Home > Analysis, Opinion > I like Trump’s Vision of American Power Abroad

I like Trump’s Vision of American Power Abroad

I know there are few or no Trump supporters here … still whatever you think about Trump, I think if you see the injustice of U.S. meddling in Middle East, American Full Spectrum Global DominanceAfrica, the Baltic, and Asia, you have to like and take notice what Trump recently said.

You don’t even have to support Trump.  If you believe Trump is somehow mysteriously in tune with the bulk of the American people, then I think that with Trump articulated here finally there is hope for America … and the world.  Here is an excerpt of a piece about his recent interview with the Washington Post.

Donald Trump outlined an unabashedly noninterventionist approach to world affairs Monday, telling The Washington Post’s editorial board that he questions the need for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, which has formed the backbone of Western security policies since the Cold War.

The meeting at The Post covered a range of issues, including media libel laws, violence at his rallies, climate change, NATO and the U.S. presence in Asia.

Speaking ahead of a major address on foreign policy later Monday in front of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, Trump said he advocates a light footprint in the world. In spite of unrest abroad, especially in the Middle East, Trump said the United States must look inward and steer its resources toward rebuilding domestic infrastructure.

“I do think it’s a different world today, and I don’t think we should be nation-building anymore,” Trump said. “I think it’s proven not to work, and we have a different country than we did then. We have $19 trillion in debt. We’re sitting, probably, on a bubble. And it’s a bubble that if it breaks, it’s going to be very nasty. I just think we have to rebuild our country.”

He added: “I watched as we built schools in Iraq and they’re blown up. We build another one, we get blown up. We rebuild it three times and yet we can’t build a school in Brooklyn. We have no money for education because we can’t build in our own country. At what point do you say, ‘Hey, we have to take care of ourselves?’ So, I know the outer world exists and I’ll be very cognizant of that. But at the same time, our country is disintegrating, large sections of it, especially the inner cities.”

Trump praised George P. Shultz, who served as President Ronald Reagan’s top diplomat, and was harshly critical of current secretary of state John F. Kerry. He questioned the United States’ continued involvement in NATO and, on the subject of Russia’s aggression in Ukraine, said America’s allies are “not doing anything.”

“Ukraine is a country that affects us far less than it affects other countries in NATO, and yet we’re doing all of the lifting,” Trump said. “They’re not doing anything. And I say: ‘Why is it that Germany’s not dealing with NATO on Ukraine? Why is it that other countries that are in the vicinity of Ukraine, why aren’t they dealing? Why are we always the one that’s leading, potentially the third world war with Russia.’ ”

Trump sounded a similar note in discussing the U.S. presence in the Pacific. He questioned the value of massive military investments in Asia and wondered aloud whether the United States still was capable of being an effective peacekeeping force there.

“South Korea is very rich, great industrial country, and yet we’re not reimbursed fairly for what we do,” Trump said. “We’re constantly sending our ships, sending our planes, doing our war games — we’re reimbursed a fraction of what this is all costing.”

Asked whether the United States benefits from its involvement in the region, Trump replied, “Personally, I don’t think so.” He added, “I think we were a very powerful, very wealthy country, and we are a poor country now. We’re a debtor nation.”

Trump cast China as a leading economic and geopolitical rival and said the United States should toughen its trade alliances to better compete.

“China has got unbelievable ambitions,” Trump said. “China feels very invincible. We have rebuilt China. They have drained so much money out of our country that they’ve rebuilt China. Without us, you wouldn’t see the airports and the roadways and the bridges. The George Washington Bridge [in New York], that’s like a trinket compared to the bridges that they build in China. We don’t build anymore. We had our day.”

OK – so Trump is a sino-phobic … but at least he is not sino-hostile like almost everyone in the establishment is …

Compare this to say Clinton’s vision, this is truly a breath of fresh air…

Here is a link to a transcript and video of Trump’s interview.

  1. N.M.Cheung
    March 22nd, 2016 at 02:13 | #1

    I know you disagree with me on the danger of Trump to not only U.S., but the rest of the world. I agree that he sounds reasonable when taken in isolation on his NATO, Israel, or even China policy, but you missed the crucial point of he wants to make America great again. Even if Sanders are elected president, I don’t think U.S. foreign policy will really change, as Sanders talked during the debate about confronting Putin in Ukraine. You may think Trump will have an isolationist foreign policy when elected, withdrawal from NATO, South Korea, and Japan, but it will not happen. Trump’s foreign policy will be simply that of fascist bully as illustrated in his rallies, punch the opponents in the face. If challenged by ISIS, he wants to squash them and take their oil, as he claimed he wants the Iraq oil to pay for Iraq War. How do you make a declining empire great except by force? If challenged by China in South China Sea, he will not hesitate using nuclear weapons as the final arbiter. Hillary may talk tough, but I doubt she will risk the world for those islands.

