The Trump Doctrine

So, The Donald won Indiana’s primary, and is positioned to win the GOP nomination. Should he (God forbid!) win in November, he’ll have possession of the nation’s nuclear codes, among other unthinkable things.

So how much does he understand about foreign affairs (other than the sexual kind)?

Fact free and incoherent….That evaluation, from one actual foreign policy expert, was one of the nicer reactions to Trump’s ballyhooed “Presidential” foreign policy speech. The Guardian listed ten glaring contradictions within the speech–some within just a couple of minutes of each other.

At the Brookings Institution, trying for a more measured analysis, Thomas Wright noted that there was nothing new (or very specific) in the speech, but identified five “take-aways”from the speech. Those “take-aways” should terrify anyone who has even the slightest understanding of the world and the nature of our relations with other countries: Trump would simply end current U.S. alliances in Europe and Asia (make them all pay for their own defense); he would pursue an isolationist strategy (“He opposes democracy promotion, multilateralism, security guarantees, and, implicitly, keeping the global commons open for use by all nations”); he would “make a deal” with China and Russia (no details–just an assertion by the bloviating, self-proclaimed “dealmaker”). As Wright noted, the speech was intended for the GOP establishment–not the party’s foreign policy experts; and –surprise!–he views policy in this area, as in all others, as all about The Donald.

Trump spent quite a lot of time talking about how important it is that other leaders respect the American president. He complained about foreign leaders not meeting President Obama when he stepped off Air Force One. He spent a couple of minutes on Obama’s unsuccessful effort to win the Olympics for Chicago. This gave us a window into the temperament of a President Trump—he would read a lot into what others said about him and on his personal rapporteur with other leaders. He would likely to be drawn to men like him.

As I copied and pasted that quote, cold shivers went down my spine…..

At Dispatches from the Culture Wars, Ed Brayton also analyzed the speech, albeit a bit less dispassionately.

But even though it was a pre-written talk that has taken weeks and weeks to prepare, it was little more than a slogan: “America first.” ….

Boy, that’s original. Guess who used it first? Pro-Nazi Charles Lindbergh, who created the America First Committee to defend Hitler’s aggression and criticize Jews who were advocating that America get involved in WW2.

You expected more from a guy who retweets sentiments from Mussolini, and accuses a political rival’s father of complicity in JFK’s assassination?

Why did I come away from this “important” speech with a distinct impression that The Donald couldn’t locate–or spell– most countries with which we have strategic interests if asked to point to them on a map–let alone identify America’s long-term global interests?


  1. Donald Trump a “first class Jerk” who is trying his hardest to be accepted in what might be called a “first class Country Club” by becoming President of the United States of America.

    That’s the only way he could ever be accepted. He’s too obnoxious to otherwise make it to the top of the “upper crust” caste society.

  2. Donald Trump is Steven Goldsmith with billions of ill-gotten gains and a fake tan (which he doesn’t appear to be using lately). He is an air-filled balloon when this country needs one filled with helium to keep it aloft.

    I question Cruz’s sudden withdrawal from the race – is this a setup, planned by the remaining hopefuls and the GOP? The Republicans do not want Trump any more than we do. Was Indiana’s primary so important nationally because it would/could bring about the combining of all GOP potential nominees and pooling all of their support to move against Trump before the convention? They are a devious bunch; often with hidden agendas which they spring on us at the last minute. Just askin’

    As John Lennon said, “They call me a dreamer, well I’m not the only one.”

  3. By the way, I’ve been to the top of the top when I was only 30. Fortunately, with the good advice of a friend, I resigned my membership.

    The best advice I have ever received.

    P.S. You better believe I understand the elite. Take my word for it, they are far from being nebulous.

  4. There’s a “Viewpoints” column in today’s Star in which the writer states, “Living in a democracy often means thinking that millions of our fellow citizens are making a big mistake, and saying so. That doesn’t have to mean considering them our moral inferiors….”
    I don’t consider anyone to be my “moral inferior.” However, I DO question the intelligence and educational level of those Trump voters who think he has the qualifications to be the President of the United States. Study the candidates, people! A Trump candidacy is not a reality show. It’s the real deal, and it’s frightening on so many levels.

