‘Nationalist’ Shouldn’t Be a Dirty Word

Trump will be successful if he puts U.S. interests first—while still helping to maintain global order

President Trump discusses an executive order on trade, March 31, in front of a portrait of President Andrew Jackson, who served 1829-37.

If Donald Trump were a liberal Democrat, some of the media’s descriptions of “chaos” and “disarray” in the White House probably would be replaced with stories about “creative tension” among a “team of rivals.” As it is, the struggle between “nationalists” like Steve Bannon and “globalists” like Gary Cohn is characterized in near-apocalyptic terms. Yet as Mr. Trump told The Wall Street Journal last week, “I’m a nationalist and a globalist.” That is good news: Mr. Trump and the Republican Party should be weaving nationalist and globalist themes together rather than picking them apart.

Nationalism—the sense that Americans are bound together into a single people with a common destiny—is a noble and necessary force without which American democracy would fail. A nationalist and patriotic elite produces leaders like George Washington, who aim to promote the well-being of the country they love. An unpatriotic and antinationalist elite produces people who feather their nests without regard to the common good.

Mr. Trump is president in large part because millions of Americans, rightly or wrongly, believed that large sections of their country’s elite were no longer nationalist. Flawed he may be, but the president bears an important message, and Trump-hating elites have only themselves to blame for his ascendancy. A cosmopolitan and technocratic political class that neither speaks the language nor feels the pull of nationalist solidarity cannot successfully lead a democratic society.

The president symbolized his nationalist commitment by hanging a portrait of Andrew Jackson in a place of honor in the Oval Office. Now Mr. Trump must stay true to that commitment or he will lose his political base and American politics will spin even further off balance. But life is rarely simple. Jacksonian means will not always achieve Jacksonian goals. Sometimes, they even get in the way.

Jackson learned this when his populist fight against the Second Bank of the United States ultimately led to a depression that turned the country over to his hated Whig rivals. As Mr. Trump comes to grips with the tough international economic reality, he is realizing that not everything the Jacksonians think they want will actually help them. The president has already discovered that ripping up the North American Free Trade Agreement won’t help the middle-class voters who put him in office.

Jacksonian voters don’t want North Korea to have the ability to threaten the U.S. with nuclear weapons. They also don’t want a second Korean War. Reaching the best outcome on Korea could mean giving China a better deal on trade than many Trump voters would desire. Populists like to rail against globalization and world order. Yet the security and prosperity of the American people depend on an intricate web of military, diplomatic, political and economic arrangements that an American president must manage and conserve.

Mr. Trump is learning that some of the core goals of his Jacksonian program can be realized only by judiciously employing the global military, diplomatic and economic statesmanship associated with Alexander Hamilton. Bringing those two visions into alignment isn’t easy. Up until the Civil War, the American party system revolved around the rivalry of the Jacksonian Democrats with the Hamiltonian Whigs. Abraham Lincoln fused Jacksonian unionism with Henry Clay’s Hamiltonian vision when he created the modern Republican Party. Theodore Roosevelt and Ronald Reagan revitalized the party of their times by returning to the Jacksonian-Hamiltonian coalition that made the old party grand.

The future of the Trump administration and the Republican Party largely depend on whether the president and his allies can return to these roots. The elements of fusion are there. While Jacksonians are skeptical of corporate power and international institutions, they like economic growth that benefits the middle class, and they strongly believe in an America that stands up for itself and its allies. They are less worried about budget deficits than they are about a strong economy. If the tide is lifting the rowboats, they do not care all that much that the yachts are rising too.

For the coalition to work, Hamiltonians need to realize that the health and cohesion of American society is fundamental to the world order that allows corporations and financial firms to operate so profitably in the global market. In other words, Peoria matters much more than Davos. It was American power and will that built the present world order and ultimately must sustain it. A divided society with an eviscerated middle class cannot provide the stable, coherent leadership that is required.

The U.S. must be simultaneously a nationalist power, focused on the prosperity and security of its own people, and a globalist power working to secure the foundations of international order that Americans need. Mr. Trump appears to understand this truth better than many of his most vituperative critics. The task now confronting the president and his team is to develop and execute a national strategy based on these insights. Nothing in today’s world is harder than this, and nothing is more essential.

