Donald Trump has offered his foreign policy vision. It was a bit of a mishmash, but he is no Neoconservative and broke with pro-war Republican orthodoxy in important ways.
The speech, delivered last week in downtown Washington, was standard campaign fare, intended to demonstrate that the candidate was serious, and included some of the usual bland generalities.
Still, there was considerable good in the talk.
After the Cold War, he noted, “Logic was replaced with foolishness and arrogance, which led to one foreign policy disaster after another.” Hard to argue with that. Moreover, said Trump, it was a mistake to believe that the U.S. could impose Western-style democracy on countries “that had no experience or interests” in the process.
Indeed, he noted that “the legacy of the Obama-Clinton interventions will be weakness, confusion and disarray, a mess.” It actually is the Bush-Obama-Clinton interventions, but point taken. “Our actions in Iraq, Libya and Syria have helped unleash ISIS,” Trump added.
Added Trump: “unlike other candidates for the presidency, war and aggression will not be my first instinct.” Those are words not often spoken by Republicans. He also criticized the Iraq debacle, whose “biggest beneficiary has been Iran.”
Further, complained Trump, “our allies are not paying their fair share.” He promised to get out “of the nation-building business.” He argued that Washington should cooperate with Russia.
But there was the bad in the talk as well.