Donald Trump’s foreign policy and immigration speech today explains, in a nutshell, how absolutely impossible it is to try to come up with a coherent picture of the behavior of a Trump presidency. To witness it:
- Trump and Vice Presidential Candidate Mike Pence were introduced by former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, a massive supporter and Iraq war cheerleader. Then, during his speech, Trump spent a lot of time saying that he did not support the war in Iraq and that he spoke about it as a citizen (evidence suggests that this is not really true).
- Having opposed the war, he nevertheless felt that President Barack Obama and Secretary Hillary Clinton had been wrong in failing to reach a new agreement to keep more troops in Iraq (an agreement that Obama inherited in as president), and said that the troop withdrawal is what caused the rise of the Islamic State (ISIS). (evidence shows that Trump also had called for withdrawal from Iraq previously, while George W. Bush was still president)
- He said the current administration’s policy of “nation building and regime change was a failure” and would end under his leadership. But Trump also criticized Obama’s claims in the same speech. “apology tour” during his administration which criticized America’s interventionism in other countries as “colonialism”.
- Regardless of the above statements, Trump has stated that he wants America to “keep the oil” in Iraq, which could not have been done without many American troops staying in Iraq for a long time. he may be arguing now. He actually said in his speech “To the winner is the spoils” (I doubt Trump knows the origins of this quote, but it certainly makes interesting read). These are the kind of statements that make it clear that Trump is not at all a “non-interventionist”.
- Trump pointed out that many countries where radical Islam has taken hold have terrible human rights records, but that he is in favor of using waterboarding “and more” as president to fight terrorism.
- Trump wants to continue drone strikes that frequently kill civilians and also wants more effort to capture foreign fighters for testing at Guantanamo Bay, which he will keep open and operational.
- Trump says that “political correctness has replaced common sense in our society,” but also says that under his administration, visitors to the country who “preach hate” will be urged to leave. Who will decide what this means?
- Under this same contradictory stance, Trump calls for an ideological test (he called it “extreme control”) for immigrants that requires them to show that they “believe in our Constitution,” which the general position on the First Amendment contradicts. From whom would this interpretation of the Constitution be?
- Trump says he wants to build bridges and erase divisions in American society, but also wants to create a “commission” on radical Islam to identify “warning signs” that a person in America has radicalized to be used by authorities and immigration, which is something that is already happening and has not always been very effective. He even pointed out in that same speech that in the case of the Orlando shooting and the Boston Marathon bombing, the perpetrators had already been questioned by authorities.
Trump calls Obama a divider but hilariously seems to think he isn’t and ended his speech by stating that a new spirit of “Americanism” will “heal our divisions” under his presidential administration, as if “heal” our Culture played a role in this election whatsoever.
Hillary Clinton’s response to the speech was to tweet a reminder of all alumni national security officials who oppose him. But of course, Clinton is not exactly a pacifist, she’s just the kind of warhawk the national security establishment loves.
Read the full transcript of Trump’s speech here.