Trump Channels Jackson, Gets Tepid Applause From Nixonians. Sad!

Burt Likko reacts to Donald Trump’s foreign policy speech, 140 characters at a time.

Today, Donald Trump gave this speech to a forum sponsored by the Center for the National Interest,1 earlier today.

Full Event: Donald Trump Speaks on Foreign Policy in Washington, DC

If you prefer, you can read the transcript.

Staff Writer Dan Scotto saw something there:

Which does not mean that Dan either liked or disliked it, only that he identified the speech’s appeal as solidly Jacksonian.

I, however, was explicit about not liking it. This is my livetweet of the speech:

(Damnit. That should have been “Fraud, Waste, Graft & Abuse.” Well, autocorrect will help me out the next time.)

(That should have been WTO, the World Trade Organization. Would you believe me if I blamed that on autocorrect? After autocorrect did not correct my misspelling of “graft”?)

Dan Drezner was a good deal more charitable than me, I will admit, though his critique was still pretty scathing.

 

He offers a phrase with big foreign-policy type words — “hegemonic stability theory” — for those portions of Trump’s speech congruent with the notion that “America ought to be the world’s policeman.” And the “ace up [Trump’s] sleeve” Professor Drezner points out is that while Trump has no real good ideas of his own, he is right to point out that the existing foreign policy intelligentsia hasn’t exactly acquitted itself well since the fall of the Berlin Wall.

Meanwhile:

…and:

…producing this result:

 

…and then there’s this:

If Cruz is desperate enough to pick his would-be running mate now, that means he’s no longer confident that Trump will be held short of a majority of delegates on that crucial first ballot in Cleveland.

If Sanders is focusing on changing the platform and letting field staffers go, it means he’s figured out what the rest of us did two months ago: Clinton will have a majority of delegates on that crucial first ballot in Philadelphia.

It’s pretty much going to be Clinton versus Trump. Time to start the two-party Veepstakes.

Image by Michael Vadon Trump Channels Jackson, Gets Tepid Applause From Nixonians. Sad!

  1. Formerly known as the Nixon Center for Peace and Freedom, having been founded by former President Richard M. Nixon, and it still has a right-of-center reputation to this day, which is why I describe it as a friendly, or at least a want-to-be-friendly, forum for Mr. Trump. []

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20 thoughts on “Trump Channels Jackson, Gets Tepid Applause From Nixonians. Sad!

  1. I think that Trump and HRC are well on their way to their parties respective nominations. It is going to be interesting how much of the Bernie or Bust crowd and the NeverTrump crowd say true to their word or does partisan affiliation take over.

    This might be uncharitable to Mr.Scotto (I can’t remember if he was NeverTrump or not) but the Partisan pull seems to be taking over. Jacksonian America seems to be a slightly historical way of talking about the white working class. The class that likes to refer themselves as “real America” Despute the fact that most Americans live in cities and towns. Despite the fact that many Americans are not white. I am growing rather irritable at the idea that being a “real” American corresponds with being white and socially conservative. Jacksonian America needs strong pushback on their claims of monopoly.

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    • Ehh, remember PUMA’s? And that was after a MUCH more competitive and vitriolic fight. Unless Bernie goes nuts the Bernie or Bust crowd will fall into line and Bernie’s actions suggest the exact opposite of going nuts. He’s run an enormously constructive insurgency, I’d submit almost the gold standard of opposition campaigns.

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  2. The economy doing well or not is an interesting question. On the one hand, San Francisco’s unemployment rate is only 3 percent. On the other hand, a lot of the benefits seem to be going to a few. I just read an article on how Big Law is helping associates with their student debt. I luckily do not have student debt but that seemed like another benefit for the one percent. They already went to the best schools, are still getting the best jobs in a still anemic legal market and they get help with student debt reduction.

    We seem very good at creating good stuff for the elite and demoralizing situations for everyone else.

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    • As I tweeted, it’s not exactly true that the economy is doing poorly. GDP has been rising since 2010. The argument that “Only the elites are benefiting from this” isn’t exactly the sort of soap Donald Trump seems to be selling — although I will concede, out of the roughly two dozen Republican candidates to undertake serious bids in this cycle, he’s come the closest to making that claim.