  2. pug_ster
    March 22nd, 2016 at 06:18 | #2

    Allen,

    I have to agree and disagree with you on this one. Trump only says that he doesn’t want to involve American troops to go into Asia region because of economic reasons. He did not say anything pushing China’s button in regards the South China Seas issue. Maybe he does, maybe he doesn’t. But you don’t need alot of money for America to push its agenda. Look at what Obama did in regards in the SCS issues. Instead of using American Military, he outsources countries like Japan, Vietnam and the Philippines to do its bidding. In the Middle east and North Africa regions, Obama outsourced terrorists to push its agenda. It is cheaper than sending American troops into the ground but with more disastrous results. Trump could’ve easily done the same thing by provoking its ‘allies’ like South Korea and Japan to provoke instability towards China that would be worse than keeping American troops there. We don’t know. At least Clinton will probably not do that and keep the status quo. I don’t see anything would change unless I see some sign that Trump would have talks with China to allow them to be the regional hegemony in the region so like much of Trump’s speeches, I have to take it with a grain of salt.

  3. March 22nd, 2016 at 08:34 | #3

    @N.M.Cheung
    When I see Trump talk … I don’t think his vision of “making America great” means making America even more hegemonic than it is today around the world. I believe it’s the opposite. He thinks America’s being hegemonic around the world – providing for its allies in Europe and Asia – is part of the reason for the decline of America.

    America that is more focused on itself is good for itself and the world. When (per Obama) one nation spends more than the next 8 countries combined in defense, it can’t be healthy for the world.

    Now we can speculate on how antagonistic Trump will be in Asia – whether he will reverse America’s so-called “pivot to Asia” – but I think he will definitely be a lot more peaceful and accommodating – if his rhetoric on Putin and Russia is any indication. A renewed America focused on fixing itself – its internal inequality, its education system, its health system, its infrastructure – will be a new “beacon on top of the hill” – than the hegemonic America that emerged in the aftermath of the collapse of the Soviet Union.

    As for the thing protester punching … I think it’s media rhetoric. I don’t know where even to start. That black guy who got punched by the old white guy … if you look at the entire video, it’s the black guy (protesters) taunting the others. If you get a white guy who start taunting a whole stadium of black guys and a black guy happen to throw a punch, you’d say the white guy is stupid. Sometimes you are not supposed to yell “fire” in a crowded theater, they’d say the white guy had it coming…

    As for Trump “encouraging” violence – give me a break… He’s never done that. It’s all interpretations and spins by the media. He’s said he’d love to punch a heckler out that had been stalking him, yelling obscenities at him, etc. It’s being honest. It’s common decency. You can protest, but if you want to be crude, protest is not an absolute shield.

    I remember I was supporting China’s Olympic torch in the S.F. part of the torch relay in 2008. The police were tense because of all the Dalai Lama protestors. I rode down an area (open to people but not to cars) waiving a Chinese flag (mainland flag) through an area occupied by pro-Chinese spectators and they thundered a huge roar of approval. A police told me to stop. I did. He told me to leave. I asked why – what exactly was I doing wrong. He almost threw my bike to the ground and just say: leave. Ok. I quickly left.

    In a crowd, there are crowd etiquette I guess. You don’t want to get a crowd too wild.

    In a crowded political rally, you can sure protest, but what’s the point of protesters going into the rally and mocking the crowd? Is that really a legitimate use of protest?

    For mainstream candidates, the police probably would have kicked them out long ago. But for Trump, when a few sneak by and make a scene, the story is somehow on Trump being violent.

  4. March 22nd, 2016 at 08:36 | #4

    @pug_ster
    You may be proven right, but I happen to disagree. More likely, Trump will make nice with Russia and China – allowing each more breathing space – and focusing on America’s on internal issues to make the nation truly great again – that is a land of opportunity again for the 99%, not just the 1% …

  5. qeter
    March 22nd, 2016 at 10:13 | #5

    That is one of the great oddities of this cycle.
    The “liberal” candidate is a hawkish inervitionalist while the “hitler-esque” populist prefers to let others settle their own business.

    As for trumps stance against Islamic state. i think he would just keep up the bombing campaign. It’s worked well so far.

  6. N.M.Cheung
    March 22nd, 2016 at 10:26 | #6

    @Allen
    How would Trump focus on domestic affair? you must be joking. Trump is no different than other oligarchs, the most important thing for them is tax cuts for the 1% or 0.1%. Where is the money going to come from? For the democrats they will increase taxes on the 1% to pay for health insurance and infrastructure rebuilding, and eventually they will be forced to cut defense spending through the rhetoric will be hawkish. Even the neocons know Trump have no program for governance except naked force domestic and abroad.

