Of course, it remains to be seen whether Trump follows the same trajectory as Reagan. But he’s off to a much faster start: unemployment down, the Dow up, the economy apparently booming, productivity and growth soaring, help wanted signs everywhere. It took Reagan a couple of years to wring the stench of Carterism out of the economy; Obama’s eight years of deliberate stasis, by contrast, have disappeared practically overnight.
In foreign policy, Reagan outraged the Beltway goo-goos by calling the Soviet Union an “evil empire” and vowed to bury it: we win, they lose. He engineered a big military buildup—something almost every Republican president seems to need to do in the wake of a failed Democratic administration. He appeared at the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin and challenged his Soviet counterpart, Mikhail Gorbachev, to “tear down this wall.” Gorbachev didn’t, but the people of East Berlin did—although the Wall didn’t fall until almost a year after Reagan left office.
Now along comes Trump, trashing the toothless Paris climate change “accord,” tearing up the Iran deal, threatening the North American Free Trade Agreement, backing the Chinese off a bit, and frightening Kim Jong-un to the bargaining table in Singapore in order finally to put paid to the Korean War. Moving swiftly, as is his wont, Trump is rapidly delivering on his campaign promises to renegotiate the many bad deals he’s seen prior American leaders make and doesn’t much care what anybody else thinks about it.