I’ve been pretty cool toward Patrick J. Buchanan lately as he was way too hot for Donald Trump. But now he focuses on one of the few Trump “policies” that was articulated fairly consistently and which, standing alone, I found appealing:
The opportunity is at hand for Trump to reconfigure U.S. foreign policy to the world we now inhabit, and to the vital interests of the United States.
What should Trump say?
As our Cold War presidents from Truman to Reagan avoided World War III, I intend to avert Cold War II. We do not regard Russia or the Russian people as enemies of the United States, and we will work with President Putin to ease the tensions that have arisen between us.
For our part, NATO expansion is over, and U.S. forces will not be deployed in any former republic of the Soviet Union.
While Article 5 of NATO imposes an obligation to regard an attack upon any one of 28 nations as an attack on us all, in our Constitution, Congress, not some treaty dating back to before most Americans were even born, decides whether we go to war.
The compulsive interventionism of recent decades is history. How nations govern themselves is their own business. While, as JFK said, we prefer democracies and republics to autocrats and dictators, we will base our attitude toward other nations upon their attitude toward us.
No other nation’s internal affairs are a vital interest of ours.
Europeans have to be awakened to reality. We are not going to be forever committed to fighting their wars. They are going to have to defend themselves, and that transition begins now.
In Syria and Iraq, our enemies are al-Qaida and ISIS. We have no intention of bringing down the Assad regime, as that would open the door to Islamic terrorists. We have learned from Iraq and Libya.
Then Trump should move expeditiously to lay out and fix the broad outlines of his foreign policy, which entails rebuilding our military while beginning the cancellation of war guarantees that have no connection to U.S. vital interests. We cannot continue to bankrupt ourselves to fight other countries’ wars or pay other countries’ bills.
The ideal time for such a declaration, a Trump Doctrine, is when the president-elect presents his secretaries of state and defense.
I cannot imagine a “Secretary of State John Bolton” (shudder!) executing such a “Doctrine,” and only his lack of foreign policy credentials lets me imagine pugilistic Rudy Giuliani doing so.
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“In learning as in traveling and, of course, in lovemaking, all the charm lies in not coming too quickly to the point, but in meandering around for a while.” (Eva Brann)