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Friday, August 5, 2016

The War Candidates

The War Candidates

by Paul R. Pillar
A common observation about the role of foreign policy in the current presidential race is that Donald Trump’s candidacy is profiting from a lack of appetite among much of the electorate for continued heavy and costly U.S. involvement in overseas conflict. With Trump having made some remarks that sound critical of that involvement, support for Trump gets interpreted as a rejection of establishment thinking on foreign involvement and of Hillary Clinton’s hawkishness (insofar as foreign policy rather than domestic issues might be shaping any voters’ sentiments). Some intelligent proponents of a more restrained U.S. foreign policy see hopeful signs in Trump’s comments; Ivan Eland does, for example, and just wishes that Trump would “fill in some of the details on his strategic vision for a proper American role in the world.”
There is no denying that Hillary Clinton epitomizes whatever can be described as establishment thinking on foreign policy. There also is no denying her hawkishness, including when comparing her to the incumbent president. Those hoping for more restraint in U.S. foreign policy have reason to be concerned about that and to look for hopeful signs elsewhere. But to look to Trump in this way is a set-up for unpleasant surprises.

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