Trump Enrages the War Party

This election season is so much fun because Donald Trump keeps enraging all
the right people – and his timing is perfect. Just as the Republican convention
was at its height, with his
running mate
up there on the podium perorating about the alleged threat
of Vladimir Putin, along comes Donald with an
in the New York Times that has the War Party yelling and
screaming bloody murder. The head
; the foreign policy pundits; even some alleged “non-interventionists
– they’re all aghast that Trump is questioning the supposedly sacred tripwires
that commit us to going to war if Lower Slobbovia invades Upper Slobbovia.

It started with this
, in which Trump’s views on NATO, the Turkey coup, and other matters
were summarized, but it caused such a commotion that the Times published
entire interview
, and it is really a sight to see – good news for us anti-interventionists,
and very bad news for the internationalists, i.e. the entire foreign policy

It starts off with Times reporter David Sanger trying to bait him into
attacking Paul Ryan, who, he says, “presented a much more traditional Republican,
engaged internationalist view of the world.” Sanger reminds him of his previous
comments on NATO: that our shiftless “allies” need to start paying their fair
share of the costs of the alliance. Sanger adds in Korea and Japan, and ask:
what if they won’t pay? What then?

Trump’s answer is vintage Trump:  “Then yes, I would be absolutely prepared
to tell those countries, ‘Congratulations, you will be defending yourself.’”

He is challenged by Sanger – who asks most of the questions, by the way – who
avers that our system of alliances is in our interests as well, because of “trade.”

Does Sanger imagine Russia going to somehow stop trans-Atlantic commerce? It
isn’t clear, but Trump comes back at him by saying it’s “a mutual interest”
– in which our NATO allies are not doing their part. Stopped in his tracks –
because even
President Obama
, as well as traditional Republicans like
Robert Gates
, have complained that our allies aren’t paying – Sanger reverts
to the default interventionist argument:

“Even if they didn’t pay a cent toward it, many have believed that the way
we’ve kept our postwar leadership since World War II has been our ability to
project power around the world. That’s why we got this many diplomats …”

Trump’s answer is perfect:

How is it helping us? How has it helped us? We
have massive trade deficits. I could see that, if instead of having a trade
deficit worldwide of $800 billion, we had a trade positive of $100 billion,
$200 billion, $800 billion. So how has it helped us?”

Here Trump has stumbled on the dirty little secret of the post-World War II
security architecture so…

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