  7. qeter
    March 22nd, 2016 at 10:39 | #7

    @N.M.Cheung
    Public billionaires operate differently than their more common secretive cousins; I suspect trump has a bigger thirst for approval and doing what he wants than for cash. Given how badly the congressional branch has collapsed i’m not sure the traditional methodology for internal fixes will work anymore; trumps goals might be poorly optimized but at least they have some momentum behind them.

    Both Bernie sanders and trump seem inclined to a new deal type program for revitalization. It’s a proven strategy if nothing else.

  8. pug_ster
    March 22nd, 2016 at 12:17 | #8

    @Allen

    I hope that you are right about that, but I hope he will be like Bush II when it comes to foreign policy pertaining to China and Russia and especially dealing with terrorists. I won’t be expect another Nixon warming alliance with China though.

    “Making America Great” is more like a clause like “audacity of hope” from Obama’s era which faded quickly once when he became president. Trump being the 1% and I would doubt that he would make the US a land of opportunity for the 99%.

  9. March 22nd, 2016 at 13:04 | #9

    @N.M.Cheung
    He’d focus more at home … spend less resources fighting foreign wars and posturing militarily abroad … and more on home to built infrastructures … American economy. This vision is not a joke per se …

    As for Trump being an oligarch, he definitely is not part of the current cliche, else he wouldn’t be so demonized by all sides – conservatives, liberals, democrats, republicans, media from all sides…

    Now you may be right that he will ultimately succumb to the established oligarch, but to the extent he is so destined, then the country is that much more hopeless.

  10. March 23rd, 2016 at 06:29 | #10

    @Allen

    Trump’s stated policies would indeed be strategically convenient to the PRC on multiple fronts, IF they were implemented. He isn’t particularly fond of TPP (so he says anyways), & if he is elected, he is unlikely to push forward with its implementation. His Islamophobic remarks – regardless of whether it reflects his true colors, will certainly not help America with winning hearts & minds in the Muslim world. His stated non-interventionist stance – IF it translates into fewer regime change efforts – would reduce the amount of American-driven political instability across the world.

    That said, we really have no idea what Trump actually stands for, given that he speaks falsehoods more often than any other candidate (see politifact).

    http://www.politifact.com/personalities/donald-trump/

    There are two possibilities for this:

    1. He is a habitual liar & only saying what he thinks is popular to get votes (like any other typical politician)

    2. He is ignorant, & therefore tends to voice factually wrong statements

    If #1 applies, then we don’t really know how he’ll act when he gets into office. He may be just as aggressive & hegemonic as the present establishment, & we’re back to business as usual.

    If #2 applies, then it calls into question his competence, & whether he’ll be able to implement anything he campaigned for, especially with an establishment-ruled Congress & establishment-ran federal government in which both parties hate him.

    Furthermore, a smaller international footprint may free up resources at home, but those resources will only make a difference if they are invested wisely. So far there is no indication one way or another as to whether Trump has a serious domestic agenda beyond building a wall & banning Muslims (neither of which falls into the category of ‘wise investment’).

  11. pug_ster
    March 28th, 2016 at 19:48 | #11

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/asia_pacific/in-japan-and-south-korea-bewilderment-at-trumps-suggestion-they-build-nukes/2016/03/28/03eb2ace-f50e-11e5-958d-d038dac6e718_story.html

    I thought this article about Trump allowing South Korea and Japan to arm themselves with nukes sets a dangerous precedent. This is even more dangerous than the status quo where Americans stays in the DMZ. This is no different than America supporting Saudia Arabia, Dubai and Turkey to finance terrorists so fight in Syria. America enforcing its policies by outsourcing; America withdrawing and encouraging Japan and South Korea to fight against North Korea is certainly not an interest for China.

  12. April 3rd, 2016 at 17:36 | #12

    @Mister Unknown

    1. He is a habitual liar & only saying what he thinks is popular to get votes (like any other typical politician)

    2. He is ignorant, & therefore tends to voice factually wrong statements

    Either way is fine with me, personally … it’s good that someone is at least voicing what I think are good thoughts.

    AS for the characterization of Trump as a habitual liar – I think all politicians … and most business leaders … are – at least from my engineering / science mindset.

    I do want to address your reference to politifact. In my view, political fact checking is itself a political exercise because they can misinterpret, interpret, frame the context, any degree they want.

    Republicans lie more according to politifact – see e.g. http://www.mediaite.com/online/politifact-says-republicans-lie-three-times-more-often-than-democrats-according-to-new-study/.

    I don’t have time to demonstrate … but maybe I should. But here is a recent article in Huffpost about Trump lying.

    Let me just use first 5 accusations of Trump lying to show what I mean.

    Below are our findings:

    1. Claim: “[Ted Cruz]’s home state is Texas. It may be Canada.”

    Reality: Canada is not a state and Ted Cruz, while born there, calls Texas home.

