Donald Trump: Still an apprentice on foreign policy?
Donald Trump has talked a lot about foreign policy this week, from Iraq and Iran to China. His views are pretty unorthodox.
Donald Trump says he will decide by June whether to run for president. In the meantime, he’s been bestriding US cable news like a colossus, reminding everyone that he is a “tough guy” who went to “the best schools” and still has a “great, big, fat, beautiful heart.”Skip to next paragraph
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“We have a moral obligation to help people. I really believe that. I believe that strongly, and not everybody does,” Mr. Trump said on "The O’Reilly Factor” earlier this week.
We’ve written previously about Trump’s embrace of the notion that President Obama might not have been born in America, so we won’t belabor that here. During his O’Reilly appearance, Trump implied that announcements of Mr. Obama’s birth, which appeared in Hawaiian newspapers, could have been retroactively faked.
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Host Bill O’Reilly was having none of that. Mr. O’Reilly said he’d looked into the whole matter and didn’t believe in so-called birther assertions that Obama was born overseas.
“I don’t think you believe that either. I think it’s provocative; you get a lot of attention raising the question,” O’Reilly said.
Fine. But the subject today is foreign policy. Specifically, what would a President Trump do to push US interests around the world?
He’s talked a lot about that this week, and his views are pretty unorthodox. For instance, on Iraq, Trump said that the United States should not pull out troops. Oh no. The US should stay in Iraq (since, he says, Iran will swoop in the moment we leave) and seize Iraqi oil fields, so as to turn the whole invasion thing into a paying venture.
“We pay ourself back $1.5 trillion or more. We take care of Britain, we take care of other countries that helped us,” said Trump.
Hmm. Wouldn’t the Iraqis ... object? Wouldn’t all the factions in the country then unite and turn US-supplied weapons on their erstwhile ally in an insurgency that would make the bad old days look peaceful?
Trump also repeated his previous vow that if elected, he would slap a 25 percent tariff on all Chinese-made goods so that they would stop manipulating their currency and unfairly stealing American jobs.
Trump insists that just a whiff of such an approach would cause the Chinese to behave. But we’ve got a couple of economic questions on this one. What if Beijing didn’t bother to do anything? Everything in Wal-Mart would suddenly be 25 percent more expensive, right?
And if China did revalue its currency the way Trump wants, wouldn’t it make Chinese goods more costly so they don’t undercut US-made ones? So again, prices go up.
Americans have gotten kind of used to their inexpensive Asian-supplied stuff, we’ll point out. It’s not clear whether a tariff would bring back any US jobs, but it’s pretty clear that voters might be angry about that big whack to their wallets.
OK. What about Iran? They might get nuclear weapons during a Trump presidency, O'Reilly noted. How would chief executive Trump prevent that from happening?
“I would do what I had to do.... They would not have a nuke,” Trump said flatly.
We’ll note that Presidents Bush and Obama both have tried to sound just as ominous when talking about their Iranian options, and yet those Iranian centrifuges keep spinning, producing fissile material. Except when they’re offline due to the Stuxnet computer worm, which so far looks like the best weapon the rest of the world has against the Iranian nuclear program.
What’s the bottom line here? O’Reilly, for one, did not sound impressed with Trump’s foreign policy.
“Can you imagine the world reaction to that?” O’Reilly said Friday on “Fox & Friends,” in regard to the Trump proposal to seize Iraq’s oil fields.
No, but we can imagine how great a reality show “Celebrity Foreign Policy Apprentice” would be. Each week, famous folks vie to carry out a diplomatic task assigned by a tough, wisecracking boss renowned for accomplishment in the field.
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