Our own Sam Reusser (frequent commenter and long-time reader) commented a few days ago that he’d vote for any Republican—to keep our defense strong. Well, maybe. But of the two, Hillary Clinton was the one who voted for the Iraq war (Donald Trump claims it was “stupid,” and was against it from the outset), and Hillary was the one who was always said to have tried to get President Obama to be more forceful in foreign policy. Meanwhile, Trump is the one who has complained about the U.S. being too aggressive, too overextended.
The issue was just addressed in the Sunday Review.
On some foreign policy issues, the roles are reversed for the candidates and their parties. It’s Hillary the Hawk against Donald the Quasi-Dove.
Just as Barack Obama seemed the more feminized candidate in 2008 because of his talk-it-out management style, his antiwar platform and his delicate eating habits, always watching his figure, so now, in some ways, Trump seems less macho than Hillary. . .
He can sound belligerent. . .But he says that in most cases he would rather do the art of the deal than shock and awe.
“Unlike other candidates for the presidency, war and aggression will not be my first instinct,” he said in his maiden foreign policy speech in Washington last week, adding, “A superpower understands that caution and restraint are really truly signs of strength.”
. . . In his new book, “Alter Egos,” Times White House correspondent Mark Landler makes the case that [Hillary] the former Goldwater Girl, the daughter of a Navy petty officer and a staunch Republican, has long had hawkish tendencies, reflected in her support for military action in Iraq and Libya and a no-fly zone in Syria.
“It’s bred in the bone,” Landler told me.
“There’s no doubt that Hillary Clinton’s more muscular brand of American foreign policy is better matched to 2016 than it was to 2008,” Jake Sullivan, Hillary’s policy adviser both at the State Department and in her campaign, told Landler. . .
As secretary of state, she hit it off with Gen. Stanley McChrystal and David Petraeus. And she loved to have a stiff drink with Bob Gates and John McCain.
We can further examine Trump’s recent foreign policy speech (excerpts directly from The Donald’s own site).
I would like to talk today about how to develop a new foreign policy direction for our country – one that replaces. . .ideology with strategy. . .
Unfortunately, after the Cold War. . .Logic was replaced with foolishness and arrogance, and this led to one foreign policy disaster after another. . .
It all began with the dangerous idea that we could make Western democracies out of countries that had no experience or interest in becoming a Western Democracy.
It’s called “Nation Building,” and it’s just what Hillary, and her NeoCon friends want. If you’re not familiar with the term “NeoCon” it’s short for “Neo-conservative.” In 1997, the NeoCons formed The Project for the New American Century, headed by people like William Kristol, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, and Paul Wolfowitz. It was all about maximizing American influence and control in the world.
Nation Building is the idea to destroy governments we don’t like, and rebuild them to our own likeness and image. Trump is against that.
One day we’re bombing Libya and getting rid of a dictator to foster democracy for civilians, the next day we are watching the same civilians suffer while that country falls apart. . .
We are getting out of the nation-building business, and instead focusing on creating stability in the world.
Part of that was the idea that we want our allies to be weak, so they will be dependent on, and subservient, to us. Trump wants them to build their own defense systems, and that means they could eventually have more of a say in policy.
That’s not all, according to the BBC.
Mr Trump said he would consider pulling out troops from Japan and South Korea if they did not pay the US more.
He said he might stop buying oil from Saudi Arabia if it did not send troops to fight so-called Islamic State. . .
Mr Trump cited the US debt – “soon to be $21tn” – and linked it to the fact the US “defended the world”.
“No matter who it is, we defend everybody. When in doubt, come to the United States. We’ll defend you. In some cases free of charge.”
. . . Mr Trump said the US was “not being properly reimbursed” for protecting Saudi Arabia.
“Without us, Saudi Arabia wouldn’t exist for very long. It would be, you know, a catastrophic failure without our protection.
“They’re a money machine… and yet they don’t reimburse us the way we should be reimbursed.”
He also cited Nato, saying it was “obsolete.”
As for Russia, Trump thinks we should establish friendly relations, and let them have their own sphere of influence.
Although he wasn’t asked about Russian involvement in the Syrian civil war, in the past he’s expressed at least modest support.
“You know, Russia wants to get Isis, right? We want to get Isis. Russia is in Syria – maybe we should let them do it,” he said during a debate in September.
Meanwhile, The National Review says Hillary is “The Ultimate Hawk.”
Since the 1990s, she has been one of Washington’s most enthusiastic supporters of American military intervention abroad. . .
her record of hawkishness goes far beyond Iraq. In fact, the Democrats — the anti-war Left included — are right now in the process of uniting behind a woman who has supported every single major American military intervention since 1992. She even supported a proposed intervention — in Syria, against the Assad regime — that President Obama ultimately rejected. . .
American forces have been in near-continual combat since Hillary Clinton has been in the public spotlight, and it appears she’s supported their use every single time.
This year everything is turned upside down. And that includes the foreign policy philosophies of the two “presumptive nominees.”