Trump’s Miss Universe Foreign Policy

May 12, 2016

Trump’s Miss Universe Foreign  Policy ― Thomas L. Friedman | New York Times | Opinion |


Donald Trump–This Alpha Male American may yet spring a surprise by beating Hillary to The White House.The lure of power, not Foreign Policy, is too tempting to resist.–Din Merican


OK, it’s easy to pick on Donald Trump’s foreign policy. But just because he recently referred to the attack on the World Trade Center as happening on “7/11” — which is a convenience store — instead of 9/11, and just because he claimed that “I know Russia well” because he held a “major event in Russia two or three years ago — (the) Miss Universe contest, which was a big, big, incredible event” — doesn’t make him unqualified. I’m sure you can learn a lot schmoozing with Miss Argentina. You can also learn a lot eating at the International House of Pancakes. I never fully understood Arab politics until I ate hummus — or was it Hamas? And, by the way, just because Trump’s big foreign policy speech was salted with falsehoods — like “ISIS is making millions and millions of dollars a week selling Libyan oil” — it doesn’t make him unqualified.

The New York Times Magazine just profiled one of the President’s Deputy National Security Advisers, Ben Rhodes, reporting how he and his aides boasted of using social media, what the writer called a “largely manufactured” narrative, and a pliant press to, in essence, dupe the country into supporting the Iran nuclear deal. The Donald is not the only one given to knuckleheaded bluster and misrepresentation on foreign policy. Life is imitating Twitter everywhere now.

Indeed, criticising Trump for inconsistency when it comes to foreign policy is a bit rich when you consider that both Democrats and Republicans have treated Pakistan as an ally, knowing full well that its secret service has trucked with terrorists and coddled the Taliban — the people killing US soldiers in Afghanistan; they’ve both treated Saudi Arabia as an ally because we needed its oil, knowing full well that its export of Salafist Islam has fueled jihadis; they both supported decapitating Libya and then not staying around to support a new security order, thus opening a gaping hole on the African coast for migrants to flow into Europe; they’ve both supported Nato expansion into Russia’s face and then wondered aloud why the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, is so truculent.

No, if I were critiquing Trump’s foreign policy views it would not be on inconsistency, hypocrisy or lying. It would be that he shows no sign of having asked the most important question: What are the real foreign policy challenges the next President will face? I don’t think he has a clue, because if he did, he wouldn’t want the job. This is one of the worst times to be conducting US foreign policy.

Consider some of the questions that will greet the Oval Office’s next occupant. For starters, what does the new president do when the necessary is impossible but the impossible is necessary? Yes, we’ve proved in Iraq and Afghanistan that we don’t know how to do nation-building in other people’s countries. But just leaving Libya, Syria and parts of Iraq and Yemen ungoverned, and spewing out refugees, has led to a flood of migrants hitting Europe and stressing the cohesion of the European Union; that refugee flood could very well lead to Britain’s exit from the EU. President Barack Obama has been patting himself on the back a lot lately for not intervening in Syria.

I truly sympathised with how hard that call was — until I heard the President and his aides boasting about how smart their decision was and how stupid all their critics are. The human and geopolitical spillover from Syria is not over. It’s destabilising the EU, Lebanon, Iraq, Kurdistan and Jordan. The choices are hellish. I would not want the responsibility for making them. But nobody has a monopoly on genius here, and neither Obama’s victory lap around this smoldering ruin nor Trump’s bombastic and simplistic solutions are pretty to watch. And there are more of these stressors coming: Falling oil prices, climate change and population bombs are going to blow up more weak states, hemorrhaging refugees in all directions. There’s also the question of what you should do about the networked nihilists?

Ever since the rise of Osama bin Laden, super-empowered angry men have challenged us. But at least bin Laden had an identifiable cause and set of demands: cleansing the Arabian Peninsula of Western influence. But now we are seeing a mutation. Can anyone tell me what the terrorists who killed all those people in Brussels, Paris or San Bernardino wanted? They didn’t even leave a note; their act was their note. These suicidal jihadi-nihilists are not trying to win; they just want to make us lose. That’s a tough foe. They can’t destroy us — now — but they will ratchet up the pain if they get the ammo. Curbing them while maintaining an open society, with personal privacy on your cellphone and the Internet, will be a challenge.

And then there are Russia and China. They’re back in the game of traditional sphere-of-influence geopolitics. But both Russia and China face huge economic strains that will tempt their leaders to distract attention at home with nationalist adventures abroad. The days of clear-cut, satisfying victories overseas, like opening up China or tearing down the Berlin Wall, are over. US foreign policy now is all about containing disorder and messes. It is the exact opposite of running a beauty pageant. There’s no winner, and each contestant is uglier than the last. ― The New York Times

8 thoughts on “Trump’s Miss Universe Foreign Policy

  1. The institutional mindset of US politics is that the US must dominate all other countries and to do so, the other side must lose because one cannot win without there being a loser.

    Trump is not locked into that kind of archaic behaviour, which means there could be a fresh wind of change to the US foreign policy, be it for the better or for the worse.

    Given the state of the US foreign policies currently (and they have a hand in all the armed conflicts or upheavals globally), I’d say Trump is not a bad choice. It’s that time when Forrest Gump’s philosophy about life being a box of chocolates look very attractive and meaningful …

  2. Whoever wins the presidency between Trump and Clinton, the warlike and opportunistic US foreign policy will continue. And there will be no letup in the massive economic and racial injustice domestically.

  3. US intelligence agencies have been tracking everyone in and outside the USA. Focus of course has been Muslims….very few Hindu,Jews,Buddhist,Christians etc have been blowing themselves up or blowing up other people. I think ‘any right thinking ‘ security organization will be watching Muslims because they are at war with themselves ( this is not being disrespectful but a fact). Trump is speaking what many people are concerned about. Three(3) major bombs going off in the USA were by Muslims,including the Boston Marathon.

  4. All said & done, Najib Razak must be the most powerful man on earth. He got 681 American Pies [he claims] when the the levee was dry, whereas the Clintons got a miserly 100…

    As a presidential candidate, the amount of foreign cash the Clintons have amassed from the Persian Gulf states is “simply unprecedented,” says national security analyst Patrick Poole.

    “These regimes are buying access. You’ve got the Saudis. You’ve got the Kuwaitis, Oman, Qatar and the UAE. There are massive conflicts of interest. It’s beyond comprehension,” Poole told TheDCNF in an interview.

    Overall, the Clinton Foundation has received upwards of $85 million in donations from five Persian Gulf states and their monarchs, according to the foundation’s website.

  5. In the last elections certain media groups made fun of the foreign policy credentials of a candidate who could see Russia from her home state of Alaska. Now similar tactics are being used to attack candidates that the media has problems with. When the dust settles whoever sits in the White House will drive US foreign policy on self interest, the friend of my enemy is my friend, and there are not permanent friends but only permanent interest. And by the way, if the policies of the two main parties does converge it is on foreign policy.

  6. Sad it may be but the truth-there are more Muslims dying everyday not from natural disasters but suicide bombers and outright armed conflict-look at the figures daily-we have become numbed by this-Iraq, yesterday 100 over died, Afghanistan, Syria, Libya, Yemen then the African continent….Southern Philippines ….Iran and Saudi have to meet and settle their differences! This is tearing the Islamic world apart and making the world unsafe. Saudi and Iran need a democratic government. There are Buddhists and Christian fights but not compared to say hundreds of thousands Muslims dying. We can blame the west only so much.

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