It seems that every few Presidents, America is faced with an enemy that stands in direct contravention to everything we hold true.
And that President is judged by how they handle that threat.
President Franklin Roosevelt turned a blind eye to the rise of National Socialism in Germany while he befriended fascists in Italy. It was under his xenophobic policies that sent hundreds of German Jews were sent back to Europe for slaughter on the MS St. Louis.
Roosevelt’s instinctual isolationism fortunately folded to realism after Japan bombed Pearl Harbor, but not before his hesitancy to let America lead the world ended up costing millions of lives.
President Ronald Reagan faced a similar threat in the rise of the expansionist, human-rights abusing Soviet Union. Unlike FDR, he never once wavered in his vocal and tacit criticism of their expansionism and blatant disregard for human rights.
President Donald Trump now has his own geopolitical enemy to stare down.
The People’s Republic of China is currently our foremost global foe. Thus far, they have been let off the hook by the Trump administration for their myriad of human rights abuses – from not having any semblance of political freedom, to throwing millions of Muslims into concentration camps, to robbing an entirely independent people of their sovereignty in Hong Kong.
If there is a dichotomy of American global leadership by a President between FDR and Reagan, President Trump looks a lot more like Roosevelt.
In every way that President Trump has confronted China, it has been over frivolous and petty concerns like trade deficits as he effectively capitulates to the Chinese via trade wars. He wages these useless trade battles as the Chinese crack down on Hong Kong citizens protesting the communist takeover of an established democracy.
The President even went so far as to make a moral equivalence between the Chinese forces that invaded Hong Kong and the protesters who are fighting for self-governance, saying “I hope it works out for everybody, including China, by the way.”
No, Mr. President, things should not work out for China. The United States should do everything it can to help Hong Kong remain independent, short of opening a hot war against China.
On Monday, thousands of the democratic demonstrators flew the American flag in protest because Hong Kong knows what President Trump has apparently forgotten– the American flag is the international symbol that stands for freedom and self-governance. American leadership on the world stage is the last best hope for Hong Kong as they stand athwart the grand Marxist tradition of expansion and anti-sovereignty.
President Trump must warn China to stand down and let Hong Kong stay free, or face consequences as Reagan did to the USSR. He must not be FDR and let expansionism and human rights abuses by an enemy go unchecked.