Mr. Mead is a fellow at the Hudson Institute, a professor of foreign affairs at Bard College, and editor at large of the American Interest.

May 2, 2017 | 29 Comments »

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29 Comments / 29 Comments

  1. @ Edgar G.:
    Maybe that’s where the New Yorker cartoonist got the idea? Or coincidence, which happens.







  2. @ yamit82:
    But, here’s the thing. He’s the one who predicted what war would be like in the future. He’s the one who came up with the idea of blitzkrieg — we call it “shock and awe.” He’s the one who said the next war would center around tanks and planes which were marginal in WWI, and that fixed emplacements like the Maginot line were obsolete. Nobody listened to him. Except the Germans, who took his advice.

    He’s the one who predicted the future army would be small, mobile and professional, — as it is today.

    He was a schmuck. But, he was a learned schmuck. And, anyway, he only became a schmuck at the end. Marine Le Pen is wrong when she says France is not responsible. Not only because of the actions of the Vichy government, but because the Vichy government was the legal heir to the previous republic. Lavalle got the French parliament to give Petain their rubber stamp just before the invasion — it doesn’t matter that he employed threats. Hitler did the same thing after the Reichstag Fire, he got the Parliament to vote him termporary emergency absolute powers to be returned at his discretion, making him the legal heir to the republic, and making Republican Germany legally responsible for the Shoah, as Republican France was legally responsible for the Shoah. De Gaulle, who had always been on the outs with the rest of the General Staff, revolted, fled to the N. African colonies and unilaterally declared an alternate France, a Free France, unilaterally based in England and the N. African French Colonies which were split in their allegiance, some to Vichy and Some to De Gaulle. Ze man had balls when eet counted. Except after he lost Algeria, and he decided to throw us under the bus and suck up to the arabs, when he just became a prick.

    So, he gets a mixed review. Great strategist though. Worth reading. And, Trump is a TR fan so the first half of the 20th C is his meat or his metier, shall we say.

  3. Philippe Said:

    Le patriotisme c’est aimer son pays ; le nationalisme c’ est détester les autres , Jean Rostant

    Le patriotisme c’ est l’ amour des siens , le nationalisme c’ est la haine des autres , Romain Gary

    La vie est la vie , autrement dit un combat pour une nation comme pour un homme , Charles de Gaulle

    Patriotism means loving one’s country; The nationalism is to hate the others, Jean Rostant

    Patriotism is the love of his people, nationalism is the hatred of others, Romain Gary

    Life is life, in other words a struggle for a nation as for a man, Charles de Gaulle

    I disagree with the above quotes and as for de Gaulle? A pompous AH who destroyed France. deGaulle loved de Gaulle above all else.

  4. Philippe Said:

    “Trump should learn a few french and read de Gaulle books.”

    What makes you think he hasn’t, at least in translation?

    Two most salient in de Gaulle’s long and distinguished bibliography as an author*:

    “Vers l’armée de métier

    (translated as: The Army of the Future)

    Berger-Levrault, 1934 (1st edition),

    Plon, 1971

    This extraordinary book enjoyed only a brief initial success in France but, by his own account, inspired General Guderian, the founder of Germany’s mechanized armed forces.

    Le Fil de l’épée

    (translated as: The Edge of the Sword)

    Berger-Levrault, 1932 (1st edition),

    Plon, 1971

    Le Fil de l’épée, first published in 1932, is one of De Gaulle’s most famous works. Long before his rendezvous with history, the future General de Gaulle sets out the ideas to which he was to adhere throughout his life: on the contingency proper to each action, on the attitude of the man of character, on the role of prestige in the art of command, or on the relations between the politician and the soldier.


    * Not that it detracts one whit from the fact that he deserves to rot in hell for the next ten thousand life times for siding with the Arabs against Israel at the end, the anti-semitic low-life salaud!

