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They will forgive Trump all his tawdriness and his tirades, his lewdness and his late-night tweets, his goofiness and his gaffes, his boorishness and his bombast, if they know that he will deliver what he has promised them. Most of the liberal outrage at Trump has been directed at his words rather than his actions. Many things he has tweeted or said have indeed been, to say the least, unstatesmanlike: it is enough to mention Charlottesville as an example. But most voters care much less about politicians’ words than their deeds. Electorates suspect that self-righteous elites secretly despise them as “deplorables”, so they do not expect those elites to approve of their choices; rather the opposite. They do, however, expect those choices to be respected, not overturned by attempts at impeachment or by the machinations of the “deep state”.

Trump knows this, so he is circling the wagons. The appointments of Mike Pompeo as Secretary of State, John Bolton as National Security Advisor, Gina Haspel as CIA Director and Nikki Haley as Ambassador to the UN mean that the President now has most of his key posts occupied by conservatives, by men and women who are not ashamed to belong to the Right. They share his view of the world and have no qualms about putting his principles into practice. The most outspoken of them all is the most recently appointed, John Bolton. He is notorious for a comment made nearly quarter of a century ago, that if the UN building in New York “lost ten storeys, it wouldn’t make a bit of difference”. He earned the undying hatred of the righteous, but the lasting loyalty of the Right. Trump hesitated for a whole year before appointing Bolton, but by doing so now he has sent out a signal. What could be the defining moment of his presidency is fast approaching: the summit with Kim Jong-un. If Trump can arm-wrestle “little Rocket Man” into denuclearising the Korean peninsula in return for the lifting of sanctions, this President will have pulled off the greatest diplomatic coup since Nixon went to China. But to do that, he needs to outwit his opponent. In other words, Trump needs his own Kissinger. That is too big a role for any one person. Together, Pompeo and Bolton might be a match for Dr K. In the words of Michael Oakeshott, they combine “the politics of faith” — faith in the ability of Western civilisation to strike back — and “the politics of scepticism” — scepticism towards the utterances of declared enemies of that civilisation. Bolton said recently: “Russia, China, Syria, Iran, North Korea. These are regimes that make agreements and lie about them. A national security policy that is based on the faith that regimes like that will honour their commitments is doomed to failure.” Rather than trust Iran to abide by the deal negotiated by the Obama administration, Pompeo would rather annihilate the Islamic Republic’s nuclear installations: “This is not an insurmountable task for the coalition forces.” The presence of Pompeo and Bolton at Trump’s side might just persuade a petrified Pyongyang to keep its word.

What, though, of Europe? There, queasiness about the cost of confronting the enemies of the West has removed any limitations on the politics of righteousness. The result has been the appeasement of wickedness, in the shape of Putin’s Russia, Xi’s China, Erdogan’s Turkey and a host of other hostile regimes. At home, anti-Semitic parties of the extremes of Left and Right are on the march, evoking distant memories of the 1930s. Islamism is strengthening its hold on fast-growing, segregated and increasingly self-governing Muslim communities. These anti-democratic forces are in turn radicalising mainstream parties and unsettling hitherto quiescent communities. What is driving this ferment of discontent? The secular elites look on, uncomprehending, as long-dormant eschatological manifestations sweep the continent. When President Trump spoke in Warsaw, he was greeted by crowds chanting: “We want God!”

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