Skip to main content

In foreign policy, expect Trump to be- at BEST- Obama, Part Deux

For all his bluster, our new president seems to be afraid of the rest of the world. Or maybe it's just that his view of it is out of the 19th Century.

Whatever the reasons, he seems determined to take America back to the role it played in the world before the Spanish-American War:  an insular nation uninvolved in the world (with exceptions made for ISIS, perhaps, and any other entity he dislikes) and in the last analysis really rather insignificant. In many significant ways, "America First" means America last. And lest we forget, the last time Mr. Trump's point of view prevailed- its supporters even used the same slogan- the result was World War II.

This isn't the age of Grover Cleveland anymore.  The furthest point in the world is hours away by jet, and minutes by ICBM. The world's economy is interdependent (our new president is in for a woeful surprise if he thinks he can remake it in his own image). He's busy alienating us from our NATO allies,  who are so upset about his bizarre criticism of NATO that they're considering building their own alliance to replace it.  Mr. Trump probably considers this a good idea; after all, it will mean considerable savings for the United States. The trouble is that America's withdrawal from the world will mean a power vacuum at the top- and nature abhors a vacuum.

In essence, Mr. Trump seems willing to let Vladimir Putin run wild in Eastern Europe, China, and North Korea to do what they will in Asia, and presumably Iran to work its will in the Middle East. Somehow, he seems to actually believe that his admirable commitment to Israel is compatible with this attitude.

But despite the efforts of analysts to find some unifying core to Donald Trump's foreign policy, we need to consider the likelihood that in this as in everything else he's essentially erratic, a creature of impulse ungoverned by a unifying vision except the primacy of Donald Trump. At best we can expect a continuation of the passive, weak-kneed foreign policy of Barack Obama. At worst, the next four years could sew the seeds of a whole lot of aggression in the world, a whole lot of wars- or even one, final, great big one.

History abhors a vacuum. And if there's anything history tells us, it's that somebody has to lead the world order if it's going to avoid descending into chaos. For a long time, it was Great Britain. Then it was us. The real question is whether Russia or, more likely, China will step into the role, or whether we're entering a new dark age of wars much bigger and more deadly than Iraq and Afghanistan. Either way, unless Mr. Trump comes to his senses (unlikely), is somehow outmaneuvered by Secretary Mattis and the other sane and competent members of his administration, or simply replaced, the next four years are apt to make the world a far more dangerous and chaotic place.

The lesson of the 'Thirties and the 'Forties still applies. When we step back from the world and decline to stand up for what is right, what is wrong prospers- and the cost in lives ironically becomes exponentially higher than that of standing up to it.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

McMullin, Kasich, Hickenlooper, Huntsman, or somebody else sane in 2020!

I don't expect to be disenfranchised in 2020. I'm looking forward to Evan McMullin running against President Trump and whatever left-wing extremist the Democrats nominate. McMullin may or may not run for the Senate next year, and he may or may not run for president as an independent again next time around, but the nation can't afford to lose its most eloquent and intelligent critic of the populist takeover of the Republican party and the Executive Branch. We need the man in public life.

But interesting alternatives have developed. Ohio Gov. John Kasich has been mentioned as a potential primary challenger for Mr. Trump. I hope somebody continues the fight for the soul of my former party, even though I believe it to be a lost cause. Entrepreneur Mark Cuban is reportedly also considering a challenge to Mr. Trump. While I tend to see him at this point as somewhere to the left of where a candidate I would feel comfortable supporting might be, I would wish him well. Still, I see…

A modest proposal for a shocking innovation which is completely within the rules but which would, if adopted, revolutionize college football

I call it defense.

The idea- crazy as it may sound- is to supplement the scoring of points by your offense with an attempt to stop the other team from scoring them. Yeah, I know.  Really "out there," isn't it? But it has a history of winning not only games but championships. Modern college teams should try it more.

I'm a bit bummed about the Rose Bowl outcome but amused by the score. It seems that certain conferences aren't sure whether they're playing college football or high school basketball! I've noticed that in the scores of Sooner games. Last season the nation's college teams set a record by scoring an average of slightly more than 30 points each per game. That's a lot. Historically, that's a REAL lot.

The final score of the Rose Bowl was 54-48, though to be fair that was in double overtime. But to get there, the teams had to be tied 45-45 at the end of regulation! Last year was even worse. Southern Cal beat Penn State 52-49- in regulat…

A third party President in 2020?

I had the pleasure of meeting Joel Searsby, the campaign manager for Evan McMullin last year, at an event for Evan here in Des Moines during the campaign. Here's an interview with Joel by Jon Ward of Yahoo News on the ways in which centrist French President Emmanuel Marcon's out-of-nowhere landslide election last year may serve as an example for the inevitable bid to elect a rational, moderate third party candidate in 2020.

I have a feeling that it will be Evan McMullin again. But names like John Kasich, the Governor of Ohio, and Sen. Lindsey Graham also keep popping up. Word is that Kasich may challenge President Trump for the 2020 Republican nomination, an endeavor in which I'd wish him well but hold out very, very little hope for his success. I sadly expect that my conviction that the Republicans are dead as a vehicle for rationality and the reuniting of our fractured and divided country to be confirmed by the easy renomination of the most unfit and unqualified preside…