Donald Trump’s Way Back Foreign Policy Machine

It is dangerous to listen to someone like Donald
Trump whose nostalgia date (his way-back machine) is set to the 60’s and 70’s.
No problem if you’re just telling stories to your grandchildren but a “huge”
problem if you are the President of the United States. Donald’s idea of winning
– he said in this foreign policy speech – is our victory in WWII and he also
gives America credit for winning the Cold War. Donald is another worshipper of
the only “perfect” American President, Ronald Reagan. He likes an America that
is pugilistic and muscular.
Trump believes we haven’t won a war since World War
Two or the Cold War because we have been weak. He, perhaps, would have liked
Ronald Reagan to be made President for Life. Alzheimer’s, sadly, would have put
the kibosh on that. However, except for Saint Ronald (who if you studied real
history was way less than perfect) no one else has measured up. According to
Trump the weakest leader of all has been President Obama (who is never given
the honorific) and Hillary Clinton will be just as bad.
But what Donald Trump, stuck in the old days, cannot
see is that the very philosophy concerning the ways we participate in the world
has evolved.
We have learned not to go to war lightly – well no we haven’t but we, at least,
are not turning every skirmish into a world war, or every power hungry man into
an existential threat (OK, we’re not perfect at that either but we’re trying).
We have learned that nation building in far-flung corners of the globe is
expensive and not often appreciated or even successful, which doesn’t mean we
will actually refrain. We surely have had plenty of examples of the totally
unforeseen consequences of regime change, although from time to time we still
can’t seem to resist.  We especially can’t
help injecting ourselves into the chaos in the nations of our nearest neighbors,
often with horrifying results.
Donald wants to bring this all back along with
torture and secrecy and threats (even nukes). So while evidence suggests that
tactics that we and others have used in the past will not actually make America
great again, that the only thing resorting to these old military chestnuts can
do is enhance our reputation as “ugly Americans”, Donald Trump, still stuck in
that post-World War II glow, seems unaware of such evidence.
Trump blames Obama and Clinton for “the confusion,
chaos, and disarray” in the world but many of us believe that the Bush
administration opened the Pandora’s Box that has turned into the seething,
painfully transitioning Middle East we see and deal with today. Whether the
region tried to shake off their authoritarian leaders, or whether the Iraq war
had a domino effect, or whether Americas had our hands in their fall from power,
it is clear that the Middle East does not have a tradition of democratic rule
and that is not the setting it reboots to. Perhaps we need to flood the area
with reasons to join the developed world that make sense in relation to Muslim
beliefs.
However, I contend, that we are actually at the
point where war and the environment meet, because if we cannot work across
nations, and stay somewhat peaceful and stable as the inhabitants of this planet
we may be doomed. If we can’t work efficiently as caretakers and help create a
sustainable lifestyle for the exploding population, then confusion, chaos and
disarray will be the order of the day, every day. Old imperialistic and
militaristic strategies may have once made America feel large and in charge,
but these outdated attitudes towards our global neighbors, however
un-neighborly, are not what we need now.

 

We could go with America First and decide, as we see
our planet become a less hospitable place to live, to build those walls and
annihilate our enemies (or be annihilated, because people will fight back).
That’s one way to be sustainable, wipe out anyone who won’t accept our
leadership. But where is the challenge in that. It is far more interesting to
try to design global strategies that will give everyone a livable spot in a
world exhibiting rapid climate change. It is far more intelligent to keep
striving to colonize other planets than to turn this one into a radioactive
nuclear wasteland.
Earth probably doesn’t care if we take care of it;
it will live on without us. But if we want the Earth to support human life we
may need to start cooperating pretty soon now. We can’t just take a boilerplate
set of old war policies and rely on them to keep the flaws in human nature from
sucking us under. The nations who understand the risks to our planet need to be
strong, yes, but also cooperative, creative and nuanced; and we need a global design
for where we would like things to go here on Earth – and for that we need peace,
not war-mongering. The reason Donald Trump’s foreign policies, and in fact the
foreign policy stances of the Republican Party are dangerous is because they
will not meet the current and future needs of Americans or anyone else on Earth.
By Nancy Brisson

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