    In trying to find an article mentioning whether Trump read de Gaulle, I found this interesting speculation comparing the two by someone who is clearly not a fan:


    What is the name of Trump’s first autobiography? “The Art of the Deal.”

    “8. All warfare is based on deception.

    19. Hence, when able to attack, we must seem unable; when using our forces, we must seem inactive; when we are near, we must make the enemy believe we are far away; when far away, we must make him believe we are near.

    20. Hold out baits to entice the enemy. Feign disorder, and crush him.

    21. If he is secure at all points, be prepared for him. If he is in superior strength, evade him.

    22. If your opponent is of choleric temper, seek to irritate him. Pretend to be weak, that he may grow arrogant.

    23. If he is taking his ease, give him no rest. If his forces are united, separate them.

    24. Attack him where he is unprepared, appear where you are not expected.

    25. These military devices, leading to victory, must not be divulged beforehand.

    26. Now the general who wins a battle makes many calculations in his temple ere the battle is fought. The general who loses a battle makes but few calculations beforehand. Thus do many calculations lead to victory, and few calculations to defeat: how much more no calculation at all! It is by attention to this point that I can foresee who is likely to win or lose…”

    from “The Art of War” by Sun Tzu

    “The Art of War is an ancient Chinese military treatise dating from the 5th century BC. Attributed to the ancient Chinese military strategist Sun Tzu (“Master Sun”, also spelled Sunzi) the text is composed of 13 chapters, each of which is devoted to one aspect of warfare. It is commonly thought of as a definitive work on military strategy and tactics. It was placed at the head of China’s Seven Military Classics upon the collection’s creation in 1080 by Emperor Shenzong of Song, and has long been the most influential strategy text in East Asia.[1] It has had an influence on Eastern and Western military thinking, business tactics, legal strategy and beyond.

    “The Art of War

    By Sun Tzu

    Translated by Lionel Giles


    The book was first translated into French in 1772 by the Jesuit Jean Joseph Marie Amiot and a partial translation into English was attempted by British officer Everard Ferguson Calthrop in 1905. The first annotated English translation was completed and published by Lionel Giles in 1910.[2] Leaders such as Mao Zedong, General Võ Nguyên Giáp, General Douglas MacArthur and leaders of Imperial Japan have drawn inspiration from the work.”

    ““It is a chess game. I just don’t want people to know what my thinking is. ”

    Maybe, he slipped and said too much there. Maybe not. He can’t have people too sure he’s an idiot either.

    from “Trump is not ruling out military action against North Korea”
    By Kristine Phillips April 30 ”


    “Trump doesn’t have time to read — but if you do, here’s what he recommends ”
    By Philip Bump March 17

    Ha Ha Ha. Can I interest anybody in a bridge? I can offer you a great price!
    I see he included one real historical work in the list, so you wouldn’t think, “naaaa, this is too dumb to be true.”


  5. @ Philippe:

    “Patriotism means loving one’s country; The nationalism is to hate the others, Jean Rostant

    Patriotism is the love of his people, nationalism is the hatred of others, Romain Gary

    @ :
    “At the risk of seeming ridiculous, let me say that the true revolutionary is guided by a great feeling of love. It is impossible to think of a genuine revolutionary lacking this quality.” Ernesto Che Guevara”

    [And David Duke has said publicly in recent years that he doesn’t hate anybody, he just loves his own people.”]

    Ha Ha. So much for the “love” argument. Maybe President Trump would be better off thinking in terms of “luv.” That’s what I want from a President anyway. And he seems to be on that page. I just wish he would let go of the TSS and designate the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist organization already, not to mention freeing Pollard. Aaarrghh.

    “Sex as a Sublimation for Tennis: From the Secret Writings of Freud Paperback – January 5, 1985
    by Theodor Saretsky Ph.D. (Author)”

    “From the Back Cover
    If you’re a normal, red-blooded American, you prefer tennis to sex-and Freud always knew you’d come to consider the size of the racket more important than the size of anything else. The famous doctor suppressed his findings because of a morbid fear of white shorts, but now his secret papers have been discovered. This book explains the conclusions he hid and reveals man’s true basic drive: getting a court in prime time.

