Reprinted With Permission The National Interest
Compare your own foreign policy views with that of Donald Trump in the companion video to this article!
Those who insist Donald Trump has no foreign policy have simply not been listening. The "Trump Doctrine" is as clear as a reveille bugle piercing the dawn at Fort Bragg; and it's a page right out of Ronald Reagan's playbook: Peace through economic and military strength.
Trump knows the key to keeping America safe in an increasingly dangerous world is to "make America great again." Only through broad-based economic renewal will this country have the fiscal firepower to end its budget sequestration lockdown of the Pentagon and fully fund the military it needs to defend itself.
From this Reaganesque perspective, cutting the corporate tax rate and cracking down on unfair trade practices to increase America's GDP growth rate are just as potent weapons of comprehensive national power as the additional F-35s and navy ships the increased tax revenues from that renewed growth will bring.
As for how a President Trump would specifically deal with an emerging "whack-a-mole" world of strategic rivals:
#1: The ISIS Beheading Machine
The best way to kill the ISIS beheading snake is to cut off its own financial head in two ways: Precision bomb any oil fields that it may be using as a cash register and "follow the money" through the Internet and expropriate it.
Trump is fully aware of Nietzsche's admonition to beware that "when fighting monsters, you yourself do not become a monster." Trump also knows that when you are facing an enemy willing to suicide bomb your sons and daughters and randomly cut off heads, you must strike equal fear into that enemy. Under a Trump Administration, no ISIS member will be immune from sudden death, the cells of Guantanamo will be fuller, and America will be safer.
#2: The Oil and Water of Iran and Israel
Trump believes as the strange bedfellows of Saudi Arabia and Israel do that the Obama Administration made a TERRIBLE deal with Iran. The removal of sanctions will allow this fascist, terrorist state to simultaneously restore it economy and continue to develop capabilities to deliver nuclear warheads as near as Riyadh and Tel Aviv and as far away as Brussels and eventually New York.
President Trump will abrogate that deal on Day One. As Commander in Chief, he will maintain both economic and military pressure on a true Great Satan that has pledged to destroy Israel and dreams of ruling a new Middle Eastern Caliphate.
As for Israel, Trump clearly regards this democratic state as America's most important ally in the Middle East. However, Trump, along with most Americans (Jews and non-Jews alike), parts ways with those hardliners who insist there can be no deal brokered between Israel and the Palestinians. You cannot have peace unless you are willing to negotiate.
#3: From Russia, With Revanchism
Trump recognizes Vladimir Putin for the clever, ruthless, charismatic chess master he is. Putin has, indeed, run strategic circles around both America and its NATO allies when it comes to its adventures in Crimea, Ukraine, Syria, and former Socialist Republics like Georgia and Latvia.
For his part, Putin recognizes Trump as a strong and fearless leader who will draw clear red lines in Europe and the Middle East that Putin dare not cross. This is a far better and safer situation for America than a status quo that leads from behind and inspires far more contempt than respect.
#4: The Hegemon of China
Trump will no longer tolerate a mercantilist China having its way with America's factories and jobs. He will firmly crack down on unfair trade practices like illegal export subsidies, currency manipulation, and intellectual property theft and bring American jobs and factories home.
That's not just good trade policy. It's good foreign policy, too, because the fountainhead of China's rapidly advancing military strength has been its ability to economically grow much faster than its strategic rivals. In other words, by rebalancing trade between the US and China, Trump will also rebalance the military equation.
#5: Equal Alliances, Not Wards of the American Taxpayer
Trump has made both noise and headlines about revamping America's alliances - from Europe's NATO to Asia. Trump knows the problem here is not that these alliances are not useful to the defense of the American homeland. As World War II painfully taught us, they surely are.
Rather, Trump is simply tired of the U.S. having to foot the lion's share of the bill for the dubious "privilege" of protecting wealthy nations unwilling to spend the requisite funds to defend their own homelands. Consider, here, that while the US spends fully 3.5% of its GDP on defense, Japan is at a measly 1.0%, Germany is at 1.1%, and even South Korea, with an absolute madman on its border is at 2.6%. All Trump is looking for here is a better deal for American taxpayers.
#6: Trump's "Distributed Network" of Advisors
In laying out his Trump Doctrine, the candidate has assiduously avoided surrounding himself with a circle of advisors simply. He has done so both because he is exceedingly well read and, far more importantly, he has "off the record" access to a broad distributed network of experts around the world -- as well as an inner circle that stays out of the limelight..
From his own detailed foreign policy research over many years -- required due diligence to conduct business globally -- Trump has developed a strong aversion to the kind of "nation building" that dragged America into wasted and protracted wars in God-forsaken killing fields like Iraq and Afghanistan. Accordingly, Trump has promised himself -- and the American people -- he will not be shedding the blood of any American soldier either in vain or under the vanity banner of American Exceptionalism.
In this way, Trump is in tune with an American public that is not just tired of war but ready for a renewed prosperity that will be the best catalyst for an ultimate peace based on true American power.
Peter Navarro is a professor at the University of California-Irvine. He is the author of Crouching Tiger: What China's Militarism Means for the World (Prometheus Books) and director of Death By China, a documentary history of China's entry into America's markets. Contact www.crouchingtiger.net.
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