As did the Founders, Trump urges a foreign policy of abstention not intervention

Well, the usual gang of foreign policy geniuses is now on hand and hysterically warning of approaching doom. Max Boot, Andrea Mitchell, General Michael Hayden, John Kasich, Ted Cruz, Steve Clemons, Jeffrey Goldberg, Lindsey Graham, John Podhoretz, Hillary Clinton, Christiane Amanpour, every Israel-First pundit (NB: Which is pretty much all of them), and dozens of other prominent and all-knowing figures have damned Donald Trump’s foreign policy ideas as a plan to destroy America by putting America’s interests first.

One’s initial reaction to such a unity of views among America’s lordly bipartisan class of foreign policy wise persons has to be that Mr. Trump is, joyously and loudly, that rarest of rarities in post-Reagan America, namely, a man who, with Dr. Paul and Senator Paul, cares about — yes, you guessed it — America first, last, and always.

Nothing else could be so upsetting to these pointy headed citizens of the world, nor more dangerous to their ability to pontificate worthless foreign-policy advice to a citizenry they consider an unintelligent rabble, while raking in millions of dollars by offering always predictable and always wrong advice to the national government. Indeed, the last time Americans saw such unity among these foreign policy wizards was in 2011, when they unanimously guaranteed that the Arab Spring would produce enduring democracy in the Arab world, as well as the quick end of al-Qaeda, other Islamist insurgent organizations, and Islamism generally.

Think, for a moment, about the disasters these arrogant mandarins of a nuanced, complex, and too-sophisticated-for-voters interventionist foreign policy have brought America in the last thirty years.

  • Their advice has yielded one-man government in the United States, the repeated initiation of unnecessary wars, the losing of all necessary and unnecessary wars, and the willful shredding of the U.S. Constitution.
  • Their sage advice has gotten thousands of U.S. Marines and soldiers killed and maimed for nothing; kept the United States mired in treaties and “arrangements” that commit American kids to fight and die for such eminently expendable places and organizations as Latvia, Thailand, Israel, Iraq, Bulgaria, Afghanistan, Albania, Turkey, the UN, NATO, and dozens of others; and ensured that Americans will pay dearly for the pleasure of having to defend the interests of those irrelevant places and organizations, even when not a single genuine U.S. interest is at stake.
  • In free trade deals, their economic insights have been — with free trade’s lethal companions, foreign aid and unregulated immigration — the main source of the national government-caused income disparity in America; their free-trade fanaticism has cost working Americans many billions of dollars and millions of blue-collar jobs; they have destroyed the middle class and the manufacturing-based employment road that leads to the middle class; they have championed the building of roads, damns, irrigation systems, hydro-electric facilities, hospitals, airports, nation-wide telecommunications systems, and internet networks for foreigners while letting America’s infrastructure rot; and they have, with utterly cruel irony, urged the spending of hundreds of millions of dollars to help secure the borders of foreign nations — Turkey and Tunisia most recently — while the U.S. border is wide open to recurring waves of the earth’s scum.

Imagine, then, the self-righteous gall of the above-noted group of always wrong foreign policy gurus to claim that Mr. Trump and the people who agree with him are a grave threat to U.S. survival. Why? Because they hold the always pertinent and always correct Lindberghian idea that America must come first, and, if it does not, the clearly incompetent and disloyal bipartisan governing elite and their advisers, men and women who aspire to world citizens (Soros-ians?) not Americans, must be sacked or in some other manner dispatched with haste to oblivion.

If you read the transcripts of Trump’s interviews with the New York Times and the Washington Post it seems clear that those who asked Trump questions could not grasp the fact that absolutely nothing is more important in a president than having a person who never, ever deviates from an America First foreign policy. America’s security, prosperity, and survival must be the national government’s first priority and nothing else — especially the interests of expendable foreign nations — should even come close to that priority.

The newspapers’ questioners of Trump seemed to think that free trade, NATO, stability in the Middle East, open borders, environmentalism, Israel, spreading democracy, and military and humanitarian interventions abroad are the carved-in-stone tenets of a new secular religion that is designed to replace the Christian faith that they, their employers, and the Democratic Party yearn to destroy. Trump could have been speaking with Churchillian eloquence — which he was not — and the interviewers would have remained where they were throughout the interviews, without a single contact point with either reality or the fairly uncomplicated requirements of an effective U.S. foreign policy.

