How much difference can one man make, even if he is president? Donald Trump is a testament to the answer: an enormous amount!
Credit his tax cut and other policies, but the fact is that the economy turned around as soon as Trump was elected. Business people changed their investment plans and job-hiring policies the minute they saw who was the new president.
Trump's power over the economy was partially due to trust in his private sector background and instincts. But it was also due to the massive anti-business, anti-growth, anti-jobs agenda of his predecessor. How could anyone fail to notice the difference?
And then, the promise of his inauguration was quickly vindicated by a host of deregulatory decisions. He pulled out of the Paris climate accords. He deregulated the energy and coal sectors. He opened new areas for oil exploration and drilling. He reversed anti-business labor policies. And, one year into his term, he passed an enormous tax cut and an even more important tax reform.
In foreign policy, his personal impact was even more profound. It has taken a year, but Donald Trump has managed to right our priorities in foreign affairs.
He has bonded closer with Israel with his historic decision to let the Jewish state decide for itself on where its capital is to be located. We are working again with Saudi Arabia and the Gulf monarchies against Iran.
Sanctions on Vladimir Putin have tightened and Ukraine is getting effective military aid, stalemating Russian aggression. NATO members are increasing their defense spending by 4.3 percent each and the American military is being upgraded. We have left the Paris climate accords and are on the verge of tearing up the one-sided deal with Iran. This will leave the Ayatollah with no real choice but compliance, otherwise the harsh sanctions that led him to negotiate in the first place will return — this time with Trump running them.
We are challenging China on trade. We have brought Venezuela to its knees. North Korea is in retreat. Credit our tough stance in forcing bold sanctions resolutions through the U.N. And we have unveiled a new sanctions weapon: targeting individuals and businesses. If you defy the international consensus on human rights, you risk not being able to put your money in the bank ... or take it out. You can't send or receive wires. You are excommunicated from the global banking system, a punishment as dire as any medieval pope could impose.
What a difference a man has made.