So Let's Actually Compare Clinton and Trump on Foreign Policy

Where do Clinton and Trump actually stand on foreign policy? Who would make a better commander-in-chief? (wuestenigel/Flickr)

Hillary Clinton has made it abundantly clear that she believes Donald Trump is "not qualified" to be president of the United States and dangerously "unfit" to be Commander-in-Chief. Yesterday she dragged him on foreign policy:

"He's not just unprepared--he's temperamentally unfit to hold an office that requires knowledge, stability and immense responsibility."

Trump dismissed Clinton's "telepromter" [sic] speech as "pathetic" with "no basis in fact."

But enough sniping. We want the meaty stuff--what do Hillary and Donald actually believe when it comes to foreign policy issues? What actions can we expect on the international stage from these two, one of whom will (very likely) be the next American president? Here's where they both stand on 9 critically important issues facing the world.

1. The Iran Deal

A meeting about the Iran Deal in Vienna. (European External Action Service - EEAS/Flickr)

What is it?

The Iran Deal, which President Obama and other world leaders brokered back in September 2015, basically says Western countries will lift their sanctions (AKA economic penalties) on Iran... that is, if Iran:

1. Doesn't build or buy any nuclear weapons
2. Drastically cuts down their uranium stockpile and uranium producers (which can be used to make nukes) and
3. Allows inspectors to check in and make sure they're following the rules

Some say it will prevent war by giving Iran an incentive to play nice, while others say it won't work.

What does Clinton say?

Clinton is for the Iran Deal, but says it will only work if the US keeps trying to limit Iran's power in the Middle East:

"Now we must enforce that deal vigorously. And as I have said many times before, our approach must be distrust and verify."

As Secretary of State, Clinton helped shape the deal.

What does Trump say?

Trump hates the "terrible" Iran Deal and says it will be one of the first deals he renegotiates once in office.

He said giving Iran back their $150 billion that were frozen as part of economic sanctions is a bad idea. He also notably resorted to ethnic stereotypes when talking about the deal and the Iranians:

"It was negotiated by people that are poor negotiators against great negotiators. Persians being great negotiators, OK? It's one of those things. You might be Persian. But the Iranians, frankly, are great negotiators."

2. China

China's leader, Xi Jinping. (theglobalpanorama/Flickr)

What is it?

China is a major power on the world stage with a $10 trillion economy, but the US and China don't always see eye to eye.

What does Clinton say?

Clinton is very tough on China due to their bad human rights record.

She also accused China of breaking trade rules.

She believes she's the right person to deal with China because, as Secretary of State, she's dealt with them before:

"The next president has to understand the games Beijing plays and be prepared to stop it."

What does Trump say?

Trump likes to talk about China.

He's accused China of driving down its currency value on purpose to make itself more attractive to other countries who want to trade with it. (Clinton is also worried about China's currency manipulation, by the way.) He believes cheap Chinese goods and labor cost Americans jobs.

3. Russia

Trump and Putin share a kiss in a popular graffiti mural. (edmoore3963/Flickr)

What is it?

Russia, headed by President Vladimir Putin, is also very powerful. But the US and Russia continuously butt heads and keep secrets from each other.

What does Clinton say?

Clinton isn't a huge fan of Putin and has called for a "tougher response to Russia on Syria and Ukraine," or a harsher reaction when Russia bends the rules about interfering in other countries. (Russia supports the Syrian government while the US backs anti-government Syrian rebels in their civil war; Russia took over part of Ukraine called Crimea and then continued to be hostile there.)

She also said Russia and China would love a president like Trump, and that would be bad for American security:

"Moscow and Beijing are deeply envious of our alliances around the world, because they have nothing to match them. They'd love for us to elect a president who would jeopardize that source of strength. If Donald gets his way, they'll be celebrating in the Kremlin. We cannot let that happen."

She also wants to work with Russia to reduce nuclear stockpiles. (Russia has the most nuclear weapons in the world, followed by the US.)

What does Trump say?

Trump feels more positive about Russia, and he was praised in Russia when he said the US and Russia should try to become friendlier:

"I believe an easing of tensions and improved relations with Russia, from a position of strength only, is possible."

Putin loves Trump. He said this about Trump:

"He is a very outstanding person, talented, without any doubt."

Trump has also said the two would "get along."

4. North Korea

North Korean flags. ((stephan)/Flickr)

What is it?

North Korea is the most secretive country in the world. It's a dictatorship with concentration camps, an extreme hatred for the US, a mountain of human rights violations and maybe a few nukes. Unpredictable, so, scary.

What does Clinton say?

Unlike with the Iran Deal, Clinton, while Secretary of State, wasn't interested in offering North Korea incentives to cut down on nuclear weapon production.

But Clinton has accused Trump of being too friendly with North Korea:

"Donald Trump's statements about North Korea show that he has more interest in making Kim Jong-un like him than backing up our friends and allies in the region."

What does Trump say?

All about making a deal, Trump says he would sit down with North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un and negotiate an end to the country's production of nuclear weapons.

5. Brexit

What is it?

