Trump’s welcome restatement of core western values

Morning View
Morning View

Donald Trump’s reaffirmation of his commitment to Nato and western values yesterday was welcome.

It ought to go without saying that a president of the United States would not only embrace such things, but would provide leadership in them.

But Mr Trump’s presidency has been every bit as unconventional and unpredictable as anyone might have expected when he entered the White House in January.

Even aside from the controversies over Russian links, Mr Trump was openly advocating better relations with Moscow.

Most troubling of all has been his apparent ambivalence about Nato, upon which so much depends, including, ultimately, the security of the United Kingdom.

In his speech in Poland yesterday, Mr Trump praised the Poles for their resilience against threats such as Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union. He also praised them for meeting their security target by being one of the Nato countries (like the UK) that spends at least 2% of GDP on defence.

Mr Trump has been justifiably upset at the failure of other members to meet that target.

It was further welcome to hear him contrast the beliefs of extremists – who are overwhelmingly Islamic fanatics – and the values of liberal democracies. Whether that justifies his travel ban is another matter.

The president will, like all leaders, have had assistance in compiling such a major speech, so it is no guarantee that he will not continue to say apparently contradictory things.

Even so, the fact that the leader of America has restated these core values is a good thing. It is good for the UK, which has long been resolute on these principle, and for the world.

Meanwhile, the world faces huge challenges. The foremost of them is perhaps the perilous situation in North Korea.

Mr Trump referred to that danger yesterday. He will need to consult widely among America’s brightest foreign policy brains on how to navigate that political minefield.