While nearly unthinkable even a year ago, there is now a very real possibility that Donald Trump will take over the White House in January 2017. Harry C. Blaney III writes that with his potential to control the US’ nuclear arsenal and other weapons of mass destruction means that the rest of the world should have an interest in what Trump might do as president. He argues that Trump’s ignorance and self-importance would make him a very dangerous president.
“The countries in our world, our beautiful world, have been absolutely abusing us and taking advantage of us…So if they’re rattled in a friendly way, we’re gonna have great relationships with these countries. But if they’re rattled in a friendly way, that’s a good thing.” – Donald Trump, Press Conference in Bismarck, ND, May 26, 2016
“It’s clear he doesn’t have a clue what he’s talking about. So we can’t be certain which of these things he would do. But we can be certain that he’s capable of doing any or all of them. Letting ISIS run wild. Launching a nuclear attack. Starting a ground war. These are all distinct possibilities with Donald Trump in charge.” – Hillary Clinton, Speech in San Diego, CA, June 2, 2016. See full text here.
One of the main issues that needs greater examination and attention in the 2016 presidential campaign, not just by professionals but also by every citizen, is the issue of nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction. Indeed, the entire world should have an interest in what Donald Trump might do as president. Could he begin a nuclear winter with a foolish nuclear exchange that would also wipe out much of humanity around the world? It is crystal clear that Trump’s temperament and inexperience mean that he is bomb waiting to go off.
His positions not only on nuclear weapons and their role are at best absurd and at worst in the realm of the preposterous and irrational. Beyond the specific view of nuclear weapons in their traditional strategic role as deterrence, Trump has moved to the imbecilic level of seeing them as a viable threat or bullying tool, and even has proposed that other nations have these weapons – like Japan, South Korea, and Saudi Arabia – (though he has more recently walked back these statements). For decades, the leading nations and most of the world have worked to keep these weapons in check with reductions, confidence building measures, early warnings, and arms control agreements and efforts that move to their eventual elimination.
The problem is compounded by Trump’s total ignorance, not just of the most important national security and foreign policy issues, but also of anything other than how to get others to fund his construction projects, and schemes like Trump University, as well as degrading others. The other concern has to be his temperament and his congenital habit of lying or just eschewing factual accuracy, which shows a total disregard of truth, rationality, and respect for decency.
Credit: Michael Hogan (Flickr, CC-BY-NC-SA-2.0)
Hillary Clinton’s speech on June 2nd says much of what needs to be said. She went as far as to say that: “Donald Trump’s ideas aren’t just different – they are dangerously incoherent. They’re not even really ideas – just a series of bizarre rants, personal feuds, and outright lies…This is not someone who should ever have the nuclear codes – because it’s not hard to imagine Donald Trump leading us into a war just because somebody got under his very thin skin. We cannot put the security of our children and grandchildren in Donald Trump’s hands. We cannot let him roll the dice with America.” The problem she has – and we all do – is how to get the average citizen to grasp how serious it is to our security to have a man like Trump, who has implied that he would bully our allies while admiring our authoritarian adversaries, with his hands on “The Button.”
Some of the newer and most outrageous Trump quotes on foreign and national security issues and more can be found here. Below I have listed a series of Trump’s policy positions and how Hillary combatted them in her speech.
“The other thing with the terrorists is you have to take out their families, when you get these terrorists, you have to take out their families. They care about their lives, don’t kid yourself. When they say they don’t care about their lives, you have to take out their families” – Donald Trump on Fox & Friends, December 2, 2015
“So it really matters that Donald Trump says things that go against our deepest-held values. It matters when he says he’ll order our military to murder the families of suspected terrorists. During the raid to kill bin Laden, when every second counted, our SEALs took the time to move the women and children in the compound to safety. Donald Trump may not get it, but that’s what honor looks like.” – Hillary Clinton, Foreign Policy Speech, June 2, 2016
“I think NATO is obsolete. NATO was done at a time you had the Soviet Union, which was obviously larger — much larger than Russia is today. I’m not saying Russia is not a threat…But we have other threats. We have the threat of terrorism. And NATO doesn’t discuss terrorism. NATO’s not meant for terrorism. NATO doesn’t have the right countries in it for terrorism…And what I’m saying is that we pay, number one, a totally disproportionate share of NATO. We’re spending — the biggest alliance share is paid for by us, disproportionate to other countries…What I’m saying is NATO is obsolete. NATO is — is obsolete and it’s extremely expensive for the United States, disproportionately so. And we should readjust NATO” – Donald Trump, ABC’s This Week, March 27, 2016
“That’s the power of allies. And it’s the legacy of American troops who fought and died to secure those bonds, because they knew we were safer with friends and partners. Now Moscow and Beijing are deeply envious of our alliances around the world, because they have nothing to match them. They’d love for us to elect a President who would jeopardize that source of strength. If Donald gets his way, they’ll be celebrating in the Kremlin. We cannot let that happen.” – Hillary Clinton, Foreign Policy Speech, June 2, 2016
“Look, nuclear should be off the table. But would there be a time when it could be used, possibly, possibly?” – Donald Trump on the use of nuclear weapons to combat ISIS in the Middle East or even in Europe, MSNBC Town Hall, March 30, 2016
“He also refused to rule out using nuclear weapons against ISIS, which would mean mass civilian casualties.” – Hillary Clinton, Foreign Policy Speech, June 2, 2016
A version of this post originally appeared at the Rethinking National Security blog.
Note: This article gives the views of the author, and not the position of USApp– American Politics and Policy, nor of the London School of Economics.
Shortened URL for this post: http://bit.ly/1PjTECZ
Harry Blaney – Center for International Policy
Harry Blaney is a Senior Fellow at the Center for International Policy. He brings over thirty years of experience in international affairs to CIP and has held senior positions in the federal government, policy research, and n
on-profit organizations. His experience includes the White House, State Department, foreign affairs think tanks, and U.S. diplomatic posts abroad. His main focus has been on national security, including non-proliferation arms control, US-Europe relations, US-Russia, and global issues including energy, climate change, conflict zones, NATO, EU, and macro-strategic issues.