    Complete with case studies, photographs, personal correspondence and seminal doodles.

    Theodor Saretsky, Ph.D., is a training analyst and clinical professor at the Postdoctoral Institute, Adelphi University. He doesn’t win at tournaments, but he doesn’t feel guilty.”


  6. @ Philippe:

    “Patriotism means loving one’s country; The nationalism is to hate the others, Jean Rostant

    Patriotism is the love of his people, nationalism is the hatred of others, Romain Gary

    Life is life, in other words a struggle for a nation as for a man, Charles de Gaulle””

    Romain Gary was also a famous Litvak. I copied what you wrote and pasted it into google translate and voila. And I have a joke about that, that I came up with quite a while back.

    To whit:

    One of the most humiliating moments moments of my life was my going to Paris when I was 17, after four years of French and a conversational class at the Alliance Francaise, and people saw me struggling so hard to communicate that they took pity on me and spoke English.

    But, you know, I’ve lived in upper Manhattan all my life, where many people speak Spanish as their first language or their second language or their only language! And, people appreciate it if you can say even one or two words in their language, “hello,” “goodbye,” “Thank you,” “your welcome;” so sometimes logic can fill in where memory fails.

    So, I know that “ciao” in Italian, pronounced, “chow,” in English, means an informal goodbye, “au revoir,” seeya, and I know that Comidas in Spanish, means lunch, dinner, a meal or “chow” in American English. So, when I leave a room, I wave gaily, and I sing out, “Comidas!” I think people appreciate that

    But, many people, particularly Europeans, think Americans are either stupid or arrogant, or both. Here we have this big country with people from all over the world, and most of us only speak one language. People come here from these ethnically homogenous little countries speaking 5, 6 languages. What’s up with that, right?

    Well, I think it has to do with the fact that they don’t teach us our first foreign language until high school and it’s often one that nobody in the vicinity speaks, anyhow, or if they do, it’s a well-educated group that speaks English, as well.

    But, you know, I think, maybe our greatest weakness is really our greatest strength. We Americans are such a big-hearted people. Here, all the ATMs are in 16 languages, we give drivers licenses to people who sneak in and call them “undocumented” like they just just lost their papers behind the couch or something. We risk and sacrifice our lives, going into serious debt to rescue other countries on request — do we make them pay for it? Noooo,* and then when they get mad at us, we retreat and beat ourselves up for being such a bad, bad people for the next 50 years. And then we do it again. And again. And again. But, you know,I think if we understood even a fraction of what people were saying about us in their own languages, we’d be in a really bad mood.

    Case in point, I played a gig in a Ukrainian church on Long Island, I think, a few years ago. String Quartet. They graciously invited us to enjoy their largely vegetarian banquet — they have some of the most delicious vegetarian food in the world; in the 80s, I would travel 2 hours on the subway from West Harlem to Veselka’s in the East Village at 3 in the morning only to find myself sitting next to somebody who made the same journey from Queens in response to the same universal and ageless existential craving for the nocturnal Pierogi fix, as all of the great poets have waxed rhapsodical about since the dawn of time — or would have if they had any sense of aesthetic priorities at all!

    And, not only that, but such a nicely put on children’s play. A medieval Christmas pageant, complete with soldiers and a Jew, in traditional garb, with horns. Yes, you heard right. Horns. Could that have anything to do with why there seem to be so few Jewish brass players?

    I turned, once we were out of there, to the cellist, she was German-Jewish-American, and said, “you know, it’s times like this, I’m filled with a sense of gratitude THAT I DON’T SPEAK A WORD Of UKRAINIAN!

    Excuse moi, maintentant.

    It’s Freedom Fries time.**

    * Japan does pay it’s way and I just read today that a Japanese warship is protecting some of our assets for the first time.

    ** I also sacrificed when President Bush called on us to reward France for abandoning us when we fought the good fight in Iraq and Afghanistan. I gave up Boucheron de Chevre! I don’t want to go through days like that again.

  7. xx

    Sorry Ted….. then it was YOUR snoring that was shaking the walls of the hotel I stayed in last night………

    I can assume then that it’s only the poster who sees the “moderation” and the other posts immediately after mine were also in moderation but I was not able to see them….

