Trump’s Foreign Policy, Summarized

After two-plus years of watching Donald Trump in action as President of the United States of America — I use that full title in the hopes of jabbing his somnambulant idolaters into some awareness of what they have created with their childish fanaticism — his governing style and priorities have become quite clear. And in no arena are his implicit principles of governance — he has no explicit principles, of course — more consistently evident than in the realm of foreign policy. Therefore, here in the midst of Trump’s latest foray into a major U.S. foreign policy decision, namely how many times to shake the blood-soaked hand and sing the communist party praises of one of the world’s most repulsive tyrants, it may be worthwhile to take this moment to summarize, in list form, all the major premises and guiding assumptions of the Trump administration’s foreign policy, as these may be deduced from his tangible actions and repeated public declarations.

  • Anyone who has power that would be judged illegitimate on the principles of a limited republic is inherently worthy of admiration and respect, regardless of how that power was acquired or how it is wielded.
  • The more absolute a ruler’s power, and the more unscrupulously it is wielded, the more admirable that ruler becomes, and the more important it becomes to praise and extol the virtues and worthiness of that ruler at every opportunity.
  • An ally, particularly one believed to be essentially weak and unimportant, should be treated with open disdain and disrespect, as a show of American strength.
  • If a bully is threatening you or your friends, then it is appropriate to ply that bully with candies and kind words, and to demand that your friends give him their lunch money — and then to call this act of abject surrender “winning” and “peace.”
  • The U.S. Government must spare no pains or expense to grant legitimacy and dignified status on the world stage to the most illegitimate, unjust, and corrupt regimes, precisely in proportion to their illegitimacy, injustice, and corruption.
  • If a totalitarian enemy successfully develops nuclear weapons with the express purpose of threatening the U.S. population for the sake of issuing demands on its own terms, you ought to concede all their demands as quickly as possible and actively promise to respect that totalitarian regime in perpetuity, in the name “security” and “protecting the American people.” 
  • One’s own personal cowardice and fear must be hidden behind a veil of false bravado, and then cleverly projected onto the American people, in order to make one’s own cowardly appeasement of, and deference to, tyranny, look like the act of a brave and heroic leader, rather than the “better-red-than-dead” flight from every threat that it really is.
  • The trick — and all foreign policy is a trick, from the point of view of reality TV optics — is at all times to retreat, hide from, and avoid danger by conceding defeat, but at all times to reframe this national self-diminution as victory and strength, so that one’s mindless followers never realize that they are readily chanting “USA! USA!” in support of things that would have had them shouting “Progressive treason!” just a few short years before.

Have I missed any significant points? Probably; but I think the above list is sufficient as a general guide to the heart of Trump’s performance on the world stage, and is more than amply supported by the evidence of two years of Trumpism in practice.

In sum, Trump is a coward who sees a grave danger to himself under every rock, and therefore lives in constant fear — which fear, due to his performer’s instincts, he knows how to mask with loud and wayward talk, as cowards often do. His quick and over-the-top declarations of friendship and admiration for every strongman, thug, and bully he perceives as a threat is all the evidence you need that he is both a frightened man and a consummate self-protective liar.

MAGA Foreign Policy

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