Mountain Views News, Sierra Madre Edition [Pasadena] Saturday, September 23, 2017

MVNews this week:  Page B:3



 Mountain Views News Saturday, September 23, 2017 


Mountain Views



Susan Henderson


Dean Lee 


Joan Schmidt


LaQuetta Shamblee


Richard Garcia


Patricia Colonello




John Aveny 


Kevin Barry


Chris Leclerc

Bob Eklund

Howard Hays

Paul Carpenter

Kim Clymer-Kelley

Christopher Nyerges

Peter Dills 

Rich Johnson

Merri Jill Finstrom

Rev. James Snyder

Dr. Tina Paul

Katie Hopkins

Deanne Davis

Despina Arouzman

Renee Quenell

Marc Garlett

Keely Toten


Presidential addresses to the United Nations General Assembly 
don’t get a lot of press here at home, but they do matter to 
listeners around the world. And those who heard President 
Trump’s first such address earlier this week may have noticed 
one concept repeated throughout: sovereignty.

 Most American high school students learn about sovereignty in the domestic 
context: popular sovereignty, or the notion that power rests with the people, is one 
of our political system’s most admirable and distinguishing features. In international 
relations parlance however, a country is considered ‘sovereign’ if it has control over its 
own land.

 Sovereignty gained traction as a guiding principle in the international system in 
the mid-1600s as ‘nation-states’ - political units matching peoples and contiguous 
territories - began asserting authority against empires, religious authorities, and royal 
families. (This was first possible only in Europe; colonized peoples around the world 
had to fight much harder and longer for control of their own destinies.)

 Simplified history aside, this all sounds like a good thing. Countries should be in 
charge of themselves, free from foreign influence and external machinations. So what’s 
wrong with President Trump repeating that during his big speech? The devil here is in 
the context. President Trump’s repeated invoking of ‘sovereignty’ came across like a 
dogwhistle - a wink to authoritarian regimes and a warning the rest of the world.

 One problem with talking about sovereignty today is that authoritarian regimes use 
the same concept to nefarious ends. China, for example, rejects criticism of its human 
rights record in the name of sovereignty - think “what we do to our political prisoners 
is none of your business.” And Russia talks about sovereignty to justify its annexation 
of Crimea, claiming that the Ukrainians who live there are really Russians who want to 
be ruled as such (though they aren’t, and they don’t).

 These countries have also used sovereignty as an excuse to stop international action 
in crises where leaders are massacring their own people, including when they want 
those same leaders staying in power (e.g. Russia, which benefits from Bashar Al-Assad’s 
continued brutal rule in Syria). So when President Trump emphasizes sovereignty over 
and over again, it undercuts the moral authority of the United States to hold other 
nations to a higher set of common standards.

 But it won’t just be the bad guys who hear a backwards message in the president’s 
speech. By championing strong and independent states, President Trump was 
undermining the notion that countries need to be working together rather than at 
cross-purposes to solve today’s global challenges. With our security and prosperity tied 
together with that of folks around the world whether we like it or not, now is the time 
to be extending a hand in cooperation for the long run rather than stepping back.

 It’s why the America First ideology makes so little sense at this moment. It may be 
reassuring for some of President Trump’s supporters to hear him rail against handouts, 
but the fact of the matter is that it is America who needs the world’s help now more 
than ever. No man is an island, and no country is either - no matter what walls we build 
or doors we shut.

 So what should we have heard in President Trump’s inaugural address to the United 
Nations? What underlying concept would better guide his foreign policy approach? 
In short, multilateralism: We must insist that collective action is the key to defeating 
everything from violent extremism to climate change and pandemic disease to nuclear 

 And just as we have always stepped up to fight big problems, America should be 
leading the way rather than promoting a free-for-all void of standards or values. 
International institutions can do good in the world if we work hard to make them 
robust, proactive, and accountable; turning our backs on what the Greatest Generation 
built after World War II is an approach as lazy as it is self-fulfilling.

 All of this may sound like semantics and nitpicking for a speech that few Americans 
tuned in for. But when the President of the United States speaks, the world listens - and 
what they heard was the wrong message for the reality we face.