  8. @ Edgar G.:
    I am the only one that can take it out of moderation but I can’t do it when I am sleeping.

    I expect to go live with the redesigned site in 2 or 3 days. Hopefully this won’t be a problem then

  9. @ honeybee:
    I asked you to do WHAT?

    Inasmuch as I like you, and that I like SZ, why in hell would I counsel you not to respond to his comments?

    Besides, Ted wouldn’t would shut off my comments on Israpundit if he thought I were trying to silence other commenters. I’m not a believer in the theory and practice of democracy, but I think that Ted is, and Israpundit is strictly his show to run as he sees fit.

    SZ, I like your jokes just fine. All the rest of us take ourselves too seriously.

    Arnold Harris, Outspeaker

  10. xx
    There are ELEVEN comments on this article. Mine is # SEVEN, posted HOURS ago, yet it alone is STILL in moderation.

    I suppose this “moderation” protest will be stuck in moderation also for hours.

  11. Le patriotisme c’est aimer son pays ; le nationalisme c’ est détester les autres , Jean Rostant

    Le patriotisme c’ est l’ amour des siens , le nationalisme c’ est la haine des autres , Romain Gary

    La vie est la vie , autrement dit un combat pour une nation comme pour un homme , Charles de Gaulle

    Trump should learn a few french and read de Gaulle books.

  12. Sebastien Zorn Said:

    in which the radio meterologist sits at a desk in front of a microphone next to a wall covered with sophisticated looking electronic equipment and his bare foot out the window. So, to repeat but more succinctly:


    During one VERY rainy summer i the late 1940s, in the very popular publication of many years ago, “The Dublin Opinion” there was a sketch of the Observatory at Dunsink, from where the daily weather reports came, and the reports were invariably WRONG. . “The Opinion” was like “Punch”-only more topical and much better. It showed the “Meteorologist” in the process of compiling his daily report with a large glass of Guinness .in his left hand, a pen in his right, shout out to his assistant in the next room;

    “Hey there Mullarkey are ye shure ye’er bunions is achin’…”

  13. @ birdalone:
    Actually, two:

    MAY 17, 2016


    APRIL 21, 2016

    “Why Donald Trump is the Heifetz of our time.”

    “He holds the Bible high and then he goes down, he puts the Bible down, and then he lies.” – Donald Trump on Ted Cruz”

    “…Incidentally, the poem about Trump was inspired by watching the talking heads on so-called News Shows like MSNBC, CNN, Fox News, who act as though they are providing information and reliable predictions and they wind up not even making sense when they try to connect the dots. They remind me of the classic New Yorker cartoon, in which the radio meterologist sits at a desk in front of a microphone next to a wall covered with sophisticated looking electronic equipment and his bare foot out the window. So, to repeat but more succinctly:

    Why Donald Trump is the Heifetz of our Time

    Donald Trump employs rhyme. Rap employs rhyme. Therefore Donald Trump is a rapper. Rap is really poetry, but this not being Russia where Poets are cool but America where poets are nerds and geeks but musicians are cool, Rap is classified as music. Therefore, Rap is classical music. Therefore Donald Trump is a classical musician. Heifetz was a classical musician. Therefore Donald Trump is Heifetz. If you are reading this, I am wasting not only my time, but yours as well. Therefore, I am wasting our time. Therefore Donald Trump is the Heifetz of our Time.””


  14. @ birdalone:

    I came up with a joke about that last year:

    “When in North America…”
    MAY 31, 2016

    “Here’s another example of Marx’s tweak of Hegel’s dictum: History repeats itself, that it repeats itself but the first time as tragedy, the second time as farce. He was referring to the two Napoleons, but we had our own tragedy and farce sequence starting around that time.

    At the end of the Civil War, the leading Black abolitionist, Frederick Douglass and the leading Suffragettes of the time, Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton argued with each other in print , with Douglass arguing for the 14th and 15th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution granting Black men the vote and guaranteeing their civil rights.

