President Trump Punches “America First” and Defends “Nations”

Well, that escalated quickly. Seems “America First” is now after other nations and even the entire global civilization… 

President Trump took to twitter. This is what he said:

We patiently wait to see which people he is talking about. The “American People”?. We imagine because surely he wouldn’t rally around the flag for political game, favors or weak-handedness in big-boy clothing…

Meanwhile, from Zero Hedge on the Neoconservative’s War on Realists:

In recent years, I’ve increasingly suspected that when it comes to foreign policy, the realists offer some of the most sane observations. 

These suspicions were confirmed earlier this year when after the election of Donald Trump, John Mearsheimer, one of modern realism’s current standard bearers, wrote in The National Interest that Trump should “adopt a realist foreign policy” and outlines a far better foreign policy agenda that what we’ve seen coming from Washington.

And what is this realist foreign policy? For Mearsheimer, some main tenets include:

  • Accepting that the US attempt at nation building in Afghanistan, Egypt, Iraq, Libya, Syria and Yemen “has been an abject failure.”
  • “Washington [should] respect the sovereignty of other states even when it disagrees with their internal policies.”
  • “Spreading democracy, especially by force, almost always fails.”
  • Understanding that “America’s terrorism problem … is fueled in part by the U.S. military presence on Arab territory as well as the endless wars the United States has waged in the greater Middle East.”
  • “The Trump administration should let local powers deal with ISIS.”
  • Recognizing that Russia poses no real threat to the United States: “Even if Russia modernizes its economy and its population grows in the years ahead — big ifs — it will still be unable to project significant military power beyond eastern Europe.”
  • “A Syria run by Assad poses no threat to the United States”
  • “The new president should also work to improve relations with Iran. “
  • “Encourage the Europeans to take responsibility for their own security, while gradually reducing the remaining U.S. troops there.”

The Neoconservatives Declare War 

Last week, Commentary magazine, a long-established mouthpiece for hard-line interventionist and neoconservative views issued a denunciation of these realists in a piece titled “Saving Realism from the So-Called Realists.” 

For the authors, Hal Brands and Peter Feaver, today’s realists are a disaster: “Today’s most prominent self-identified realists — Stephen Walt, John Mearsheimer, Barry Posen, and Christopher Layne— advocate a thoroughgoing U.S. retrenchment from global affairs.” Abandoning their traditional anti-populism, the authors go on to sneeringly denounce realism and restraint as “academic” and as “some of the most misguided doctrines of the ivory tower.”

For interventionists, “retrenchment” is just another word for “isolationism,” which of course is the great bogeyman of interventionist foreign policy. Realists have lost their way, we’re told, because they no longer support “forging a stable international order” by which the interventionists mean “non-stop intervention in every region on earth.”

For Brands and Feaver, what is really needed is a return to the good ol’ days of “Cold-War realism” in which realists favored far greater level of interventionism in the name of countering the assumed Soviet threat.

But even in the Cold War, many realists were far better than idealist Wilsonian regime-change advocates like President Lyndon Johnson. Realist George Kennan, for instance, denounced the Vietnam War and objected to viewing the war in terms of “fighting for freedom.” 

But even among those realists who were gung ho on military intervention, many were wrong because they were laboring under a mountain of bad information about the Soviets and their economic system. As nearly all the policymakers of their day, the Cold War realists assumed — wrongly — that the communist world was an economic powerhouse, poised to overtake the US in terms of wealth and technology in the near future. They failed to read up on their Ludwig von Mises and understand that the socialist economy was doomed from the start, and would self-destruct from within. Instead, the old realist Cold Warriors accepted the CIA’s “intelligence” on the Soviet economy which vastly overstated the state of the Communist economies.

At the same time, the Cold War realists were also influenced by hysterical ex-communists like Whittaker Chambers who published jeremiads about how the West was doomed because lazy Westerners could never compete against the communists who were not like ordinary humans. The communists — we were told — ate, slept, and breathed the idea of the communist revolution and would stop at nothing to impose their ideology on the rest of the world, even if it meant certain death for themselves. This then implied that nuclear deterrence would not work, and thus relentless intervention and foreign policy adventurism — such as that in Vietnam — was necessary to overwhelm the Soviet threat.