  5. The only way you can win against the ELITE is by reading their “minds.” You can only do that if you know them better than they know themselves which fortunately I do.

    That’s why I have never lost in an encounter with them. So far.

    Unfortunately, there’s always a first time.

  6. Reasonably well educated people who stay informed understand the disaster a Trump presidency would be. Unfortunately educated and informed does not describe the majority of Americans. People are angry and they will favor slogans over reason. It looks like the democrats are intent on nominating Clinton. She represents the very establishment a large portion of the population resents. Sanders could tap into the anger vote and probably win but it doesn’t appear he will win the nomination. So I hate to say it but, we all need to figure out what we will do when Trump becomes our next president.

  7. Unfortunately, although the Trump speech was indeed fact-free, we know from the experience of the last two decades that Republican voters don’t care about facts, scientific or otherwise. Let’s just hope those who do care about facts get out and vote in November.

    That said, there is one point I can agree on. We shouldn’t be “promoting democracy” except by example. Democracy, like sobriety, is something that people have to come to on their own, if it is to be successful. Trying to make Iraq into a democracy has been a miserable failure. If we intervene in Syria, that would also fail.

  8. Hoosier voters proved beyond a doubt yesterday that Indiana is the Alabama of the midwest. Trump and all of the other gop candidates are much better at rallying the voters than the Dems are. They discovered long ago that creating false stories to incite anger in voters (who are too lazy to check the stories for any truth) is all that is needed to bring the voting support they need to win.

    My next fear is that Jim Banks will win Dan Coats’ seat. Make no mistakes, Banks is extremely conservative. He took pro-birth(not life) to extremes. When his own anti-abortion bill didn’t pass he fully supported the one that did. He is supported by the American Conservative Union, Tea Party Patriots, Tea Party Express, Citizens United, the Senate Conservative Fund, and the National Assn for Gun Rights. He is a Koch favorite. If he gets elected the Koch brothers will have full access to use him for their personal gain.

  9. Geraldine,

    “So I hate to say it but, we all need to figure out what we will do when Trump becomes our next president.”

    As long as we keep playing into Trump’s hands, your prediction can’t miss.

    Trump is the Republican Party nominee for President. He will now be cleaned up as much as possible with advisors and potential staff members who will give the impression that he is going to be more moderate. He’ll come out of the Republican Convention “smelling like a rose.”

    Hillary Clinton won’t be able to touch him by the time “they” are finished with the”cosmetic surgery.” That’s exactly how Karl Rove got his big chance. It was with Bill Clements, who became the Governor of Texas. I knew Clements personally. He couldn’t win “dog catcher” even with all his money until Karl Rove stepped in.

    All Trump really needs right now is a little “ole time religion” in order to take control of the Cruz crowd. Sinners can always be converted.

  10. It can’t be a surprise that Indiana voted for Trump…what were the choices. I don’t think the general public knows Kasich, he gets about zero press and I think most of the general public gets their information from what they see in the news and he gets ignored. So, that leaves Trump or Cruz they are both horrific in their own ways.

    If I hear one more person state they are voting for Trump because he is a successful business man and so he can fix the gov’t. Similar to the same argument that brought Indiana Mitch Daniels. He is a business guy and can fix all of our ills with business savvy…(insert eye rolls)

  11. I reiterate today what I wrote yesterday, i.e., don’t panic – yet. It is plainer today than it was yesterday that Trump is about to meet his master, and arm-waving, insult and pretense will not help him. There is a different media that covers the play game (primary election) and the proposed policy end of things (general election). The press gets nasty; its members demand not just answers but detailed explanations for them – and rightly so. The country and the future of its people are at stake, not just who is running to guide it. The popularity contest is over. Now it’s “where’s the beef” time; the rubber is meeting the road etc. It is now time for Mr. Trump to step up to the plate with an umpire to make happy, i.e., the American people, all of them and not just those he has bamboozled.

