Trump’s foreign policy speech a combination of ignorance and arrogance
Matthew Yglesias sums up the key part of the speech and explains why it is so dangerously wrong.
Here’s some of what Trump said:
The decision to overthrow the regime in Libya, then pushing for the overthrow of the regime in Syria, among other things, without plans for the day after, have created space for ISIS to expand and grow. These actions, along with our disastrous Iran deal, have also reduced our ability to work in partnership with our Muslim allies in the region.
That is why our new goal must be to defeat Islamic terrorism, not nation-building.
For instance, the last major NATO mission was Hillary Clinton’s war in Libya. That mission helped unleash ISIS on a new continent.
I’ve said NATO needs to change its focus to stopping terrorism. Since I’ve raised that criticism, NATO has since announced a new initiative focused on just that. America must unite the whole civilized world in the fight against Islamic terrorism, just like we did against communism in the Cold War.
Here’s what’s wrong:
For starters, Trump supported the war in Libya even though he’s spent the entire 2016 campaign pretending that he didn’t.
The collapse of the Syrian state can’t be the fault of a US intervention to overthrow Assad, because we never mounted any such intervention.
Trump, in the past, said the United States should intervene in Syria to create protected zones outside the authority of the Syrian government: “What I like is build a safe zone, it’s here, build a big, beautiful safe zone and you have whatever it is so people can live, and they’ll be happier.”
Trump criticizes military interventions conducted “without plans for the day after” but his signature idea for fighting ISIS is to “bomb the shit out of” them, which is not much of a day-after plan.
For that matter, planning for the day after is also known as nation building but Trump says he’s against nation building.
Trump criticizes the Iran deal on the grounds that America’s Persian Gulf allies didn’t like it, but Trump’s signature campaign proposal on terrorism is to ban all citizens from those countries from entering the United States, which they are really not going to like.
Last but by no means least, Trump’s habit of insisting that every US military alliance — from NATO to our defense treaties with Japan and South Korea — should be scrutinized in narrow financial terms is the exact opposite of replicating the Cold War strategy to unite the civilized world.