Press: Trump’s foreign policy cluster

Press: Trump’s foreign policy cluster
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Partisan politics has nothing to do with it. Sometimes, it’s just good to have somebody with experience. If you were told you needed cataract surgery, for example, you wouldn’t think of risking your eyesight with someone who’d never performed cataract surgery before and didn’t have a clue what it was all about.

Yet we’ve entrusted our foreign policy to a man with zero experience in diplomacy. Not only that, a man – unlike previous, inexperienced presidents who have surrounded themselves with experts in world affairs – who refuses to consult or listen to seasoned foreign policy advisers because, he believes, he knows more and is smarter than all of them.

America’s foreign policy under Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpFive takeaways from Cruz, O'Rourke's debate showdown Arpaio files libel suit against New York Times IMF's Christine Lagarde delays trip to Middle East MORE is like putting our great ship of state out to flounder in turbulent seas without a rudder. We have no idea where we’re going, on what shores we might wash up, or whether we will simply sink in the process.


The truth is, Trump has no idea what he’s doing. He conducts foreign policy like he does everything else: impulsively, totally on his own, off the top of his head, with no regard of American history or the precedents set by other presidents, Democrat and Republican. In the short span of 18 months, he’s already weakened or dismantled every recent international accord signed by the USA: NATO, NAFTA, the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the Paris climate agreement and the Iran nuclear deal. To that list, now add one more casualty: the G-7.

If Trump’s strategy was to alienate our longest and strongest allies before the G-7 summit even began, he totally succeeded in three ways. First, by reversing an earlier promise and slapping stiff new aluminum and steel tariffs on Canada, Mexico, and the EU – all of whom have responded by enacting new tariffs on American crops and products which will only hurt American farmers, manufacturers and consumers. And he threatened them with still more tariffs on new cars.

Then, while leaving the White House for Quebec, Trump tossed another grenade at the G-7: proposing that Russia – which was tossed out in 2014 for invading Ukraine and seizing Crimea – be re-admitted to the ranks of Western economic powers. In typical Trumpian fashion, he did not explain why Russia should be so rewarded when not only have they still not pulled out of Ukraine or Crimea but, in the meantime, have also meddled in the 2016 presidential election, are doing the same in 2018, have troops opposed to the United States on the ground in Syria, jail or murder political opponents and journalists, and poison former diplomats on British soil.

As a final insult to G-7 partners, Donald Trump showed up late, left early, and refused to sign the agreed-upon communique after calling Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, host of the summit, “very dishonest and weak” because he dared say that Canada would respond to American tariffs with tariffs of its own – which any other targeted nation would say.

To understand Donald Trump’s foreign policy, compare the list of world leaders he’s pissed off versus the ones he’s praised. In the last few months, he’s alienated Trudeau of Canada, Angela Merkel of Germany, Emmanuel Macron of France, Theresa May of Britain and Enrique Peña Nieto of Mexico, among others. Meanwhile, he’s showered with praise Vladimir Putin of Russia, Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines, and Kim Jong Un of North Korea.

Politics makes strange bedfellows. So does Donald Trump’s foreign policy.

Press is host of “The Bill Press Show” on Free Speech TV and author of “From the Left: Life in the Crossfire.”