    He is finally going to have to explain with great specificity just what he is going to do about the thousands of contracts between our multinationals and foreign producers when he “tears up the trade agreements” we have with them; just what happens to the thousands of contracts and protocols we have with our NATO allies (with a smiling Putin in anticipation of a toothless Europe and isolationist America ) when we tell them to pay for “their own defense” (as though ours were not also involved in this small world); when we ask him to define specifically just how “tearing up or renegotiating trade agreements redone by smart people” will magically reopen U.S. factories to U.S. labor at good wages and a market free of Chinese toys and other such goods; and even where he is right (massive redoing of America’s infrastructure at a cost of hundreds of billions of dollars – an FDR-type WPA), he is going to have to explain how we are going to pay for such improvements without running up “the debt” which he complained during his campaign is approaching 21 trillion dollars. Higher taxes, Mr. Trump? Who’s going to pay them, the rich? The poor? Savings from other economies in government? Savings from what? Have you checked with the special interests in Congress on your proposed cuts? Answer the question.

    For a pretended Republican who believes in local control, he is the most “top-down” management type I have ever experienced. It’s as those in the Congress do not exist, that constitutionally-protected treaty rights are meaningless etc. It is no surprise that our allies and trade partners are sleepless in Brussels, Hanoi, and elsewhere. They should be, but as I wrote yesterday, not here. He is headed for an historic shellacking in November with what I hope are down-ticket losses as well, and the reason is simple: The man doesn’t know what he is talking about (as we are soon to find out when he is finally challenged on the issues as they really are and not as he has massaged them.) It’s over, Don. We win; you lose.

  12. RN; I think little is publicized at Kasich because he is the “safest” GOP possibility and the media finds him uninteresting as a public figure. I don’t fully believe Cruz has ended his bid for the White House…of course I don’t fully (or partially) believe anything that group of Republicans has done and is doing during this campaign.

    I believe the media frequently overlooks Bernie because, next to Hillary, he isn’t as well known and hasn’t had the controversy surrounding him that is connected to both Clintons so isn’t of interest without skeletons in his closet. Hillary got undeserved accusations regarding Benghazi and her single server – Bill’s “affairs of state” and their membership in corporate America makes them more newsworthy – and the two cannot be separated in the minds of the public due to the media.

  13. Joann, I agree and Clinton has endured 20 years of accusations, etc… and nothing has been found but I am afraid that many believe there MUST be something there and like Sheila indicated the other some point false or not, unproven or not some of that sticks. Where there is smoke there must be fire….
    Gerald I hope you are right about the media stepping up their game they have done a disservice thus far paying too much attention to the characters to drive up their viewing numbers and little to else…

    Chuck Todd appeared thoroughly disgusted in are current predicament and predicts that with Trump and Clinton it is just going to get nastier with Trump starting it…new depths of low.

  14. Keep this in mind. The GOP, many of whom must understand that Trump is not even remotely qualified to be in government much less run it, still believe apparently that having any Republican as President is better than any Democrat.

    This is brand loyalty taken to a new extreme.

    Yesterday we fooled around with the word “elites”, a tough one to pin down. This issue is not about them though.

    This is about people so sucked into a brand that they are completely blind to reason.

    Does that sound familiar pre- WWII European history buffs?

    So the issue is are there more Americans lost to reason than embracing it?

    I don’t think so but apparently others here do.

  15. This reminds me of some marriages, where a person “falls in love” with someone who is “adventurous”, “not stodgy but unpredictable” and “fun”, and ends up with an abusive disloyal drunk who disappears for weeks on end. Not quite what that person wanted or expected because the whole enterprise was not approached with eyes wide open, who did not understand that a marriage is commitment we should not take lightly.

