Fresh off a surprise ballot-box victory in November that stunned pundits and pollsters back home, and by turns baffled and enraged his Democratic opponents, a newly re-elected President Trump accepted the Nobel Peace Prize Thursday in the Norwegian capital.
The Norwegian Committee awarded the prize to the 45th president for his role in brokering the historic normalization of relations between Israel and the United Arab Emirates in August — and, “more generally, for not launching idiotic invasions, not drawing the United States into bloody quagmires and not ponderously lecturing other countries about liberal democracy.” (The language of the award citation was unusually blunt; then again, these are unusual times.)
For his part, Trump used his Nobel Lecture to remind the gathered dignitaries that his “America First” posture — emphasizing national sovereignty and the well-being of the American working class — had paradoxically proved more conducive to stability and world peace than had the high-minded “democratization” and “liberal-world-order” vision that had long animated America’s post-Cold War strategy.
Without mentioning Presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush, Trump archly hinted that “some American leaders of the past” had made catastrophic mistakes that, among other things, “alienated reliable American allies, gave succor to our enemies and plunged much of the Middle East and North Africa into civil war and disorder.”
The “Arab Spring, mindlessly supported by many in the American elite,” Trump said, had “empowered radical nonstate actors like the Muslim Brotherhood and Islamic State” and resulted in the “utter decimation” of the region’s indigenous Christian communities.
He added that the “American opinion class had cheered the regional ferment from the safety of their luxe apartments in Dupont Circle and Midtown Manhattan, while millions of actual Middle Easterners had paid the price in the form of failed states, civil wars and the world’s largest refugee crisis since World War II.”
The president went on to lay out his own achievements by contrast.
“During my first term,” the president noted, “America didn’t devote precious blood and treasure to foolish attempts to remake other societies in her own image or in the image of ‘Davos Man.’ American might didn’t sway to the false promise of globalism” — but marched to the “sound and steady rhythm” of “American national interest.”
The Trump administration “dealt with the world as it really is,” he added, “rather than as we might have wished it to be.”
In practice, that meant “dispensing with the fictions that had long deluded American power,” he said. “We recognized, for example, that Jerusalem is and will remain the enduring capital of the Jewish state” — and while “many, many predicted that doing so would set the region on fire, nothing of the sort transpired.”
At the same time, “we also recognized that if there is any hope of stabilizing the Middle East, it lies in strengthening the Arab state system, rather than having America’s sons and daughters patrol shattered streets and fraught ethnic and sectarian fault lines in Iraq and Syria.”
His policy, the president said, had put Washington on the path to permanently reducing its footprint in the Middle East, while remaining vigilant against the Tehran regime — including by “raining death from the skies on terror masters like Gen. Qassem Soleimani.” Here, the president appeared to momentarily veer off script: “Soleimani? You won’t hear from him no more.” (Outgoing German Chancellor Angela Merkel was seen shaking her head.)
None of this is true, of course, nor will any of it ever transpire. But it would be true if there were any justice in global affairs — or at least, if good sense reigned among the men and women who preemptively awarded a Peace Prize to Obama.
Sohrab Ahmari is The Post’s op-ed editor and author of the forthcoming book “The Unbroken Thread: Discovering the Wisdom of Tradition in an Age of Chaos.”