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      • I noted. I am just noting how the top of the top make everything easier for themselves and feeling worried about my own career. I am pretty fortunate but still feeling punches from the Great Contraction.

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        • The obvious question to ask is why you blame The Great Contraction and not The Great Expansionary Bubble that preceded it?

          In hindsight, do you really think that our economy needs so large a number of lawyers as to justify upper middle class salaries to everyone with a JD?

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  3. Trump is someone with crazy ideas. He’s dangerous.

    On top of that, he’s just repeating the same-old, same-old we’ve-always-done-it-this-way boilerplate that every other candidate spouts.

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  4. I am going to make a completely uninformed comment, because I’m not going to listen to or read Trump’s speech. So take this as you like.

    In Trump’s defense, U.S. foreign policy and the U.S. economy are inextricably linked. Many of our foreign policy decisions are made for economic reasons and much of our foreign policy is enacted through economic and financial means.

    Also, drawing imaginary lines in regards to what we will “allow” is old hat in this game. Obama has drawn and then erased several over the last seven years. Having had a front-row seat for U.S. policymaking in the Middle East during some pretty interesting years, there is something to be said for Trump’s call for Realpolitik.

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    • I didn’t follow your last para. It seems to me that Obama’s approach has been nothing but Realpolitik.

      A. Launch a relatively half-hearted surge in Afghanistan because that’s what you promised the voters.
      B. Live up to the SOFA and get out of Iraq.
      C. Bomb Libya to keep our allies happy but do nothing else.
      D. After some seriously bad language choice about Syria, actually get the chemical weapons out while keeping us out.
      E. Make the weapons deal with Iran.
      F. Deliver air support and a tiny handful of advisors to the forces countering ISIS.
      G. Step up drone warfare.

      That looks like classic American policy to me — keep our bloodshed to a strict minimum while trying to navigate the least-worst path in killing terrorists vs making more of them.

      What would you have Trump do different?

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      • I wouldn’t have Trump do anything, but go away.

        I’m not sure that we’re working with the same definition of Realpolitik. The administration’s entire foreign policy has been a continuation of the democracy-spreading/nation-building project started by the Bush administration. Obama has certainly used a lighter touch than Bush, but that was largely dictated by domestic political realities and not by a necessarily pragmatic approach to foreign policy. And that is not a criticism; it’s an observation.

        My “imaginary lines” comment was aimed specifically at the red line Obama drew regarding the use of chemical weapons by the Assad regime (and then ignored) and by the fact that the Iran deal involved walking back a fair amount of the administration’s previous positions on Iran and enrichment (IMO, a wise move, by the way).

        Here’s the thing, by the time you see a policy announced publicly, it’s been through numerous back and forth iterations, both within the USG and between us and other countries. For example, the administration did not want to pull completely out of Iraq in 2011, but the Iraqi government would not renew the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA, which among other things gave immunity to U.S. personnel operating in Iraq). That’s why Obama ended up keeping his campaign promise to pull out of Iraq.

        Also, I’m not really sure you want to be defending the step up in drone warfare as ” the least-worst path in killing terrorists vs making more of them.”

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  5. I’m with . I don’t support Trump but I really don’t see any of the positions covered in this post to be any more disjointed and/or questionable than the platitudes and policies of more establishment candidates. I guess the thing about the Olympics is pretty preposterous but I’m not sure that’s so far removed from standard American exceptionalism/”we are the best” rhetoric.

    The issue of European contributions to their own defense has been raised for years (Obama made a related point about this in his recent interview in the Atlantic in regards to the failure in Libya). And is it really so crazy to acknowledge that popular uprisings against dictators don’t necessarily result in better governments? Working with Muslim countries to fight extremism has been a regular topic for the last two administrations and investing in all sorts of weapon systems, regardless of the cost or even whether or not the military wants them, has been DoD policy for the last 60 years.

    Trump sucks and he’s playing to a longstanding jingoistic streak in American culture but this critique is weak.

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  6. “We must have unquestioned military superiority but must not waste a single dollar achieving this. #TrumpForeignPolicy
    Follow
    Burt Likko ?@burtlikko
    For some reason this involves 3D printing, AI, and cyberwarfare, as if government does not presently use these tools. #TrumpForeignPolicy”

    Our military policy will be determined by the best ways to measure and create “realistic” dragondicks.

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