Go Not Abroad In Search of Monsters To Destroy

 

In his famous address to Congress, John Quincy Adams warned that America “goes not abroad in search of monsters to destroy” but rather respects “the independence of other nations, while asserting and maintaining her own … abstaining from interference in the concerns of others.” Echoes of that statement of principle by John Quincy Adams could be heard in the speech this week to the UN General Assembly by President Trump, in which he effectively declared the end of the regime-change policy and unipolar world order which dominated the past two administrations, stating, “We do not expect diverse countries to share the same cultures, traditions, or even systems of government,” and calling for “a world of proud, independent nations that… make common cause in the greatest shared interest of all: a future of dignity and peace for the people of this wonderful Earth.” However, in the very same speech, President Trump directly contradicted himself, and literally recited a litany of no less than half a dozen “monsters to destroy,” from North Korea, to Iran, to Cuba, Venezuela, and Syria. This duality, which couldn’t be characterized as anything less than “A Tale of Two Speeches,” containing both the best and worst, is reflective of the battle now raging for the soul of this presidency. The positive elements of this speech, which very obviously reflect the inclination to work with nations such as China and Russia, must be embraced. But the other very destructive aspects must be abandoned and summarily rejected, and recognized for what they are: attempts to derail the positive potential for a new system of win-win relations by those who are geopolitically opposed to the emerging new paradigm of peace through economic development, typified by China’s New Silk Road policy.

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