    2. Claim: “I don’t know what touch means.” — Trump, in reference to his campaign manager Corey Lewandowski grabbing reporter Michelle Fields’ arm in an incident that has resulted in his arrest.

    Reality: Trump knows what “touch” means. Everyone with a functioning brain knows what it means.

    3. Claim: The security camera footage of the Lewandowski incident “exonerates him totally.”

    Reality: It does not. It actually shows Lewandowski lied when he asserted that he didn’t know or remember Fields at all.

    4. Claim: “All of a sudden [Fields’] story changed.” — Trump, discussing what happened after it was revealed that there was security footage of the incident.

    Reality: Fields’ story hasn’t changed.

    5. Claim: “I’m a loyal person.” — Trump on his decision to stand by Lewandowski.

    Reality: Trump is famous for the phrase, “You’re fired.” His marital history also conflicts with this statement.

    Claim 1: Huffpost purposely misreads Trump. Trump never says Canada is a state. If you take things in context (and yes, I know, that involves interpretation) – he is only questioning where Cruz’s heart really is – is it really Texas, in America – or somewhere outside?

    Not my cup of cake. But very routine in American politics in general. Why the fuss?

    Claim 2: Huffpost purposely misleads by framing issue as what “touch” generally means – rather than what it means in this context … with all the assignation of blame, moral turpitude, righteousness, etc. IN court on self defense, we would definitely need to get into detail what “contact” means … when of course in general we also know what “contact” means…

    Claim 3: I think the jury is out on whether the film exonerates anyone. But if Huffpost thinks not, so be it. Why make up thing about “It actually shows Lewandowski lied when he asserted that he didn’t know or remember Fields at all.” How can the film show whether Lewandowski knew or remember anything about Fields? He is merely rushing to Trump when someone got close? How can film shows what he remembers?

    Evidence is about weighing things. That’s why some courts have juries. That’s why we have judges. It’s NEVER NEVER black and white … since we have to impute and disentangle motives, beliefs, facts, etc., etc.

    It’s one thing to say Lewandowski might have said things that are inconsistent … just like Fields, say … but quite another to take what Huffpost see as inconsistency and claims to be a “lie”!

    Claim 4: This is a funny one. We have a real dispute of fact based on who you believe then. Trump’s camp seem to point to transcripts of Field’s original accusations, which if true, was definitely a reversal from the later story.

    Again, to make this into a “lie” on Trump – that’s jumping into conclusion – that all political fact checking do. They arbitrarily make a decision based on their own worldviews, preferences, and politics!

    Claim 5: Hmmm … funny. Loyalty means you never fire? No … I’d think loyalty means sticking by your man unless he is proven incapable, or something…

    As for loyalty and marriage (which is taking things way out of context) … but let’s say we go there … I’d think it’s about fidelity while being married … or at least honest. Huffpost now says loyalty means monogamy?

    And then using that to prove Trump to be a “liar”???

    I’ll end. Because that’s what political fact checking is.

    When done well, it cherry picks the worst statements from people one doesn’t like while passing those from those one likes and put them out. But usually, it’s what I see above – it’s just presenting facts by presuming, framing, conniving through tools of rhetoric. It’s just politics.

  13. April 3rd, 2016 at 17:37 | #13

    @pug_ster

    Yeh … that’s dumb of Trump to say. He’s wrong on that and so many other things.

    Of course, that still doesn’t change my view about him being a fresh breath of air to voice thoughts about American hegemony costing America … about America scaling back from the world…

    We can disagree how America should scale back … but I think we all agree America should scale back.

    For example, in my view, America should let China gain more military space … and tell Japan to zip it and make nice with your neighbor … instead of say Japan go arm yourself.

  14. April 8th, 2016 at 20:57 | #14

    Following up on my comment that fact-checking as we know it is a political exercise draped in the veil of objectivity, here is another example, but using Bill Clinton’s recent confrontation with Black Lives Matter protestors over Clinton’s various bills on crimes.

    According to this Huffington Post, everything Clinton said to defend his welfare reform were lies.

    But according to this National Review Article, it is the protestors who are the liars – whose conducts rise to the level of “[r]evising history, censoring speech, and attempts at public humiliation.”

  15. April 24th, 2016 at 11:49 | #15

    @Allen
    If you accept that lying is part of the political game, & that everyone does it, then you should also accept that Trump is JUST ANOTHER TYPICAL politician, & there is absolutely nothing special about him. You can ‘like’ his statements, but stay real & don’t expect much other than business as usual if he actually gets elected (which is a pretty long shot btw).

    Let’s get real here, it’s strategically convenient for China to have a Trump electoral victory, but don’t kid yourself about what kind of person he is.

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