    Stanton and Anthony opposed them on the grounds that they excluded women (who got the vote in 1924, the same year American Indians got citizenship, and the defacto Equal Rights Amendment for women was to be the Civil Rights Act of 1965.]

    Fast forward to 2015 and 2016. There was a recent push to remove Andrew Jackson from the money and put on Harriet Tubmann.* And a lot of controversy and commentary. But, it went largely unremarked when it was reported last year that the Fed was going to take Alexander Hamilton off the money and put on a woman, but they didn’t know who.

    So, just as the first Black President leaves office and quite possible the first woman President takes office, they were going to take the Black Founding Father* off the money and put on a woman but they didn’t know who. So, now the question became one of who?

    Well, I remember taking a Marshall McCluhan** – oriented English class in high school in the ‘70s and Miss Davids, our teacher, told us that the reason we put our cultural icons on our stamps is that this is who we identify with as a people.


    So, now the question becomes who do we identify with as a people. I realized just how culturally balkanized we have become when upon dropping my cane, and making a joke about having a kind of “Cane Mutiny,” a twenty-something (or is that already passe, before it was twentyish, as in “Funny you don’t look twentyish, presumably) guy from the neighborhood was not only clueless about Pitcairn Island, and old movies, BUT he had never heard of Marlon Brando!!

    Well, I asked around, with the exception of a young female bartender recently arrived from Russia, I found we all have one thing in common.


    No, not the missing link.

    “I Love Lucy.” I have never met anyone of any age or background who was unfamiliar with “I Love Lucy.” But, then somebody said, “but what about McDonalds?”

    And, you know? I realized that was true. Everybody does know McDonalds*. And, come to think of it, Lucy and Ronald McDonald, in addition to both being clowns, look kind of similar, with the bright red short hair and lipstick.

    So, we could put Lucy on side and Ronald on the other. Hey, the Canadians put cute animals on their money.

    When in North America…

    Except my mother who proudly proclaimed that in those World War Two movies where American sentries ask baseball scores of unknown American soldiers to make sure they weren’t German spies, she would certainly have been shot. It ain’t refined.

    Hamilton, who was almost certainly part Black (which, since we don’t have a mixed-race category is seen as Black here (now with pride, though once it was as in “Showboat” *** — hence the all- (now mostly)** Black Hip-Hop musical of his life. He was from the West Indies. Among his other achievements, he founded the NY Post whose masthead no doubt originally read, “It’s All Good.” As opposed to the NY Times’ Procrustean proclamation: “All the news that fits we print.”


    ** Reverse PC: Somebody sued claiming it was racist to only have Black actors. Reminds me of how tolls became free going from New York into New Jersey. Somebody sued, claiming that they were being prevented from leaving NY.

    *** Alexander Pushkin, Russian’s national poet who lived in the 18th Century was also Black (as we figure these things — the son of a Russian princess and an African prince. I once took a bartending course and the instructor said, “I am now going to teach you how to make a Black Russian .” “Of course, he added, “there is no such thing as a Black Russian. I nearly raised my hand and said, “Well, actually….”


  15. Why, why, why do we keep referring to these slimy Limy poms* as our “allies?” In what sense, for heaven’s sake!
    “UK can no longer rely on US leadership over Middle East
    In light of US President Trump’s positions on issues related to the Arab-Israeli conflict, Britain ‘can no longer assume America will set the tone for the West’s relationship with the Middle East’; the report calls on the government to ensure that the nuclear agreement with Iran remains in effect.
    Reuters|Published: 02.05.17 , 08:57”

    “House of Lords Urging Anti-Trump Revolt, Palestinian State
    By David Israel – 6 Iyyar 5777 – May 2, 2017 ”


    * Handy resource: List of ethnic slurs by ethnicity

  16. So many technocrats who do not even know Alexander Hamilton was NOT a rapper from Brooklyn…

    Best insight:

    A cosmopolitan and technocratic political class that neither speaks the language nor feels the pull of nationalist solidarity cannot successfully lead a democratic society.

    Will this Jacksonian-Hamiltonian fusion cut through the cosmopolitan anarchy in the streets?