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Trump V. Disastrous US Triumphalism in Foreign Policy
Trump’s challenge to 20-year bipartisan consensus may finally produce the missing public debate.
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Nation contributing editor Stephen F. Cohen and John Batchelor continue their weekly discussions of the new US-Russian Cold War. (Previous installments are at Whatever else one may think about Donald Trump as a presidential candidate, Cohen argues, his foreign policy views expressed, however elliptically, in a Washington Post interview this week should be welcomed, especially in light of terrorist attacks on Brussels, for their challenge to the bipartisan neocon/liberal principles and practices that have guided Washington policymaking since the 1990s—with disastrous results.

That policymaking has included the premise that the United States is the sole, indispensable superpower with a right to intervene wherever it so decides by military means and regime changes, and by using NATO (“coalitions of the willing”) as its own United Nations and rule-maker. In recent years, from Iraq and Libya to Ukraine and Syria, the results have been international instability, wars (both proxy and civil), growing terrorism, failed “nation building,” mounting refugee crises, and a new Cold War with Russia.

Trump proposes instead diplomacy (“deals”) toward forming partnerships, including with Russia; rethinking the rightful mission of NATO; Europe taking political and financial responsibility for its own crises, as in Ukraine; and a smaller American military footprint in the world. In effect, a less missionary and militarized American national-security policy. Cohen suggests that Trump may be calling on an older Republican foreign policy tradition. And that he is emerging as a realist in two respects: In reality, the world is no longer unipolar, pivoting around Washington; and the United States must share and balance power with other great powers, from Europe to Russia and China.

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  1. Am still on the fence regarding Trump but…if he truly believes in a less aggressive US foreign policy premised on the notion that it is not America’s role to convert the world to American-style democracy then he certainly has a leg up on both Clinton as well as on the neocon chicken hawks who have dominated Washington for the past thirty years.

    • Replies: @Aschwin
  2. Aschwin says:
    @Connecticut Famer

    Trump opposed the Iraq Intervention and the Libya Intervention, he supports Bashar Al Assad as a stabilizing factor, supported Russia’s recent airforce campaign(Hillary wanted a no-fly zone for Russia and risk war), he is the only Republican candidate who wanted to pressure China to ensure the north Korea situation deescalates, other candidates were bragging about pre-emptive strikes, he wants to reduce(US-paid) military bases abroad and make “protection” voluntary. It is clear Trump is the candidate for anti-interventionists.

  3. Since Trump will not be bound by political correctness in his attacks based on the real dangers posed by Hillary’s warlike policies, I expect him to do far better than expected, even among African Americans, particularly once he discusses Clinton’s role in bringing el qaeda to Libya. One of the results of this Clinton ‘success’ was the mass murder of “mercenaries” by the triumphant Jihadi element after Libya was destabilized at the behest of Clinton. These ” mercenaries” were sub-Saharan Africans whom the Khaddafi regime had invited to settle in Libya as a result of his Pan-African views. Meanwhile, particularly if Sanders keeps doing well, the Clinton victory will be revealed as a fraudulent corrupt victory.

    • Replies: @RadicalCenter
  4. anon • Disclaimer says:

    It was America’s criminal bombing of Serbia in early 1999 that signalled the beginning of this madness.

  5. @exiled off mainstreet

    Maybe Trump will garner somewhat higher percentage of black voters’ support than other recent Republican candidates; I hope so and am guessing so.

    But let’s not pretend that black voters will give a damn about what Clinton did to contribute to the debacle in Libya — especially if it seems that criticizing her on that score amounts to criticizing her boss, the Saintly Obama.

  6. Rehmat says:

    I’m no fan of White supremacist Donald Trump, but Stephen F. Cohen is a well-known Zionist liar.

    One doesn’t need a PhD to realize that Brussels terrorist attacks were an Israeli false flag.

    In March 2016, Israel’s minister of science, technology and space, Ofir Akunis, commenting on the Brussels twin terrorist attacks said it’s biblical G-d’s revenge for the Brussels-based European Union’s antisemite decision to boycott Israeli goods made by illegal Jewish settlers in the occupied West Bank.

    “Many in Europe have preferred to occupy themselves with the folly of condemning Israel, labeling products, and boycotts. In this time, underneath the nose of the continent’s citizens, thousands of extremist Islamic terror cells have grown,” Akunis wrote on Facebook.

    In other words, Akunis is admitting that Brussels bombing was in retaliation for European Union’s boycott of Israeli goods. One may not agree with my deduction – but Israeli minister’s off-hand comments were very revealing about the current schizophrenic political mindset in Tel Aviv….

    • Replies: @wow
  7. wow says:

    We’re glad you acknowledge white people are supreme…after all, every low IQ, 3rd world cesspool scumbag wants to come here to the West!

  8. Dave37 says:

    I don’t want to degenerate the columnist’s idea but I wonder if Trump is that much of a political thinker as much as he just put on a suit, winning as it turns out, of policy that is more practical and historical, and popular at the moment. The establishment seriously debating it’s own policies seems worryingly more likely the Republicans hijacking Trump so as to continue on their own “winning” ways as before.

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