    We hear people who want Trump because he “says it like it is”, “cannot be bought” and “makes deals”, among other characteristics, but they do not fully understand what all this means, seem as unwilling to think through the relationship and its consequences as Mr. Trump, and they appear not to fully comprehend what it means to elect someone who is a dedicated narcissist who has no interest in becoming educated about the complexities of the job. This is not a commitment you take on lightly. He is clearly someone who makes short term expedient decisions when we really need someone who will think carefully about the long term, and a bully when we need someone who holds as much respect for his enemies as he does his friends. Just as the one who marries the “not stodgy but unpredictable” person who ends up an adulterous drunk, the public could quickly have buyers’ remorse in their relationship with Mr. Trump.

  16. Marv, what do you mean by your comment that the elite are not “nebulous?” And how do we head them off at the pass?

    And are either Hillary or Bernie capable of taking them on, especially Karl Rove and his dirty tricks squad?

  17. Trump’s doctrine is ‘whatever feels good’ at the time. He’d be an easy mark for foreign leaders, knowing that his lifetime focus has been his ego and his wallet. His word has not been his bond in business. He doesn’t keep commitments and feels his ‘deals’ are temporary and to be re-negotiated later as he alone decides.

    Government and world alliances are group endeavors that require trust and a willingness to put the national and international interest before one’s own ego. Is there anyone on earth who believes Donald Trump is capable of that?

  18. I ventured into the Palladium and observed the Donald. Spray tan, yes, hair less poofed, attitude intact. Exhibited ignorance, emotionality and haughtiness while trying to suppress his fragility and deep need for approval. He called himself and the audience “elites” while 4/5 of the audience beamed. Our only hope is that the remaining 1/4 go vote.

  19. For me, there’s a larger picture, a larger understanding to be gained, at least from yesterday’s IN primary.

    The attached link from the NY Times offers a visual image with a couple of important takeaways that jumped out at me: 1) The evangelical tea party type of Republican is showing first signs of its demise (Cruz only won in 5 IN counties), and 2) Many folks are no longer content to vote for candidates who are members of the traditional political elite or a political dynasty, whether Republican or Democrat (note the votes for Sanders as shown in the below image).

    Today, I’m looking at the larger picture out there rather than parsing, nitpicking over what this candidate did or what that candidate said. This election cycle, to me, is similar to exploratory surgery, locating and diagnosing that tumor that’s been growing and growing until we no longer can ignore it.

    The NY Times map image is a vivid representation of Indiana’s pulse as of yesterday.

  20. Regarding the unfair shots at Republican conservatives aside, the fact is Donald Trump is no Republican conservative at all. He only flipped to some conservative positions before deciding to run as a Republican last summer. He only switched from a Democrat to a Republican in 2012.

    Trump is indeed a dangerous man. But it has nothing to do with conservativism or Republicanism. It has to do with the fact the man is totally unqualified to be President. He has zero respect for the Constitution and wants our free speech cut back so Americans are less able to criticize public officials. He doesn’t know anything about foreign policy. He doesn’t know anything about domestic policy either and is simply spouting whatever he thinks his audience wants to hear.

    Donald Trump is a con artist. His run for the president is just another one of his cons, this time a long con. As a conservative, anti-Establishment Republican who believes in limited government and supporting the Constitution, I don’t want that fool anywhere near the White House. If I had to, which I don’t expect I will, vote for Hillary. As much as I dislike HRC and think she’d be a horrible president with horrible policies, Donald J. Trump would be worse.

  21. Ginny F,

    Marv, what do you mean by your comment that the elite are not “nebulous?” And how do we head them off at the pass?

    And are either Hillary or Bernie capable of taking them on, especially Karl Rove and his dirty tricks squad?

    You’ve asked all the right questions to decide what actions need to be taken. However, after many rewarding months as a participant on this blog, I can see that it is no longer a place for my input.

    I’d like to discuss the questions you have posed, but not on this blog. If you go to my website you can find my E-mail address.

    I look forward to discussing the above questions with you.

  22. Paul, I agree with everything that you say. The question left in my mind though is what will Republican conservatives on the average do about it?

    Many that I know say that they will not vote for Hillary. I probably wouldn’t either if I thought that the myths that the GOP tells about her were the truth whole and nothing but.

