Donald Trump's first foreign policy speech was an incoherent mess. Let's start there. What essentially happened is this: Donald Trump scheduled a foreign policy speech, and asked maybe 6-10 people to write different sections, based on their interests, got an aide to copy and paste it into one document, load it up to the teleprompter, and read it for the first time, live on television.
How do I know? Easy. I listened.
Speaking of our NATO allies, Trump said:
Our allies are not paying their fair share... Our allies must contribute toward their financial, political, and human costs, have to do it, of our tremendous security burden. But many of them are simply not doing so.... The countries we are defending must pay for the cost of this defense, and if not, the U.S. must be prepared to let these countries defend themselves. We have no choice.
Just seconds later, in someone else's section of the speech, he said:
To our friends and allies, I say America is... going to be a great and reliable ally again. It's going to be a friend again.
Well, which is it? Are we going to bail on our allies if they don't pay up, or are we going to be a reliable ally?
Or, on America's having a coherent plan:
America no longer has a clear understanding of our foreign policy goals. Since the end of the Cold War and the breakup of the Soviet Union, we've lacked a coherent foreign policy.
And seconds later?
We must as a nation be more unpredictable. We are totally predictable.
Clear, coherent... and unpredictable. Got it. How much should we intervene in the Middle East?
We left Christians subject to intense persecution and even genocide... We have done nothing to help the Christians, nothing, and we should always be ashamed for that, for that lack of action.
So, he is saying we've got to intervene in the sectarian war in Syria for humanitarian reasons, even if it isn't absolutely necessary for our national security?
I will never send our finest into battle unless necessary, and I mean absolutely necessary.
Sigh. Moving on. Trump began his speech by saying:
Problems in the Middle East "all began with a dangerous idea that we could make western democracies out of countries that had no experience or interests in becoming a western democracy."
But he closes his speech by saying we should push western civilization and values on them, anyway:
We should understand that strengthening and promoting Western civilization and its accomplishments will do more to inspire positive reforms around the world than military interventions.
For someone who has done two tours in Iraq, there's not much more worrisome than a potential Commander-in-Chief who is so disinterested in policy that he failed to vet this jumbled mess of a speech, and didn't even realize how contradictory it was, as he was delivering it. It shows a complete lack of interest in, well, working and thinking.
In his first foray into foreign policy and military policy, Trump delivered one clear message - he doesn't care.
He doesn't care enough to think up his own thoughts.
He doesn't even care enough to make sure that the words being pumped onto his teleprompter and out of his mouth make any sense.
I've heard him take more interest and command in talking about the tacky Trump Doral resort than anything in today's speech. That tells me, as a Commander-in-Chief, he really won't care too much about what orders are delivered down to the men and women in uniform, in his name. It gives me no confidence that he would even care to hear about what the military is doing out in the field.
To quote the American President, "We have serious problems to solve, and we need serious people to solve them."
Today, when it comes to foreign and military policy, Donald Trump showed us that he's not serious, at all. He's a joke, wrapped up in a farce, inside of a sham.