The Man Who Will Make America Great Again™ seems to have some odd ideas about how to do that internationally. In an interview with The New York Times, Trump openly stated that he might let Russia march into the Baltic republics in spite of NATO, explained that Turkey’s Islamist would-be-dictator Recep Tayyip Erdogan was doing a wonderful job of locking down his country, and attacked America in the process of doing both.
Republicans just nominated Howard Zinn.
First, The New York Times asked Trump if he would defend NATO allies if they were attacked by Russia. He answered that he would “decide to come to their aid only after reviewing if those nations ‘have fulfilled their obligations to us…If they fulfill their obligations to us, the answer is yes.’”
This destroys NATO.
The whole purpose of NATO is deterrence: if you attack one of us, you attack all of us. Even if Trump were to consider whether to defend Estonia, Latvia or Lithuania – or, for that matter, Poland or Czech Republic – on a case-by-case basis, you don’t say that out loud, unless you’re either stupid or unworried about signaling to Russia that they can invade sovereign nations with impunity. Ed Morrissey of HotAir, who is not prone to exaggeration, wrote, “This kind of talk from prospective Commanders-in-Chief is no mere academic or political exercise; it’s actively dangerous.”
But the insanity didn’t stop there.
Turkish thug Erdogan has purged tens of thousands of people from positions of power and influence in Turkey following a failed coup that very well could have been a Reichstag Fire event. Just hours ago, Turkey suspended the European Convention on Human Rights in their country so they could pursue Erdogan’s enemies with alacrity.
Asked about pressuring Turkey to abide by human rights commitments, Trump said, “I don’t think we have a right to lecture.” Trump even cheered Erdogan: “The coup never took place – the coup was not successful, and based on the fact, and I give great credit to him for being able to turn that around…I do give great credit to him for turning it around.”
Then he stated:
I think right now when it comes to civil liberties, our country has a lot of problems, and I think it’s very hard for us to get involved in other countries when we don’t know what we are doing and we can’t see straight in our own country. We have tremendous problems when you have policemen being shot in the streets, when you have riots, when you have Ferguson. When you have Baltimore. When you have all of the things that are happening in this country — we have other problems, and I think we have to focus on those problems. When the world looks at how bad the United States is, and then we go and talk about civil liberties, I don’t think we’re a very good messenger…. I don’t know that we have a right to lecture. Just look about what’s happening with our country. How are we going to lecture when people are shooting our policemen in cold blood. How are we going to lecture when you see the riots and the horror going on in our own country. We have so many difficulties in our country right now that I don’t think we should be, and there may be a time when we can get much more aggressive on that subject, and it will be a wonderful thing to be more aggressive. We’re not in a position to be more aggressive. We have to fix our own mess.
This is despicable stuff. It’s right in line with Russia’s perspective, of course – unsurprising, given the Trump campaign’s decision to gut anti-Putin language in defense of Ukraine, and Trump’s campaign manager, Paul Manafort’s, close relationship with the Putin regime.
More importantly, it’s anti-American garbage. Bad things happen in America – but they are not government policy. Equating America with Turkish crackdowns on dissidents is utterly reprehensible.
But Trump is not just an isolationist. He’s a Ron Paulite isolationist, a devotee of the notion that America makes the world a worse place when it intervenes. That will have consequences. And it certainly gives the lie to the notion that Trump will keep us safe from terrorism – not when he’s defending Erdogan, who has gone soft on ISIS.
Trump is Obama in wolf’s clothing. Obama wanted to make America smaller on the world stage, but clothed it in empty, silly language about multipolarity; Trump pretends to be strong on defense, but mirrors Obama’s policies at every turn. When it comes to foreign policy, Trump won’t Make America Great Again™. He’ll Make America Weak Again, and let everybody know about it, all the while blustering about how he’s a giant winner and a real tough guy.