America’s longest war is the world’s biggest battlefield. The battle is for the life of the world, waged in every city and every hamlet—in every state and every city—against an enemy more poisonous than any tyrant and more plentiful than any army: poison itself. The poison of illegal synthetic opioids. The poison that China had refused to police, until President Trump got Beijing to do what no previous president dared to demand, until Trump did what no number of arrests could block, no number of laws could bar, no number of judges could do to put criminals behind bars.
By getting China to ban all variants of the opioid fentanyl, Trump achieved the greatest milestone in Sino-American relations since President Nixon went to China.
Do not expect the press to praise Trump. Not when he succeeded by not sacrificing our national interest or the interests of that island nation whose independence China denies, whose democracy China disdains, whose citizens China would just as soon destroy. Trump did not forfeit Taiwan. Nor did he lose face. He saved faces—the faces of millions of Americans—who will not have to face a lifetime of drug dependency or live to die by overdosing on fentanyl.
He did all of this, and more, without debasing himself like Nixon. (Nixon was a great man. I wrote as much here, but he was also a shy man—a quiet man—though never a small man. When he raced, however, to meet Mao Zedong, he succumbed to shyness. He was, again, the son of a grocer. He was the embodiment of an epithet: an errand boy, sent by grocery clerks, to collect a bill.)
China came to acknowledge its debt, to pay what it owes. Let us accept nothing less than payment in full.
Photo credit: Spencer Platt/Getty Images