Trump’s Warsaw speech was the antithesis to the fallacious, appeasing lecture Obama gave in Cairo

Trump’s Warsaw speech was the antithesis to the fallacious, appeasing lecture Obama gave in Cairo, by Victor David Hanson.

About five months after the inauguration of Barack Obama, the president gave a strange address in Cairo. The speech was apparently designed to win over the Muslim world and set Obama apart from the supposed Western chauvinism of the prior and much caricatured George W. Bush administration.

Obama started off by framing past and present tensions between Muslims and the West largely in the context of explicit and implied Western culpability: past European colonialism, and the moral equivalence of the Cold War and disruptive Westernized globalization. …

Obama nobly lied that Islam had been “paving the way” for the West’s Renaissance and Enlightenment (neither claim was remotely true). Equally fallacious was Obama’s additional yarn that Muslim Cordoba was a paragon of religious tolerance during the Spanish Inquisition (it had been liberated by the Reconquista Christian forces nearly 250 years before the beginning of the Inquisition, and by 1478 few Muslims were left in the city).

The message — its veracity was irrelevant — was that a humble and multicultural Barack Hussein Obama alone had the historical insight and cultural background and authenticity that would allow him to serve as a bridge to peace between two morally equivalent rivals.

Trump also gave an important foreign speech a few months after assuming office:

Donald Trump’s speech in Poland was an implicit corrective to Barack Obama’s Cairo speech. Whereas Obama had blamed the West for many of Islam’s dilemmas, Trump praised the singular history and culture of the West. …

Whereas Obama listed supposed cultural achievements of Islam (most of them of dubious historicity), Trump rattled off examples of Western exceptionalism, its unmatched culture, values, and concrete achievements, all of them persuasive …

It never would occur to Obama that immigration (a concrete arbiter of culture) is a one-way pathway for a reason. Muslims seek out Europe and the United States to relocate, not vice versa. Immigrants seek to live among non-Muslims rather than with only Muslims — again, for a reason.

The world outside the West depends on Western-driven technology — again, not the other way around. The top 20 universities in the world are not in the Middle East, Africa, China, or Latin America. Western influence that transcends its population and geography is the logical result of a system that promotes self-criticism and rationalism, free expression, market capitalism, the rule of law, and consensual government rather than gender apartheid, tribalism, autocracy, statism, and religious intolerance.

There is again a reason why there is not a single church in Riyadh but plenty of mosques in the West, and why blasphemy or being gay can get you killed in Iran but not in Dayton, Ohio. Muslims can walk into the Vatican; not so Christians into Mecca. …

Trump wants to turn the West from its current path:

Trump is president at a time when only about 63 percent of the American work force is employed. Entitlements are at unprecedented levels and are increasingly divorced from demonstration of undeniable need. Fury breaks out not from cutbacks in largess, but from modest decreases in promised but unsustainable increases. …

In a world of Facebook and Google, why would a U.S. Ranger be admired for his physical strength and elemental courage? And in a Western world where the government declares it is not just the arbiter of fairness but also the deliverer of equal results, what corner of life is left untouched from the all-powerful and moralistic state?

The billionaire, thrice-married, and creature-of-luxury Donald Trump, in his 70th year, was warning the West in Poland that precisely because it is very rich, extremely wealthy, singularly leisured, and technologically sophisticated, it faces the most peril — amid failed enemies who hate those who are more successful for encouraging their own taboo desires for something that they cannot create.

In sum, Trump’s anti-Cairo message is that only a disciplined, strong West — confident in its past and sure of its present success — will deter enemies, appeal to neutrals, and keep friends. Trump should not have had a need to deliver such a self-evident but now rare message. That he alone had the courage to state the obvious — and was criticized for doing so — reminds us that the corrective to our Western malady is seen as the problem, not the cure.