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Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Donald Trump is foriegn policy disabled: Trumpism

"For much of Donald Trump’s astonishing rise toward the Republican Presidential nomination, his main contributions to the foreign-policy debate have been to debase it, by insulting Mexico’s hundred and twenty million citizens and the one and a half billion adherents of the Islamic faith worldwide. Lately, after eighteen primary victories, he has offered more extensive insights into how he would proceed (God Forbid!) as Commander-in-Chief."

So how will the Trump pot of insults hold up against the experience of the highly qualified Secretary Hillary Clinton in a presidential election?  I suspect Donald Trump will overreach with  his attacks and fail as he tries to win his fantasy role, to be the President of the United States (in his dreams).

"...Trumpism is a posture, not a coherent platform. He also said thatNATO is 'obsolete'.”

After death and taxes, a third rail about life as we know it is that Donald Trump will go after Secretary Hillary Clinton like a cheetah stalks wild game. There will be no mercy. Nevertheless, Donald Trump is unqualified to be leader of the free world, as is evidenced by his foreign policy ineptness.

In The New Yorker, Steve Coll reports about the Drumfonian "Global Trump". Keeping in mind, Drumpf was the family "Trump" name, before it was anglicized. Perhaps, Donald Trump would be better informed about foriegn policy if he returned to his German roots.

Recently, Donald Trump tried t
o act presidential during an interview with TheNew York Times, but it went badly for him, because he didn't know the answers to the editorial board's questions.

Coll writes: In 1967, British Prime Minister Harold Wilson gave up on the remnants of Pax Britannica. His Labour Government pulled British forces from Malaysia, Singapore, Yemen, Dubai, Qatar, Bahrain, Abu Dhabi, and other Persian Gulf emirates. Denis Healey, the Defense Secretary, explained, “I don’t very much like the idea of being a sort of white slaver for the Arab sheikhs.” He did not wish for the indebted nation and its armed forces “to become mercenaries for people who would like to have a few British troops around.” That truculent retreat handed responsibility for security in the Gulf and the Strait of Malacca to the United States. Half a century later, American warships still call at Dubai, Bahrain, and Singapore. U.S. fighter jets fly from a massive base in Qatar. The inheritance has brought expense and diplomatic complications. Yet, over the decades, Republican and Democratic Presidential candidates have rarely questioned the value of our global-defense commitments, whether in the Middle East or in the form of nuclear and defense guarantees to our European and Asian allies.

For much of Donald Trump’s astonishing rise toward the Republican Presidential nomination, his main contributions to the foreign-policy debate have been to debase it, by insulting Mexico’s hundred and twenty million citizens and the one and a half billion adherents of the Islamic faith worldwide. Lately, after eighteen primary victories, he has offered more extensive insights into how he would proceed as Commander-in-Chief. Buckle up, he might have warned. “We’re a country that doesn’t have money,” he told the Times, during several long interviews. “At some point, we cannot be the policeman of the world.” He threatened to withdraw troops from Japan and South Korea if they didn’t pay more for the protection. He suggested that both nations might be better off with their own nuclear weapons, even though proliferation, he noted, is the “biggest problem, to me, in the world.” (Then again, he told MSNBC that he wouldn’t take nuclear weapons “off the table” for use anywhere, even in Europe. Trumpism is a posture, not a coherent platform.) He also said thatNATO is “obsolete.”

Trump hasn’t indicated that he would definitely pull out of treaty commitments to Europe and Asia. He seems to think that his threats and his pleas of poverty will soften up allies so that, once in the White House, he can close some of those great deals he often talks about. For “many, many years,” he told theTimes, the U.S. has been the “big stupid bully and we were systematically ripped off by everybody,” providing military security without adequate compensation. But it’s hard to support a case that the U.S. is spending too much to defend the global order that it built after the Second World War. The U.S., Canada, the European Union, Japan, South Korea, and Australia—the rich inner circle of what used to be called the Free World—today constitute almost sixty per cent of the world’s economy. According to the World Bank, in 2014 the U.S. spent about three and a half per cent of its G.D.P. on the military. That’s down from more than five per cent during the late Cold War. As an investment in shared prosperity (or, if you prefer, global hegemony), the running cost of American military power may be one of history’s better bargains.

The U.S. does spend more on defense than its European or Asian partners. France and Britain spend only about two per cent of G.D.P., Germany and Japan about one per cent. “Free riders aggravate me,” President Obama recently told the Atlantic, unhelpfully giving credence to Trump’s position. It would be better if those allies spent a little more, but it’s not obvious that America’s forthcoming global challenges—such as managing China’s rise and Russia’s revanchism—would be advanced by more German and Japanese militarism. Because the U.S. military is so much larger and more effective than any other, and because militaries are so hierarchical, it is more efficient to defend the core alliances disproportionately, from Washington. In any event, defense treaties among democratic societies are really compacts among peoples, through their elected governments, to sacrifice and even die for one another if circumstances require it. Demeaning those commitments as if they were transactional protection rackets is corrosive and self-defeating.

The security of the European and East Asian democracies has been vital to American prosperity and stability for seven decades, and it may remain so for seven more. The Middle East is another story. Besides Israel, Tunisia, and an increasingly illiberal Turkey, none of our allies there are democracies. Since 1967, U.S. forces have intervened half a dozen times in wars in the region, and it remains deeply violent and unstable. “Without us, Saudi Arabia wouldn’t exist very long,” Trump has observed. Yet his policy prescription is the same: The Saudis should pay more for the “tremendous service” that our military provides. Saudi Arabia already devotes about a tenth of its G.D.P. to defense, one of the highest rates in the world. The kingdom and some of its neighbors could afford to pay even more, perhaps, but that wouldn’t alter their instability or the toxic pathologies in their relations with the U.S., which have been created in part by anti-American sentiment among some of the region’s populations.

The temptation is to follow Harold Wilson’s example. Middle East oil matters less to us than it once did, as Trump has argued. But an American withdrawal from Persian Gulf bases could pose risks for Israel, among others. Iran and the Islamic State would certainly celebrate the event. Those bases also provide the U.S. Navy with access to the Indian Ocean, and bolster American air superiority from Pakistan to Egypt. As Pericles reportedly said of an Athenian empire, “It may have been wrong to take it; it is certainly dangerous to let it go.”

Trump also argues that reduced defense spending abroad would free up funds for investment at home. We do need to rebuild bridges, airports, railways, and telecommunications. But defense spending isn’t stopping us from doing so; the problem is the Republican anti-tax extremists in Congress, who refuse to either raise revenues or take advantage of historically low long-term interest rates. In all probability, the U.S. can afford its global-defense commitments indefinitely, and an open economy, renewed by immigration and innovation, should be able to continue to grow and to share the cost of securing free societies. The main obstacle to realizing this goal is not an exhausted imperial treasury. It is the collapse of the once-internationalist Republican Party into demagoguery, paralysis, and Trumpism


(Maine Writer- In other words, Trump is to the Republican Party as an earthquake is to a tsunami.)

Steve Coll, a staff writer for The New Yorker, is the dean of the Graduate School of Journalism at Columbia University, and reports on issues of intelligence and national security in the United States and abroad.

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