Donald Trump is breaking out a new campaign slogan, team, and a slew of policy papers over the Easter Weekend to surprise the voters in the upcoming states. We at Prntly have the new details:
“I’m not isolationist, but I am ‘America First,’” Trump said in an interview with The New York Times released Saturday. “We have been disrespected, mocked, and ripped off for many, many years by people that were smarter, shrewder, tougher,” he said, going back to his “Apprentice” roots and demanding the U.S. make better deals with its allies.
“So America first, yes, we will not be ripped off anymore. We’re going to be friendly with everybody, but we’re not going to be taken advantage of by anybody,” Trump said.
Mr. Trump struck similar themes when he discussed the future of NATO, which he called “unfair, economically, to us,” and said he was open to an alternative organization focused on counterterrorism. He argued that the best way to halt China’s placement of military airfields and antiaircraft batteries on reclaimed islands in the South China Sea was to threaten its access to American markets.
“We have tremendous economic power over China,” he argued. “And that’s the power of trade.” He did not mention Beijing’s capability for economic retaliation.
Mr. Trump’s views, as he explained them, fit nowhere into the recent history of the Republican Party: He is not in the internationalist camp of the elder President George Bush, nor does he favor George W. Bush’s call to make it the United States’ mission to spread democracy around the world. He agreed with a suggestion that his ideas might be summed up as “America First.”
“Not isolationist, but I am America First,” he said. “I like the expression.” He said he was willing to reconsider traditional American alliances if partners were not willing to pay, in cash or troop commitments, for the presence of American forces around the world. “We will not be ripped off anymore,” he said.
In the past week, the bombings in Brussels and an accelerated war against the Islamic State have shifted the focus of the campaign trail conversation back to questions of how the candidates would defend the United States and what kind of diplomacy they would pursue around the world.
Mr. Trump explained his thoughts in concrete and easily digestible terms, but they appeared to reflect little consideration for potential consequences. Much the same way he treats political rivals and interviewers, he personalized how he would engage foreign nations, suggesting his approach would depend partly on “how friendly they’ve been toward us,” not just on national interests or alliances.
At no point did he express any belief that American forces deployed on military bases around the world were by themselves valuable to the United States, though Republican and Democratic administrations have for decades argued that they are essential to deterring military adventurism, protecting commerce and gathering intelligence.
This comes as Democrats are switching to Trump’s brand of politics, whether from Wisconsin, or the noted Jim Webb, a former Democratic candidate (LINK).