Bill Carmichael: Donald Trump keeping his promises over foreign policy

Donald Trump has taken America out of the Iranian nuclear deal
Donald Trump has taken America out of the Iranian nuclear deal
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It is now almost 16 months since the inauguration of Donald Trump as the 45th President of the United States and – love him or loathe him – three things are becoming clearer by the day.

Firstly, unlike most politicians, Donald Trump keeps his promises. A prime example of this is his campaign pledge to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

Pretty much every presidential hopeful has made exactly the same pledge, but every single one, including Bill Clinton, George W Bush and Barack Obama, promptly broke the promise once they gained office. Not Trump. Instead he did exactly what he said he would do, and next week the new US embassy opens in Jerusalem. Job done. Promise kept.

Secondly, Trump has a tendency to be proved right – particularly at times when perceived wisdom proclaims he is getting it badly wrong. Take, for example, relations with nuclear-armed North Korea and the volatile dictator Kim Jong-un. Years of diplomacy by the smooth and sophisticated Barack Obama achieved precisely nothing except to encourage North Korean aggression and the development of missiles that could deliver nuclear warheads to Japan and even US territory.

In comes Trump with a much rougher approach to foreign relations, ridiculously boasting he had a “bigger nuclear button” that the North Korean leader and describing him dismissively as the “little rocket man”.

The diplomatic establishment threw up their hands in horror and pundits warned that Trump was dragging the world to the brink of a nuclear war. In fact precisely the opposite happened – there has been a remarkable thawing of relations between the two Koreas and a radical de-escalation of the nuclear sabre-rattling.

Last month the two sides agreed to pursue a peace treaty and Kim Jong-un became the first North Korean leader to set foot inside South Korea. Only this week North Korea released three American detainees in preparation of a meeting between Trump and the North Korean leader. This is an astonishing turn around, and if Trump succeeds in removing the threat of nuclear war from the region he will be a more worthy recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize than Obama ever was.

The third thing about Trump is that he has the knack of upsetting precisely the right sort of people who then get so angry they make utter fools of themselves.

Take, for example, Trump’s comments last week that violent crime had left one London hospital like a “war zone” with “blood all over the floors”.

Cue the predictable confected outrage with commentators accusing Trump of blind ignorance with no idea of the true picture in the UK.

Let’s put aside the fact that the comparison of a hospital to an Afghan war zone was originally made by a London doctor, who you might think would know what he is talking about, but what happened next was instructive.

We experienced a Bank Holiday weekend of such bloody mayhem that the incidents, both in London and elsewhere in the UK, are simply too numerous to list here. Suffice it to say there were dozens of shootings, stabbings, machete attacks and acid attacks.

Trump’s language may be colourful, but can anyone seriously challenge his central point that the UK, with its rocketing levels of violent crime, is proof positive that tough gun control laws do not guarantee more peaceful societies?

So what are we to make of Trump’s decision this week, fiercely criticised in European capitals, including London, to abandon the nuclear deal with Iran signed by Obama in 2015?

On one level it is yet another promise kept. Trump was consistent on the campaign trial that he believed the Iran deal was a disaster for the West and he would rip it up if he gained power.

Almost 63 million Americans voted for that and Trump has kept faith with his supporters and delivered on his pledge.

And let us not get too starry-eyed about the bigots who run Iran, who combine brutal repression at home with the promotion of terrorism overseas.

The thought of these notorious anti-Semites developing deliverable nuclear weapons chills the blood.

Of course the diplomatic experts say Trump is making a mistake over repudiating the Iran deal. The problem is these are the same experts who said he was making a mistake over North Korea.

If Trump succeeds in hampering the Iranian nuclear programme and challenging Iranian aggression the world may in a few years come to thank him.