Monday, March 28, 2016

Foreign Policy and International Relations According to Trump

Simple 3-Part View

Simple ISIS (and others who disagree with us) Strategy

Quite long and from several sources: Trump outlines Foreign Policy with The New York Times and The Washington Post (reported in Media Matters).

Donald J. Trump’s lack of total knowledge about foreign policy – except a quick with lip and quip snap is very troubling. His foreign policy outlook combines economic nationalism that would end up with a nasty score sheet: USA=0 / World nasties=Huge score. Our new national anthem under Trump: Bye, bye American Pie.

Trump is and likely to remain as the Republican presidential front-runner and eventually nominee. He has said some pretty horrible things in his personal attacks, but in the area of international relations and foreign affairs, he get a big fat goose egg. 

Examples follow:

He said that if he is elected, he might halt purchases of oil from Saudi Arabia and other Arab allies unless they commit ground troops to the fight against the Islamic State or “substantially reimburse” the United States for combating the militant group, which threatens their stability.

Specifically he said: “If Saudi Arabia was without the cloak of American protection, I don't think it would be around.”

He also said he would be open to allowing Japan and South Korea to build their own nuclear arsenals rather than depend on the American nuclear umbrella for their protection against North Korea and China. He added: “[that] if the United States keeps on its path, its current path of weakness, they're going to want to have that anyway, with or without me discussing it.”

He also said he would be willing to withdraw U. S. forces from both Japan and South Korea if they did not substantially increase their contributions to the costs of housing and feeding those troops, adding:  “[I’m] not happily, but the answer is yes.”

He also said he would seek to renegotiate many fundamental treaties with American allies, possibly including a 56-year-old security pact with Japan, which he described as one-sided.

In Trump's worldview, the United States has become a diluted power, and the main mechanism by which he would re-establish its central role in the world is economic bargaining.

He approached almost every current international conflict through the prism of a negotiation, even when he was imprecise about the strategic goals he sought. He again faulted the Obama administration's handling of the negotiations with Iran last year saying in part: “It would have been so much better if they had walked away a few times.” (But, he offered only one new idea about how he would change its content: Ban Iran's trade with North Korea – yeah, good luck with that one).

He struck similar themes when he discussed the future of NATO, which he called “unfair, economically, to us,” adding that he was open to an alternative organization focused on counter-terrorism. He argued that the best way to halt China's placement of military airfields and antiaircraft batteries on reclaimed islands in the South China Sea was to threaten its access to American markets.

The source for this summary shows clearly that Trump has explained his thoughts in concrete and easily digestible terms, but they appeared to reflect little consideration for potential consequences. [The source for this is The New York Times]

This is his overall view of our country it seems: “When I see the policy of some of these people in our government, we’ll be in the Middle East for another 15 years — if we don’t end up losing by that time, because our country is disintegrating. We are spending trillions of dollars in the Middle East, and the infrastructure of our country is disintegrating.” (Ergo: he wants to make us “Great Again” – ha.).

Sadly, we hear Trump supporters say things like “he tells like it is or he's not politically correct.” What they are really saying, at least many of them if you listen carefully for their follow remarks on Talk Radio or at red meat forums, you will hear them say: “I love it, because it's what I believe, too.” That’s the sad part of what is happening to us collectively and in a very negative way. As they say, “Fear sells” yes, it does, but I quickly add: “That is until we stop buying it.”

Some have even made a Trump-George Wallace comparison in speech and style – for example:

Wallace in 1968: When activists interrupted his rally at Madison Square Garden in NYC for example, he asked: “Why do Democratic and Republican leaders kowtow to these anarchists. We don't have riots in Alabama. They start a riot down there, and the first one of 'em to pick up a brick gets a bullet in the brain, that's all.”
Trump recently at one of his rallies when more fights and yelling and protesting have occurred, Trump said he said in essence, “In the old days such animals would be carried out on a stretcher, folks.” Then he ordered security to “Get 'em the hell outta here,” adding about man being dragged out, “I'd like to punch him in the face.”

Related: So, who are Trump supporters really? That’s an easy question but with no easy answer. Poll experts and political scientists have over time too an unparalleled look at Trump supporters’ attitudes long before they even knew Trump would run data back to 2007, 2008 or 2012. What have most discovered? Prior to Trump actually running the people who would go on to back him in 2016 have ID themselves along these lines:
  • They are much-less conservative than the people who would back Ted Cruz on most social issues.  
  • They were almost as pro-choice as Clinton supporters.
  • They were less opposed to same-sex marriage than Cruz supporters.
  • They were more populist on economic issues as well.
  • They were slightly more supportive of government spending in general.
  • They were less likely to favor repealing Obamacare.
  • They were hostile toward NAFTA type trade agreements.
  • They were markedly less likely to have favored a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants.
  • They tend to be “hawks” on defense and war.
  • They were, however, back in 2007, and unlike Cruz supporters today, far more likely to oppose keeping troops in Iraq — which is the position aligned with Trump.
  • They tend to be more anti-Hispanic and anti-black than voters for other candidates and that more true now since Trump hammers that so much.

A RAND poll found that a substantial proportion of the GOP primary electorate is relatively liberal on pocketbook issues, plus: (1) About 51 percent “strongly” or “somewhat” favored increasing taxes on individuals who make more than $200,000 a year, and (2) Some 38 percent had a favorable or very favorable opinion of labor unions. RAND also found that Trump benefited from biases against immigrants, African-Americans, and women (especially among those who believe that “immigrants threaten American customs and values” and that “women who complain about harassment cause problems.”

Yet the strongest indicator of support for Trump — stronger than gender, age, race/ethnicity, employment status, educational attainment, household income, attitudes toward Muslims, attitudes toward illegal immigrants, or attitudes toward Hispanics was a feeling of having no voice. Nearly 87 percent more likely to prefer Trump “somewhat” or “strongly” agreed that “people like me don't have any say about what the government does.”

Trump: Problem solver or trouble maker?

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