- REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
Pundits and journalists remarked on Friday that President Donald Trump’s inauguration address was especially nationalistic – but geopolitical expert Ian Bremmer said one line was particularly telling.
“The biggest single line was us no longer telling other countries how to live,” Bremmer told Business Insider via email.
He was referring to this line in Trump’s speech: “We do not seek to impose our way of life on anyone, but rather to let it shine as an example for everyone to follow.”
Bremmer, who is the president of the political-risk consulting firm the Eurasia Group, described the sentence as the “formal renunciation of American exceptionalism by a US president” for the first time since World War II.
“And appropriately so,” he added, “given his support for ‘America First’ that was originally a nationalist call to keep the US out of WWII.”
Trump’s foreign-policy motto of “America First” echoes the America First Committee, a massive antiwar group that discouraged US involvement in World War II.
Indeed, Trump reinforced his rallying cry during his inaugural address.
“From this day forward, a new vision will govern our land,” Trump said. “From this moment on, it’s going to be America First.”
Bremmer said Trump’s inauguration address was “the most nationalist by any US president” that he had seen.
The address “reminded me of themes when he accepted the nomination in Cleveland,” Bremmer said, referring to Trump’s speech at the Republican National Convention in July. “Painting a bleak picture of the US at home (that oft-cited carnage line of course, but much else) and of America being taken advantage of abroad. And the only person that can fix it – Trump.”
One of the most controversial lines from Trump’s speech was his reference to “American carnage.”
Trump described the America he sees: “Mothers and children trapped in poverty in our inner cities; rusted-out factories scattered like tombstones across the landscape of our nation; an education system, flush with cash, but which leaves our young and beautiful students deprived of knowledge; and the crime and gangs and drugs that have stolen too many lives and robbed our country of so much unrealized potential.”
“This American carnage stops right here and stops right now,” Trump said.
Bremmer said Trump’s speech might not be well-received by US allies, many of whom have counted on US support over the past several decades.
“If you’re a US ally, you’re extremely concerned,” Bremmer said. “And if you’re American – well, it is going to be a very different America. On that score, I agree with the president.”