The United Kingdom (England, Ireland, Scotland, and Wales) is thinking about leaving the European Union. The EU basically groups a bunch of European countries together so they can trade freely and make decisions together instead of separately.

To figure out whether it should ditch the EU, the UK is holding a referendum, which means all UK citizens can vote on whether to stay in or leave the EU, nicknamed the Brexit (as in, British exit from the EU, duh). Some say a vote to leave will create economic chaos, while others say it will allow the UK to make decisions for itself.

What does Clinton say?

Clinton is anti-Brexit but says it's important for the UK to have a voice in the EU and that trade is best when Europe stands together.

What does Trump say?

A few days ago, it seemed Trump maybe hadn't heard of the UK's plans to possibly leave the EU--or at least hadn't heard the term Brexit before. But he thinks the UK should gtf out of the European Union:

"If I were from Britain, I would probably not want [the EU]... [The EU is] a disaster."

6. The Paris Climate Agreement

Discussions are held about the Paris Climate Agreement. (Ilias Bartolini/Flickr)

What is it?

In November 2015, 196 countries met in Paris to outline some basic rules for lowering carbon emissions and slowing down global warming.

What does Clinton say?

She believes climate change is a huge problem, and said at the Paris climate conference,

"The Paris agreement is testament to America's ability to lead the world in building a clean energy future where no one is left out or left behind. ... As president, I will make combating climate change a top priority from day one, and secure America's future as the clean energy superpower of the 21st century."

So she not only agrees with the Paris Climate Agreement, she wants the US to be a leader in clean energy.

What does Trump say?

Trump's position is pretty straightforward:

"We're going to cancel the Paris climate agreement."

Why? Because countries like China don't adhere to it, and because he doesn't see global warming as a big threat. Or real.

7. The TPP

What is it?

The Trans-Pacific Partnership, or TPP, is a trade agreement between a dozen countries: the US, Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, and Vietnam. The deal lowered tariffs (taxes on imported goods), created uniform rules for intellectual property, and increased the spread of the Internet.

But a lot of people have a lot of problems with the final version, saying it doesn't do enough to stop bad environmental practices and could cause more Americans to lose jobs to cheap overseas labor.

What does Clinton say?

Clinton used to be in favor of the TPP, but later she changed her position because she's concerned about the price of pharmaceuticals and the lack of regulation about currency manipulation.

Some have accused her of changing her position to get elected, since most Democrats don't like the deal.

What does Trump say?

Trump really dislikes the TPP, saying it would encourage companies to move jobs overseas. He also said,

"The new trade deal is a disaster. They don't talk about currency manipulation. That's the tool all these countries are using to beat us."


What is it?

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization is a 28-nation military alliance that aims to settle disputes peacefully.

What does Clinton say?

Clinton has a history of working with NATO and plans to keep the US in the alliance, which was created in 1949.

What does Trump say?

Trump says the NATO alliance is outdated and costs too much money, and says he would tell other members to "pay up" or "get out."

8. Israel

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. ( jeff_emanuel/Flickr)

What is it?

Israel was formed as a country in 1948 as a homeland for the Jewish people, many of whom had been persecuted during the Holocaust. Problem was, the Palestinians who were living in the area weren't too happy about having a new country for Jewish people formed on top of them. The Israelis and Palestinians have been fighting, often bitterly, ever since.

What does Clinton say?

Clinton is squarely on Israel's side:

"Israel's security is non-negotiable. They are our closest ally in the region, and we have a moral obligation to defend them."

What does Trump say?

Trump says he's "neutral" on the conflict between the Israelis and Palestinians, but wants to take a crack at finding an agreement between the two. He says he doesn't want to alienate either side. He also says he'll stand by Israel and has in the past cheered for Obama's support of Israel too.

9. ISIS and terrorism

What is it?

ISIS, AKA ISIL, AKA Daesh, is a extreme Islamic terrorist organization. They have captured large parts of Iraq and Syria, and brutally murder people and commit genocide on the regular. They're also responsible for the bombings in Paris and Brussels, among many others.

What does Clinton say?

Clinton wants to defeat ISIS, starting by taking out ISIS strongholds in Syria and Iraq.

She also warned that a Trump presidency might make ISIS stronger.

What does Trump say?

Due to ISIS' growing power and the terrorist attacks they have carried out and are connected to, including the one last year in San Bernardino, Trump has a deep distrust not only of ISIS itself but also for Muslims. He wants to create a database to track Syrian refugees, surveil mosques, and stop Muslims from entering the US entirely.

Trump says that ISIS exists because the president and Clinton (as Secretary of State) didn't heed his advice:

"I've predicted a lot of things you have to say, including, 'Get the oil, take the oil, keep the oil.' Right? I've been saying that for three years, and everybody said, 'Oh, I can't do that. I mean, this is a sovereign country. There is no country!"

This article was written by Alison Maney and originally appeared on Kicker. Kicker explains the most important, compelling things going on in the world and empowers you to get in the know, make up your own mind, and take action. For more, check out the Kicker site, like their Facebook page, or subscribe to their email newsletter.