 Graham F. West is the Communications Director for Truman Center for National Policy 
and Truman National Security Project, though views expressed here are his own. You can 
reach West at

Mountain Views News 
has been adjudicated as 
a newspaper of General 
Circulation for the County 
of Los Angeles in Court 
Case number GS004724: 
for the City of Sierra 
Madre; in Court Case 
GS005940 and for the 
City of Monrovia in Court 
Case No. GS006989 and 
is published every Saturday 
at 80 W. Sierra Madre 
Blvd., No. 327, Sierra 
Madre, California, 91024. 
All contents are copyrighted 
and may not be 
reproduced without the 
express written consent of 
the publisher. All rights 
reserved. All submissions 
to this newspaper become 
the property of the Mountain 
Views News and may 
be published in part or 

Opinions and views 
expressed by the writers 
printed in this paper do 
not necessarily express 
the views and opinions 
of the publisher or staff 
of the Mountain Views 

Mountain Views News is 
wholly owned by Grace 
Lorraine Publications, 
and reserves the right to 
refuse publication of advertisements 
and other 
materials submitted for 

Letters to the editor and 
correspondence should 
be sent to: 

Mountain Views News

80 W. Sierra Madre Bl. 

Sierra Madre, Ca. 

Phone: 626-355-2737

Fax: 626-609-3285











 Donald Trump’s speech to the United Nations on Tuesday was 
not just great, it was totally refreshing.

 The president’s address to the U.N. General Assembly was so perfect 
it almost made me forget all the horrible speeches his predecessor 
gave to that corrupt, bloated and anti-American body.

 For the first time in eight years the world saw an American president 
not spending half his time apologizing o the U.N. for our country’s past, present and 

President Obama’s U.N. speeches always managed to make it sound like the United States 
was no different from Iran and North Korea.

 He’d say we’re going to stop their evil, and we’re also going to stop our evil, as if there was 
a moral equivalency between us and those inhuman hellholes.

 On Tuesday President Trump did not pussyfoot around or ignore the obvious threats the 
rogue regimes of North Korea and Iran pose to a peaceful planet.

 He blasted both countries, calling them out for violating “every principle on which the 
United Nations is based. They respect neither their own citizens nor the sovereign rights of 
their countries.

 “If the righteous many do not confront the wicked few,” Trump said, “then evil will triumph. 
When decent people and nations become bystanders to history, the forces of destruction 
only gather power and strength.”

 Trump, being Trump, also said what needed to be said about North Korea’s dictator Kim 
Jong Un and his missile program.

 Liberals and the media went ballistic over Trump branding Un as the “Rocket Man.”

 As usual, the media, which themselves have called Un every name in the book, missed the 
strengths of Trump’s speech and concentrated on what they thought was a politically incorrect 
gaffe or a presidential goof.

 But “Rocket Man” was brilliant. It was a way to mock and insult Un while giving him a 
public warning that if the U.S. is “forced to defend itself or its allies … we will have no choice 
but to totally destroy North Korea.”

 The president got his U.N. speech 100 percent right. Unlike President Obama, who 
blamed America first, Trump always puts America first.

 He and his speechwriters also deftly explained to his unfriendly audience what he meant 
by “America First.”

 He said as president of the United States he will always put his country’s interests first, just 
as each of them would put their country’s interests first.

 The U.N. rank and file apparently couldn’t understand that idea, unfortunately, because 
most of them routinely put themselves first, not their own countries.

 Listening to President Trump speak to the U.N. on Tuesday was a real treat -- like listening 
to an American Bibi Netanyahu.

 Bibi himself recognized the resemblance, which is why the Israeli leader tweeted his praise 
for Mr. Trump:

 “In over 30 years in my experience with the U.N., I never heard a bolder or more courageous 

 Bibi knows the U.N. and how to address it and its gaggle of bureaucrats and professional 

 When the Israeli leader goes before them he always tells them exactly what they need to 
hear, but there’s one problem -- no one ever listens.

 It’d be really nice if the U.N. people were listening this time to Trump.

 It’d be nice if they’d react positively to his call for the U.N. to do what it was founded to do 
– defend the sovereignty, security and prosperity of all peaceful countries and stand together 
against rogue nations like North Korea and Iran.

 But unfortunately, in the real world probably half of the U.N. people who come to New 
York are not coming to work for world peace and greater prosperity.

 They’re coming to see their mistresses and rack up hundreds of unpaid parking tickets.


Michael Reagan is the son of President Ronald Reagan, a political consultant, and the author 
of “The New Reagan Revolution” (St. Martin’s Press). He is the founder of the email service reagan.
com and president of The Reagan Legacy Foundation. Visit his websites at www.reagan.
com and Send comments to Follow 
@reaganworld on Twitter. 

Two essays this week, 
by two very different 
authors, take us deep 
into the tribalism that marks our politics. 
Both should serve as a wake-up call for what 
we risk losing as a culture -- as a nation -- if 
we fail to reconcile our differences and heal 
long-festering national wounds.

 Writing at The Atlantic, journalist and author 
Ta-Nehisi Coates offers a bleak view of 
the stinging white privilege that fired Donald 
Trump’s ascendance to the White House last 
November, positing, convincingly, that the 
unifying principle guiding America’s “first 
white president,” is the “negation of Barack 
Obama’s legacy.”

