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Wednesday, January 8, 2020

What Is the Trump Doctrine?

            A doctrine is the policy by which a President of the United States deals with foreign nations. A doctrine is not always declared by a President, but it is seen through a pattern of dealings with foreign nations. President Donald Trump has never hidden his basic doctrine: America First. Trump has proven that he will do what is best for America in every situation. 

Sebastian Gorka wrote about the Trump Doctrine and said that Trump’s stunning victory in 2016 was largely in part to his emphasis on immigration, trade, and foreign policy. He reminded his readers that President George W. Bush sought to intervene in other nations, while President Barack Obama tried to “lead from behind.” Trump vowed as a candidate to take the nation in a positive direction “that would thread the needle” between the Bush Doctrine and the Obama Doctrine.

And now, three years into his presidency, he has done just that and kept his promises to the American people. Through a combination of hardline diplomacy, calculated tariffs, restrained but decisive displays of power, and a willingness to make justifiable threats for the broader goal of peace, a “Trump Doctrine” has indeed taken shape, and proven historically successful.

First, as our friend Mackubin Owens explains in his excellent piece at American Greatness, President Trump approaches foreign policy the same way he approaches any other issue: As a Businessman. Therefore, he is a pragmatist, not an ideologue. As a result, he does not try to apply the same blanket approach or methodology to every single problem; rather, he addresses each and every single issue based on which tactic will be most effective for that particular challenge. That is why he twice launched missiles into Syria in response to chemical weapons attacks, while showing restraint and refusing to do the same with Iran for a lesser offense.

He has taken unapologetically hardline stances against dictators in Cuba and Venezuela, while also being willing to negotiate with Kim Jong-Un in the interests of peaceful denuclearization. He has used tariffs both as a means of leveling the economic playing field against China, as a negotiation tactic with Mexico, and as a punishment of the strictest order against Iran.

He has withdrawn from disastrous international deals such as the TPP, NAFTA, the Paris Accord, and the Iran deal, while implementing new agreements such as the USMCA.

            I believe that the Trump Doctrine was on full display over the past week as he dealt with Iran. He did basically nothing as Iran flexed its muscles against British ships, American sailors, and Saudi Arabia. However, Trump was ready to act when Iran killed an American and attacked an American embassy. When given the opportunity, he ordered a missile strike against the top terrorist in the world and promised to hit 52 sites in Iran if Iran retaliated. 

Yet, Trump ordered no strikes into Iran when Iran sent 15 ballistic missiles into Iraq. Some say that the “fireworks display” last night was orchestrated by Iraq, Iran, and the United States as a way for Iran to save face. Maybe it was, and maybe it was not. At any rate, Iran fired its missiles into areas where they did little damage and did not cost any Iraqi or American lives. Then Iran seemed to be ready to stand down and deescalate the tensions with the United States. 

The fireworks display last night was not retaliated, even though it could have led

to escalation of war. Trump acted like the adult in the room and did not get drawn into war.

Once Iran acted to save face, there was nothing more for them to do unless they really wanted war with the United States. Trump and his advisors seemed to understand that the temper tantrum was over, and life could continue at a calmer pace. Gorka summarized his piece with these paragraphs.

In summary, the Trump Doctrine is primarily America First, but [it] is also based around President Trump’s pragmatic, realistic, and diplomatic view of the world, which are all based on his decades of experience as an international businessman.

He is not bound by ideology, approaches each issue on a case-by-case basis, and seeks to lead by example rather than force his way on others. He plays hardball in negotiations, often putting the other side on defense and leaving them coming back for more. He carefully picks and chooses which nations to be harsh towards and which nations to be more welcoming with. He has reinforced crucial alliances, while also making our allies more accountable. He has tripled down on brutal enemies, while opening doors to other enemies that could make for potential future allies.

That straight-forward and realistic approach, with a prioritizing of American interests above all else, is exactly why the Trump Doctrine is such a resounding success, and why 63 million Americans elected him as Commander-in-Chief.

            The Trump Doctrine seems to be working. NATO nations are stepping up to pay their fair share of defense costs. Iran seems to be deescalating. North Korea no longer threatens to send missiles into the United States. Trump seems to be putting America First in every way, but Democrats fail to see the benefits. In fact, it seems that Democrats are the worst opponents of the America First policy of the Trump Doctrine.

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