Donald Trump gave a speech today at the Center for National Interest outlining his foreign policy. His speech lasted approximately forty-five minutes and was comprised of two main parts- 1) what he felt was wrong with the Obama administration’s foreign policy, and 2) his vision for fixing those perceived ills. At one point he said, “Our foreign policy is a complete and total disaster. No vision, no purpose, no direction, no strategy;” the same could be said for his ideas, as they were full of contradictions and would be disastrous for the US.
Contradiction #1: In his section on overextension of resources, Trump proposed “we need to rebuild our military.” In the next section, however, about our allies not paying their fair share, he said that “we have spent trillions of dollars over time…building up our military to provide a strong defense for Europe and Asia.” If we’ve spent that much money, and have that large of a military, does it really need to be rebuilt?
Contradiction #2: In that same second section, Trump argued “[Our allies] look at the United States as weak.” If they truly think we’re weak, they probably wouldn’t want us defending them.
Contradiction #3: “A Trump Administration will lead a free world that is properly armed and funded.” Since Trump cannot force countries to increase their military spending, so I don’t see how this will be accomplished.
Contradiction #4: “President Obama…abandoned our missile defense plans with Poland and the Czech Republic.” Trump just said our allies need to do more for their defense, so wouldn’t he also not want US missile defense in Eastern Europe?
Contradiction #5: “We’re a humanitarian nation.” Not really. Trump chastised our NATO allies for not meeting the target of spending 2% of GDP on defense, but the US does not meet the commitment to spend .7% of GNI on Official Development Assistance. In 2015, we spent only .17%.
Contradiction #6: Even though it’s not in the copy of the remarks, at 1:08:18 (of the video below) he says “We want to bring peace to the world. Too much destruction out there. Too many destructive weapons. The power of weaponry is the single biggest problem that we have today in the world.” How can he say this when earlier he said he wanted to “rebuild our military” and modernize and renew our nuclear weapons arsenal?
Contradiction #7: “I believe an easing of tensions and improved relations with Russia…is possible.” If we put missile defense systems in Poland and the Czech Republic, as it appears Trump wanted, it would actually lead to more tension with Russia.
Contradiction #8: In regards to China- “We can both benefit or we can both go our separate ways.” China owns over $1 trillion in US debt; we cannot just go our own ways.
Contradiction #9: “America will continually play the role of peacemaker.” Peacemakers don’t increase military spending and modernize their nuclear arsenals.
Contradiction #10: America no longer has a clear understanding of our foreign policy goals.” After watching the speech and making my way through his contradictory remarks, I don’t have a clear understanding of Trump’s foreign policy (and I know I’m not alone.) His vision (or lack thereof) and contradictory ideas are not good for the US and not good for our allies.
Here’s the video of the speech; his remarks begin around 34:30.
What are your thoughts on Trump’s foreign policy?
Thanks for reading.
2 thoughts on “10 Contradictions of Donald Trump’s Foreign Policy”
Voters don’t parse speeches like this, line by line. It’s the overall perception and theme that they come away from the speech with that’s important. Don’t underestimate the appeal of “America First.”
Trump is going to be able to attack Clinton from the left on the Iraq war and from the right on ISIS.
Thanks for reading and commenting on this piece. I agree with you on all points, which is kind of why I wrote the piece to begin with- to show voters the problems with Trump’s ideas. I don’t think I’ll necessarily change their minds, but maybe it will start a discussion about America’s role in the world.