 “It is often said that Trump has no real ideology, 
which is not true - his ideology is white 
supremacy, in all its truculent and sanctimonious 
power,” Coates writes early on, laying 
out in painstaking detail, in paragraph after 
paragraph, page after page, how the former 
real estate mogul speaks to the insecurities 
of white voters who see the nation changing 
around them, but who are unwilling (or unable) 
to adjust to it.

 “In Trump, white supremacists see one of 
their own. Only grudgingly did Trump denounce 
the Ku Klux Klan and David Duke, 
one of its former grand wizards - and after 
the clashes between white supremacists 
and counter-protesters in Charlottesville, 
Virginia, in August, Duke in turn praised 
Trump’s contentious claim that “both sides” 
were responsible for the violence,” Coates 

 Meanwhile, in New York Magazine, veteran 
journalist Andrew Sullivan, in a thought-
provoking piece called “America Wasn’t Built 
for Humans,” posits that “Tribalism was 
an urge our Founding Fathers assumed we 
could overcome. And so it was become our 
greatest vulnerability.”

 Looking at the tribal warfare that’s riven 
Iraq or Syria, where people who look exactly 
alike, who live next door to each other, and 
then kill each other with ruthless efficiency 
over gradients of religious disagreement, 
Sullivan wonders “what it must be like to live 
in a truly tribal society.”

Then he realizes he doesn’t have to. He’s already 
living it in 21st Century America.

 “Over the past couple of decades in 
America, the enduring, complicated divides 
of ideology, geography, party, class, religion, 
and race have mutated into something deeper, 
simpler to map, and therefore much more 
ominous,” he writes. “I don’t just mean the 
rise of political polarization (although that’s 
how it often expresses itself), nor the rise of 
political violence (the domestic terrorism of 
the late 1960s and ‘70s was far worse), nor 
even this country’s ancient black-white racial 
conflict (though its potency endures).”

 What Sullivan sees now is “a new and compounding 
combination of all these differences 
into two coherent tribes, eerily balanced in 
political power, fighting not just to advance 
their own side but to provoke, condemn, and 
defeat the other.”

 If you’ve ever gotten into a political argument 
at any moment after Trump descended 
the escalator at Trump Tower in June 2015, 
then you know exactly what Sullivan is talking 
about here.

 It’s no longer enough that we disagree with 
each other - left or right - we have to hate each 
other. We have to want to see the arguments 
of the other destroyed or defeated.

We’ve lost the capacity to talk with each other. 
Instead, happily ensconced in our own confirmation-
bias bubbles, we merely talk past 
each other.

 Coates, meanwhile, sees one bloc - white 
voters, or at least those white voters who unquestioningly 
back Trump - cleaved off from 
the rest of the rest of the culture and enabling 
his nationalist excesses. 

“The scope of Trump’s commitment to 
whiteness is matched only by the depth of 
popular disbelief in the power of whiteness. 
We are now being told that support for 
Trump’s “Muslim ban,” his scapegoating of 
immigrants, his defenses of police brutality 
are somehow the natural outgrowth of the 
cultural and economic gap between Lena 
Dunham’s America and Jeff Foxworthy’s,” 
Coates writes.

Coates ends his lengthy essay with the proposition 
that “The first white president in 
American history is also the most dangerous 
president—and he is made more dangerous 
still by the fact that those charged with analyzing 
him [whites] cannot name his essential 
nature, because they too are implicated in it.”

 Sullivan’s essay is equally unremitting in 
its bleakness, but also offers a path forward, 
though it is neither easy nor certain. 

 “No tribal conflict has ever been unwound 
without magnanimity. Yitzhak Rabin had it, 
but it was not enough. Nelson Mandela had 
it, and it was. In Colombia earlier this month, 
as a fragile peace agreement met public opposition, 
Pope Francis insisted that grudges 
be left behind,” he writes.

Sullivan is right that such an embrace is 
both difficult and counterintuitive. But, 
he argues it’s absolutely necessary.

 After all, he concludes, “no one ever 
claimed that living in a republic was going 
to be easy - if we really want to keep it.”

 And that, right there, is the trick.

Mountain Views News

Mission Statement

The traditions of 
community news-
papers and the 
concerns of our readers 
are this newspaper’s 
top priorities. We 
support a prosperous 
community of well-
informed citizens. We 
hold in high regard the 
values of the exceptional 
quality of life in our 
community, including 
the magnificence of 
our natural resources. 
Integrity will be our guide. 

Mountain Views News 80 W Sierra Madre Blvd. No. 327 Sierra Madre, Ca. 91024 Office: 626.355.2737 Fax: 626.609.3285 Email: Website: