Trump’s Schizophrenic and Opaque Foreign Policy

Attempting to crack the code of what President Trump is doing on the international stage is perplexing…at its best.

Keith R. Higgons
Jan 14, 2020 · 7 min read

Soleimani’s killing is just about as far away as ending “endless wars” as possible.

Both in American and around the world, governments and citizens have been left wondering exactly what another military campaign would accomplish for America or its allies.

  1. Trump is facing a post-impeachment Senate trial to remove him from office (of which he is expected to be acquitted by his republican brethren).

HISTORY REPEATS

As Trump continues his Nuremberg style rallies and amping up his constituency, there is historical motivation to continue military actions. The precedence is that no president in American historty has ever lost re-election during a war:

  • Abraham Lincoln — the Civil War, reelected in 1864
  • Woodrow Wilson — World War I, not at war but nearing it, reelected in 1916
  • Franklin D. Roosevelt — World War II, entered the war and re-elected for a fourth time in 1944.
  • Lyndon B. Johnson — the Vietnam War issue through the Gulf of Tonkin, elected in 1964
  • Richard Nixon — the Vietnam War, reelected in 1972
  • George W. Bush — the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars, reelected in 2004

The presidents notoriously short fuse had been lit…and he went ballistic.

NOT ON HIS WATCH

President Trump has vociferously vilified Hillary Clinton for her role in the 2012 attack on the American diplomatic compound in Benghazi — the attack that killed U.S. Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and U.S. Foreign Service Officer Sean Smith. As he watched another American embassy being attacked, the president became even more adamant that nothing like Benghazi would take place on his watch.

THE WHY

Eschewing the attacks on the embassy as motivation for the targeted bombing, the Pentagon went political. To protect their boss, the Pentagon first claimed that Soleimani was “actively developing plans to attack American diplomats and service members in Iraq and throughout the region.”

The administration has provided a bouillabaisse of reasons for the drone attack that led to Soleimani’s death.

GEOPOLITICAL

Whatever his political motivation may or may not be, it’s impossible to ignore how important and relevant the attack is geopolitically. To ignore President Trump’s admiration of Saudi leader Mohammed bin Salman is to discount the connection that exists between America, Saudi Arabia and the ongoing war in Yemen.

THE MILITARY INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX

Many of the President’s most steadfast private sector supporters have been on American television supporting President Trump’s military moves. While their motivation may seem supportive, perhaps even patriotic, it can’t be ignored that these supporters and pundits have direct ties to the defense industry. Some of the most visible faces on television include:

  • Former Iraqi Ambassador and FOX News regular John Negroponte who works for McLarty Associates, a defense lobbying firm.
  • Retired General David Petraeus who works for Kholberh, Kravis Roberts & Co, a defense industry investment firm.
  • Jeh Johnson is on the Board of Directors for Lockheed Martin, one of the world’s largest defense contractors.
  • Former U.S. National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley is a director at Raytheon, the defense company that builds the drone that killed Soleimani.

ALL THE NEWS

With all that said, the one thing that is without question is that for a few days, the American news cycle, and the world’s, moved away from Trump’s impeachment. Despite being dialed down, the potential for war with Iran remains real. Having a potential war as the top news story versus impeachment and a pending Senate trial is more than likely to yield political dividends for the upcoming election cycle.

President Trump’s foreign policy agenda could best be described as schizophrenically opaque.

He has shown deference towards some of America’s biggest foes like North Korea, China and Russia while engaging in trade wars and increasing sanctions with them. At the same time, he’s played the hardliner with strong American allies like Canada and Mexico.

Whatever his motivations and ambitions may be, President Donald Trump continues to prove himself a political enigma both in America and around the world.

Dialogue & Discourse

News and ideas worthy of discourse.

Keith R. Higgons

Written by

“Yeah, I know I ain’t nobody’s bargain — But, hell, a little touch-up and a little paint” — Bruce Springsteen

Dialogue & Discourse

News and ideas worthy of discourse. Fundamentally informative and intelligently analytical.

Keith R. Higgons

Written by

“Yeah, I know I ain’t nobody’s bargain — But, hell, a little touch-up and a little paint” — Bruce Springsteen

Dialogue & Discourse

News and ideas worthy of discourse. Fundamentally informative and intelligently analytical.

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