Hillary's Foreign Policy Is Scarier Than Trump's by Ivan Eland
The senseless murder of forty-nine revelers at an Orlando, Florida, nightclub has amplified our need for a long overdue national conversation this election season about the overall direction of U.S. foreign policy and our proper role in the world. With the party nominating conventions just weeks away, now is a good time to start.
In what was billed as a major foreign-policy address several weeks ago, Hillary Clinton, who will carry the Democratic banner in this year’s contest for the White House, got the ball rolling, characterizing presumptive GOP nominee Donald Trump’s views as “dangerous.” Focusing on Trump’s statement that Japan and South Korea should defend themselves, rather than rely on the United States—even if this includes the possible use of nuclear weapons—Clinton was anything but subtle. “This is not someone who should ever have the nuclear codes because it’s not hard to imagine Donald Trump leading us into a war just because somebody got under his very thin skin.”
By comparison, Lyndon Johnson’s 1964 television ad smearing Barry Goldwater, which featured a nuclear mushroom cloud and a little girl with a flower, was the epitome of subtlety.
Clinton’s biting attack on Trump got high marks from many in the media. Yet, ironically, Trump’s foreign policy views, if you think about it, are less scary, even in their implications for possible nuclear war, than Clinton’s belligerent interventionism—sold as “American world leadership.”
Even if one fervently opposes nuclear proliferation, a strong case can be made that the United States should spend more time worrying about the radical or unstable countries that either have nuclear weapons or are seeking them—such as Iran, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Pakistan and North Korea—than worrying about Japan and South Korea.
But that’s not where Clinton chose to take us. Instead, Clinton and much of the U.S. foreign policy elite, Republican and Democrat alike, obsess about Trump saying what should be obvious. It would not be a catastrophe if Japan and South Korea—stable, democratic societies and good world citizens—were able to deter aggression, if need be, even with nuclear weapons.