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For an administration that lurches from crisis to crisis, sowing chaos throughout the settled international order and threatening us all with imminent Armageddon, the Trump foreign policy is awfully predictable. Exhibit 1, candidate Trump’s speech of April 27, 2016. You might not agree with it, but you can’t say he didn’t warn you.
He begins with a brief tour of history, and where things went wrong:
It all began with the dangerous idea that we could make Western democracies out of countries that had no experience or interest in becoming a Western Democracy.
We tore up what institutions they had and then were surprised at what we unleashed. Civil war, religious fanaticism; thousands of American lives, and many trillions of dollars, were lost as a result. The vacuum was created that ISIS would fill. Iran, too, would rush in and fill the void, much to their unjust enrichment.
He lists five problems with the existing policy:
First, Our Resources Are Overextended
… Our manufacturing trade deficit with the world is now approaching $1 trillion a year. We’re rebuilding other countries while weakening our own.
Ending the theft of American jobs will give us the resources we need to rebuild our military and regain our financial independence and strength.
Secondly, our allies are not paying their fair share.
Our allies must contribute toward the financial, political and human costs of our tremendous security burden. …
The whole world will be safer if our allies do their part to support our common defense and security.
Thirdly, our friends are beginning to think they can’t depend on us.
… Iran cannot be allowed to have a nuclear weapon and, under a Trump Administration, will never be allowed to have a nuclear weapon. …
Israel, our great friend and the one true Democracy in the Middle East, has been snubbed and criticized by an Administration that lacks moral clarity.
Fourth, our rivals no longer respect us.
… President Obama watches helplessly as North Korea increases its aggression and expands even further with its nuclear reach.
Our president has allowed China to continue its economic assault on American jobs and wealth, refusing to enforce trade rules – or apply the leverage on China necessary to rein in North Korea.
He has even allowed China to steal government secrets with cyber attacks and engage in industrial espionage against the United States and its companies.
Finally, America no longer has a clear understanding of our foreign policy goals.
Then he summarizes his proposed approach:
This will change when I am president.
To all our friends and allies, I say America is going to be strong again. America is going to be a reliable friend and ally again.
We’re going to finally have a coherent foreign policy based upon American interests, and the shared interests of our allies.
We are getting out of the nation-building business, and instead focusing on creating stability in the world.
And gives some details:
First, we need a long-term plan to halt the spread and reach of radical Islam.
… In this we’re going to be working very closely with our allies in the Muslim world, all of which are at risk from radical Islamic violence. …
We must stop importing extremism through senseless immigration policies. …
And then there’s ISIS. I have a simple message for them. Their days are numbered. I won’t tell them where and I won’t tell them how. We must as, a nation, be more unpredictable. But they’re going to be gone. And soon.
Secondly, we have to rebuild our military and our economy.
… We will spend what we need to rebuild our military. It is the cheapest investment we can make. We will develop, build and purchase the best equipment known to mankind. Our military dominance must be unquestioned.
But we will look for savings and spend our money wisely. In this time of mounting debt, not one dollar can be wasted.
We are also going to have to change our trade, immigration and economic policies to make our economy strong again – and to put Americans first again. This will ensure that our own workers, right here in America, get the jobs and higher pay that will grow our tax revenue and increase our economic might as a nation.
Finally, we must develop a foreign policy based on American interests.
In the Middle East, our goals must be to defeat terrorists and promote regional stability, not radical change. We need to be clear-sighted about the groups that will never be anything other than enemies.
And we must only be generous to those that prove they are our friends. …
I believe an easing of tensions and improved relations with Russia – from a position of strength – is possible. Common sense says this cycle of hostility must end. Some say the Russians won’t be reasonable. I intend to find out. If we can’t make a good deal for America, then we will quickly walk from the table.
Fixing our relations with China is another important step towards a prosperous century. China respects strength, and by letting them take advantage of us economically, we have lost all of their respect. We have a massive trade deficit with China, a deficit we must find a way, quickly, to balance.
A strong and smart America is an America that will find a better friend in China. We can both benefit or we can both go our separate ways. …
I will also be prepared to deploy America’s economic resources. Financial leverage and sanctions can be very persuasive – but we need to use them selectively and with determination. Our power will be used if others do not play by the rules.
Our friends and enemies must know that if I draw a line in the sand, I will enforce it. …
Finally, I will work with our allies to reinvigorate Western values and institutions. Instead of trying to spread “universal values” that not everyone shares, we should understand that strengthening and promoting Western civilization and its accomplishments will do more to inspire positive reforms around the world than military interventions.
And so it has come to pass.
Except possibly the last point. After all, who would want to play with that unpredictable buffoon Donald Trump?Published in