America Being America

International observers have looked with dismay on the 2016 Presidential election, often for good reason. But David Goldman offers a rebuttal. He observes that Trump’s victory “is not strictly speaking a Republican victory. The self-appointed guardians of Republican ideology for the most part supported Clinton or sat the race out. George Bush, father and son, reportedly left their presidential ballots blank.”

He thinks it’s a victory for the American spirit, “a triumph for America’s risk-friendliness and willingness to adapt, experiment and tinker.” He doesn’t think it any “reason for America’s partners or competitors to panic. America, after all, is just being America.”

America was being America in its relative indifference to the world outside: America “has very little interest in what happens an ocean away from its coasts, and under a Trump presidency will be less inclined to meddle overseas. I expect that Trump will throw more resources into a rebuilt military and (especially) military technology, something that Moscow and Beijing might not like but which does not by itself portend any sort of confrontation.”

Those traits have their upsides and their downsides, but Goldman is right: We’ve always been a bumptious presence in the world. It’s America being America.

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