In his foreign-policy interviews and other statements — even the nauseating, pro-forma boiler plate he fed to a huge crowd of disloyal, Trump-hating, and demanding-to-be-pandered-to AIPAC’ers — Trump, as is his wont, came back to first principles, namely:

  • U.S. foreign policy must do only three things: (a) ensure the nation’s survival; (b) protect the Constitution and thereby liberty at home; and (c) take every possible opportunity to exploit the advantages provided by North America’s geographical remoteness and natural-resource wealth.
  • America fights wars only to defend its own relatively few genuine national interests or to destroy imminent threats to the republic. It must never be in the business of fighting wars for nations, peoples, or groups that are irrelevant, trouble-making, and therefore dangerous to the protection or pursuit of genuine U.S. interests.
  • There are very few reasons for America to go to war. If America must go to war, it goes to war to destroy its enemy as quickly and utterly as possible. The sole mercy in war is the speedy and catastrophic defeat of the enemy, his supporters and sympathizers, and his infrastructure.
  • U.S. foreign policy and wars must never be based on abstract ideas, such as freedom, human rights, democracy and women’s rights. Wars fought for abstract ideas are the province of those who are the infamous forerunners of today’s Neoconservatives and Democrats, Robespierre, Napoleon, Hitler, Stalin, Pol Pot, and Mao.
  • U.S. foreign policy can only be successful if it is based on such tangible things as peace, equitable trading arrangements, freedom of the seas, and access to natural resources. The ability to successfully pursue these interests is dependent on ample financial resources and little debt; overwhelming and flexible military power — especially naval power — to defend the republic’s neutrality; consistent and manly national leadership built on the principle of America First; and the maximum possible degree of domestic social cohesion, effective internal security, and affection for the national government. (NB: Trump, in the recent interviews, clearly recognizes that at this time U.S. foreign policy cannot depend on any of these indispensable resources. His interviewers just as clearly did not understand their central relevance to an effective foreign policy.)

There are things in Trump’s foreign policy statements that are objectionable. The idea, for example, that the United States will keep bases overseas in NATO countries, Japan, South Korea, and elsewhere if the host governments pay the costs. This, of course, does nothing more than keep the United States locked into participating in wars that others start or that are irrelevant to U.S. interests. Likewise, while the idea of withdrawing from NATO and letting the other alliance members do with it as they please is the correct stance for the United States, Trump’s undefined plan to replace NATO with “something new” is surely a path back to a “something” that will recommit America to automatic war for another country’s interests and reestablish American taxpayers and their children as those who will, respectively, pay and die endlessly to defend Europeans who find it too troublesome and expensive to defend themselves.

But Trump, in his foreign policy planning, is catching on to a basic and unchanging truth, which is that the most effective, least expensive, and most liberty-at-home conserving U.S. foreign policy is one that emphasizes international abstention far more often than overseas intervention. The Founders knew this, as did America’s only world-class diplomats — Benjamin Franklin, John Quincy Adams, and George F. Kennan — and its finest aviator, Colonel Charles A. Lindbergh.

Trump also seems to know this truth, and if can he publicly articulate his position with greater clarity, precision, and frequency he will draw the clearest possible distinction between himself and the other presidential candidates, namely, Ted Cruz, that newly Bushified, war-loving lapdog of the corrupt Republican elite, John Kasich, Hillary Clinton — three people desperate to find wars for a bankrupt, militarily exhausted America to fight — and Senator Sanders, who forgets to tell the mobs of child-like millennials before which he preens that socialism always leads to economic disaster, domestic oppression, and war — foreign, civil, or both.

For once, then, foreign policy seems set to play a key role in a U.S. presidential election. Trump already has convinced much of the electorate — the part not seeking free stuff or to live off others’ labor and taxes — that he can undo Obama’s economic disaster. He also has a chance to speak to and win over voters to his positions on foreign policy, positions that would serve their economic and security interests, protect their liberties, and halt the infernal burden of having their taxes used to pay, not for deficit reduction or America’s many dire domestic needs, but to protect other peoples’ interests, fight other peoples’ wars, and line the pockets of corrupt Third World elites. Common sense — a synonym for America First — has a chance to win in this fall’s election, and, at the moment, Trump has cornered the market on common sense, hands down.

Author: Michael F. Scheuer

Michael F. Scheuer worked at the CIA as an intelligence officer for 22 years. He was the first chief of its Osama bin Laden unit, and helped create its rendition program, which he ran for 40 months. He is an American blogger, historian, foreign policy critic, and political analyst.