europe beat.
Unlike the leaders of countries like France and the Netherlands, Donald Trump brought something to Europe that Westerner Europeans have not seen in a long time: a beautiful, intelligent woman, a truly European woman, a wife, mother and embodiment of the potential success awaiting legal immigrants who work hard. The First Lady represents the typical Slavic grace and beauty of Eastern European women, and she has put her charm in the service of the United States.
Yet President Trump, being a businessman, clearly does not like to waste time, and thus while his wife ruled the arena of form, the President went straight to the content. He talked about money. Western European politicians don’t like talking about money. It reminds them of a related subject: responsibility.
Didn’t the President get the memo? Europe is busy inviting every last Muslim on the planet to please come and register for welfare in Paris. The French people recently elected a President who promised just this. Until now, there was only one barrier to this vision: Poland. The pesky Poles, with their strange ideas of Christ, self-government, and Europe defined as Christendom, continue to refuse to open their country to mass, uncontrolled Muslim migration. Western Europeans were not too bothered by this. They have long practice in ignoring, dismissing, or blowing up Poland.
However, President Trump is another thing. His NATO talk called not only for Western Europeans to pay their fair share for current defense, but to reimburse the United States for decades of American-funded defense. This is a true nightmare to the Western European elite. How will they finance their plans to accommodate even more Islamic radicals in Europe if they have to suddenly start paying for their own defense? Europe’s President Tusk tried to lighten the mood by telling the President that “they call this Tusk Tower” in reference to the little building they were in. The President was not impressed by an unelected bureaucrat who never built anything, trying to compare himself to one of the greatest real-estate developers in the world. When Mr. Tusk tried to lecture the President that he should pursue “Western values” instead of “national interest,” President Trump refrained from pointing out that a respect for national interests is inherent in “Western values.” The President treats Arab kings with billions of dollars, Israelis with nuclear weapons, and authentic spiritual leaders like the Pope with respect; unelected and pompous European administrators receive quite different treatment and rightly so.
To make matters even worse for the Western Europeans, neither Donald Trump nor Poland is going anywhere soon. Not too long ago, the former French President Hollande quipped to the Polish Prime Minister: “you might have the ideals, but we have the money.” Donald Trump has just quipped back: “No François, I have the money.”
The United States is no more leaving NATO than Poland is leaving Europe. If anything, it is France and Germany that appear to misunderstand both the idea of collective defense and of European union. The mainstream journalists share this misunderstanding—thus their misrepresentation of the President’s very successful visit.
Western Europeans are not accustomed to Polish people thinking themselves true Europeans nor to Americans requesting payment rather than financing Islamic radicalization and gay pride, both of which seem to form the core of Western European identity now. While Poles can still be ignored due to their weakness, President Trump cannot. It will take time for the message to sink in that business as usual is over. With any luck, this will happen in Western Europe sometime before it votes to become an Islamic caliphate.
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The featured image is from The White House, and is in the public domain.