Trump's 'America First' message during United Nations speech sparks debate


Trump's 'America First' message during United Nations speech sparks debate

Steve Forbes: What we have here David is a reaction to the previous president, especially Obama, who seemed to put our enemies first, you know, appeasing North Korea, graveling before Iran, reset with Russia, fake red line in Syria. So you can see with the prime minister of Japan and the president of South Korea last week visibly reassured by the tough line Donald Trump took because they know their security is a stake and they are in this together.

John Tamny: Trump's not always putting America first; I mean I want to be clear, he's not saying the same thing as Warren Buffet. Warren Buffet is optimistic about ongoing economic progress in the U.S. Donald Trump talks of carnage and so he protects microscopic portions of the U.S. workforce at the expense of the rest of us through protectionism. I would be about America first too if it were about removing us from foreign entanglements, but with Trump it's too often about protectionism which would be a bad thing for all Americans.

Rich Karlgaard: The media is spoiling for a fight. I mean really if Chancellor Merkel said that or President Xi in China, or Prime Minister Mosi in India said the same thing no one would bat an eye. And so it was the second half of Trump's statement that I expect you to do the same I mean what can be more common sensical than that? And as far as protectionism, I'm a free trader but I don't see the protectionism, I hear the rhetoric, but I actually don't see it in practice to the amount that John is worried about.

Elizabeth MacDonald: Steve's right, compared to Obama, the Miss Jane Hathaway of the presidents, the most immortalizing president I think in the history of the country. He put his legacy first, that's how Obama spoke and he kept the U.S. economy locked in his teacher's faculty lounge as he finger wagged the rest of us. I think Americans were tired of that and we're getting back to normal. And to Rich Karlgaard's point, I think Rich is right too, I think if JFK today made his Watchmen of the World speech which he was supposed to deliver the day he was assassinated I think the media would have gone after JFK for saying that.

David Mercer: I think most Americans are for America first and for other countries pursuing that same course of action. The real question is will it, and we'll see, time will tell whether this is to the exclusion of our allies and working together and I will say this, that a strong partnership comes from strong partners so putting America first, Germany putting itself first, but us working collaboratively not to the exclusion of each other I think will make for global leadership and a global path that leads to a safer and more secure nation.

Sabrina Schaeffer: This speech was not as bad as it was being portrayed but it was a little all over the place. There's a difference of course between rhetoric and policy and a lot of the policies Trump presented were ones that you would have heard from any average Republican or Democrat about humanitarian aid or working with our allies and all of that was sensible. I think the challenge sometimes is that he doesn't quite think through what he's saying so yes I do think our president should put America first, but sometimes putting America first mean working with our allies to ensure that we are getting the best intelligence for instance and thwarting terror attacks around the world it doesn't have to be a bad thing.

Some European leaders vowing to stand by Iran nuclear deal as Trump calls it 'the worst'

Rich Karlgaard: Economically maybe not, but you still have to cancel it, it's the right thing to do. One of the important things is that it reassures our best ally in the Middle East, Israel, that we are with them. Something the Obama administration wasn't so sure about. Every other trading partner that we have Saudi Arabia, the Gulf States they're terrified of an Iran dominated Middle East, it was the right thing to say.

David Mercer: First of all, the deal's only been in place for a year and we have to see, and I haven't heard any evidence of damage being done and with a $100 billion being released to them that was formally seized or on hold I don't see yet being a problem. That said, I think we have to also look domestically. You know when you criticize something, you better have something to replace it with or a solution and we see domestically with health care Trump and the Republicans have had two chances to come up with an alternative, and haven't been able to. I'm using that as an example, domestically to spill over to foreign policy you don't want to criticize something and I have not seen a solution from the Trump administration of what would contain in place of the Iran deal, to contain what was their drive to getting a nuclear weapon.

Bill Baldwin: Well I think it'd be a fine idea if the world this sense the U.S. is not going to be the same push over that it used to be in dealing with thuggish nations like Iran and Cuba. And by the way if there are French and German companies sending machinery to Iran to be used to make bombs I think it'd be great if we publicized that.

John Tamny: I'm not sure what's America first about getting ourselves so involved in a dysfunctional part of the world, but the bigger thing is here I didn't like the deal under Obama because I think it needlessly legitimizes a nation that is not very legitimate. And so the fact that we've got to negotiate with a country to be good means that the agreement is not worth the paper that it's printed on. We should just cancel it because it's worthless.

Sabrina Schaeffer: I think this deal has a lot of problems but not for the reasons that John does. I think we do want to legitimize this country because it's very frightening. This is a dictatorship that's sort of dressed up as a democracy and we know it's not. My concern with this deal however is that it gives us a false sense of security that somehow because we have this deal in place that we're better off, that we're safer. Why are we ignoring Saudi Arabia for instance which is very much the same threat to us? So I worry that sometimes we have these deals and we tie them up with a pretty bow and we're like, "OK problem solved," when in reality it's not and we're better off tearing it up and starting over again.

Steve Forbes: Look at the headlines of the last few months. Do we want another North Korea, this time in the Middle East, the volatile Middle East? That's where Iran's going, they've made that clear from the Gecko, so yes tear it up put the pressures on. And as for those European companies, do they want to trade with us or Iran? I think they'll go with us at the end of the day.

New focus on building codes and infrastructure as natural disasters strike Mexico and Caribbean

Steve Forbes: Well let's say if we were hit the way Puerto Rico was hit with those storms we would've been much worse off than we were in Texas and Florida. But the key thing is the richer a country is the more resources it can have to build structures that survive these storms. Even in Mexico, still a developing nation after 1985 had enough resources, when you look at Mexico City, the post 1985 buildings after that terrible earthquake survived better than the pre '85. The key thing is prosperity resources from capitalism enable you to get the resources to deal better with these disasters.

Elizabeth MacDonald: It's awful what is going on in Mexico and Steve's right, most of the buildings that collapsed pre-date 1985 from the 50s, 60s, and 70s. Here's what Mexico did -- they started to get smart about the types of materials and building stronger buildings. So they did build in the lake bed that is underneath Mexico City and it's about being smart. You don't need more regulations, Mexico is trying to be smarter about its building.

Rich Karlgaard: Rule of law specifically to prevent corruption, where the builder isn't the most qualified builder but he happens to be some pal of the people awarding the contract, and you need a free press too because that you know people need to know there needs to be transparency about who is a good builder and who is a bad builder all of that helps.

John Tamny: Of course the profit modem is the most humane concept on earth. Good structures are not the result of regulation, they're an effect of prosperity. Where there is prosperity the buildings are better, look how many Americans survive hurricanes than did a hundred years ago, as wealth grows lives are saved.

Bill Baldwin: Well I would be very slow to attribute building failures in other countries to corruption and incompetence. Safety costs money, Steve's right about that and I think Mexican structures will get a lot better as the country's wealth improves.

Sabrina Schaeffer: Bill is correct, but the country is one if we look at it in the scope of the whole world is not that poor, it has oil, it has a lot of natural resources, and interestingly enough where things were the safest was sort of the city center of Mexico City where there is sort of a vibrate life now, and most of the damage unfortunately was sort of in the periphery. So I do think there is a connection with not just resources but with corruption and how that government is operated.

Forbes @100 picks!

Elizabeth MacDonald: Vanguard Extended Market Index Investor (VEXMX)

Bill Baldwin: Chevron (CVX)