    But given a choice between almost any seasoned politician and Trump I’d take the alternative to Trump.

    Do you think that many of your conservative friends will stay home in Nov if it turns out to be Hillary vs Trump.

  23. Paul K. Ogden, I read your post. And, I’ve also looked at the IN primary election outcomes for both the Democrats and the Republicans.

    You spoke about Republican conservatives which, in turn, prompts me to query you with the obvious question. If there’s such a label as a Republican conservative, is there also a corresponding label designating a Republican liberal?

    Fortunately and by choice, I’m not bogged down with supporting party labels, party talking points, or party loyalties. Mr Ogden, look at yesterday’s IN primary results and pay particular attention to the Republican voters who are telling you something important. You may not like what these voters told you at the polling places; nonetheless, those voters sent a strong message to those with ears.

  24. So now Kasich has pulled out of the race; that is two in two days. This makes me believe even more that the Republican party is up to something to counteract Trump; Republicans are many things but they are not quitters. They do not back down on anything – hence, the name staunch Republican. Neither are they “up front” about what they are plotting but at this time I sincerely hope they have some dastardly deed in the works to confound Trump and his enthralled minions. We NEED their underhanded dealing at this time.

  25. It’s much too late for the circus peanut to try to make nice. His true colors are already out there and it is just sickening.

  26. Marv, I am sorry to hear that you no longer believe this blog is a place for your input. I appreciate your thoughts and hope that you change your mind.

  27. Marv; what has happened to you? I have sensed something off-kilter with you since you returned after your brief break a few months ago. You seem to be deeply disappointed and disillusioned in general; that saddens me because I look forward to your in-depth views, based on your personal involvement in politics for so many years. We don’t always agree, don’t need to always agree to appreciate and respect one another’s input. It would be boring an there would be no need for blogs such as Sheila’s if we all thought and believed alike. Please stay with us; your voice is needed here.

  28. Nancy and JoAnn,

    I have to admit, I can be a hard person to read. This blog has been central to what I need to accomplish. I believe we need to open up a new front against Donald Trump and the Republican Party. I was successful in STARTING that when I left the blog for about a week or so, some months ago.

    No one can beat Sheila when it comes to democracy. She’s the leader of the basic front, but you can’t beat Donald Trump with only one front. That’s the lesson to be learned from the defeat of Joseph McCarthy. He couldn’t be defeated SOLEY by a direct attack. Neither can Donald Trump.

    I’ve opened up an “invisible” new front in Jacksonville against the SPEARHEAD of the TEA PARTY and that’s where I need to put my emphasis. Sheila’s central paradigm, as well as this blog, is DEMOCRACY, mine is premature ANTI-FASCISM. Hopefully, in the next few months, both fronts will be able to merge.

    I’m sure you both realize I don’t believe in backing off from threats. I’ve only done that once before, it was in the late 50’s when I was at college at Penn. My girl friend’s father was Bill Levitt, the real estate tycoon who developed Levittown New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Long Island. He was as powerful in his day as Donald Trump and just as rotten as Trump. I couldn’t win the battle against Levitt, but I suggest I learned my lesson well and believe that experience can be of vital importance in defeating another first class JERK. (By the way, beneath Trump’s facade is a coward just like Levitt, I’m 100% sure of that)

  29. Marv; glad you are staying with us. Personally; I merged your ANTI-FASCISM with basic Democracy months ago, when Trump’s momentum began to escalate and the entire Republican party began to implode. My level of fear of his Fascism has risen as his level of control and the number of his supporters has risen. All he needs is to add that ridiculous mustache – his bangs do swoop more than Adolph’s forelock but the similarity hasn’t been lost on me. He masks his cowardice with his ego and big mouth, “…full of sound and fury signifying nothing.” His supporters seem unaware that he “…struts upon the stage…” but does nothing himself; his paid goon squads carry out his false bravado. We are on the same page where Trump is concerned; and probably about Hillary.

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