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So the Trump Doctrine differs from the Bush Doctrine more in theory than in practice. President George W. Bush did not need to invoke sovereignty to justify his pre-emptive wars and regime change. But President Trump uses the sovereignty principle to justify intervention in much the same way as neoconservatives use freedom and democracy. In his classic 2004 work The Case for Democracy, the former Soviet dissident and Israeli politician Nathan Sharansky argues that regimes based on fear should have no veto on their own reform: “The free world should not wait for dictatorial regimes to consent to reform.” In the case of North Korea, Mr Trump cited the case of Otto Warmbier to argue that the regime refuses to respect the sovereign rights of US citizens. In the case of Iran, the regime’s repeated threats of annihilation deny the sovereignty of Israel. Like President Bush, President Trump does not believe that the United Nations has a monopoly of international force. He does not seek permission from the Security Council to take military action. The United States has the sovereign right not only of self-defence but also of intervention, based on “a policy of principled realism”. This implies strong continuity between Reagan, Bush and Trump. The odd man out is Obama, with his fatal “leadership from behind”.

Like his predecessors, Donald Trump says he does not seek to “impose our way of life on others”. Unlike Mr Obama, however, he denounces “threats to sovereignty, from the Ukraine to the South China Sea” — implying that even nuclear powers, such as Russia and China, must respect the sovereignty principle, at least as long as he is in charge. Presidents Putin and Xi know that, unlike Mr Obama, Mr Trump does not allow red lines to be crossed with impunity. His sovereignty principle places Syria, which uses chemical weapons against its own people, among the rogue regimes. After its chemical attack on Khan Sheikhun, the Assad regime lost up to 10 per cent of its air force to Tomahawk missiles from US warships. Teddy Roosevelt advised presidents to speak softly and carry a big stick. Though Mr Trump seldom speaks softly, he not only carries a big stick, but is prepared to use it.

Donald Trump’s UN speech should be seen alongside his Warsaw speech last July. There, he called into question the very survival of the West: “The fundamental question of our time is whether the West has the will to survive. Do we have the confidence in our values to defend them at any cost? Do we have enough respect for our citizens to protect our borders? Do we have the desire and the courage to preserve our civilisation in the face of those who would subvert and destroy it?” One does not have to admire Mr Trump in the least to concede that these are good questions.

The sovereignty principle and the nation state are a good basis from which to answer these questions. Only the nation state has shown the ability to protect borders and thereby reassure its citizens. The European Union, by contrast, has failed lamentably to control the influx of migrants from North Africa, the Middle East and the wider Muslim world. Until two years ago, when numbers grew overwhelming, some European politicians weren’t even trying to control them. In her New Year’s message for 2015, Angela Merkel denounced the “prejudice, coldness and hatred” of anti-immigrant movements and instead explained to Germans that their ageing population required new young migrants who would be “a gain for all of us”. We all know what happened next: Chancellor Merkel signalled that refugees were welcome in Germany and tried to force other European countries to follow suit. Today, huge numbers of asylum-seekers — including more than half of Syria’s graduate population — are living in Germany, most of them living on welfare handouts and held in temporary accommodation, with no rights, no jobs or any prospect of ever being integrated. One of these young men is quoted in Douglas Murray’s brilliant new book The Strange Death of Europe addressing his German hosts: “We refugees . . . do not want to live in the same country with you. You can, and I think you should, leave Germany . . . Look for a new home.” Despite this, Mrs Merkel still insists: “No one in Germany is any worse off because of the refugees.”

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