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Editorial: Trump must not forget the spirit of the founding fathers

The inaugural address of President Donald Trump amounted to the abandonment of the spirit of America’s founding fathers and his stepping down as the world’s leader. Both the United States and the international community are facing a major turning point.


The speech basically echoed what he had been saying during the election campaign. What he failed to say is perhaps more significant than what he actually said.


Trump talked about “uniting the civilized world against radical Islamic terrorism.” That was about the only passage befitting a U.S. president leading the postwar international community.


On the other hand, he kept saying the U.S. sacrificed its own interest for the sake of the world.


He also declared uncompromising “America first” trade and foreign policies. This amounted to a declaration of the end of Pax Americana.


The United States is a great nation not only because of its overwhelming economic and military power, but also because it possesses unrivalled soft power.


In addition to the basic national policies of democracy, respect for human rights, and the rule of law, common values it shares with allies and friends all over the world, America is open to immigrants, tolerant of diversity, and honest.


The United States of America has nurtured these values since its founding in 1776.


It is the country that accepts the largest number of foreign students in the world. It receives over 1 million immigrants each year.


In their inaugural addresses, past presidents had referred to the spirit of the founding fathers and expounded on their ideals.


Yet there was no mention of this at all in Trump’s speech. This is anomalous, even for Trump, whose behavior so far has reflected contempt for American values.


The U.S.’s leadership will be weakened if the spirit of the founding fathers loses its vitality.


Not only that. When ideals lose their power, national unity will be undermined and both the state and the people will only pursue their own interests.


As a matter of fact, Trump intends to conduct “deal diplomacy,” which only pursues immediate gains. Ideals are probably not necessary for calculating profits and losses.


However, self-discipline is required of a major power. Selfish behavior will cause unnecessary frictions and destabilize the international order.


The “America first” doctrine will not only transform America; it may also sow seeds of conflict in the world. (Abridged)

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