Give Trump Some Credit
by Jacob G. Hornberger
Whatever you might think about GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump, he deserves some credit: At least he has raised questions about the U.S. foreign policy of perpetual war and foreign interventionism, which has thrown GOP conservatives, the neo-cons, and the Washington, D.C., establishment—including, no doubt, the CIA and the entire military-industrial complex — into an absolute tizzy.
After all, to question the philosophy of foreign interventionism is akin to heresy. It’s like a Christian saying that Jesus was great man but not God.
And Heaven help the person who speaks such heresy. The war party, both Democrats and Republicans, will come down on him with massive political fire and brimstone. That’s what they’re now doing to Trump for daring to speak publicly about what is not supposed to be spoken.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not suggesting that Trump is a libertarian when it comes to foreign policy. Like his fellow candidates in both parties, he most definitely is an interventionist. It’s just that he has pointed out that he is less of an interventionist than the others. But even that slight deviation has earned him the ire of the political establishment.
Even worse, from their standpoint, is the reason he gives for why he is less interventionist than they. He points to the horrific mess that interventionism has produced in the Middle East — i.e., Iraq, Libya, Syria, and elsewhere.
For the interventionists, that is beyond the pale.
It get worse.
Trump has also questioned the need for NATO, the old post-World War II organization that has all the earmarks of a dinosaur — and a dangerous one at that. But not to the political establishment. For them, NATO is vital to international peace and U.S. security, notwithstanding the fact that it’s gobbling of Warsaw Pact countries and moving U.S.-controlled troops ever closer to Russia’s border are what provoked the crisis with Russia in Ukraine. Trump’s questioning of the legitimacy of NATO is considered prima facie evidence of his incompetence in foreign affairs.
Perhaps worst of all, from the standpoint of the statists, is that Trump is even questioning why the United States should be subsidizing the defense of other countries, such as Korea and Japan. Why, everyone knows that entangling alliances are what the United States is all about, or so say the interventionists. How else could “national security” be preserved if the U.S. warfare state wasn’t automatically committed to defending dozens of nations in conflicts with Russia?
Pardon me for asking, but isn’t that what the Cold War and the Truman Doctrine were all about? I thought that period ended 25 years ago. Are we supposed to again be looking for communists under our beds (along with the terrorists)?
Former GOP presidential candidate Ron Paul can attest to the Trump phenomenon. In the first presidential debate in 2008, he pointed out that the terrorists came over here to kill Americans on 9/11 because the U.S. government had been over there killing them first. That was a cardinal sin in the eyes of the interventionists. The political establishment came after Paul with everything they had, hoping to smash him into political oblivion. Ironically, that’s when his campaign took off because lots of thinking people knew that he was telling the truth.
The last thing interventionists want is to have a major-party presidential candidate questioning U.S. foreign policy. People might listen. That’s why they did everything they could to keep Paul out of the presidential debates in 2008. If people are listening, they might begin to think. And thinking people are always dangerous to an established order. That’s why totalitarian regimes do everything they can to ensure a loyal and deferential citizenry — so that nobody makes waves against a gigantic racket in which multitudes of people are making lots of moolah.
Not only is the media reporting what Trump is saying, he’s garnering lots of support. Why, he’s actually leading the GOP presidential race! As a heretic, he poses a grave threat to the war party, both Democrats and Republicans. Is it any wonder that the war party is panicked and desperate?
Of course, when you look at things objectively, it is difficult to understand how any thinking person, including Trump, can still be an interventionist. Look at what interventionism has done to Iraq, Libya, Syria, Yemen, Egypt, and elsewhere in the Middle East. Nothing but conflict, strife, tyranny, corruption, torture, death, and destruction.
There is no doubt about that fact that Trump is an interventionist. But by questioning important aspects of the interventionist philosophy, he has tapped a chord within hundreds of thousands of thinking Americans. And when people begin to think, they might well end up thinking as libertarians. And that, needless to say, scares the dickens out of the political establishment.