[Trump] has three key arguments that he returns to time and again over the past 30 years. He is deeply unhappy with America’s military alliances and feels the United States is overcommitted around the world. He feels that America is disadvantaged by the global economy. And he is sympathetic to authoritarian strongmen. Trump seeks nothing less than ending the U.S.-led liberal order and freeing America from its international commitments.Trump has been airing such views on U.S. foreign policy for some time. He even spent $100,000 on a full-page ad in the New York Times in 1987 that had a message remarkably similar to what he is saying today.
[The] overwhelming bulk of his campaign pronouncements are concentrated on foreign policy, loosely defined: terrorism, NATO, Russia, China, trade, immigration, etc. There is practically no domestic policy content to Trump’s campaign. If Trump is good at one thing, it is generating free media coverage — and that coverage is focusing on what Trump is saying about world politics.
[U]nlike their role in domestic legislation and appropriations, American presidents have tremendous power and authority over the scope and conduct of foreign policy. This has been especially true since 9/11, when the chief’s constitutional authorities started being used to justify a range of covert and clandestine actions, as well as expanded military commitments, with very little restraint or oversight from Congress or the courts.
Navarro’s responses to critiques tend to be blistering and Trumpian. In an email describing economists who disagree with him about trade, he used the words “stupid” and “stupider” to characterize their views. The next morning, when I asked for clarification, he wrote, “This is why I don’t trust you or want to discuss anything on the phone with you. Where did you come up with the ‘stupid’ thing? Were you recording me on our phone call without my permission?”….I have never heard any public-policy expert make claims like Navarro’s: that trade is the central problem in the world, that trade brings mostly pain to America, and that dramatically lessening trade will bring a renaissance to our economy. I asked Navarro to refer me to economists who agree with him on trade issues. He told me to talk with Peter Morici, an economist at the University of Maryland, and Alan Tonelson, a blogger who writes frequently against trade. “Tonelson is a fine economist,” Navarro wrote. That email was quickly followed by one from Tonelson himself, acknowledging “that I do not hold an economics degree.” I then spoke at length with Morici, who said that he agrees with Navarro that there are deep problems with our trade relationship with China, but that Navarro “has a rather severe position. That zero-sum statement, I have a problem with that. Where’s his proof?”
- If you think Donald Trump won’t try to fulfill his core foreign policy promises as president then you are fooling yourself.
- Trump will empower advisers who seem to be even crazier than himself.