Trump’s destabilizing policies threaten America’s nuclear deterrence strategy–traitorous action or simply ignorance?
Seventy years of bi-partisanship have gone into creating a credible deterrence strategy to cope with the challenges posed to our foreign policy in an era of nuclear powers and the means of delivering them. Our deterrence strategy rests upon the elimination and reduction of doubt as to whether certain actions against ourselves and our allies will produce a response by the U.S. that is unacceptable to a potential enemy. The weaving of alliances and other measures taken to implement and maintain this strategy has been supported by every President, Secretary of Defense, and Secretary of State, both Republican and Democratic, since the fateful dropping of those early atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki ended World War II and ushered in the dangerous nuclear age. This credibility of our response and commitments to our allies have been seriously, if not fatally, weakened by Donald Trump’s clearly ignorant insertion of doubt into the equation.
He might as well have invited North Korea across the “no-man’s land” and across the 38th parallel and on into our long-time ally, South Korea. Similarly his words were music to the ears of the hawks in China, who have been pushing for aggressive testing of the U.S.’s resolve to block their imperialistic actions in order to rewrite off-shore boundaries throughout the region. But, nowhere have Trump’s words been welcomed as much as by his mutual admiration buddy, Vladimir Putin. The latter’s ambitions to move aggressively to take all of the Ukraine, and perhaps to reestablish hegemony over Poland, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania have been encouraged by Trump’s words. Is it just coincidence that Paul Manafort, the Trump campaign’s top political advisor, formerly served as paid political consultant to the Ukranian Prime Minister, who was deposed largely because of his pro-Russian ties? It is no surprise then that the only major international endorsements of Trump, and his ill-conceived policies, have come from Russia’s ex-KGB President Putin, North Korea’s Kim Jong Un, through his state controlled radio, and China. The question has been raised as to whether Trump’s statements destabilizing our security commitments are just the result of ignorance, or whether they rise to the level of traitorous actions.
The most generous interpretation of The Donald’s latest and most dangerous foreign policy land mine, is to fall back on his lack of expertise and knowledge in the area. It wouldn’t be the first time he ignorantly attempted to leap from his real-estate and bankruptcy court bargaining and attempt to superimpose those methods on the much more complex, and sensitive, worlds of diplomacy and foreign policy. He tells us, over and over again, in his books The Art of the Deal and How to Get Rich, how important he found it to insert uncertainty into his business negotiations. He simply didn’t understand about how important certainty of response is in deterrence theory when he infamously, once again, “shot from the hip,” and contributing to Nor did he understand the history of NATO, including all Strategic gains we derive from it. How insignificant is it if Estonia spends 2 percent of it’s GDP on defense when compared to its support of the U.S. in Afghanistan, or how important is its strategic geographic position next to St. Petersburg, Russia, across Scandinavia, on the Baltic Sea. Military.com surely understood that in their July 21 piece: “Trump Triggers Alarms in Europe by Questioning Defense of NATO States.” Can Trump be running for president while showing such ignorance on important matters for the U.S. Apparently so. After all this is the same Donald Trump who replied to interviewer Michael Wolf’s question about how he felt about Britain’s exit from the European Union, with “Huh?” He also demonstrated ignorance of even who the actors in the key Iran, Iraq, Syria,are by confusing Al Kuds, the Special Unit of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards with the Kurds, our allies in fighting ISIS in N. Iraq and N. Syria. (G-d forbid he should be asked to note the problems created for U.S. Foreign Policy by the tensions between the Kurds, in both Turkey and Syria and the Turkish government and how that affects our use of air bases in Turkey against ISIS in Syria.)
Which is worse: relying on Donald Trump’s ignorance as an excuse for his foreign policy flubs, or imagining his finger on the “red button”?