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Monday, August 1, 2016

Trump Needs to Flesh Out a Strategic Vision for U.S. Foreign Policy

Trump Needs to Flesh Out a Strategic Vision for U.S. Foreign Policy


Ivan Eland Senior Fellow and Director of the Center on Peace & Liberty, The Independent Institute
Now that Donald Trump has won the Republican nomination, capitalizing on his image as a nationalist tough guy, he needs to fill in some of the details on his strategic vision for a proper American role in the world. By correctly declaring the NATO alliance obsolete and urging U.S. East Asian allies, such as Japan and South Korea, to do more for their own defense, he has identified one of the most important strategic issues for a new world vision.
The post-World War II informal American Empire has been defined by U.S. protection of wealthier allied countries in Europe, East Asia, and the Middle East, many times against poorer foes; retention of hundreds of military bases overseas to do so; and profligate military and covert interventions to maintain this costly empire. In return, those allies have not even fully opened their markets to American goods and services. Trump is correct that we can no longer afford to sign up to defend countries that are now wealthy against adversaries that do not directly threaten the United States. That the United States has a $19 trillion national debt doesn’t seem to matter to the U.S. foreign policy elite, which has been reared on maintaining an inflexible strait jacket of copious foreign alliances around the world. A more independent and flexible foreign policy is needed, like that originally advocated by the nation’s founders, who counseled against “permanent” and “entangling” alliances.

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