Seven months ago, Donald Trump was exposed as having pretty much no idea how foreign policy works. It’s not just that he didn’t know the names of countries or leaders; that can be corrected. After all, it’s been 47 years since he had to study up on anything outside of real estate and multi-level marketing schemes, so we can assume that he’ll get up to speed…
…or can he?
His famous slips of not knowing that China wasn’t part of TPP or that the nuclear triad was more than just about “devastation” are some of the reasons why he doesn’t like to debate, but his speech today about his foreign policy plans should have been easy. He was reading from a teleprompter. We can forgive that he didn’t know how to pronounce Tanzania. We can forgive that he promised no details and delivered on that promise with flying colors. What we cannot forgive is that his speech, unhindered by the pressure of questions or memorization, was a complete and utter debacle.
He doesn’t know much, but what he does know is wrong. I had to turn it off after a little while to catch my breath and bring my blood pressure down. As Spectator put it, he was acting like someone who had crammed for a high school history quiz. It was incoherent and designed to sound more like a rah-rah stump speech than a statement of how he would lead the country if elected President.
Here’s what we know:
- He’s going to maintain a strong posture at all times. Those of us old enough to remember Ronald Reagan’s foreign policy know that he knew when to be strong and when to be friendly. Trump apparently only knows strength which will not benefit us at all in east Africa or southeast Asia where a steady and helpful hand is more important than being puffed up.
- Being unpredictable is apparently a good thing to Trump. It’s not. This isn’t business. He’s not going to be running North Korea where being a wildcard is a good thing. Back to Reagan, his foreign policy was extremely predictable. That afforded him the ability to keep troops at home because knowing how he would react to situations often prevented them from happening.
- America first! This is a rallying cry for, well, a rally. It’s great for the stump. It’s terrible for foreign policy. It’s a message to the world that we’re not going to operate as the leader within a global community. This is important to understand: there’s a huge difference between being a globalist and leading the global community. I’m not suggesting that we don’t put America first. In fact, every country puts itself above every other country. However, his extreme perspectives and gumption surrounding the concept are designed for getting his supporters pumped up. These supporters, as important as they are for getting elected, have absolutely no idea what it takes to keep America at the top. We want the United States to be the mayor of the figurative global city, not the mob boss undermining everything that other nations want.
There are other takeaways covered in multiple links on News Watch, but those are the big standouts for me.
It’s one thing to go in not knowing foreign policy. It’s another thing altogether to believe that you know when you don’t. Donald Trump’s naivety would be the downfall of this nation if elected. That’s not hyperbole. He’s completely inadequate for this role.
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